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  1. #1
    Club Champion
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    How much progress can you make without lessons?

    I took up the game in July last year and had half an hour with the pro at my nearest course. He changed my grip slightly which really helped. Since then Ive just picked it up as Ive gone along. Paying and playing all over the North West really. Learning from the lads I hit with. Watching them. Im quite good at remembering what I do right. I sometimes make notes I can go back to. Im hitting really well at the minute. Better than i ever have and when I stand over the ball Im confident Ill make a good connection and decent progress toward the green. My lowest is an 87 but I dont really count that. It was last winter with a number of shortened holes and temporary greens. Im generally bogeying everything. I have pars and the occasional birdie but on the whole, Im a shot over. I don't feel i've plateaud yet. I'm still getting better but realistically, how low a round can you hit without lessons? Is there stuff you just cant work out on your own?

  2. #2
    Head Pro Yant's Avatar
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    Re: How much progress can you make without lessons?

    I've been playing since i was 12 years old (so 30 years) and the first lesson i had was last year. I played as a professional (assistant pro) in my late teens before stepping away from the game for a while and doing something else. When i came back to the game as an amateur i got my handicap back down to 3. Had a kid a couple of years ago which has taken it's toll. I'm back up to 4 now and needed a lesson last year so someone could give me the help i needed as i didn't have the time to figure stuff out on my own.

    Although i managed to get to a pretty good standard and due to the PGA training i've been through i know what the model way to swing a golf club is, there's no substitute for having someone look at your swing and help you play better. The lesson i had has helped me enormously and pointed out stuff i probably wouldn't have noticed on my own.
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  3. #3
    Ryder Cup Winner Hobbit's Avatar
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    Re: How much progress can you make without lessons?

    I'm a bit like Yant above. Started playing in '68, and had my first lesson 20 years later, by which time I was off 5. I had been lower in my late teens but allowed beer and women to affect my concentration. In the intervening years since my first lesson I've probably had 5 lessons at the very most.

    However, in defence of lessons, in recent years when the swing has got a bit iffy a quick 15 min review has usually sorted what I couldn't see.
    Give it big humpties

  4. #4
    Hall of Famer Liverpoolphil's Avatar
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    Re: How much progress can you make without lessons?

    Started playing 8 years ago full time

    Started at 24 - have got down to 4

    Not had any lessons

    Know plenty who have lesson and after lesson and just don't improve HC wise

    But then there are people who have had lessons that do improve

    But there are plenty people playing the game of golf to a very good level without having any lessons

  5. #5
    Tour Rookie Orikoru's Avatar
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    Re: How much progress can you make without lessons?

    I don't have lessons, and I'm still improving. I imagine with lessons you would just improve a bit faster, but I don't really want the added expense at the moment, and I'm enjoying it anyway so I'm happy to carry on on my own. I've still made progress - 18 months ago I hadn't broken 100, and last month I broke 90 for the first and second times (both 88). A year ago I couldn't hit a driver to save my life, now it's one of the most consistent clubs in the bag - that only came from trying various second hand drivers to find the right one and practising like mad down the driving range.

    I feel like I will hit a wall eventually where I'll need lessons to get to the next level, but right now I'm having fun and improving so I'm happy not to spend money on lessons.

    (Note: the only lessons I ever had were when I was 14 and just started playing. I'm now 30 and not had one since then. I didn't even play much through my early and mid-20s so pretty forgot anything from back then anyway.)
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  6. #6
    Major Champion bobmac's Avatar
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    Re: How much progress can you make without lessons?

    The hardest people to teach are those who have been doing it wrong for 10+ years
    Mad inventor of the www.v-easy.co.uk A knowledgeable person knows lots of stuff, a wise person keeps it to themself

  7. #7
    Head Pro Yant's Avatar
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    Re: How much progress can you make without lessons?

    Ploughing through lessons isn't the answer either though. Its important for the player to have the opportunity to digest what information a coach has given them and find their own way to make that work.
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  8. #8

    Re: How much progress can you make without lessons?

    You can make lots of progress without lessons, even to pro level. Like anything it takes learning, patience, dedication and hours of practice. Is it quicker and better in the long term with lessons? Almost certainly. Important to remember that even many pro's who had minimal or no lessons often then worked with someone later in their careers as they sought to improve to a higher level - that's quite telling I think.

    I had half a dozen lessons 30+ years ago as a kid and then decided (at around 12 - oddly; guess I've always been a bit stubborn/thick) to go my own way. Got to 1.1 at my lowest and played county level golf. I'm sure I could have been better with lessons and also with more time to work on stuff my way too. That said, I still enjoy being my own coach and take a lot of enjoyment from that. Probably un-coachable (?) now with numerous dreadful habits.
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  9. #9
    Head Pro
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    Re: How much progress can you make without lessons?

    Depends what you want and your budget. If you like learning and like the technical learning processes then definitely get a coach as soon as you can.
    If you like playing with buddies and don't really care how your swing "looks" then just go play/enjoy!

    One or two lessons don't usually make massive differences it's a slow-steady learning-understanding-adapting process, especially if you've been playing for a while as Coach said.

    I started playing at age 14 very occasionally with my Dad & buddies etc. I was off about 20-22.
    Then started really trying in my mid 20's & got down to 8 without a lesson (thanks to Golf Monthly articles).
    But played/practised 5 days a week... then stopped playing for 6 years.

    When I came back I did a complete remodel but chose the wrong pro. Bad move. Handicap 15.
    Have just completed another remodel with a pro/coach that I could not be happier with!
    I have a much better understanding of my faults and how to recover. But I love the technical learning/understanding.
    Now I'm back off 8 but I'm a much better player.

    This is an ego statement I'll admit, but when opponents compliment my swing, I get a buzz from it.
    I've worked hard for that, I badly wanted a solid foundation that would enable me to compete at a higher level.
    I was insanely envious of my buddies that played off low single figures.
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  10. #10
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    Re: How much progress can you make without lessons?

    When you first start lessons are more important than when you have been playing for quite a while. The simple reason being is that help you to not develop bad 'habits' in the first place.

    A swing fault that has become ingrained by hours of practice on the range or many rounds of golf is one of the hardest to get rid of.

    I stopped having lessons about 10 years ago but when something goes wrong I know what is causing it and how to fix it simply because of all the knowledge stored up from the regular lessons I previously had.

    I have watched many of my mates over the years and it is relatively easy to spot which ones never had a lesson in their life. Learning from friends is no guarantee you are learning the right thing.

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