How to Find A Good Golf Instructor
A master does not always arrive on cue when the student is ready but has to be searched for and this certainly applies to golf instructions. If you want to play better golf it is immensely important to find a good golf instructor because golf is not only a physical but also a psychological game.
This means that you should be able to communicate your thoughts, feedback and even your frustrations with your instructor and vice versa to make the most out of the association. This requires you and your instructor to have an understanding and a good ‘student-teacher’ relationship.
There are more factors to be considered, so read on to discover how to find a golf instructor who will genuinely help you improve how you play.
How to Find Who’s Teaching Golf
If you are new to golf or are a novice in a new club, it is likely that you don’t know who teaches golf around where you play. In such cases, it is a good idea to talk to people at the club, make their acquaintance, and ask them if they have taken golf lessons before. Moreover, if you come across people who have taken lessons, you can ask them how they liked their particular instructor.
You can also ask the reception desk of the club if they have associations with any instructors for golf training if you want to go down this path. Many clubs have a set of instructors who they recommend and who could be able to begin your training fairly soon.
How to Find a Good Golf Instructor
Looking for a golf instructor is a task to be done carefully as you will be spending a lot of time with them on the golf course or practice holes. The golf instructor should not only be qualified to teach but should also be able to understand your needs. A degree of patience when things go wrong is also a trait that you might look for in an instructor, especially if you are an absolute beginner.
As with many sports, in golf, it isn’t always the case that a good coach is or was a particularly good player. Conversely, a lot of outstanding players turn out to be lousy coaches.
So, do not concern yourself what handicap your instructor has or whether they are a professional player. Instead, think about their teaching ability, their coaching skills and focus on some of the factors we highlight next.
Accreditation of Golf Instructors
There are no official qualifications required to teach golf, however, there are governing bodies that certify individuals to become an instructor and to teach a certain number of students. One such body is the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA). They qualify instructors on the basis of the rules of golf, sports psychology, business management, golf equipment, and golf technology. Possessing such knowledge can make the world of a difference between being a certified, and an uncertified, instructor.
Though it may appear easier to trust someone with qualifications, there are plenty of instructors around who do not seek it, merely because their reputation is already great. If you are getting the chance to be taught by an instructor who has been around for decades and knows all the ins and outs of the sport but lacks a certificate, by all means, go with them.
Care and Respect for the Learners
The best instructors are not those who necessarily just preach about how they believe the game should be played but are also ready to understand the perspective of their students. Great golf teachers will not just deliver instructions but also lend an open ear to listen to you and the feedback you need in terms of your progress.
The listening part is important so that you are able to express your opinion or concerns and also ask questions without feeling intimidated. Asking questions and getting reliable answers is a much more thorough way of learning than blindly following instructions. Being a good listener makes an instructor highly effective in getting the trust of students and this is always positive for quicker learning.
Teachers who care for their students stand out from those who don’t as they always reflect this behavior in the way they talk and act, and this applies every bit as much to coaching and teaching golf as any other discipline.
Compatibility Between the Instructor and You
If you don’t get along with your coach, your lessons might well end up being stressful as well as bearing no results. Hence, compatibility between your instructor and you, is one of the most important things to look for after you’ve determined their level of expertise.
Sometimes, it is difficult to say whether you will get along with an instructor before taking their lessons. You might ask previous students, look at any testimonials or reviews they have, or see if there is an opportunity to watch one of their lessons to get a feel for how they teach.
Golf Instructors and Their Methods
There is a great amount of debate about coaching methods for the sport of golf. The reason for this is that there exists so many methodical approaches to swinging the club, and each of them will produce a variety of success.
There are coaches who focus purely on completely reworking a golfer’s swing technique to one they want their students to use because it works for them. This is a somewhat logical approach using a method that can be repeated time and time again.
For others letting a golfer play in their natural style, but making minor adjustments also brings results. They believe that everybody has a unique body which leads to so many different styles of play and that we should embrace that.
Sports Psychology and Inner Game Teaching Methods
There are also golf instructors that have a more sports psychology focus to their teaching methods, known as the Inner Game. If you find a coach that follows these methods it is likely your learning will be accelerated.
There is much research that suggests that too much instruction in the form of "should and shouldn’t" create self-doubt, self-criticism, too much effort, and overly tight strokes. Good golf instructors will be aware of this and adopt an approach that is less instructive and more inviting. This will help you get out of your own way to let your best game emerge.
Learn The Inner Game of Golf
If you're interested in learning the Inner Game of Golf then we highly recommend checking out Timothy Gallwey's fantastic book.
His revolutionary work over four decades on the inner game is transferrable to many areas of life, not just your golf game.
There are also International Inner Game Schools where you learn not only how to learn, but how to coach others to learn too.
Golf Instructor Technology
The technology used in golf coaching has evolved significantly in recent years with video analysis becoming an integral part of golf coaching. The findings of a 2014 study into Video Analysis in Golf Coaching revealed that the positive aspects outnumbered the negative aspects associated with their use.
Many Golf Professionals utilise the latest swing analysis technology such as V1 Golf or Blast Motion Golf to assist them in analyzing and help you understand your swing. In addition golf instructors can make use of precision ball tracking technology such as Flightscope to give you a precise understanding of the most important phase of your golf swing – Impact.
Golf instructors that are trained in biomechanics may also use ground pressure plate technology such as Bodytrak or wearable devices like the K-Vest to further analyse your body movement during your swing. This can reveal insights that help you to develop and reach your potential. Check out the video below, which shows you what you could expect from an ultra hi-tech golf lesson with the K-Vest and Swing Catalyst.
The latest technologies in swing analysis and ball tracking are valuable tools that can enhance the value you get from your golf lessons. So in your search for a golf coach make sure you ask about what technology they use.
Find a Golf Instructor That Fits Your Budget
Golf is a premium game and it comes with its costs. This is also true about learning golf and the hourly or session coaching rates of instructors. Golf equipment can be a one-off cost, at least for several years, and club membership is an expense that you will need to pay approximately once a year. However, the cost of instructors is likely to be a recurring expense.
It is recommended that you research what the rates of lessons are in your area and stick to the average if you are a beginner or intermediate player. If you want to learn from the best golf coaches with certifications, you are bound to pay a higher price, but if you can afford it, it will absolutely be worth it.
Consider Group Golf Lessons
A popular option for those seeking golf lessons on a limited budget is to find a golf instructor that teaches group sessions. These are generally much cheaper than one to one private tuition, however the drawback is that you won't get the full attention of the golf instructor. If you're a beginner though these can be a good place to start particularly if you don't want to pay too much.
There really is no substitute for finding a good golf instructor for improving your game. It is incorrect to think that you could save money and get the same result by reading books, watching videos and using the best golf swing analyzer apps. That's not to say these other things won't help but if you're serious about lowering your handicap, investing in a good coach will deliver faster and better results. We hope these tips will help you find a golf instructor that is right for you.