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How well should instructors play?


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#1 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:40 AM

Just curious to see what others think.

Around here, we have mostly teachers that have spent their whole life here, so it's easy to know how good of players they are. Many shoot in the mid to high 70's on their best days, and can't do things like work the ball or hit different shots. Many are also in their early to mid 20's.

I finally broke down and bought a series of lessons with a local pro last year (he was running a special 3 for $100, so I took a chance) and it went pretty bad. He was telling me things to correct, but when I asked him to show me so I understood better, he couldn't do it either. He said he was rusty after not getting to play much. After the first lesson I never went back for the other two. Super nice guy, but I didn't really understand what he wanted me to do, and when he tried it he hit a couple weak slices. I just had no confidence in him. Others have said he really helped them.

So my question (or questions, I guess) is, does this matter to people? Would you take lessons from a 25 year old that barely breaks 80 on a good day? Or take age out of it. Would it make a difference if the instructor was 45, but still was throwing up a 77 on his best day?

How good at actual playing do you want your instructor to be? Would you trust that even if they can't play the shots, they can still teach them?

Personally, it makes me nervous to plunk down $50-$75 to even give a guy a shot when I know he can't at least shoot par on a regular basis. I know many don't have much time to practice and play themselves, and I don't expect them to shot a 65 every time, but shouldn't they be able to keep it in the low 70's most of the time, and at least hit the ball pretty solid?

Maybe I expect too much. For what it is worth, I have been as low as a 4, but hover now around a 10 HC. The reason I ask is that I would like to get back down to the 4 but I think I really need a coach to help me. I just can't seem to make progress by myself, but don't want to hook up with someone that will mess me up and it will take me 6 months and several hundred dollars to find out.

John


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#2 juststeve

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:52 AM

How well should a basketball play before he's a good coach?

Teaching and performing are separate talents and should be treated as such.

Steve

Edited by juststeve, 23 April 2012 - 02:07 PM.


#3 keygolf

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:55 AM

Agree with Steve. The question should be "How well does he teach?"

#4 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:35 AM

So you guys (juststeve and keygolf) would have no problem going to a teacher that shot an 80 last week and giving him $50.00 for a lesson to see how he was as a teacher? That's interesting. Maybe most feel that way. Hopefully more folks chime in.

Thanks guys!

#5 russc

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:23 PM

How an instructor  plays is NOT  important.It is how well he knows the swing,how well he is able to diagnose your problems and how clearly he is able to communicate  ways to  improve your swing.He could shoot 90 or shoot 65 ,if he can not meet the above 3 criteria ,then  he is not the person for you


#6 poizster

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:23 PM

I agree with Steve but I think there is a important variable that can be gained from getting lessons from not only a good teacher but a good player. For example my coach has won several local and regional pro events, if you were to give him a handicap he would probably be around a +3 only in tournament rounds. He is a trackman guru and what I love about him is I can make a swing, and then he can get up there and produce the same swing I just made, numbers almost spot on, ball flight almost spot on. He then can make a swing that produces the shot shape I want and explain what he's physically doing to make that swing. It's a great skill he has and it gives me confidence in his teaching methods.

Edited by poizster, 23 April 2012 - 12:28 PM.


#7 MonteScheinblum

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:50 PM

I actually have two opinions here.

First, I completely agree with everyone who said ability to teach is the only important factor...but only in theory.

I am finding more and more that my ability to shoot low scores...and even more...my ability to reproduce the shots my students are hitting right in front of them...helps instill confidence in them that I know what I am doing.  Right or wrong it's human nature and the feeling the OP obviously has.

For example, the other day I had a student who was shanking because his backswing was too flat and he was pulling the handle to steepen the club, then thrusting the hips.  

No matter how many videos I showed him, he refused to believe that's what was causing it.  In his mind, that would swing the club left and hit it in the toe.

He has played with me when I have shot in the 60's

I said, "Tell you what, if I can produce a shank by imitating your swing, will you believe me and do what I am suggesting to fix it?"

He agreed.  I took a flat backswing, yanked the club steep, hit a ball almost 90* to the right.  He allowed me to slightly steepen his backswing, start his downswing by shifting the lower body left and allowing the arms and hands to shallow...no more shanks.

Now this is all dog and pony stuff, but that is what gets through to people sometimes.  Perception is reality.
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#8 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:15 PM

Great discussion, thanks to everyone.

So far the consensus seems to be playing ability makes no difference (to me it's like a driving school instructor that pulls in my drive, hitting the mailbox, trashcans and running over the cat and then saying "Hop in!"...but that's me..;) ) so let me ask you this. How do you trust what the person tells you? If I want to turn my fade into a draw and they say "Do X and Y" but can't do it themselves, how do you know that's correct? Do you spend three or four weeks working on it and just have blind faith?

As you can see, I haven't had a lot of lessons in my life, and the few teachers I have went to I just had to have blind faith.  One told me early in my playing that the way to hit a draw was to turn your hands quickly through the impact zone, which caused me to be a very handsy and erratic player for a long time. When I learned to release and turn properly it made the game much easier, but I still fight rolling my hands to this day.

Anyway, I'm not trying to argue one way or another, it's just interesting to me to hear opinions, as I'm sure most in here have had many lessons and it's great to draw from their experiences. At the end of the day I just want to be consistent (don't we all) and have someone I can really trust to turn to once a month or so.

Wish I was in a bigger area with a lot more feedback to use!

#9 Jacob Mac

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:19 PM

I do not really care how well they play.  My only question is whether or not they can make me a better player.  For me, I really look at the pattern they teach.  If the teacher advocates a lateral shift, active release of the hands, swinging to right field, I am not interested.  I am not saying it does not work for some, but I have been down that road and it does not work for me.  

Teaching is an art, and just because one can play does not mean one can teach.  So I look for (1) the right pattern, (2) the ability to articulate and demonstrate.

#10 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:21 PM

View PostJacob Mac, on 23 April 2012 - 01:19 PM, said:

I do not really care how well they play.  My only question is whether or not they can make me a better player.  For me, I really look at the pattern they teach.  If the teacher advocates a lateral shift, active release of the hands, swinging to right field, I am not interested.  I am not saying it does not work for some, but I have been down that road and it does not work for me.  

Teaching is an art, and just because one can play does not mean one can teach.  So I look for (1) the right pattern, (2) the ability to articulate and demonstrate.

Thanks Jacob!


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#11 CaddiesFault

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:24 PM

IMO a teaching professional had to be good enough at some point in their life to show that they can apply the knowledge to their own swing. after that its all about the ability to parlay that knowledge to your students in a way that they understand.

#12 Stretch

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:31 PM

Torn on this one. In theory, yeah it shouldn't matter. But I wouldn't take diet advice from a fat nutritionist.

#13 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:34 PM

View PostStretch, on 23 April 2012 - 01:31 PM, said:

Torn on this one. In theory, yeah it shouldn't matter. But I wouldn't take diet advice from a fat nutritionist.

Just spit pop on the keyboard...thanks Stretch!

Edited by rvs0002, 23 April 2012 - 01:35 PM.


#14 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:36 PM

Perhaps an instructor can weigh in with what they have to go through to be a teacher. I assume there is some sort of test, either knowledge, playing or both?

#15 Swisstrader98

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:43 PM

Was it Lee Trevino who said when asked why he's never taken a lesson: "Because I never met an instructor who could beat me!"

I personally agree that there's a difference between teaching and playing, but somehow more confidence with an instructor that's proven himself based on score. The number one thing I look for in an instructor is whether or not he or she has a good eye and how well can they bridge the gap between the problem and the solution.


#16 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:49 PM

It was Trevino that said that, yes.

I guess you just have to take a chance and try a few and see if any of them give you the right feeling that they know what they are doing. It's just hard in this economy to drop $50 dollars (avg. going rate here for 45 min.) only to find out it isn't going to work and do that with several instructors. Really isn't any other way i guess. Wonder if the PGA still does the 10-minute lesson? I could probablyhave a pretty strong feeling one way or another within 10 minutes if it was going to work I suppose.

#17 KYMAR

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:53 PM

So you gave the guy 100 bucks for 3 lessons then never took the last 2 after he missed a couple shots on the range? Wow, all I know is that the world of sports is replete with former star players who can't coach their way out of a paper bag and there are guys who manage teams to world series victories could never hit a curve ball. A good instuctor must be able to diagnose the students weakness and give them the knowledge and understanding to make it a strength. I understand why it is off putting to have a guy say, heres how to hit that draw then stand in there and hit some flare off the range right. But,  I also think it's unfair to have 50 minutes with the guy and determine he can't help you.

Edited by KYMAR, 23 April 2012 - 02:01 PM.

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#18 Timanator

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

Should be rated by how many quality student he has turned out.
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#19 moller63

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

In 'The Big Miss' Hank has a section where he talks about his struggles with his game at one point, and how bad he was playing. I'm positive anyone here would have taken a lesson from him at this time.

Food for thought.

#20 CaddiesFault

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:58 PM

View Postrvs0002, on 23 April 2012 - 01:36 PM, said:

Perhaps an instructor can weigh in with what they have to go through to be a teacher. I assume there is some sort of test, either knowledge, playing or both?

in order to be a pga certified pro you must pass the PAT test one time. 36 holes at 15 over course rating i think (ex. 159 if course rating is 72). theres multiple levels of knowledge based testing as well.


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#21 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:18 PM

View PostKYMAR, on 23 April 2012 - 01:53 PM, said:

So you gave the guy 100 bucks for 3 lessons then never took the last 2 after he missed a couple shots on the range? Wow, all I know is that the world of sports is replete with former star players who can't coach their way out of a paper bag and there are guys who manage teams to world series victories could never hit a curve ball. A good instuctor must be able to diagnose the students weakness and give them the knowledge and understanding to make it a strength. I understand why it is off putting to have a guy say, heres how to hit that draw then stand in there and hit some flare off the range right. But,  I also think it's unfair to have 50 minutes with the guy and determine he can't help you.

No, if you read my whole post I stated that I couldn't understand what he wanted me to do, AND he couldn't show me. If it was just that he couldn't hit the ball but he was able to communicate well in a way that I was able to understand (maybe it was just that I am dense), I would have gladly went back. No point in wasting two more of my hours and his when what he was saying didn't make sense to me,  and he didn't know how to say it differently and couldn't show me either.

It was the "and give them the knowledge and understanding to make it a strength" that he couldn't do. If he couldn't do it in 50 minutes, I'm surprised you would go back thinking something might change. If anything, it was kind of uncomfortable for both of us that we couldn't really communicate...I didn't really want to go through that again or put him through it either.


As I said, he was a super nice guy and I let him keep the whole $100 bucks, so I think he made out ok. I know him well and even play together a few times a year.

#22 iteachgolf

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:27 PM

To me it absolutely doesn't matter.  I will say that the worse the player the more interested they are in their teachers playing ability.  

How about instead just throwing money around trying to find an instructor ask the better players in your area who they'd recommend. My guess is if someone local is good you'll hear the same name come up regularly.   The best teachers get all their clients from referrals and word of mouth

#23 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:41 PM

View Postiteachgolf, on 23 April 2012 - 02:27 PM, said:

How about instead just throwing money around trying to find an instructor ask the better players in your area who they'd recommend. My guess is if someone local is good you'll hear the same name come up regularly.   The best teachers get all their clients from referrals and word of mouth

Good idea. I don't know any really good players, but I'm sure someone around here does. We have a city tourney coming up in a month, I can always watch the scores and make some notes off of that.

This topic has given me some ideas that I hadn't thought of before, so thanks to all who have chimed in! Great community.

#24 SHIVAN

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:41 PM

I doubt Butch can shoot 68 from the tournament tees at Augusta, but Phil still trusts him.  If their technique is sound, and based in successful golfing fundamentals, it should be enough.

I do like my instructor to be able to hit the shots though.  I don't need him to mimic my swing, but he should be able to show me how to hit a draw, or how to compress the ball properly.  If my instructor hit a shank while demo'ing an elementary concept, I'd probably move on.

#25 pappaf2

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:55 PM

This isn't exactly the same but in many sports the best players rarely make the best coaches. Most of the time the fringe players (guys without all the natural ability but had a strong work ethic) make the best coaches.

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#26 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:57 PM

View PostSHIVAN, on 23 April 2012 - 02:41 PM, said:

I doubt Butch can shoot 68 from the tournament tees at Augusta, but Phil still trusts him.  If their technique is sound, and based in successful golfing fundamentals, it should be enough.

I do like my instructor to be able to hit the shots though.  I don't need him to mimic my swing, but he should be able to show me how to hit a draw, or how to compress the ball properly.  If my instructor hit a shank while demo'ing an elementary concept, I'd probably move on.

Thanks Shivan. I agree with you, but we are definitely in the minority. Although sometimes what we THINK we would do and what we would ACTUALLY do are two different things. It would be a fun experiment to have a local pro hit some really bad shots (on purpose) during a lesson and then see how many people re-schedule with him or her.

Which makes me think of another point I wondered about...female teaching pros. My favorite teacher of all the lessons I've had (which was not many granted...maybe 10 or less over 35 years) was a female teacher in Austin, Barbara Puett, and she was AWESOME!!! Although she was probably 20 years older than I was she was great at keeping things simple. Didn't hurt that she introduced me to Tom Kite and I got to play at Austin CC either ;) ! Seriously, her and her husband (whole family, really) were such great people, I was truly blessed to meet her. Wish I wasn't 15 hours away, that would be my regular instructor!

Any other males have experiences getting lessons (golfing, I mean) from a female?

#27 juststeve

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:57 PM

Shivan:

If by Butch you mean Butch Harmon I would be amazed to see him break 80 from the tournament tees at Augusta.  You just can't believe how tough the course is from there.

Steve

#28 gators78

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:58 PM

View PostSwisstrader98, on 23 April 2012 - 01:43 PM, said:

Was it Lee Trevino who said when asked why he's never taken a lesson: "Because I never met an instructor who could beat me!"

I personally agree that there's a difference between teaching and playing, but somehow more confidence with an instructor that's proven himself based on score. The number one thing I look for in an instructor is whether or not he or she has a good eye and how well can they bridge the gap between the problem and the solution.

To me it's...

1) Can the instructor beat me or could the instructor beat me at one point in their career?
2) Do they have STUPID good players in their stable?

They've gotta have one of these for me to pay attention....and money.

Edited by gators78, 23 April 2012 - 03:00 PM.


#29 PeteHurrikane

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:01 PM

View Postrvs0002, on 23 April 2012 - 02:18 PM, said:

No, if you read my whole post I stated that I couldn't understand what he wanted me to do, AND he couldn't show me. If it was just that he couldn't hit the ball but he was able to communicate well in a way that I was able to understand (maybe it was just that I am dense), I would have gladly went back. No point in wasting two more of my hours and his when what he was saying didn't make sense to me,  and he didn't know how to say it differently and couldn't show me either.

It was the "and give them the knowledge and understanding to make it a strength" that he couldn't do. If he couldn't do it in 50 minutes, I'm surprised you would go back thinking something might change. If anything, it was kind of uncomfortable for both of us that we couldn't really communicate...I didn't really want to go through that again or put him through it either.


As I said, he was a super nice guy and I let him keep the whole $100 bucks, so I think he made out ok. I know him well and even play together a few times a year.

I would go back to him and perhaps get some short game or putting fixes off him. Or video analysis. You've played with the guy there must be something he does that you could learn from him. Or come out to me here in Europe, I'll give you 4 x 30min lessons for $100.

Edited by PeteHurrikane, 23 April 2012 - 03:02 PM.


#30 rvs0002

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:07 PM

View PostPeteHurrikane, on 23 April 2012 - 03:01 PM, said:

I would go back to him and perhaps get some short game or putting fixes off him. Or video analysis. You've played with the guy there must be something he does that you could learn from him. Or come out to me here in Europe, I'll give you 4 x 30min lessons for $100.

It's been almost 2 years, it wouldn't feel right approaching him about it now. I should have done that...switched to the short game. It was just so awkward at the time that I just really didn't want to go back. I also wanted him to have the money, though, as I knew that he could really use it.

If I only flew I would take you up on that offer! I'd love to visit Europe. My wife just got back from Paris and loved it. It was her 50th birthday present...unfortunately planes and I don't get along, so I had to send her with her best friend. I think they had more fun that way anyway!


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