Asheville Golf Pro

Why should I take golf lessons?

Anyone who is sincere about improving their golf game must seek out a qualified PGA Golf Professional. You may wire your new fan into the ceiling or replace the fixtures inside your bathroom, but I do not know anyone who can fix their own golf swing. Learning to play golf is not a do-it-yourself proposition. Every golfer who is serious about taking their game to the next level should take golf lessons on a regular basis.

How long should a golf lesson take?

Lessons should not take more than an hour or less than 30 minutes. Two important points need to be made. First, one lesson will do very little good to anyone wishing to learn how to swing, chip, pitch, putt and get out of a bunker. One lesson is normally the quick fix, given to a long time golfer, because the golfer is bleeding and needs something to stop the bleeding. One lesson is like the wound that will never heal; a bandage covers the wound but the golfer will not pay to see the doctor for the final cure. Six to ten lessons over a one year period should be considered as a minimum with occasional check-ups beyond one year. Second, a plan should be set down, drills should be administered, and a golfing routine established as a must! The experience of taking golf lessons should be a pleasant experience—the lessons MUST be positive—always looking on the bright side, even if the lesson happens to fall short of expectation by the pro or student.

The idea of golf lessons intimidates me because the instructor may ask me to change my golf swing after 20 years. What should I do?

If you are only planning to play 2 or 3 times per year at company functions, perhaps you should take a band-aid lesson from time to time. What is more embarrassing, shooting 120 for 18 holes when your friends and co-workers shoot between 75 and 90, or taking a golf lesson that may take you out of your comfort zone temporarily? Any change may be difficult in the beginning. But if change means implementing basic fundamentals into your routine that make you a better ball striker, isn't it worth a potentially uncomfortable moment with a qualified golf instructor? Remember, a pro will always be pulling for the utmost in student success.

How long does it normally take to make a swing change?

Everyone learns at different rates. But finding the proper amount of time to practice will reduce the amount of time it may take to improve your swing. I feel that six to ten lessons over a 3 to 5 month period should allow the student and instructor to build the golf swing and develop a reasonable short game. Remember, it is up to the student to enter competition/tournaments, and to practice after the lessons. Golfers wishing to reach their highest potential may take a few years depending on what they would like to do with golf.

How important are drills that are sometimes offered by a Golf Instructor?

Drills are critical in the learning process of golf. I personally give my students up to 8-10 different drills during the course of a 6-lesson series of instruction. The proper drills should be able to replace the learning of muscle skills during a series of golf lessons. A Golf Professional is unable to be an effective teacher without the use of drills.

What if I don't practice what was taught to me the week before? Is it okay to take a week off?

Absolutely. Be sure you communicate with the instructor and let him know you were unable to practice and would like to skip a week. Never be in a race to complete your golf lessons on time. Your golf pro will understand and should work with you.

Is my posture an important ingredient for having a good golf swing?

Look at Tiger Woods. He is the epitome of ideal golf posture. The establishment of great posture is part of the third step in a typical routine that I teach many of my students. You will learn how to hold the correct posture in the set-up position, to the top and the back swing, and through the hitting area. Many golfers stand-up through the ball and the ball goes dead right or they top it. With good posture comes terrific extension of the arms through the ball. Without great posture and the understanding of proper posture, there would be no way to improve your golf swing.

How important is my short game—putting, chipping, pitching and sand in the scheme of learning golf?

Think of your short game as a game in and of itself. Each shot has its own particular characteristics and requires a great deal of feel, finesse and touch. An improved short game allows a golfer to SCORE. You may hit the ball poorly, but if you get it up and down with sound chipping, pitching, and sand play, you will score. Let's not forget putting. It is very simple—the player who putts the best will probably be the winner of the tournament that particular week. Even if your desire is to learn the basics of how to hold a golf club, align your body, and swing the golf club in balance, you must take lessons. Golf is not a do-it-yourself project. I have always said it is easier to shoot par 72 than it is to shoot 110 for 18 holes. Why? To shoot 110 requires every bone in your body to hurt, your mind is uncertain, a routine has not been established, you are angry without any form of balance, and the game that day was no fun. On the other hand, the 72 was full of tempo and rhythm and the fundamentals were intact. Your mind was confident and your swing repeatable. The par 72 makes you want to play again and again.