I was watching a bit of the Morning Drive on the Golf Channel this morning. I caught just a bit of Jason Sobel’s comment on how complicated all these various point systems and competitions like the Fed Ex Cup are becoming. I must say that I have to agree. When I had two radio shows the last two years (The Caddy Shack and The Avid Magazine Golf Weekly) it was a big struggle to keep on top of all of the smaller and behind the scenes competitions going on with the PGA Tour. I thought, “If I’m confused, the average fan must be completely bewildered.” Fortunately my co hosts in each show seem to have a knack for stats so I was able to rely on them.
I’m sure for the guys who are good enough to play week in and week out it does add a bit of a thrill to their routine. After all, each week there is only one winner out of field of roughly 140 players. It must be nice to know you are competing for a prize outside of that first place trophey. For the average fan though, it’s just too much to keep up with day in and day out.
Back in the day, players competed simply for the win. A win of course got you invites to other events most notably the Masters. Good play and ranking high on the money list was also rewarded with a chance to compete on the Ryder Cup and invites to future events, not to mention the pleasure of retaining your tour card and skipping Q School. That’s when things were simple. I still think most fans simply rule out all the stats as “noise” and just enjoy following wins, especially wins in the majors.
This is a question I get continuously from students. ”How many lessons should I take?” I have never been one to push lessons as I don’t consider myself a salesman, rather an educator. I believe everyone learns at their own pace and they have to be willing and ready to accept new information in order for it to soak in and be effective.
Throughout my years of teaching, I have noticed 3 common categories of lesson takers.
1) The “Fix Me” group. This group consists of students who are having a current problem with their game that is causing them aggravation and just want it fixed as quickly as possible. They are not in it for long term improvement. That is not important to them. These students will show up usually once or twice a year for lessons.
2) The “Maintenance” group. This group comes out every year. On average they show up quarterly for swing/game checks to make sure they are doing things correctly and not picking up bad habits. They like new information in small doses.
3) The “Game Improvement” group. This is the group that is really serious about taking their game to the next level. These students will come out for a package of lessons which most commonly consists of between 4 and 8 lessons. They usually schedule the lessons on a regular basis either weekly or bi-weekly so they will stick to the program. They are really wanting to make a leap with their game and know that consistency and effort are paramount. Typically they will do multiple lessons packages and will see huge improvement rather quickly.
No instructor can tell you how many lessons you need. They can try to predict how many based on experience, but it is really up to you to decide which category suits your game and your desires. Obviously all teachers would like their students to be in the “Game Improvement” category as we know it will make a huge difference, but it only will if that is what the student really wants.