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CHOOSING THE RIGHT GOLF PROFESSIONAL FOR INSTRUCTION by Ralph Landrum

All of us need help with our games. There are golf professionals at most every range and golf course. How do we go about deciding which professional will be best for our particular needs?  If you make an

Informed decision you could be on the way to playing your best golf. Make the wrong decision and your game could end up stuck in the mud!

To begin your search, I think you must first start with yourself. What do you want out of your game? Are you willing to give the time and effort necessary to fulfill your goals?  Have you ever considered what part of your game is the best and what is the weakest? Could you be a bad putter because you are either putting for birdies from 40 feet or pars from 7 feet? That scenario leads me to believe it is not your putting but your ball striking. Take some time and go over your past couple of rounds. Try and give thought to what caused your bogies and birdies. If you wish, you may want to create a chart with how many fairways and greens you hit, along with how many putts you use each round. This is the age of information! Try and gather the facts. Many times reality is very different than the perception.

Now that you have a better understanding of the strengths and weakness’ of your game, it is time to look for that certain golf professional who can help you achieve your goals in the most efficient manner. The three items I’d like you consider when picking a golf professional for golf instruction:                                                       

1) Trust of the teachers abilities    

2) Accessibility

3) Compatibility

1) Trust. Trust of the teachers abilities has always been the number one item when picking a golf professional to help me with my game. Has this professional helped any of your friends? Does he or she have a great reputation for helping someone of your ability? Has the professional written any articles or been given any awards for teaching?  Is this person a PGA member? How long have they been teaching? If you are not convinced that his or her method and ideas are best for you, you have wasted your time and money! I figured out long ago that the delivery of the message is just as or more important than the message itself. Working on your game is just that; work. If you are not convinced the information you are receiving is best for you, I am sure that after a short time you will give up on the new ideas.  One last word for trust, just because a golf professional was or was not a great player should have little bearing on his or her teaching ability.

 2) Accessibility. Will the golf professional be available when you need them? Does he or she teach at a private club where lessons for non-members are available on a limited basis. Does the golf professional have a facility to teach in bad weather? Does this person teach on a full time basis?  Do you wish to see some one who is booked out two months in advance? If you are a member of a private club your professional should be willing to help you with your game between lessons. By that, I mean the club professional should be able to see you hit some shots and give you updates between lessons. Talk to the golf professional before you schedule your first lesson and make sure your schedules match.

3 ) Compatibility.  You will have to spend your time and money with the golf professional and if you are uncomfortable, it will be a short relationship. I personally always had trouble with golf professionals who were negative. I do not care to hear about their problems when I am there to work on my game.  You may need a golf professional who is a little more laid back and takes things slower. Would you feel more at ease with a male or female teacher? Will the teacher want you to “overhaul” your game or just fine tune a couple of areas?  Would you feel out of place at their facility? I am a big fan of video but understand video is not for everyone. Take the time to answer some of these questions before your make your decision.

Everyone should look for “professional” help with his or her game. We all need the help. There are many golf professionals available to help you, some good, some bad. Just because you had a bad experience with golf professional in the past, don’t judge all of us based on that.  Do your research, make an informative decision, and I am convinced you will have a positive experience and be able to enjoy the game more than ever.  

Be Good;

Ralph Landrum

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