In a recent poll, only 10% of the golfing population claimed that they take more than 1 less per year. While there are many factors contributing to the lack of lessons taken by the golfing public, I believe the biggest issue deals with the lack of knowledge from the golfing public as to why they need a lesson from a quality golf instructor.
I believe that most amateurs simply want to hit the ball reasonably well. They want the ball to get airborne consistently and to not have too much curvature on it. If they can break 90 fairly consistently they can go away satisfied.
With that said, I believe that many amateurs get really hooked on the game when they start to see substantial improvement. A 15 handicap who drops to an 8 handicap in a few months and starts hitting the ball further, more accurately and more precisely is more likely to go the extra mile and play more golf, practice more and become more passionate about the game. This is a good thing. It means more money for golf instructors and more money for the game of golf in general.
The largest issue I see with the lack of lessons being taken by the golfing public is the Biggest Myth in golf (accurately labeled by instructor Zach Allen in a video he did); the idea that golfers ‘pick up their head’ or ‘look up’ or ‘take their eye off the ball’ at impact.
As time has gone by, I feel that this is one of the largest detriments the entire game faces. It prevents players from getting better. Thus, the enjoyment level of golf is less and rounds will also take longer to play. And pace of play is a large reason why golfers are not logging in as many rounds as they used to. We simply live in a society where the middle class has less paid vacation time than it used to. Thus, there is a time crunch for golfers and in reality, even playing a 4 hour round is too long for most golfers.
Here’s a classic example of a golfer hitting about as terrible of a tee shot (twice) as one can hit (go to 2:13 in the video.)
The golfer almost practically whiffed on the first drive and the second drive he virtually shanked it. Yet, here’s a look at his swing slightly post-impact.
As we can see, he has his ‘head down’, he’s not ‘looking up’ nor did he ‘take his eye off the ball.’
What most golfers don’t understand is that the way the eyes and the brains are designed, there is a natural reflex (called Vestibular Ocular Reflex) that allows for the golfer to ‘keep their eye on the ball’ and to ‘not look up’ at impact. Perhaps some beginners and small children struggle with the concept of head positioning when they very first start to play golf. But, that’s probably close to less than 1% of the golfing population.
For instructors, I firmly believe that they miss out on lesson business because they cannot break this misconception by amateur golfers. Amateur golfers want to get the ball consistently airborne. When they don’t, like the golfer in the video, they blame it on ‘looking up’ or ‘taking their eye off the ball.’ If they understood how that was patently false and that they would need the guidance of an instructor to help them improve their mechanics in order to consistently get the ball airborne, then they could not just fall back on the idea that there is no reason to get a lesson when all they really need to do is remind themselves to ‘look at the ball.’