Tag Archives: how to golf

The golf lesson ‘Chicken or the egg debate’


“Don’t be too proud to take a lesson. I’m not.” Jack Nicklaus

By Ian Hardie

I happened to overhear a conversation about golf lessons a while back

That I thought I would share with you

Not because what was said was particularly useful

In fact the suggestion by the instigator of the conversation

Made absolutely no sense to me at all

The reason I wanted to share the conversation with you

Is because as I reflected about what was said afterwards

I realised that the thinking that generated the suggestion

May be more widespread than I imagined

Potentially not as destructive as the sort of bad advice given around the world everyday

That continues to twist golfers in knots by telling them to do things like;

Keep your head down, keep your head still or keep your left arm straight

But it’s still a line of thinking that needs to be changed

As it’s just not helpful to golfers at all

I’m not going to bore you with the whole conversation

So here’s the summary;

An infrequent golfer who had played the odd game of no more than 9 holes at a time had made the decision to commit to playing golf more regularly

Nothing unusual there, in fact great idea

As part of their decision they were thinking about having some golf lessons

To make sure that firstly they didn’t embarrass themselves in front of other golfers

And secondly so that they could improve their game

Still nothing unusual there either, also a great idea

But then the conversation took a strange tangent

As the infrequent golfer then said

“I’m going to have a few games first before I start taking the lessons”

Lets’ pause for a minute here and consider that statement

Which is indeed in the ‘which came first the chicken or the egg’ category

An infrequent golfer that has never (I assume) played more than 9 holes a time

Who it seemed had a skill level of novice or less

Which I gathered from hearing the comment

“I want to be able to hit the ball first before I have lessons”

Wants to go and play a few 18 hole games of golf

Before having some lessons

To learn the basic skills of the game and how to hit the ball

Can any of you see a problem or two with this approach?

I certainly could but is there a precedent for this thinking elsewhere in life?

I found while writing this post that I could make a very extensive list indeed

Of other areas where you would logically consult an expert to learn a new skill from

Or get help with a certain problem

Sooner rather than later

But when it comes to golf for some reason people think the opposite applies

Strange when you consider how difficult it is to try and change something

That you have done with your golf, even if only for a short time

As I wrote about in this post recently How to deal with the discomfort of improving your golf

So instead of listing all the examples I’m going to remind you of just what is going on

When a golfer is starting the game of golf

With an excerpt from a post I did a while back called Are you a frustrated new golfer

‘To hit the ball, we are rotating our entire body one way and then turning it back the other way while accelerating a club we are holding back to a position within a fraction of where it started, while it is moving at 60 – 120mph in order to strike a golf ball that is 1.68 inches in diameter

To do this we require the controlled and sequential use of 96% of the muscles in the body

Once we have hit it (if we did) we expect it to fly straight in the direction we think we are aiming to hit it but it seldom does

Not to mention that after figuring all that out – we then have all the subtleties to work out – of in between distances, trees and rough, different types of shots, sand traps and other hazards

Then once finally at the green, we need to figure out how to read the green, get the speed and direction of the putts correctly’

Any idea after reading that whether I’d suggest playing or lessons first?

The final point I’m going to leave you with is this

One of the main reasons that a lot of golfers give up the game for

After the logical ones of affordability, kids, life stages or relocation

Is because they struggle to hit the golf ball consistently or without embarrassment

My answer to the golf lesson ‘Chicken or the egg debate’?

Is and always has been

Golf lessons first

Play well

Related Posts

Why golfers don’t have as many golf lessons as they should

Ever seen an advertisement like this on TV or in a golf magazine?

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

What to expect from a golf lesson