For golfers across the globe, finding ways to improve their games is an unending pursuit.
Among other things, that quest often will include reading books or magazine articles relating to instruction, watching instructional videos or tuning in for hours upon hours of Golf Channel programming.
The No. 1 resource for golfers in need of advice, however, usually becomes the people that they tee it up with on the weekends or their friends who play the game.
And quite honestly, that can be a dangerous proposition. Certainly not all the time, but on occasion, seeking help from anyone who will listen or has the time to offer an opinion can be counterproductive when it comes to improvement.
This is especially true for someone who has decided to make an investment in taking lessons.
Many golfers who decide to take lessons are looking for immediate results from the lesson process, but typically even the smallest of changes take time. When results don’t come quickly enough, however, many players will turn back to their friends and the instruction they sought out ends up going to waste.
It needs to be noted that a big part of the lesson process is finding a golf professional that you trust and whose plan you can commit to when it comes to improving your game. That process will require some time and some research, but once that investment is made the student will benefit from a firm commitment to what their being taught.
“All golfers, from touring pro to beginner, will receive advice from many sources,” said Tim Cooke, the Director of Golf Instruction at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C. “ All advice is well intended, but if it conflicts with the swing shape and style a student is working on the advice can be disastrous.”
Cooke, however, was quick to point out that he understands that golfers will often turn to their friends for validation or feedback. It’s only natural, he said.
But he had some words of wisdom for players who fall into that category.
“If a student receives advice from someone other than their professional, I would recommend that they run the suggestion by their coach to see if it makes sense for their swing objectives,” added Cooke, who has been named by Golf Digest as one of the top 40 golf instructors under the age of 40.
As mentioned previously, finding a pro that you can trust and believe in when it comes to your golf swing and game is a huge part of the lesson process.
Is there a sure-fire way to find the perfect instructor?
Unfortunately, probably not. It’s inevitable that some teachers and students simply won’t click.
But according to Cooke, comfort level is a great starting point when you start looking for the right instructor.
“I like to spend a session getting to know the student, spending time talking about the game, seeing lots of shots and discovering/setting goals,” Cooke said. “ A student should feel comfortable in a lesson setting. Ultimately, however, success and improvement is what builds trust.”