I’ve had golf lessons from 5 different PGA professionals at various points in my journey from beginner to average golfer, so are golf lessons worth it? Yes, they are worth it, but you need to be taking lessons for the right reasons and have the correct approach to follow up.
It very much depends on where you are in your golf journey in terms of the type of golf lessons that will work for you. Having taken golf lessons at various levels of my own competency and understanding of the game, here’s my advice:
Who gives golf lessons?
Usually it’s a PGA Professional but anyone can give golf lessons. I’ve had lessons from fellow members that were very helpful when they noticed something that I was doing at the range. I’ve also had unwanted “lessons” on course from golfers who think they have to pass on their wisdom because their handicap is 6 below yours.
A PGA Pro belongs to and was trained by the Professional Golf Association of America. Most are attached to golf clubs and generally run the pro shop and give golf lessons. They will usually be a scratch golfer and they will have completed the PGA training program.
In other words, they are very good golfers who have been trained how to coach.
Who takes golf lessons?
1) Beginners. Although I know people who’ve never had a golf lesson, they were exceptional athletes anyway and simply naturals at golf. The majority of beginners take lessons, often in a group situation and that’s a good thing for a number of reasons:
It ensures that the budding golfer is competent before they venure out onto the course. That’s useful in a number of ways: a) they will be less of a danger to other players, b) they won’t hold up play, or if they do, they’ll understand how to let groups through. c) they’ll have an idea of the ettiquette required on a golf course d) they’ll have some confidence in their ability, so will relax more and play better.
Personally, I’d never had a lesson before I stepped onto a golf course. I’d hit some balls at the range and played the local pitch n putt a few times but that was it. I wasn’t really ready to take that limited experience to the course, but I was keen to see what it was like. I mentioned this to an acquaintance who I was chatting to in a bar one evening and he invited me to join him for a round the next day.
I had some trepidation the next morning because I was a bit out of my depth and everything was unfamiliar. Trouble was, it was a links course with gorse, so wayward shots were heavily punished.
In my head, I’d always thought of golf as a slow sedate sport that I’d likely take up as I approached retirement. Here I was in my early fifties, sweating, because I was having to walk very quickly to keep the group behind us from catching us up. I also didn’t have a putter – I’d always borrowed one at the pitch n putt, so assumed (wrongly) that it would be the same today.
Long story short, I hit a few good shots, but I was painfully slow because I was looking for lost balls constantly. After 9 holes, my friend put an end to the torture and suggested we leave it for that for the day and grab some lunch. We did and chatted about golf naturally.
I booked a course of lessons the next day.
So if you’re a complete beginner, look out for “get into golf” group coaching locally. They usually teach in small groups (up to ten people) for an hour at a cost of around $40 for a 6 week course (6 x 1 hour group lessons). At my club, these lessons take place at the driving range which has a chipping area next to it. The final lesson is out on the course itself. These are fun sessions, designed to make the introduction to golf pleasurable for people of all abilities.
What you’ll learn:
- How to grip the club
- The proper golf stance
- How to putt
- How to hit chip and pitch shots
- How to hit iron shots
- How to hit woods and hybrids
- How to hit with the driver
- Where to position the golf ball for different shots
- How to aim
- Golf and golf course ettiquette
Some beginners will be ready to progress to playing on course after the get into golf lessons, but most will require further lessons on their individual technique before they are confident enough to do so.
Everyone learns a little bit differently and people progress at their own rate so the experience won’t be the same for all. I know a couple of the people who took the last get into golf 6 week program at my club. One of the ten who started, became a member afterwards and he now plays regularly with us. He’s off 31 apparantly, but plays more like someone off 20.
Most gave up and that’s not surprising because the skills are not easy to learn, even if the basics are. I think the reason that Phil progressed is that, a) his brother is a golfer and b) his brother in law is a golfer – he is part of our regular 4 ball, and he had the desire to become a golfer. He’s 60 and recently reired, so this was his plan all along.
My route to club membership was a bit different. I played the local par three pitch n putt maybe 20 times. Then I played the local municipal 9 hole course maybe a dozen times. Then I joined my club.
However, once I went for lessons, I’d already developed some bad habits (my grip in particular) that were difficult to correct. So I’d strongly recommend that any beginner starts with lessons.
Golf Lessons for High Handicappers (18+ Handicap)
There are two sets of golfers in this category and the way that they approach lessons is a bit different:
The first group are seasoned golfers whov’e played for years. They can get around the course competently and are happy with where their game is. They are not particularly competitive and enjoy the social and exercise side of golf. They don’t take golf lessons, or if they do, it’s rare.
Aspirational high handicappers on the other hand are golfers who want to improve their handicap and are looking for ways to do so. There’s some shots or skills, or course management issue that they are not happy with their execution of. This group of people will seek out golf lessons in order to minimise their mistakes and improve specific aspects of their game.
Golf Lessons for Mid Handicappers (9 to 18 Handicap)
The same split occurs here as with the high handicappers. Those mid-handicappers who are ok with their game won’t take lessons. Those who want to improve their handicap will. Occasionally though golfers in the first group will have a problem that creeps into their game, or appears suddenly, like the shanks for example. At this point, they’ll take lessons, or a lesson to iron out that issue.
Golf Lessons for low Handicappers (0 to 8 Handicap)
Often the reson that low handicappers take golf lessons is to maintain their handicap. It usually takes a lot of work to get down a low handicap and once it starts ticking up the other way, people want to stop that slide.
Golf Lessons for Golf Professionals
The best golfers in the world have more golf lessons that any other category of golfer. At the pro level, the differece between winning a competition and all that goes with that is very small. The fact that these top pros take instruction and practice more than the rest of us, should tell us something.
How much do golf lessons cost?
The average cost for a one hour private golf lesson is around $60. Like most services, the cost varies and tends to be higher when the professional giving the lessons has some level of fame.