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Why do most golfers refuse to use a PGA professional?


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#1 JMF33

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:00 AM

It always blows my mind at the number of golfers that will spend thousands of dollars on the newest clubs every year but, they will decline to pay for instruction to actually fix their pathetic game. These golfers will listen to every hack, read every fad book, scour the Internet, buy every swing gadget however, they will never take a lesson. The reply is always the same when you ask them why " I don't want the local pro to mess my swing up", its laughable. Furthermore, I find it interesting that all the advancements have been made in clubs and balls but handicaps have not changed much and I have been playing golf for 20 years.

Edited by JMF33, 14 January 2013 - 10:10 AM.


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#2 XJared

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:28 AM

I think the mentality comes from it being a solo sport. When I was playing basketball, I would have never expected to have a winning team or be a great player without a knowledgable coach. I see the same applying here.

#3 bogeypro

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:28 AM

I have found that it takes both technique and properly fitted equipment to improve scores.
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#4 Jacob Mac

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:32 AM

Bad teachers plays a role too.  It is hard finding a good teacher.

#5 Skaffa77

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

It's because everyone here at GolfWRX already drives it 300+ yards and has a + handicap!


#6 596

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:50 AM

Most people can't handle "uncomfortable" changes in their swings.  We know that what you do and what you feel in the swing is not really true.  Most people cannot fathom changing what they feel comfortable with to something that is actually right but feels uncomfortable.  Even if it fixes their swing they will not do it, it is out of their comfort zone.

We all talk all the time that if you want to be better you have to get fit, take a lesson(s) and practice.  90% of golfers do none of those.

I work at a course p/t.  I see days that start at 6:30 in the morning....4 somes teeing off one after another on a 27 hole course.  By the time I'm off work and ready to play, at 10am, I'm the first player on the range!!!!!!!!!!!  And you expect them to "take a lesson from a pro"?  They don't even warmup before they play.  Practice?  Lessons?...............no way.  They bought the new clubs (without a fitting)....that's all they need to break 110.

#7 ParChaser

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:03 AM

Expense, time commitment to practice and bad lesson experiences without improvement probably top the list among my golfing friends.  At least one has said my help is more effective than what he received from the Pro provided lessons. I have coaching experience and taken lessons over the last 30+ years from at least 8 different Pros, but have no real credentials. At this point I have reached a playing plateau, not sure more lessons would make any difference.

As a life long participant in other team sports, I had no choice when I was a kid whether to have a coach or not.  As an adult, I have never had a coach, just a general manager who coordinates the teams.

My wife enjoys golf, but is not at all interested in lessons, she could use them so not sure why she resists.

#8 russc

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

Golf pros teaching  ability follows a bell shaped curve.Some are awful ,most are average and a small % are very good.It is not easy to find the small number of very effective teaching pros and these pros are often too expensive for most people.

#9 fore_life

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:48 AM

For me, it's the money. I know first hand that they help, but even only seeing someone every couple months means I have to make a choice of playing golf 4 times that month or taking one lesson and not playing at all. My golf budget per month is about $225/month, and most good teachers seem to charge nearly my whole monthly budget for an hours worth of work.
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#10 jebb

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:59 AM

I see the OP's point and how often do you read on here of even high handicappers putting more faith in a new driver than working on a reliable swing with a pro.

It doesn't add up and handicaps just stay where they were 20 years ago despite all the improvements in tech. Other factors are the effort and discomfort committing to a programme of learning, bad experiences with pros and the fact that lessons just seem very expensive.

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#11 duffer987

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:01 PM

'Most golfers' do not play 50 - 200 rounds/year like on WRX.
They are happy to go out once a fortnight with their mates, knock a ball around for a morning or afternoon, talk sh1te, have a few beers, and go home.
It's fairly easy in downtime to read an article in GD at the airport, watch a youtube video, etc... and have a bash at seeing if it works.
Nothing wrong with that. Not everyone has a burning desire to break 100/90/80/par and put in the training effort to get there.
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#12 Sean25rp

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:24 PM

View Postduffer987, on 14 January 2013 - 12:01 PM, said:

'Most golfers' do not play 50 - 200 rounds/year like on WRX.
They are happy to go out once a fortnight with their mates, knock a ball around for a morning or afternoon, talk sh1te, have a few beers, and go home.
It's fairly easy in downtime to read an article in GD at the airport, watch a youtube video, etc... and have a bash at seeing if it works.
Nothing wrong with that. Not everyone has a burning desire to break 100/90/80/par and put in the training effort to get there.

Agree with this.

#13 HappyGolf

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:26 PM

In my opinion it's LACK OF RESULTS

If you knew 20 guys who all went for 2 lessons and then played beautifully you'd go right?

The alternative is 5 guys who've had 60 lessons each and chop it round like weed whackers, then you're probably going to save your money for beer! :)

#14 TheCityGame

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:34 PM

Most people just don't want to get better. I'm not judging. Some of us do, some don't. They want to play better THAT DAY than they normally play and that's about it. They don't even care about playing better this year than they played last year. They're just starting over. Oh, they'll start playing decent in their league about the end of July when a couple things come together, and get a twinkle in their eye because they had 4 pars and a birdie one day, but it all repeats itself next year.

I have buddies from work I golf with a lot. 5 years ago, we'd all battle with each other to break 95. Now, I'm shooting in the 70's every other round, and they're still gunning for that 95. But, they have fun. We still have fun playing together. I've talked to them about improving, but they just don't care.

One guy feels "embarassed" (or something) to go to the range. He doesn't want people to see how bad his swing is.

Not one of them has the mindset to bend over putts for an hour straight. Especially in the darker, colder winter months when I'm making changes and refinements.

They don't play enough rounds to throw a couple away while working on a swing change.

They might say they don't have the money or the time to see a pro, and work on their swing, but what they really mean is that they don't prioritize golf enough to do it. They play softball, bowl, play darts/pool/poker. When they're doing that stuff, I'm working on my game.

If they get new equipment, that's just because it's fun to get new stuff. They don't really think it's going to make them better.

#15 Pepperturbo

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:39 PM

It's an uninformed frame of mind that miss prioritizes in most facets of life, and later asks "why" can't I, or what's wrong.

Edited by Pepperturbo, 14 January 2013 - 12:41 PM.

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#16 duffer987

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:23 PM

View PostPepperturbo, on 14 January 2013 - 12:39 PM, said:

It's an uninformed frame of mind that miss prioritizes in most facets of life, and later asks "why" can't I, or what's wrong.

Exactly.

Hmm, how come my wife left me? Why didn't I get that promotion? Why does my kid keep starting fires at school?
Beats me... but I've got my weekly 1pm lesson on Saturday and if I don't get in that 5hrs on the range and play my usual 54holes a week, I'll be stuck at this embarrassing 8 index for another month.

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#17 kellygreen

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:35 PM

Some reasons have to do with the player...some reasons have to do with the sorry state (compared to other sports) of golf instruction.

Player reasons:

1. Want a quick-fix, and arent' willing/able to put in the time or effort necessary to genuinely improve.
2. No understanding of how exacting golf is compared to other sports, and how difficult it is (even for good athletes) to teach themselves to play well.
3. Refuse to see golf as a true "sport"...where how good one gets is determined by athletic ability, coaching, and work-ethic.
4. Players often unwiling to take one-step back, in order to go several steps forward.

Instructor reasons:

1. Golf instruction is LIGHT-YEARS behind that of other sports.  So many players do have their swings get worse without measurable improvement after lessons.

2. Many instructors are poor at adapting swing technique to the player's physical capabilities, and athletic instincts.   So many pros get taught the swing that their instructor LIKES...rather than a swing that is best suited to allowing the player to play his or her best.

3. Death of the playing lesson.  So---along with the explosion of high-speed video---many players get taught to play "golf swing"  rather than golf.

4. At the end of the day, a teaching pro is just that.  A GOLF PRO THAT IS A TEACHER....and many people wind up becoming teaching pros who either don't have the patience and the temperment to be good teachers...or just don't like teaching.

...and that winds up making for a miserable experience for the student.   No one's going to spend their hard-earned money to be rushed, disrespected, and made to feel uncomfortable or inadequate.

Edited by kellygreen, 14 January 2013 - 01:38 PM.

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#18 MelloYello

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 02:09 PM

View Postkellygreen, on 14 January 2013 - 01:35 PM, said:

Some reasons have to do with the player...some reasons have to do with the sorry state (compared to other sports) of golf instruction.

Player reasons:

1. Want a quick-fix, and arent' willing/able to put in the time or effort necessary to genuinely improve.
2. No understanding of how exacting golf is compared to other sports, and how difficult it is (even for good athletes) to teach themselves to play well.
3. Refuse to see golf as a true "sport"...where how good one gets is determined by athletic ability, coaching, and work-ethic.
4. Players often unwiling to take one-step back, in order to go several steps forward.

Instructor reasons:

1. Golf instruction is LIGHT-YEARS behind that of other sports.  So many players do have their swings get worse without measurable improvement after lessons.

2. Many instructors are poor at adapting swing technique to the player's physical capabilities, and athletic instincts.   So many pros get taught the swing that their instructor LIKES...rather than a swing that is best suited to allowing the player to play his or her best.

3. Death of the playing lesson.  So---along with the explosion of high-speed video---many players get taught to play "golf swing"  rather than golf.

4. At the end of the day, a teaching pro is just that.  A GOLF PRO THAT IS A TEACHER....and many people wind up becoming teaching pros who either don't have the patience and the temperment to be good teachers...or just don't like teaching.

...and that winds up making for a miserable experience for the student.   No one's going to spend their hard-earned money to be rushed, disrespected, and made to feel uncomfortable or inadequate.

I would agree with a lot of what KG just said there. There is no one reason but they are all impactful in one way or another.

You have to be specific in who you're refering to, as well. Many of the folks who are actively trying to get better are younger players and many of them are either taking lessons, have taken lessons or are finding more useful information on the web. Younger people aren't looking to get rid of their disposable income on things like golf lessons either. The catch-22 is that many older folks who do have the money aren't looking to practice and re-learn the game. They play simply for recreation.

What you really want in a golf instructor is a good set of eyes and some real experience. That's what it boils down to. Finding that is hard enough, combine that with what PGA Pro's are asking these days and it's simply not tempting for all players.

There's also an influx of younger golf instructors flooding the PGA ranks to the point that potential students are going to doubt the credibility of many instructors, especially when cookie-cutter lessons are all the rage. Ultimately, effective teaching is about the student where as effective money-making is about streamlining and efficiency. In golf instruction those things are at odds. It takes a pretty giving instructor/teacher to really excell. I've seen instructors who just didn't take the time or energy they should have and I've worked with one who absolutely did.

The one thing that doesn't ever hurt is watching good players. Regardless of whether or not you're taking lessons, the best thing you can do for your game is to watch and take in the motions of a great player. That's something that all great players have done regardless of whether they've had proper instruction or not.

Edited by MelloYello, 14 January 2013 - 02:10 PM.

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#19 Thrillhouse

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 02:14 PM

1. Because most people just like to play and are ok with the level they are at.

2. A lot of people have homemade swings that work so when they go get instruction it messes them up and they stop doing it. It's a long process to make changes, a lot of people don't want to go through it.

#20 Jamboy72

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

View PostThrillhouse, on 14 January 2013 - 02:14 PM, said:

1. Because most people just like to play and are ok with the level they are at.

2. A lot of people have homemade swings that work so when they go get instruction it messes them up and they stop doing it. It's a long process to make changes, a lot of people don't want to go through it.

I would add to that the sport is already cost prohibitive to many and when you add the cost of lessons, it simply is out of reach....and there is also the reality that if I spend $400 on a driver, I know what I'm going to get...If I drop $600 for a series of 4-6 lessons, there is no guarantee I'm going to get any better...


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#21 citizencage

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:07 PM

A lot of very good points have already been mentioned in this thread.  I'm probably rehashing a bunch, but here's my take:
  • A lot of PGA instructors have absolutely no idea how the human body operates in terms of swinging a golf club.  If you don't understand biology and physics, how can you possibly teach a kinetic movement?

  • Even those PGA instructors who do understand biomechanics, a lot of them will teach their students the correct fundamentals but completely disregard whether or not a student is physically able to swing the club as instructed

  • If PGA instructors leveled with the average joe - told them how many hours it takes to ingrain new movement patterns, potential students would head for the hills.  Hard to make money if can't get students to commit to extensive / long term instruction.  It's much easier to sell a 5 or 10 lesson pack and show them some quick fixes.

  • There's too much focus on the long game (the golfer and instructor are equally at fault).  Golf has a PR problem in terms of the abundant of marketing heaped on distance.  Hardly anyone off the street will ever hit the ball as far as Dustin Johnson, but many people can get better around the greens and out of the sand.  Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much up sell to push this basic truth.


#22 OldGolfer87

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:55 PM

In the past 3 years i have had lessons from Pga pro's , the 1st one was worse $60.00 i paid for anything , the 2nd one was helpfull and informative but he was teaching the modern swing thoughts which were good but i being older and physically limited i could not do all the things shown to me , but in response to the OP some Pga pro's who give lessons are good but others are just terrible and a waste of money or time and i also wonder at what time or age does lessons become not the best option and change little to improve golfers at some point

#23 citizencage

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:33 PM

View PostRetiredMedic029, on 14 January 2013 - 04:55 PM, said:

In the past 3 years i have had lessons from Pga pro's , the 1st one was worse $60.00 i paid for anything , the 2nd one was helpfull and informative but he was teaching the modern swing thoughts which were good but i being older and physically limited i could not do all the things shown to me , but in response to the OP some Pga pro's who give lessons are good but others are just terrible and a waste of money or time and i also wonder at what time or age does lessons become not the best option and change little to improve golfers at some point

RetiredMedic029 - I think lessons themselves are never a bad options, regardless of age or ability - but you have to find an instructor that will match the swing philosophy to your capabilities.  When this doesn't happen, the golfer can either regress, or worse, actually injure themselves in an attempt to get into positions they can't or shouldn't.

#24 Jamboy72

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 05:40 PM

View Postcitizencage, on 14 January 2013 - 05:33 PM, said:

View PostRetiredMedic029, on 14 January 2013 - 04:55 PM, said:

In the past 3 years i have had lessons from Pga pro's , the 1st one was worse $60.00 i paid for anything , the 2nd one was helpfull and informative but he was teaching the modern swing thoughts which were good but i being older and physically limited i could not do all the things shown to me , but in response to the OP some Pga pro's who give lessons are good but others are just terrible and a waste of money or time and i also wonder at what time or age does lessons become not the best option and change little to improve golfers at some point

RetiredMedic029 - I think lessons themselves are never a bad options, regardless of age or ability - but you have to find an instructor that will match the swing philosophy to your capabilities.  When this doesn't happen, the golfer can either regress, or worse, actually injure themselves in an attempt to get into positions they can't or shouldn't.

Right...and they don't get a refund...hence the cost aversion....there are a variety of philosophies and ideas on the golf swing...and many of them disagree with one another...no wonder the consumer is confused and would rather not drop a bunch of cash to get worse...

#25 highergr0und

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:17 PM

I'd say the biggest issue is the commitment to the change.  It's pretty well known that it can take at least a year, more like two, to really change a swing.  Not too many adults want to sacrifice a year or more of playing, or maybe playing worse to have a chance at getting better.  Most people can't sit and beat balls all day grooving a small change, which means it takes even longer to get better.  Or maybe they can't practice enough, so changes don't stick at all.

That brings the band aid guys to the plate.  They try to tweak a swing here and there to get you around the course.  But band aids don't work long term, and they can even turn against you pretty quick.  How many guys who slice the ball would kill to move the ball right to left?  Once it happens, it's often due to an at all costs approach, but then they overdo it and enter the hooking era, which can be worse than slicing.  Basically, we want the end goal badly and are willing to cut corners to get there.

The problem is now we blame the teacher.  We already told him we didn't want to take years to improve.  Now we tell him his quick tips are garbage too.  He can't win.  Just no way.


#26 cbrian

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:15 PM

This thread brings up a pet peeve of mine: Not all PGA members are golf instructors and not all instructors are PGA members. Just saying.

#27 billyhandsomeface

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:21 PM

The problem I had with a good teacher of mine was that he left. He was there one day and gone the next and I paid him for two more lessons. The pro that took his place gave me the next two lessons but when I told him that we had been working on getting me to slice the ball he said, "Why in the hell would you want to slice a ball?" . I have taken lessons from several people and the most valuable lesson I got was a putting one.
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#28 Jon Robert

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:28 PM

#1 Money and the wife wants to keep it

#2  You deep down know that a "pro" can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear

#29 esketores

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:31 PM

Some people know the best instructors in the world can't help their game.
If Charles Barkley and the others who have taken lessons, from the Dean Reimeth's, Haney's, et al, had to spend money out of there own pockets for the amount of lesson time and practice time and only saw their games improve minutely... if they had it to do over again do you think they would have spent the thousands of dollars (of their own money) and the hundereds of hour practicing they did?

As has been stated... not all teachers are created equal. Yet want to be paid top tier dollars.
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#30 Cobras7

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:38 PM

I have to say that I haven't interacted with anyone who refuses to get a lesson. I know a lot of people who struggle with their game, we all do, but when they do they work through it on their own and right when they are ready to get a lesson, they figure it out themselves and are back to striping it! So it seems to me that most of the people i know aren't opposed to a lesson, but see it as more of a last resort. I have gotten lessons from my local pro and he is great! Used to play on tour even so I am lucky to have such a great teacher in my area, but then again i don't see him EVERY time i have a problem. I try to work through it before i talk to him.


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