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.

Comments

  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

      Thanks,
      Scott

  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.

    Thanks.

  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.

      Thanks,
      Scott

  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.

    Darrell

  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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