I was fortunate growing up that I got a very early start on golf, and was mentored, tutored and taught by my father and a wonderful golf professional named Carl “Swede” Gustafson. In the 1950s, even our little small town 9-hole course had a pro, and he was a wonderful teacher who really focused on the kids. Later in life, I learned that he had been an assistant under Harvey Penick at Austin Country Club, which explained why so much of what we heard was remarkably similar to what we read in “The Little Red Book”.
As I’ve gone through my adult life, I’ve never hesitated to engage a golf professional when my game was stagnated or retreating, and I couldn’t figure out why. As studied and knowledgeable as I am about the golf swing, another set of eyes is always helpful, and often just what is needed to fix what’s really broken, instead of messing up what is working.
I am in Houston this week, traveling with our sales rep there, and engaging teaching pros and fitters. That got me thinking about why the majority of golfers will spend thousands of dollars on new equipment, golf trips, country club dues, cart rentals and green fees . . . but not engage a golf professional to help them improve their results. Or as I see it, their return on all that investment in golf.
Regardless of your handicap, this game is increasingly more enjoyable if you are constantly improving. Becoming a better driver and iron player sets up more birdie chances and makes pars come easier. An improved short game technique drops your scores faster than anything. And standing over short putts just “knowing” you are likely to make them is a thousand times more fun than shivering and thinking about missing.
So, I wonder, why don’t more golfers take advantage of the 30,000 golf professionals out there whose lives are dedicated to helping us get better? Why are so many golfers stuck on “a number” with regards to their handicap, and not searching for any and all ways to improve?
I’d like to toss this out for dialog with all of you. Share your highs and lows of golf instruction experiences and let’s learn from one another, OK?
Who wants to go first?