Are golf pro's a good value for your money?

For many golfers, the prospect of visiting a golf pro is not something that is especially welcome. Particularly if you have self-taught yourself the game over the years. The fear that your chosen pro will dissolve with laughter when they see your ungainly stance and ridiculously choppy 3/4 swing does tend to put people off visiting their local pro shop for a bit of advice.

However, if you’ve got yourself stuck in a rut and can’t seem to improve any further, then visiting a pro for some advice may well be the best investment you will make in your game.

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When you consider that a course of lessons will still be cheaper than most decent putters and certainly a lot cheaper than that expensive driver you’ve promised yourself, why not make the most out of these clubs by learning to hit them a little better?

This was precisely the predicament I found myself in earlier this year. After a few early season rounds following a winter break, I found that no matter how I played, I could not seem to shoot a round below 85.

Even when I started a round magnificently, as I did early on in the season when playing a local course, I was actually two-under par after seven holes, I still managed to mess things up so spectacularly on the back nine that I barely squeezed under 90 for the round.

As always, my main problem seemed to be the driver, with the dreaded slice that has haunted me ever since I started playing the game, putting in an all-too frequent appearance from the tee. Often resulting not just in missing the fairway, but often the rough, lake, motorway, adjoining railway line and often, the neighbouring post code.

Golf course frustration

So with my son about to start lessons, I decided to bite the bullet and ask for a couple of lessons myself to see if the pro at our local range could help me out.

It was, without doubt, the best value-for-money purchase I have ever made related to golf besides a bet at William Hill http://sports.williamhill.com/bet/en-gb/betting/y/6/Golf.html and I’ll explain precisely why.

In my first lesson, the pro took a good look at my swing, stance and grip and I fully expected him to make radical changes. He didn’t, instead he watched how I swung the club and made some tiny, and I mean tiny modifications to what I was doing.

The first thing he suggested to me was not to alter my grip, but to lighten it a bit. I always felt I had a good solid golf grip and he confirmed that but he said that I was gripping down on the club way too hard when I swung the club. I’ll admit, loosening the grip a tad felt extremely unusual at first, but I gradually began to get used to it.

He then looked at my swing, particularly with the driver and noted that I was frequently on a very out-to-in swing plane, thus when the driver hit the ball, it was getting the dreaded left to right slice and that this was often exacerbated the faster I tried to swing.

I’m not going to give the secret away, but he made one minor adjustment to my stance and this, allied with my new softer grip, saw me hitting the ball far straighter than I have ever been. Better still, I was able to replicate this myself, alone, when at the range and out on the course and as any golfer will tell you, playing from the fairway, as opposed to the builders yard or farmers field with your second shot, is always preferable.

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I’d achieved a remarkable turnaround in my driver swing (and with other clubs I hasten to add) in just a couple of lessons. For the third, he looked at my equipment and made some recommendations to the type of ball I was using. He recommended a ball, which when I tried out at the course the next time I played (I could only use range balls at the range) absolutely floored me.

With my new swing now making me more confident, I placed my new ball on the tee at the third hole (the first two holes at the course were short Par fours that didn’t require a driver from the tee). My friend had hit another lovely drive a good 270+ yards uphill to a damp fairway.

I swung the club and watched with some amazement as my ball flew off the tee, landing a good 10 yards in front of his ball, and rolling on another ten.

The change was so great that the next week we played, he had a pack of the new balls in his bag, but he didn’t understand. It wasn’t the balls, it was the advice I had been given that made the difference.

So, I’m now a convert. After my short group of lessons I went out onto the course and shot 86, 84, 83 and most recently 81. On all these rounds, I left shots out on the course, especially round the green.

So my option is, do I go the range and sort it for myself and spend months of frustration working on something that may, or may not work. Or do I visit the golf pro again?

It’s a particularly easy choice nowadays.

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