Are golf lessons worth the money? What’s the best way to learn the sport? Should you let your husband or friend teach you? We recently sat down with Karen Noble, our PG Golf Pro, who gave us her thoughts on the best way to learn how to play golf.
Q: Should I take golf lessons? I don’t think I have the time. Can’t I just learn as I go along?
With any sport, or new skill, it is always good to start with lessons. And you’ll enjoy it more if you learn the correct way to do things from the beginning. And if you’re already investing money in clubs, equipment, and new clothes, then why not invest a little money in giving yourself a good foundation in the sport?
Q: How long is a lesson? How many do I need? much should I expect to pay?
Lessons usually run from 30 minutes to an hour, and prices are going to vary based on whether you are in a group or take private lessons, the teacher’s qualifications and experience and the facility at which they are offered.
Q: Where can I find a qualified instructor?
A good place to start would be the LPGA website’s teaching and club professionals page. They have an area where you can put in your zip code and it will give you the names of instructors in your area. You might want to ask about a multi-class package that includes getting you out on the course. Very often these packages are a great deal because you get discounted rates by buying multiple lessons. I would also encourage you to ask your friends that golf. They often have taken lessons themselves and can offer referrals or recommendations of teachers they have worked with. They can also give you the scoop on someone you may want to avoid.
Q: I would prefer to learn in a group. How can I connect with other beginners?
Look online for the Executive Women’s Golf Association in your area. This is a great organization that brings together women with a passion for golf so they can connect, learn and play the game for business and for fun. Very often they offer beginners’ clinics. Also, check out your local public courses and driving ranges to see if they offer classes. And you can always check into continuing education classes through local schools for beginners clinics.
Q: My husband/best friend said I don’t need lessons and that they can teach me how to play. I really want to learn golf but I know this is just going to cause a fight. Any other reasons why this isn’t a good idea?
Your husband or friend may offer to teach you but they are going to teach you their swing, which may not be correct! They may have developed habits that are the best for them that might not necessarily be the best for you. When you work with a experienced golf instructor, you learn from someone who can be focused specifically on you and your needs. That’s always the best way to start. Also, if you are too close to the teacher, you can start taking the criticism personally. If you really want to learn the sport the best thing you can do for yourself if give yourself the opportunity to learn in the least stressful situation possible.
Q: I’ve signed up for lessons. Is there anything special I should bring to the lesson besides my clubs?
Q:I think I am ready to go out on the course? What now?
The first time you go out on the course, go with an experienced player so they can help you with pace of play, what club to hit, basic rules on how to drive the cart or how to use a push cart, where to stand while your playing partner is hitting, etc. Also, look for a short course to start with – like a Par 3 course or an executive course which is shorter than your typical 18 hole course. Again, it’s about having fun and enjoying the day and not about logging in18 holes of torture.
Q: I don’t know if I have the patience for this game. Maybe I’ll just stick with tennis.
Golf takes time and patience in the beginning but think about all the beautiful places you can play. A tennis court looks the same if you are in NJ or Hawaii whereas a golf hole at Pebble Beach looking out over the Pacific Ocean or the Palm Beach Par 3 course looking over the Intercoastal always looks different and amazing. You’ll never be bored by your surroundings!
Q: Any last tips?
Remember that all the best lessons and instruction mean nothing unless you are willing to practice and work on your skills in your own time. Your game will only improve if you are committed and willing to invest the time. It may seem overwhelming at first, but just stick with it and you will love it!
Karen Noble is Pinks and Greens PG Golf Pro. From college golf star to LPGA professional, Karen has decades of golfing experience. She regularly shares her advice and tips with our Pinks and Greens readers on our discussion boards and on our blog. Invited on a golf date with your boss? Click here for Karen’s survivial tips. Click here to find out what items you must have in your golf bag. To see her advice on women’s golf clubs, click here. To read more about Karen, click here.