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Golf lesson

Why golfers choose new equipment over having lessons

Why will some people pay £400 for a new driver but won't fork out £30 for a golf lesson? Equipment editor James Savage reveals the brutal truth
 

The first thing Tiger Woods did after winning the 2000 US Open by 15 shots was to have a golf lesson with his coach.

Many scratch golfers, low single figure handicappers and especially elite golfers have golf lessons all the time.

Then we have the mid-high handicappers who never seem to book a golf lesson.

Golf lesson

Yet many of these would have no qualms about spending £400+ on a brand new driver or set of irons.

And as someone who falls into the latter category, I have a pretty reasonable explanation why.

After doing a bit of club testing last week I got chatting to Scott Oxley, head teaching pro at Moor Allerton in Leeds.

golf lesson

Then I asked him to look at my swing in the hope he’d give me a quick little tip to work on at the range.

You know, something quick and easy that would work straight away, requiring very little effort or commitment.

Before I knew it he’d set up two cameras – one straight on and one down the line – to fully dissect what I was doing.

golf lesson

To cut a long story short – it was pretty bad. It wasn’t what I was looking for at all.

By the time I’d even got halfway through my backswing, Scott had started drawing lines on the screen to point out what I was doing wrong.

Before I’d even reached the ball, it was like my three-year old daughter had been set loose with an Etch A Sketch.

I came away feeling very downhearted.

And I think that’s what many club golfers fear. That they will go for a golf lesson only to have their swing completely dismantled and be left unsure whether or not they should even be playing the game.

golf lesson

My case is slightly different as I wasn’t paying for the lesson and Scott had already highlighted these same faults in my swing four years ago.

I have been testing golf clubs out from the point of view of a mid-handicapper – that has almost been a bit like my USP.

It also gave me a huge excuse not to improve. I haven’t been having lessons because I don’t want to get too good.

It’s amazing what you can convince yourself.

So I might be different to your average consumer. But deep down, the reasons myself and many other mid-handicappers haven’t had lessons is because we’re in denial.

We think we’re okay at golf, we can make it round in one piece and we can occasionally shoot a decent score.

We don’t want a pro to rip apart our swings and put us back to square one.

A shiny new driver or putter offers a glimmer of hope. And there will inevitably be a placebo effect. But over time the same technical problems will prevent any significant improvement.

So my advice is, go and buy a new driver but get fitted for it while having a lesson at the same time.

That’s the best way to get the most out of your expensive new toy and truly enhance your enjoyment of the game.

James Savage

Former equipment editor of NCG. Inconsistent ball-striker and tea-maker.

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