What Your Golf Instructor Won’t Tell You and How it Can Save You Shots

When you walk away from a golf lesson you probably want to feel like you’re “better”.

That’s the point after all… To get that swing fix so you can stop slicing the ball or hit your 7 iron just a little more solidly.

BUT… It’s time for a paradigm shift.

Because although you and your instructor want you to feel like you’re better after a lesson is that actually in your best interest?

instructorAfter all the goal is lower scores. To finally be able to break 90 or be able to perform under tournament pressure.  To do that you have to be able to take your best game to the course.

One thing you’re instructor probably hasn’t talked to you about is desirable difficulties. It’s one of the key (in fact critical) components of learning and practice.

It brings everything together. Without the proper “desirable difficulties” in your learning you simply won’t be improving your scores… Although you can see short term gains. (maybe by the end of a lesson you can hit your driver a little straighter).

That doesn’t mean you’ve optimized your long term learning. So although you can hit your driver a little straight after the lesson on the range that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to next time you’re out playing on the course.

“Conditions that induce the most errors during acquisition are often the very conditions that lead to the most learning!

Furthermore, that performance is often fleeting and, consequently, a highly imperfect index of learning does not appear to be appreciated by learners or instructors who frequently misinterpret short-term performance as a guide to long-term learning.”

From “LEARNING VERSUS PERFORMANCE “ by Nicholas C. Soderstrom and Robert A. Bjork

This quote says it all.  We often correlate our performance in practice to our learning.  

  • If we’re not chipping the ball within 3 feet everytime we must not be getting any better.
  • If we’re not making 10 putts in a row we must not be improving

What should you be looking for at the end of a golf lesson then?  A path of learning that isn’t reliant on today’s performance.

You really should have a coach to help you for the long term.  There are a lot of great instructors offering coaching programs that can guarantee lower scores.

How?  They understand the appropriate level of difficulty you need and set up great learning environments.

So the problem is although you can hit the ball a little better by the end of a lesson you’re not going to be scoring better next time you want to take your best game to the course.

Find a coach and don’t settle for short term fixes.