How to Afford Golf Lessons

On a recent Shoot­ing 90 poll, I asked the ques­tion “What’s the biggest thing stop­ping you from lessons with a PGA pro­fes­sion­al?”. As of writ­ing this post, over 75% of the respon­dents answered “It’s too expen­sive for me”. Oth­er choic­es includ­ed “I don’t have the time”, “I’m too embar­rassed”, and “I don’t need lessons!”.

The expense of golf lessons being by far the most pop­u­lar answer took me a bit by sur­prise. While I can make the argu­ment for each answer not being a viable rea­son (excuse), I was expect­ing not hav­ing the time as the most pop­u­lar response.

Golf is an expen­sive sport to begin with. Most like­ly you’ve already invest­ed hun­dreds of dol­lars into a set of clubs. While a set of clubs can last you sev­er­al years, what about your cost every time you golf a round of 18 holes? Add up green fees, replac­ing lost balls, and refresh­ments, and you talk­ing at least $60, maybe more depend­ing on where you live. I under­stand you can golf dur­ing twi­light hours for $20, just drink water (which is best for you any­ways), and bring your total cost to under $30, but the point I’m try­ing to make is that golf costs you a sig­nif­i­cant amount of mon­ey every time you play a round.

I will ven­ture to say that most high hand­i­cap golfers play too much and prac­tice too lit­tle, which is fine if you do not want to improve and are get­ting enough enjoy­ment from your curent game. The fact is golf is more enjoy­able for a high hand­i­cap golfer after they improve their game, and you read­ing this post tells me you have a desire to improve.

What if instead of golf­ing one of your rounds per month, you take what you would have spent and invest in golf lessons? The aver­age cost of one hour of lessons with a golf teach­ing pro­fes­sion­al in my area is $65. Most pros will also let you split the hour into two half hour ses­sions. For $65 per month, you could meet every two weeks with a golf coach. Think how more quick­ly your golf game could improve. A golf teach­ing pro­fes­sion­al could put you on the fast track to going from a high hand­i­cap to shoot­ing 90.

While I’m a firm believ­er that one-on-one golf lessons from a teach­ing pro­fes­sion­al is the best form of instruc­tion, there are even less expen­sive ways to get instruc­tion from a pro. Many pro golf instruc­tors adver­tise a low­er rate for group instruc­tion. Ask your local pro if they are will­ing to do low­ered group rates if they do not state it. Form a group with your spouse or a cou­ple of bud­dies. You still get time with a teach­ing pro­fes­sion­al but at a reduced rate. If you need to bring the cost down even fur­ther, you could attend one of sev­er­al clin­ics that most teach­ing pro­fes­sion­als put on dur­ing the sea­son. I can attend golf clin­ics in my area for as lit­tle as $15.

Hope­ful­ly I have influ­enced the peo­ple who think lessons from a pro­fes­sion­al golf teacher are too expen­sive into tak­ing anoth­er look. I believe the fastest route for a high hand­i­cap golf to improve their game and enjoy golf more is with the help of a golf pro­fes­sion­al.


  1. I took lessons from a PGA pro­fes­sion­al dur­ing the fall and win­ter of last year — a total of 4 lessons over the span of three months. While the lessons were worth the mon­ey I spent sim­ply because of what I was taught regard­ing chip­ping and pitch­ing, the rest con­sist­ed of him watch­ing me hit a buck­et of balls, make a few adjust­ments and email­ing a list of things to work on. The last straw came at my last les­son when I com­plete­ly lost my swing and the hour end­ed with me top­ping and shank­ing every shot. That’s the point where I decid­ed that if I was going to suck at golf, I was going to suck at it with­out spend­ing extra mon­ey.

    Here’s the issue I have with a teach­ing pro. There’s such an empha­sis on pos­i­tive think­ing that I believe it tends to skew per­spec­tives on real­i­ty — theirs and ours. I believe the fact is that some of us do not have the abil­i­ty to improve at the same rate as most oth­ers. Not so much from a lack of knowl­edge but rather from oth­er rea­sons — poor bal­ance, an inabil­i­ty to retain or relate to what we’ve learned, a lack of aware­ness of what’s going right or wrong, what­ev­er…

    I don’t know what caus­es us to go from hit­ting every ball clean­ly to com­plete­ly los­ing it but I don’t have con­fi­dence that a pro can fix it. I would guess that most high hand­i­cap­pers are capa­ble of hit­ting beau­ti­ful shots the same as I am. The dif­fi­cul­ty comes in hit­ting 80 out of 90 or 90 out of 100. That’s what I want­ed a pro to teach me. I want­ed to rec­og­nize what I was doing wrong so that the dam­age could be kept to a min­i­mum. I just didn’t find that with lessons.

    Just a note. I don’t blame any­one else for my lack of skill and I’m ok with slow progress. I love the game of golf for the same rea­sons as most oth­ers who play it. I just had to come to grips with the real­i­ty that becom­ing a good play­er some­times requires more than knowl­edge and prac­tice.

    • Hi Jon,

      Thank you for shar­ing your expe­ri­ence! Sounds like you, like many of us ama­teurs, are strug­gling with con­sis­ten­cy.

      I’ve always thought lessons with a pro are best for begin­ners need­ing to build a base swing. These are the play­ers that rarely hit a real­ly good shot. Anoth­er area were a pro is extreme­ly help­ful in my opin­ion is tak­ing your game to a high lev­el, scratch or bet­ter.

      But what if you can hit nice shots half of the time? You know how to but not how to all the time. As you have point­ed out, pro teach­ers are going to strug­gle in build­ing your con­sis­ten­cy. Build­ing con­sis­ten­cy comes down to rep­e­ti­tion.

      Some­thing I’m going to start ded­i­cat­ing myself to is some­thing Hank Haney likes to preach, tak­ing 100 prac­tice swings a day. It builds flex­i­ble, strength, aware­ness and more. All fac­tors that go into build­ing con­sis­ten­cy.

      Hank Haney: 100 Swings a day


  2. Scott,

    I would agree with your assess­ment — new golfers and those look­ing to cut down on those last few strokes. I think most peo­ple with an aver­age abil­i­ty to learn would ben­e­fit from a GOOD instruc­tor. As for those of us with below aver­age abil­i­ty.….

    Regard­ing the 100 swings a day, that’s good advice. I will prob­a­bly invest in a decent golf mat to go along with the net in my work shop. Hope­ful­ly, I can ingrain a repeat­able swing this win­ter.


  3. Hi im a 3 hand­i­cap­per who plays a lot…most days real­ly. I play divi­sion golf for my club on one of the last man­dates so i can play with­out being a gun.
    Over the years i have tak­en quite a few lessons from dif­fer­ent teach­ers but i always end up doing what ive always done. I dont blame any teacher at all but main­ly my own inabil­i­ty to change. My prob­lem with golf lessons are that they are way too expen­sive — if you have a flaw in your swing or nor­mal­ly its flaws one les­son is not going to do any­thing for you. Youll need quite a few lessons and a hell of a lot of time devot­ing your­self on the range and in the mir­ror doing drills etc. Its so hard to change.….What i cant under­stand though is why golf lessons are so expen­sive as there’s hard­ly any evi­dence it will make you bet­ter and it nev­er comes with any sat­is­fac­tion guar­an­tee?
    here in aus­tralia a golf les­son is nor­mal­ly around $100–120 for a n hour. Well i know quite a few golf pros and nei­ther of them have that much mon­ey but when i tell them if they only charged $40 they would have 10 lessons a day and would be finan­cial­ly pret­ty com­fort­able as $400 in a day is good in anyone’s pocket.but they still wont do it.….if lessons were only $40 a lot of us would have mul­ti­ple lessons a week and maybe then we could change our swing for the better…hell how many guys earn more than $40 an hour in their jobs any­way?

    • Hi bunker­play­er,

      Thanks for the com­ment! First off, con­grat­u­la­tions on being a 3 hand­i­cap! You’re play­ing at a lev­el most ama­teurs only dream about.

      It’s a big chal­lenge for some­one like your­self to improve even more. I assume you have a pret­ty good look­ing swing. Is your full swing the area where you believe you can pick up a stroke or two? Or could you make gains in your short game, putting, or course man­age­ment? Your short game and putting are more eas­i­ly prac­ticed at home or on your own so it’s eas­i­er to put in time in those areas.

      Lessons around me are in the $75 an hour range. I live in a rur­al area. I’m sure they are more in larg­er cities in my state. I agree it is dif­fi­cult for most to afford reg­u­lar lessons at $125 an hour. I know I couldn’t. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, at least around me, teach­ing pros have more respon­si­bil­i­ties at the course besides just giv­ing lessons. If they gave $40 lessons, they’d be work­ing 10 hours a day just giv­ing lessons.


  4. I am a PGA pro­fes­sion­al, who has been teach­ing golf for over 50 years. You were born with a per­fect “golf swing” for your body type, and it will con­tin­ue to pro­duce for you as long as you want to play the game. What you real­ly need, that it seems most pros don’t address, is to learn how to cre­ate any and all of the types of shots you want, and on com­mand. That is all I have taught for the past 40 years, and it is the only thing, in my opin­ion, worth pay­ing to learn.

    Thank you for let­ting me add my com­ment.


  5. Id love to get lessons and again they are too expen­sive. Usu­al­ly 125 hour to 400 for a group of 4 lessons. Just too much.. imho. If it was $40 an hour them then yes. But $125 to $150? Um no.. just prin­ci­pal alone.

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