Thursday, July 15, 2010

How To Find A Good Golf Instructor

Just about every time you see a golf tip on any golf
broadcast or on the Golf Channel, they finish the segment
with "for help with your game, go see your local PGA
professional." Unfortunately, that does not often lead to
good golf instruction. The actual curriculum involved for
golf professionals seeking to obtain their Class A
membership only focuses a small amount on golf instruction.

While the players ability test for Class A membership is
more difficult for the PGA than any other golf teaching
organization, such as the United States Golf Teachers
Federation (USGTF), or the Professional Golf Teachers
Association of America (PGTAA), an instructor will probably
learn just as much about teaching in these other
certification programs. Furthermore, any 6 or 7 handicap
golfer can ultimately pass the PGA players ability test. I
know of some professionals who failed the test over a dozen
times before passing.

It is by luck alone that most good instructors become good
instructors. They have to be lucky enough to work for a
golf professional who is also a good instructor. PGA
members do have the benefit of attending PGA sponsored
teaching seminars from time to time. They are required to
attend seminars of different types in order to obtain
continuing education credits.

So, how does the golf student find a good golf instructor?
Well, it requires some research. Some professionals
develop a reputation over many years in the business. As a
result, much of their business comes from referrals. The
best referrals are from the best golfers. Therefore, it is
a good idea to approach some of the better golfers at the
golf courses where you play to get a referral.
The internet also plays a role. Professionals who focus on
instruction will often have a website that helps them with
generating business. Review some of the websites of
professionals in your area and try to get the answers to a
few questions, such as:

What kind of playing record do they have? While it is not
necessary to be a great player to be a great teacher, the
better teachers tend to be very good golfers in their own
right. A good golfer will be able to demonstrate a variety
of shots.

Where have they learned how to teach? Have they worked
with any top instructors? As I mentioned, in most cases,
it is just luck that an instructor learned how to teach
from another good instructor. However, some of the top
teaching professionals also have instructor certification
programs in place. David Leadbetter, Hank Haney, Jim
McLean and Jim Hardy all have such programs of varying

How many years has an instructor been teaching? How long
has the instructor played competitive golf, if at all?
Adding up all of the combined experience of an instructor
is important. For instance, some instructors may have a
short teaching career to date, but may have had a long
competitive experience. Also, other life experiences may
play a role in how well an instructor can teach. Exposure
to teachers in other sports or activities such as the
martial arts can help develop the style of a golf

Once you have narrowed down your choices, it's a good idea
to give each instructor a call. A brief phone conversation
should give you an indication of how passionate the
instructor is about teaching, and how well they
communicate. The best instructors are those who are
passionate about the game, and who know how to communicate
their knowledge to anyone.

With all this in mind, the next time you think about
getting some golf instruction, do a little research. You
will find that it is time well spent, and your golf game
will be sure to benefit. Also, remember, just like in any
other business, the best instructors tend to be more
expensive than their competitors. But, if you really want
to improve, you are better off spending a little extra
Scott Cole is a professional golf instructor near
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. For more information, visit He also operates the website

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