A Lesson On Learning

How to be a good student at your next golf lesson

The Answer
Perseverance. Determination. Diligence. Students with these qualities, along with an open mind, are the students who develop into the best golfers.

I also notice that the best students have no problem working on fundamentals. For example, a very low-handicap student of mine worked simply on developing a more upright backswing position for the better part of a year. And PGA Tour pro Mike Standly, who’s quite a player, has worked for years on making certain his clubface isn’t closed or hooded in his takeaway.

InstructionDo yourself a favor and strive to be the best student you can possibly be. Arrive on time, be prepared, relaxed and willing to make changes. This will give your teacher the best opportunity to pass along his or her knowledge and wisdom to you.

What To Expect From A Good Golf Teacher
Like any other profession, it’s not easy to find a good golf instructor, but you’ll find most of the good ones share a lot of similar qualities. And when you find a great teacher, you’ll reap the benefits.

First of all, expect them to have a passion for teaching the game. It’s quite easy to tell a teacher who simply goes through the motions from one who’s truly interested in seeing you improve. Find a teacher who’s fired up to help the student, and odds are this teacher will get good results.

You should also look for a teacher who has been trained to teach. Those of us who have enjoyed success in the golf instruction field haven’t achieved success accidentally. We’ve had the fortune to learn from the best teachers in the industry. For example, I learned more about teaching from legendary instructor Jimmy Ballard than I ever learned on my own. Your local pro may be a nice person and fine manager of the pro shop, but if he or she hasn’t had the fortune to learn and train under a knowledgeable instructor, you’ll most likely be wasting your money.

Finally, make certain the teacher on whom you’re going to spend your hard-earned money is an excellent communicator. If the teacher can get you to understand what you’re attempting to do, you’ve found a teacher who can help you improve. I pride myself on relating to golfers of all abilities. As a teacher, I always keep in mind that it’s you, the student, who needs to understand what we’re trying to accomplish. Any good instructor understands this to the fullest.

PGA professional Barry Goldstein instructs at Polar Shot Golf Center in Johnson City, N.Y., and Inverrary Golf Club in Lauderfill, Fla. Special thanks to instruction model Bobby Hinds.


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