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So it’s true – golf lessons actually can help you to get better at golf – part three!


“Is there such a thing as a technically perfect swing? If there is, I have yet to see it.” – David Leadbetter

By Ian Hardie

In the article So it’s true – golf lessons actually can help you to get better at golf – part two! I covered the idea that of all the different golfers around the world who take golf lessons

The golfers who always play better after a golf lesson are the ones who take the lesson having already created the expectation in their mind of improving afterwards, as part of a bigger or longer term picture – some people might even call their expectation a goal or a target

Such as breaking 80 for the first time or reducing their handicap to a certain figure

There are many different possibilities as you can imagine and you would be surprised to learn that this expectation of improvement is not limited to what most people would consider ‘good golfers’

In fact, more often than not it’s the golfers who would be considered as ‘below average’ who exhibit this focus the most – as they have created a desire to work towards improvement or better performance to enable get them to a lower handicap with the assistance provided by golf lessons

This means that they don’t have the progress that they make in the lesson discounted by their brain as an anomaly in their golf identity like other golfers do – something that I covered in the article So it’s true – golf lessons actually can help you to get better at golf!

Instead, they finish each golf lesson on a new higher level of golf skill, having taken another step closer to their target or goal, while at the same time adjusting their golfing identity to reflect their new level of skill, building on it with every successful shot that they play which continues on the course the very next game they play

You may recall that process is described as a ‘self-sustaining positive feedback loop’

If you have ever experienced this state yourself you will be aware at just how much simpler the game of golf becomes once you get to that point – if you haven’t, then you may want to consider finding a good golf teacher to help you with that if it’s something that interests you

However, as I covered in those first couple of articles – playing better golf immediately after a golf lesson – isn’t always the result that golfers get due to the fact that there are more golf lessons taken by newer golfers who are trying to learn the game, as well as experienced golfers who due to a long period of poor performance

Are trying to rediscover their golf game in order to ‘get it back’

Both of these types of golfer unfortunately, don’t tend have a lot of positive thoughts to draw upon to aid in their improvement

The newer golfer is of course still learning the game and won’t have hit a lot of good golf shots at that point – so their brain has very few examples to draw upon – and the experienced golfer who has no doubt been through a very long period of hitting poor golf shots before turning up for a golf lesson (because that’s human nature) has lost any confidence that they ever had in their game through experiencing the vast amount of negative thoughts that accompany that poor play

That lack of an actual focussed desire when combined with a low level of confidence in their current skills is the main reason that soon after both of these types of golfers leave the lesson tee – things can start to go badly

One or two bad shots can immediately damage the small amount of confidence that they have built up during the golf lesson – which ends up having the opposite effect – creating a ‘negative feedback loop’

The newer golfer as they are of course just trying to ‘learn the game’ – will assume that any poor shots that they hit are the result of them simply not being very good at the game – whereas, the experienced golfer will interpret any poor shots as ‘being back where they started’

As soon as either of those two attitudes comes out, the negative feedback loop will gain momentum – pushing the golfer further away for the positive things that were worked on during the golf lesson – soon, they begin to try something slightly different

‘Because the things I was told in the golf lesson – don’t work!’

The more they try things – the further away from where they need to be in order to improve they will get and eventually the result is that they will in fact probably be worse than when they first went for the golf lesson

Being human though, the result of all that won’t be communicated to their friends, family or workmates as a failure on their part to improve after having golf lessons – it will of course always be delivered to them as – ‘I had a golf lesson from that person – it didn’t work!’

So, what can you learn from all of this?

The golfers that get the most benefit from golf lessons and always play better afterwards exhibit four main traits that set them apart:

  1. They have already created the expectation in their mind of improving after the golf lesson before they turn up for it
  1. They have some sort of long term picture or level that they are trying to work towards that drives them to really focus what they are doing while they are having the golf lesson
  1. They are constantly adjusting their golfing identity to reflect their new level of skills as they develop their golf game
  1. They continue to build on that success with every good shot that they play on the golf course the very next game they play

That’s a fairly simple list of things to do isn’t it?

It’s also an extremely powerful little thing that you can do if you would really like to play better immediately after a golf lesson by spending a few minutes before you go and straight after your golf lesson to sit quietly and go through it to

Get yourself into the best possible mental state to use the lessons that you are given

After all, that’s why you go for them – right?

Play well


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