PGA Professional Emma Booth runs you through some of the misunderstood notions behind golf lessons.

1. 'I don’t need golf lessons'

How to put this kindly…you do. You absolutely do! Do you know what Tiger, Rory, Dustin, Nelly and Lydia Ko all have in common? They all still have golf lessons. Now this fact will either depress or inspire you. Depress you to hear that even the best in the world still need some swing tweaks or inspire you to take action and get some coaching yourself. Golf lessons are there to help you improve your game, not make life more difficult. 

2. 'Golf lessons are overpriced'

Comparatively speaking golf lessons are very fairly priced in terms of value for money. In your half hour or hour with a pro you will learn more about your golf and simple ways to improve your practice and play than you ever could going it alone. It’s easy to think that it’s a lot of money for the duration but worth remembering that you are paying for the years it took for the Pro to accumulate the knowledge and not the minutes it takes to have the lesson. And there is also a lot of 'after care' following your lesson these days so it's not just a case of seeing you in a few weeks.

3. 'I can learn by watching YouTube'

There’s no doubt you can potentially pick up some useful tips on YouTube and some pros have made a career out of making golf coaching videos. The question is though can you actually apply what you learn? In my experience it is extremely difficult to self coach which is why the vast majority of pros still have a dedicated coach.

Trying to implement what you have learnt from YouTube is like trying to apply make-up without a mirror or, for the non make-up wearing men, shaving without a mirror!

4. 'I’ll only need one'

If that’s what makes you happy by all means only have one but that’s like only having one Pringle, a joyless waste of time. You will always get more out of having a follow up to see how you have improved and what still needs to be worked on. That is how you learn, develop and improve! 

5. 'The pro will try to change everything'

PGA pros value their sanity far too much than to try and massively change people's swings. We know making any changes is a challenging and delicate process that needs to be handled with care and consideration. It is far more important that you are comfortable, happy and positive about the benefits any justified changes could bring. 

6. 'I’m not good enough for lessons, I’m too self-conscious'

One of the first things I do to help beginner golfers or anyone feeling self-conscious is to point out all of the dents and golf ball marks along the walls and dividers of the coaching bays. Everyone starts somewhere and missing the ball and hitting bad shots is part of getting there. A good pro will never judge or laugh at you. We are here to help you feel comfortable, improve your game and most importantly your enjoyment. 

7. 'Will it really make that much difference?'

Now this one is on you. If you are open to learning, listen, take on board and practise what the pro is telling you, you will undoubtedly improve. Lessons provide a structured, measurable pathway to better golf. All you have to do is keep showing up and walking that path. 

8. 'I just want you to show me how to hit it straight'

Pros are good but we are not magical. Even the great Ben Hogan never tried to hit the ball straight, saying 'You only ever a hit a straight ball by accident'. To hit a straight shot requires a perfectly aligned swing and square clubface at impact. So, basically, for most mortal golfers straight shots are as rare as hen's teeth. You will have far more fun and better results by working with your natural shot shape and getting it to that target.

9. 'A golf lesson will be a quick fix'

Again this one depends on you. For some lessons you may be a simple tweak away from better shots but more often than not, you will need to put the time in to make any meaningful change to your swing and game. Remember, if golf was easy it wouldn’t be so special to hit a good shot or play a good round. Working to improve your game and enjoyment is well worth it though so keep grafting. 

10. 'Practice makes perfect' 

Nope, practice makes permanent. So, if you have any bad habits or quirky movements in your swing, that is what you will get better at doing. With lots of practice you can actually make quite steady improvement but an inefficient swing will only ever take you so far and you will likely hit a plateau in improvement. A simple, efficient swing that is easy to repeat combined with a tailored practice plan will always take you further. 

About Emma Booth

Emma is a PGA Professional and manager of Winchester Golf Academy along with her husband Gary. They set the Academy up together in 2015 and are the proud parents of three daughters. Emma is also a member of TaylorMade’s Women’s Advisory Board. 

Take your first step - search for a PGA Professional