In my nearly 30 years in golf, including more than 18 at Golf Magazine, one of the saddest things I’ve learned about those who play the game is that they don’t do all they can to get better. Sure, they read books and magazines and ask their friends for advice. But they rarely take the most important step to true improvement: Working with a golf pro.
There are countless reasons for this, including cost and time. But talk to real golfers and what you learn is that many think, foolishly, that they aren’t good enough to get professional help: They’re embarrassed.
I know, it makes no sense that they are reluctant to show their less-than-perfect swings to the very people who can make those swings better. But it’s true.
So my first suggestion is obvious: Find a golf pro—at your club, the local driving range, a resort or golf school—and take a lesson or two. Forget your fears and commit to a little work. You’ll know pretty quickly if you are comfortable with the pro, if he or she speaks language you can follow, understands your game and what you’re trying to do, and truly wants to help you get better and have more fun.
Suggestion number two might be a short cut to number one: Check out Tom Patri.
Tom (that’s him, above right) has been one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers since the program began back in the mid-1990s. At the time, he was Director of Instruction at Westchester Country Club (where the old Westchester Classic used to be played). He’s worked with hundreds of men’s and women’s Tour players, club professionals, top juniors, and amateurs. He’s also been honored by Golf Digest, and named Teacher of the Year by the Metropolitan PGA and South Florida PGA sections, and twice by the Southwest Florida PGA.
The man can teach. Plus he’s a good guy.
And through the miracle of modern technology, he’ll even come to you.
Go to Tom’s website and check out his very cool On Line Video Academy. If you have a video camera or a smartphone, you can send him a short clip of your swing and he’ll send you back a video analysis. For $75, Tom will analyze your motion and faults and respond with full audio, video, graphics, and drills.
If quick, it’s easy, and it’s private. (Packages are available for multiple lessons.)
Tom also teaches in the New York area during the summer and the rest of the year at his academy in Naples, Florida, which is a pretty nice place to spend a week or two this winter, warming up in the sun and heating up your game.