If you read Article One in this golf advice series of three articles, you may remember that I was extolling the virtues of golf lessons but at the same time adding a warning that it is necessary to take care in selecting whom we entrust our golf game to. I also shared one of my own golf lesson experiences which I described as “Ugly” and suggested a tip for discovering which grip is right for you.
In this second article of the series, I share another of my past lessons which, whilst not ugly, was pretty bad and seeks to explain what I mean when I say that the sad truth is that some teaching pros fall short in their efforts to help us to play the best golf we’re capable of playing, instead teaching their pupils in a way that often focuses on trying to get them to play golf that they’re not capable of playing.
I should also repeat that I am not seeking to criticise golf teaching pros generally, as most do a fine job but we do need to be careful whom we go to.
So, let us take a look at my bad lesson.
2. The Bad
If I remember correctly, this was in late 2001/early 2002 and is, as I said, a prime example of teaching pupils in a way that often focuses on trying to get them to play golf that they’re not capable of playing. I took myself and my new set of irons to a pro recommended to me by the twenty-three year-old son of a friend. I explained that although my woods were fine, I’d developed a slice with my irons and after the initial questions and hitting a few balls the pro told me that the cure lay in making a full 90 degree turn and keeping my left arm absolutely straight at the top of the backswing, “Just like Tiger Woods”.
Now, with the best will in the world, I was physically incapable of meeting those particular demands and by the end of the lesson, not only hadn’t my slice been cured, but I’d pulled a muscle in my arm that kept me out of the game for a couple of weeks.
To add insult to injury (literally), the pro then recommended I buy and study the book, “Tiger Woods – How I play Golf” before my next lesson with him.
Although I’ll admit to buying the book – and very interesting it is too – my physical limitations were too much of a barrier to me emulating much of what Tiger describes in it. I’ll also say that Tiger’s legendary shrewdness shines through in the title; i.e. “How I Play Golf” and not, for example, “How To Play Golf Like Me”.
So, by way of summarising this section, if you are looking for extra golf advice by way of having or considering having golf lessons, make sure you find a pro who can work with what you are capable of doing. My friend’s twenty-three-year-old son might well have found it easy to make a 90 degree turn and keep his left arm straight at the top of the backswing, but for this old-timer it was bridge too far!