The smartest thing you can do to improve is take lessons. Here’s how to get the most out of one.
First, be smart about scheduling it. The worst time to schedule a lesson is if you’re going to play later that day or even the next day. Taking a lesson detaches you from one habit and attempts to attach you to another one. When you’re adrift between habits, count on your score going up until you are comfortable with the new ones.
I once had a lesson where the pro pointed out that my right shoulder was too far forward at address (a common fault for the recreational golfer). I worked for a few days on squaring up my shoulders, but it still felt odd because it was not my habit.
Two days later I played 18 holes and every shot I hit off the tee was phenomenal. Irons, however, were a different story. I just couldn’t find the ball when it was on the ground. I hit only one good iron shot all day. But that was OK. I expected there would be something that wouldn’t work and I played the best I could, knowing that when I finally got the new address position figured out, I would start hitting every shot much better.
When the lesson begins, the pro will ask you what you want to work on. Have an answer, the more specific the better. That way, your pro can start looking for the answer to your problem from the very start and make the most of the half-hour you’re going to be together.
I had a lesson once to solve an annoying problem. The way I was playing at the time, my 9-iron was money, my 6-iron was OK, and my driver was this thing in my hands. The question? How do I hit each club as well as my 9-iron? The pro gave me the answer and the problem cleared up in a half-hour because I told him exactly what I wanted to know.
Arrive for your lesson about 15 minutes early to pay for it and warm up. Hit some balls so you’re ready when the pro steps up to the tee to help you. Resist any urge to start fixing the problem yourself during the warm up. All you’re doing is getting loose. You want the pro to see how you normally swing.
Tell your pro how you learn best. Do you want the pro to demonstrate or are verbal descriptions sufficient? Do you want technical explanations or do you want to hear how the right move feels? Every pro has a teaching style, but you have a learning style. Don’t be shy about bringing this up. A good teacher will allow you to take the lead in these matters.
See also How To Take a Lesson – Part 2