Is there value in a golf school?

Golf professional giving a putting lesson

The golf industry is rife with golf instruction, in most regards the PGA of America is founded upon the golf lesson. It’s an interesting tug of war within the industry between golf professionals and equipment manufacturers that is forcing customers decisions between spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on golf schools or a few hundred dollars on a new driver that is marketed and “guaranteed” to add yardage to a player’s game.

Having worked as a teaching professional as well as attended several “name-brand” golf schools I have found the relationship between student and teacher has, unfortunately, not made a large impact. In fact according to the National Golf Foundation, the average handicap of amateur golfers in the U.S. has not dropped significantly in the past 50 years.  There are huge numbers of players (supposedly) taking up the game of golf, but just as many, if not more, players leaving the game. I believe this is due to the manner in which golf is taught in the U.S. In my experience as a golf teacher, I believe there’s a disconnect between the expectations created by the student and the teacher.

Player’s typically come for a golf lesson to learn something new, some type of new method, or technique, or secret knowledge that they cannot not get without the assistance of a golf professional. The goals and expectations of a golf student tend to be very high; they expect that in exchange for paying hundreds of dollars, the golf professional is going to turn them into the next club champion or at least provide them with the skills and knowledge to play the game better.

Unfortunately this is almost never the case. And when this miracle does not occur, the golfer picks up his or her clubs and goes to another golf teacher in hopes of finding more, new and perceived better information.

In my experience the issue is simple – the manner in which golf is taught is inefficient and could be improved. One of the first objectives a golf instructor should do at the start of each lesson session is know what goals and/or objectives the student wants to accomplish – not the goals and objectives the instructor believes the student should be focus on.

This is not an indictment on the teaching profession as it relates to golf, but most teachers simply do not know any better and they spend much of their time attempting to teach a person a particular theory rather than providing a space for the player to develop his or her own golf swing.

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