Karl Morris, the renowned European mind coach who has worked with the likes of Masters champ Charl Schwartzel and British Open winner Darren Clarke among others, talked in this blog last week about how playing lessons might regenerate interest in instruction.
Both Tiffany Gordon and Kyle German talked recently in their blogs here and here about how golfers don’t seem to be as focused on learning the game as they once were, adding that they’re more content to play instead of improving their games.
That could be for a number of reasons.
Disposable income may dictate that whatever finances are available for golf go towards playing the game, instead of learning its finer points.
Time may be an issue. Just playing a round takes four to four-and-a-half hours at the best of times. Add in a beverage or two afterwards and there isn’t much time left for lessons.
Golfer may just be content with the social aspect of the game, happy just to tee it up with their buddies on the weekend, rather than spending time on the range.
It might just be a reflection of dwindling participation in the game.
Whatever the reasons, the flip side of this discussion is that golfers may be subconsciously becoming frustrated with their games not improving, despite their casual attitude towards instruction.
If that’s the case, the danger is that they give up golf, not something the game needs right now with its disappointing participation.
From the standpoint of a golf operation, it’s also a revenue hit that compounds the dwindling rounds played that most golf operations are reporting these days.
So what’s the solution to this particular challenge?
Affordability is one possible way to attract golfers to the range. Creativity in presenting lessons packages may be another.
Morris, who is in the Toronto area this week to give a series of seminars, has a suggestion that may be attractive to golfers and it’s a little old school, dating back to the days when golf professionals regularly played with members, offering tips along the way.
As Morris points out, golf is one of the few sports where a coach/instructor often doesn’t see his/her students actually play the game. He adds that attaining a consistently perfect golf swing may be mission impossible for amateurs.
By being out on the golf course, an instructor can teach students how to deal with the various situations that present themselves in a game that can be so random. Morris also points out that an effective short game or putting might take the edge off when it isn’t working off the tee, for example.
Playing lessons instill confidence in students by teaching them to deal with various situations, but there are challenges on the teaching side of this potential solution.
By staying on the range to give lessons, students are coming to the instructor, who may not have the time to play nine or 18 holes with students.
Not only is staying on the range more effective from a revenue standpoint, but the teacher may have other duties that need attention, so there’s no time to be out on the golf course for a couple of hours in this day and age of increased responsibilities.
So what’s your attitude towards playing lessons? That’s the topic of this week’s GNN Poll and it’s something that not only teaching professionals, but owners, general managers and other decision-makers within a golf operation.
What’s your attitude towards playing lessons?
- It’s a great way to generate interest in instruction. (53%)
- It may be a necessary evil, despite the challenges. (22%)
- We don’t have the time and it isn’t cost-effective. (13%)
- We already do them regularly here. (13%)
As always, feel free to expand your opinion in the Comments box below.