Lessons Learned

By Chelle Cordero

January 30, 2009 5 min read

LESSONS LEARNED

How to choose the best instructor for your needs

Chelle Cordero

Creators News Service

Golf is more than simply chasing a small dimpled ball with a bunch of sticks around a manicured lawn with nine or 18 little holes in the ground. With the correct instruction, chasing that ball becomes a skilled pursuit and can be relaxing pastime, great for socializing or business networking.

Learning about the game and how to play it can be rewarding both psychologically and financially, so an investment made in learning can be advantageous.

A random sampling of golfers gave the following tips when looking for a golfing instructor or school: See what programs are offered and which best serve your individual goals, find out the instructor/student ratio, ask how advanced the teaching techniques are and see what facilities are available and where students get to practice. There should be more actual instruction time allotted than play time.

It's crucial to know what the instructor's credentials are and whether they are accredited with any professional associations. However, no matter what your decision is, you must consider cost and convenience.

GOLF AND BUSINESS-BUILDIING

"It is important to know exactly what you are there for before looking for an instructor," said Dan Pincus, president of World Golf Network, which specializes in business networking through golfing.

In order to successfully use golf as a networking tool, according to Pincus, it is necessary to learn etiquette and the rules of the game as well as how to swing your clubs. "What you do on the course reflects on you as a business associate," he said.

"Improving one's golf game is tremendously important -- in tough economic times more than ever in terms of business," said Hilary Fordwich, president of Strelmark LLC, a team of business development consultants in Washington, D.C. "To find a teacher, one needs to ask good golfers who they have used. Finding the right teaching pro is like finding a doctor or good lawyer. Word-of-mouth is most powerful, as are awards lists. [Professional Golfers' Association of America] professionals are ranked in regions, so accessing data on who is highly ranked is possible via www.pga.com."

Many top instructors teach how to swing and about course management, speed, rules and etiquette. Golf is an individual sport, and customized lessons work best for the individual student. Recommendations from golfers who share similar interests will help you find an instructor that will meet your needs.

"Each golfer is treated differently depending on their goals," said Kevin Morris, an instructor at Westchester Hills Golf Club in White Plains, N.Y.

"We'll focus on personal strengths and weaknesses to build a core of essential golf skills that will improve any golfer's game," said Charlie King, director of instruction at Reynolds Golf Academy in Greensboro, Ga.

NEW TECHNOLOGY

One of the best instructional tools, according to Pincus, is Motion Golf's 3-D computer analysis. The student is fitted with a tetherless 27-point garment. The computer captures all movements and can replay them from any angle.

Students get to watch a computer image of themselves as they swing and also get to compare their swings and practice virtually with some of the most accomplished professional golfers. Fans of this technology estimate that one hour with the computer is equivalent to nearly nine hours of practice.

"The video camera gives you two dimensions. We have 3-D technology and can play it at any speed," said Joe Luciano, chief executive of Motion Golf.

CBS Morning News Anchor Maurice DuBois said in a February 2008 report that "the visual aspect really helped" as he learned and practiced his own game. Motion Golf has locations in New York, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., White Plains, N.Y., Stamford, Conn., San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

No matter which way you go, Pincus offers some sage advice: Once you are out on the course, "if you don't have experience, take the lead from people who do know the game."

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