By Mark Harman, USGTF National Course Director
It’s a scene I see almost every time I go to the driving range: A golfer is practicing with a poor grip, poor alignment and ball position, hitting the ball all over the place and then wondering why they can’t hit it straight. On the course when I play with people I get paired up with, I often hear them say that golf is mental and if they only had a better thought process, they would play up to their potential.
Meanwhile, I’m left wondering how their over-the-top swing with the early release can provide them with consistency if they only had a better mental game.
In team sports such as football, baseball, basketball, etc., coaches are not only welcomed, but necessary. Coaches in these sports do more than just call plays and select the starting lineup; they also spend a great deal of time teaching proper technique. If someone is learning to play the piano or guitar, the first thing they do is turn to a teacher who can show them the basics and tutor them until the attain mastery of their craft.
Golf, for some reason, has its share of self-taught practitioners in much greater proportion than other sports and activities. Maybe that’s due to the individual nature of the sport, but then again, playing a piano is also an individual endeavor. Most people know, though, that they can’t just sit down at the piano and rip off Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, but when they go out to play golf for the first time without any lessons, they’re doing something of the equivalent. I think it’s because of a couple of things: 1) Golf doesn’t have the same mystery element to it that playing a piano does. It’s pretty straightforward – you take a club and swing at the ball, and anyone can do that, right?
2) A lot of golfers take a great deal of pride in being self-taught.
Golf star Bubba Watson has made a big deal about never having had a lesson…but there is only one Bubba Watson. Virtually every other tour pro would not be playing professional golf without the help of professional teaching and coaching.
One of the best things you can do for your game is to take some lessons or visit a golf school. You will learn why you do what you do and how to correct them. You will be given a game plan and the proper path to improving your golf. Some golfers are hesitant because they think that the teacher will completely overhaul their swing or that the process will be far too difficult. Yes, years ago this might have been the case, but since the United States Golf Teachers Federation started training and certifying golf teachers in 1989, other organizations took note and improved their teacher training programs. Today, if you are under the tutelage of a USGTF pro or someone from another organization, you almost assuredly will get a competent lesson.
So whether you decide to come to a session of America’s Favorite Golf Schools or select an alternative, do yourself – and your game – a favor, and take some lessons!
This golf lesson is brought to you by:
America’s Favorite Golf Schools, America’s #1 choice in golf vacations.
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