Show ‘Em Your Worst

“One reason golf is such an exasperating game is that a thing we learned is so easily forgotten, and we find ourselves struggling year after year with faults we had discovered and corrected time and again.” 
- Bobby Jones

When you take a lesson from a PGA Professional, what are you trying to accomplish?

What I’m asking is are you there to learn from the knowledge of the pro, or are you there to try and impress them?  In my years of giving lessons, my clients invariably try to “impress” me upon our initial lessons.  My question to them is always the same, “Why?”

When you are taking a lesson, the pro isn’t worried, or at least shouldn’t be, about seeing you hit the ball perfect every time.  I tell my students that I want to see the bad shots.  Those are the ones that I was hired to correct.

There are definitely characteristics of the swing that are blatantly obvious to a trained eye, and are easily correctable.  But to fine tune a swing, you typically need to see the ball flight to have a proper understanding of what needs to be corrected.  The flight of a golf ball is a cause and effect relationship.  Depending on factors of swing path, and face angle, there are nine possible ball flights.  Being able to see that ball flying through the air will aid the instructor with the cause of the errant shots.

Let me give you an example.  To the average person, any player on the PGA Tour makes a very repeatable golf swing.  But they certainly do not hit the ball exactly the same way each and every time.  I just recently finished reading the book by Hank Haney, The Big Miss, in which he talks about the tendency of his famed pupil hitting a tee shot that would drastically miss to the right.  Yes, we’re talking Tiger Woods.  When watching on TV, one swing looks like the next, looks like the next, and so on.  But there were factors that would occasionally pop up to produce such a golf shot for Tiger.  With Tiger’s swing so fast, if you couldn’t see the ball flight, it would be nearly impossible to pick up on the minute intricacies that were causing such a ball flight.

So the next time you head to the driving range to take a lesson, don’t be embarrassed to hit a poor shot, or shot(s), in front of the pro.  They are there to help, and hopefully they can turn the bad ones into good ones.