Should Beginner Golfers Take Lessons?

Plus 6 things to consider before buying golf lessons

Beginner golfer taking lesson from instructor
Although there are issues of cost and time to consider, it's always a good idea for a beginner golfer to take lessons. Patrick Strattner/Getty Images

You're a beginning golfer, but you're really not sure if you want to go through the time, effort and expense of taking golf lessons. Should you take lessons?

Absolutely, positively, yes. Yes, yes, yes!

Do you have to take golf lessons? Of course not. Can you pick up golf and improve on your own? Yes, and that is the route that many golfers take.

Look Into Golf Lessons

But beginners should always look into lessons.

You'll simply pick up the game much more quickly. Golf is not easy to master, and if you want to get good at it, you'll show improvement much more quickly if you are taught the correct way to play from the get-go.

And if you are spending money on golf as you get into the game - buying new clubs, nice clothes, paying green fees - then spending a little bit more on lessons is a good idea. (Not to minimize the costs involved - golf can be an expensive hobby.)

Learn Easier, Improve Faster - But Lessons Do Cost

Individual lessons usually range from 30 minutes to an hour, with prices varying widely based on the teacher's qualifications and the golf facility at which he or she works. A typical price range might be from $25 per session to more than $100 per session. Discounts are frequently available for people who sign up for a package of lessons (say, a series of six). (Read how one top instructor structures his golf lessons to get an idea of what's involved.)

There's another option that's even cheaper. Check with any local colleges. Many community colleges and universities offer continuing education courses, and golf is a popular course in such programs. Many school districts also offer continuing or adult education programs, and taking golf lessons through this method can reduce your costs considerably.

The instruction isn't one-on-one and won't be as rewarding, but it's a good option for those on tighter budgets.

6 Considerations Before Buying Golf Lessons

  • Know Your Price Limit: Generally, the more expensive instructors are those who have more experience, more accolades and who are attached to a more upscale golf facility. (If the green fees are expensive, then that club's golf instructors probably will be, too.) But there are lots of teaching pros out there who are less expensive but still very good (or even better). Decide how much you are willing to spend before you start shopping, and stick to it.
  • Make Sure Your Goals and Commitment Match: A golf instructor can do wonders with your game, but he can't do it alone. To make golf lessons worthwhile, you must be able to follow up on them by continuing to work on the instructor's suggestions on your own time. The higher your goals, the more work will be required. Be realistic in your goals and make sure you can offer the commitment necessary to meet those goals.
  • Private Lessons vs. Golf Schools: Private lessons and golf schools are the two typical ways to receive golf instruction. Both have strengths. Private lessons allow for follow-up visits over a period of time - a building block approach to learning golf. Schools offer an intensive amount of learning in a short time, but can also offer too much information and without much follow-up. On the other hand, private lessons can take months to complete.
  • Ask Around: Every golf instructor's best advertising is his or her past students. To get an idea of the best teachers in your area, ask as many golfers as you know. It's likely that a handful of names will come up frequently, and that list can be your starting point. You may find someone who has taken lessons and can give a glowing recommendation on a particular instructor - or a warning.
  • Interview the Candidates: Yes, you really can interview golf instructors before you commit to lessons. Remember - it's your business they want and need. Ask your candidates about their teaching background and experience. Do they use video? Do lessons include on-course teaching? What is their teaching philosophy? This process should give you a good idea of how your personality will match up with theirs, too.
  • Making the Choice: After these steps, you should be ready to make your choice. It's important that you choose an instructor whose personality meshes with yours. Going to a teacher you don't like will keep you from learning. It's important that an instructor's goals match yours, and that your commitment matches your goals. Once you've made your choice, throw yourself into it - and watch your scores improve.

Taking lessons simply makes learning the game much easier, and improvement in your play takes place much quicker. Which will increase your enjoyment. Not to mention the safety of those around you on the golf course!

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