Time, patience, and practice for the golfer

Taking golf lessons can be very helpful, but without allowing for time to let the instruction take it's course, it can be very frustrating. Photo: United Press International

I have found that there are three types of people who take golf lessons. 

There is the day one beginner who has never touched a club before and is interested in learning the game of golf. For this golfer taking a lesson is absolutely the right thing to do.

Starting with a clean slate, and learning the basic fundamentals is essential at this stage of the game. Golf can be very overwhelming, so I really stress the importance of patience at this phase. With the many facets to game of golf such as; the full swing, the short game, rules and etiquette, which equipment to buy, proper attire etc… Realistically it could take a few months depending on your ability to practice to become comfortable enough to play a round of golf. 

While I teach at a resort, I’m still amazed sometimes when someone comes to take a golf lesson at 8:00 with a 9:00 tee time, and they have never touched a club in there lives. That’s like taking a Piano lesson on Monday and trying to play a song at your brothers wedding on Saturday. It can’t be done.

Next there is the golfer who has been playing from a few years, to many years.

They typically are middle to high handicappers who are self taught, but watch the Golf Channel everyday, and have at least two subscriptions to golf magazines. This is the most challenging lesson there is. 

Reason being is that once a swing pattern becomes committed to memory (in this case muscle memory) it takes a great deal of time, patience, and practice to get the muscles to react differently. In addition, this golfer characteristically plays on the weekends, with an occasional sneak-out round during the week, never allowing for the reconditioning of muscle memory to take place. 

While the lessons are successful early on, once the old habits start to creep back in, and they always do (usually in the middle of the round) it’s easier to go back to the old habits. At least you know what the old is going to do, instead of toughing it out and playing worse for a period of time until confidence is established with your new swing. 

I remember Tiger Woods saying the changes he made to his golf swing took 1 full year. And if it took arguably the best golfer in the world 1 year to make changes in his swing, and I’m sure Tiger practices a lot more then we do. Well…you get the picture.

Finally there is the low handicap and even professional golfers.  While this is not an easy lesson by any means at least this golfer understands the basic concepts of the golf swing.  Usually it’s something small like alignment, tempo, a putting tip, or even bad posture that is causing them problems. Fortunately there knowledge of the importance of practice is extremely helpful in achieving there goals. They typically don’t take many lessons but are mindful of the importance of having a trained eye to watch their swing.

Let’s face it.  Golf is hard.  But think about it, everyone that is successful at what they do be it sports, business, or anything at all, have one thing in common.  They all have solid basic fundamentals and they work hard at what they do.  That’s why they are good. Taking time to learn the basics, having the patience to stay with the changes no matter how frustrating it can get, and practicing often is the key to success.

Until next time.… Practice, Practice, Practice.


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Rodney Green

A 20 year veteran of the golf industry, Rodney Green oversees all golf operations at Innisbrook, including daily oversight of all four of the resort’s championship golf courses, merchandising for three golf shops, golf instruction, operating and capital budgets, staffing, and the PGA TOUR’s Transitions Championship, held each year on the Copperhead Course.

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