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Change Your Approach and Change Your Golf Game

Do you know the average golf score for 18 holes? Over the last 50 years, the average golf score remains at 100 for 18 holes. 100! I can’t tell you how many times I have been out on the course with a group of golfers and their primary focus is to break 100. Even with the advent of high-tech clubs, larger golf heads, better golf balls, high-tech tees, and more access to training, the average golfer still has not improved their game. Some experts explain this saying the courses have become harder and longer, the age of many golfers has increased (baby boomers), golfers play fewer rounds, or just a lack of a good mental approach to the game. All of these explanations could be and are a factor over the last several decades. But there is one area that is rarely mentioned as one of the most basic factors in players improving their scores:

How To Practice and Organize a Consistent Training Program.

By consistent, I not only mean the student golfer maintaining an effective practice system, but more so, the Golf Instructor maintaining consistent interaction with the student. Let’s take a closer look at what I mean.

SAME OLD, SAME OLD

Each golf season, you and other players have high hopes of improving your game. You take lessons, watch videos, attend seminars and online classes, and read countless books. You practice hour after hour; play round after round, only to verify the following fact…

“In 1964, the average golf score for 18 holes was around 100. In 2014, the average golf score for 18 holes was around 100.”

50 years! 50 years and the average golf score has not changed. So, why hasn’t it changed even though we have…

  • Better club shafts
  • Larger club heads
  • Better putters
  • Better grips
  • Better balls
  • Better maintained courses
  • More access to training

Or to put it simply… “The most advanced technology the game has ever seen at any time!”

All the lessons, training, equipment, rounds played, and practice sessions have not changed the average score in half a century. And why is that? Why with all the advances, all the training, and all the lessons has the average golfer been unable to improve their score? To begin to make this clearer, let’s look at a typical approach to golf training.

With your typical golf lesson, the student contacts a teaching professional to arrange a time for a lesson. The student receives the instruction for 30/60 minutes, gets some drills, and leaves the lesson ready to go to the range and practice what they just learned. Once at the range, many students do well during their practice session, able to perform the drills or techniques given to them by their teaching professional. Other students often struggle to manage the changes or new ideas and have difficulty maintaining a level of success. Futility sets in and the student reverts to old, poor habits.

And here is my question: “Regardless of the progress of the student, what support does the student have after the initial lesson and, generally, the weeks sometimes months between the next meeting with the instructor?”

There is no question in my mind that probably over 95% of the instruction students receive from their golf instructor is helpful and presented well. However, unless there is some consistency with the instruction or interaction, a vast majority of students fail to see the level of improvement they want. It’s not anyone’s fault but it’s just that the approach to instruction and follow-up needs to be changed. Remember, the average golf score has not changed in 50 years. There needs to be a change in how we approach teaching the game of golf.

I hope you enjoyed this article. In my next article “Why You Need a Golf Coach Rather Than a Golf Lesson”, I’ll write about what I believe we as golf teaching professionals should try to do as we look to change how we teach golf AND what student golfers need to do to help that change. It’s not revolutionary but it’ something, I believe, every golf student deserves and every golf teacher needs to do to help teach the game better. Take control of your game and practice. Remember – CHANGE YOUR APPROACH AND CHANGE YOUR GAME.

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Written by Bob Thomas Jr

Bob Thomas is a member of the USGTF. He has been teaching golf for over 15 years and been a high school and college head golf coach. He is currently giving private lessons and working on getting golf more accessible to more people.Bob is passionate about coaching and teaching and considers himself a life-long learner. Bob understands that to coach each and every golfer, there must be consistent and constant interaction. Single lessons, although excellent information and training take place, will not suffice if coach and golfer meet once a month or even once a week. Accountability and consistent follow-up must be a major part of the training program if a golfer is to experience real improvement. Interacting with the golfer, in some aspect each and every day, holds the golfer comfortably accountable and sets him/her on a path for success not only in the game of golf but in life as well.

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