Why Golf Lessons Don’t Work (What you should do instead)

Let’s get this straight from the beginning, golf lessons can work. 

But there are times when golf lessons don’t work.

Our goal today is to help you maximize your money and time if you are going to invest in golf lessons and break down why golf lessons don’t work at times and what you can do differently.

Many golfers will go take 1-2 lessons and then don’t see immediate results.  This leads to frustration and the mindset that golf lessons don’t work.

Why Golf Lessons Don’t Work

  1. The golf instruction is not personalized
  2. Golfers expect a quick fix
  3. Golfers don’t spend the time after the lesson
  4. Golfers only take 1 lesson
  5. There is no system to the overall improvement
  6. Lack of confidence in the golf instruction
  7. Swing instruction vs coaching
  8. Golfer fails to recognize improvement
  9. Pressure from investing money in game improvement
  10. Failure to see the big picture
Many of the better golf facilities now have golf technology to give your better insight to your swing.

#1 The golf instruction is not personalized

In any learning, the teacher must understand the student.  If the teacher fails to take the time to understand what needs the student has, there is going to be a gap in the instruction.  This is true across the board, whether we are talking about golf, learning in school or other sports.  The best instructors will take time to ask key questions such as the following:

  • What are your goals?
  • Why do you play golf?
  • What are your strengths in the game?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What would you like to get better at?
  • How much time do you have to work on your game?
  • Is there a certain shot that scares you or you dread hitting?

If the instructor can start with some basic information, it can help the instructor set up how they are going to spend the next 45 minutes to 1.5 hours in that initial golf lesson.  Unfortunately, some instructors give so many lessons, they simply go through the motions and default to items like the golf grip, the stance, posture and other “fundamentals” and they never really get to the motion of the golf swing.

What to do instead: Find an instruction that personalizes instruction.  Seek the right instructor out via the internet or by asking around of others who have experienced a golf lesson with the instructor.

Did you know: Most golfer never improve. The average score stay right around 90.

The average golf score is 91.35.  According to the USGA, 28% of golfers have a golf handicap between 11 and 15, which means their average score is right around 90.  This is based on golfers who record their golf handicap. There are close to a half million golfers who average in the low 90s for 18 holes. 

Age RangeAverage Score

Source: The Grint

#2 Golfers expect a quick fix

Keep in mind that it took Tiger Woods 6-12 months at times to make swing changes.  And while I realize your simple goal might be to hit the ball in the air 90% of the time, it is still going to take some time to achieve your goals from the goal lesson.  When you walk away from the lesson, you should have a blueprint or drills you can work on before the next lesson.  If you walk away without a plan, you should feel cheated because the time between lessons or the time after a lesson is vital to the actual growth.  Think of this like your “homework.”  Learning can be accelerated if you are doing specific golf related activities between lessons.

What to do instead: Be patient and make sure you leave your lesson with a blueprint for improvement or at least several drills you should be working on until the next lesson.

Looking for a quick fix: Focus on increasing your swing speed, which will result in more distance.

Handicap RangeMedian Driver Distance Average
PGA Tour Professional275 Carry
Total Average of 0-25221

Sources: Arccos and Trackman

#3 Golfers don’t spend the time after the lesson

Once again, the key time and growth will take place after the lesson.  Think of the lesson as the learning and understanding of what the key problem and solution are to your current swing faults.  The time after the lesson is when the work is put in to make the correction or to perfect a certain movement or swing pattern.  The best instructors will encourage you to set a video or two of you making a swing or completing a drill between lessons for a check in on your progress and to ensure you are working on the right areas.

What to do instead: Commit to practicing at least 3 times per week at the driving range or a place where you can work on the drills or the swing movements recommended.

Related: What is the best way to improve your golf game?

#4 Golfers only take 1 lesson

To really make improvement, golfers should take at minimum a series of lessons 2-5 recommended.  The one and done golf lesson might provide a temporary fix, but to make true game improvement, additional check-ins and support will be needed.  In any learning, the student continues to check in with the teacher for a variety of time. The goal should be to help you increase your knowledge and key understandings to the faults in your golf swing and how to recognize them to help you make your own corrections eventually.

What to do instead: Commit to the long term and sign up for at least 2-5 lessons.

Related: When to start golf lessons?

An on course golf lesson can help a ton! See if your golf instructor offers this.

#5 There is no system to the overall improvement

Some of our favorite online golf instructors include Mike Malaska, Kyle Morris and Shawn Clement.  All three have a system that they follow and believe in to help the golfer.  When there is quality online access to videos, the golfer is able to tap into these videos between lessons to further his or her understanding of what the instructor believes in.  Before any lesson, it is helpful if you can research your instructor and understand their swing philosophy and approach to the game.

What to do instead: Find a golf instructor that has a system and can clearly communicate what the system is and how it will help you improve.

Related: How much do golf lessons cost?

#6 Lack of confidence in the golf instruction

Some golfers will leave the lesson tee with a lack of confidence in the golf instruction they just received.  This leads to a lack of work or confidence in the swing changes, which will typically result in failure to improve.  Make sure you ask clarifying questions on the lesson tee and question something if you don’t agree.  The best learning will take place when the student and teacher are on the same page.

What to do instead: Ask the right questions during a lesson to build confidence.  Understanding the “why” in any learning is vital to the overall growth of a student.

Related: How to get better at golf without lessons

#7 Swing instruction vs coaching

A lot of shots can be saved by simple game management really understanding where the golfer is leaking shots.  However, 95% of golf lessons take place at the driving range for time efficiency.  The key would be to collect data and have an idea of where you are struggling and hopefully you have found an instructor that will personalize your learning.  Or take a video of a couple of holes and share with your teacher.  With a student I worked with this summer, we started with two swing lessons and then I played a round with him.  The simple game management piece allowed him to break 90 for the first time!  Quite the accomplishment and achievement for this golfer.

What to do instead: Find an instructor that has a willingness to do an on course lesson and work with you to look at your data for quick wins in the game improvement process.

Related: Best online golf instructors (Get better now!)

#8 Golfer fails to recognize improvement

Sometimes in golf we can become too score bound, when in reality there is improvement.  You are striking the ball better or hitting less bad shots, but you are 3 putting or other areas that the lesson didn’t work on.  Tracking your data and really looking at where you struggled or succeeded is key to your overall game improvement.

What to do instead: Track your data, track your shots and keep a journal of your better shots.  This helps track your progress and builds confidence.  Too many times we only focus on the negative in golf because that’s what we remember the most.

Related: How many golf lessons do I need?

#9 Pressure from investing money in game improvement

When someone is spending time and money on a golf lesson, they want a return on their investment.  This can lead to pressure for quick improvement.  If your golf buddies know you went for a lesson and you play worse your next round, are they going to give you a hard time?  Keep in mind that the game improvement process is a journey and it will take knowledge and hard work to improve.

What to do instead: Seek clarity and understand that there might be a slight implantation dip at the beginning of any swing changes.

#10 Failure to see the big picture

If you are truly about game improvement, if someone told you that a year from now you could average 82 instead of 87, you would take it.  Keep the big picture in mind and commit to the improvement process.  Golfers too often want the quick return when in reality golf takes time and dedication to get the result you seek.

What to do instead: See the big picture and make sure you enjoy the journey along the way.  Have fun!

Related: Are golf lessons worth it?

Be patient, work hard. It took Tiger Woods many months to perfect his swing changes and he is arguable the greatest golfer of all time.

Why Golf Lessons Don’t Work: Final Thoughts

Your golf lesson can work if you follow the tips above.  Your mindset going into the process and then your work throughout the process will play a major role in whether you get the results you are seeking.  Stay patient, work hard and enjoy the journey!

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