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How to find a great instructor for yourself?


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I'm in Central Ohio, and I've had lessons from several teaching pros over the years. Most of them either were knowledgeable but inconsistent (seemed like the idea of the week), or I was unable to build rapport with them. The ones who were able to really help, all got better jobs and moved away. I have been fortunate to take a few lessons from a top 10 teaching pro over 1000 miles away, but I can't really go there more than once a year or so.

 

How do I find a pro who is more local, that I can commit to as a coach and build something?

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  • 4 months later...
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Ask people you know to recommend someone.

 

Look at Golf Digest's rankings for Ohio:

http://www.golfdigest.com/instruction/amer...state/ohio.html

 

Ohio

1. Jason Carbone, Muirfield Village G.C., Dublin; 786-423-4653

2. Jim McGurk, Sylvania C.C.; 419-882-3197

3. Bob Bourne, StoneWater G.C., Highland Heights; 440-461-4653

4. Leo Zampedro, Troy Hill G. Center, Burton; 440-834-0777

5. Charlie Wood, Mayfield C.C., South Euclid; 216-382-3958

6. Jeff Daves, Firestone C.C., Akron; 330-289-4476

7. David Hunter, New Albany C.C.; 614-939-8523

8. Tom Fussaro, Madison C.C.; 440-428-2641

9. Tom Herzan, Findlay C.C.; 419-422-9340

10. Jim Childs, Terrace Park C.C., Milford; 513-831-2464

11. Jack McKelvey, The Country Club, Pepper Pike; 216-831-9252

12. Don Kotnik, Toledo C.C.; 419-382-9931

13. Rick McCord, Barrington G.C., Aurora; 330-995-0667

14. Jim Logue, Brookside C.C., Canton; 330-477-4545

15. Rod Johnston, Portage C.C., Akron; 330-836-8565

 

Call them up and talk to them.

 

Take a lesson and see if you like them.

 

I got lucky. Te first person recommended to me turned out to be on GD's Best in WA list and was perfect for me. (I still suck, but it's not my instructor's fault.)

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I hate to do this, but there's someone on that list of Ohio teaching pros that I'd avoid...wasn't impressed and the price was just a bit on the high end...I won't publicly name him, but if you'd like to know who and why just drop me a PM.

 

I absolutely think there's a value in teaching pros (ie - don't mind paying $$$), but I want to get something for that value.

 

-mini

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Honestly, I think that Ken Gibbons should be on that list, at $80 an hour its a little over my budget but i get so much accomplished with Ken and he's a feel player and Im a feel player. I absolutely love goin to him, so insightful and we talk each other's head off. I keep trying to get him for a whole day with a round of golf.

 

I think it is neat when he tells me stories about him and Davis Loves father. They used to work together and what not. Pretty neat guy. I definitely would recommend him to anyone that thinks they are more of a feel player than a "position" or "mechanic" player.

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  • 4 months later...
Ask people you know to recommend someone.

 

Look at Golf Digest's rankings for Ohio:

http://www.golfdigest.com/instruction/amer...state/ohio.html

 

Ohio

1. Jason Carbone, Muirfield Village G.C., Dublin; 786-423-4653

2. Jim McGurk, Sylvania C.C.; 419-882-3197

3. Bob Bourne, StoneWater G.C., Highland Heights; 440-461-4653

4. Leo Zampedro, Troy Hill G. Center, Burton; 440-834-0777

5. Charlie Wood, Mayfield C.C., South Euclid; 216-382-3958

6. Jeff Daves, Firestone C.C., Akron; 330-289-4476

7. David Hunter, New Albany C.C.; 614-939-8523

8. Tom Fussaro, Madison C.C.; 440-428-2641

9. Tom Herzan, Findlay C.C.; 419-422-9340

10. Jim Childs, Terrace Park C.C., Milford; 513-831-2464

11. Jack McKelvey, The Country Club, Pepper Pike; 216-831-9252

12. Don Kotnik, Toledo C.C.; 419-382-9931

13. Rick McCord, Barrington G.C., Aurora; 330-995-0667

14. Jim Logue, Brookside C.C., Canton; 330-477-4545

15. Rod Johnston, Portage C.C., Akron; 330-836-8565

 

Call them up and talk to them.

 

Take a lesson and see if you like them.

 

I got lucky. Te first person recommended to me turned out to be on GD's Best in WA list and was perfect for me. (I still suck, but it's not my instructor's fault.)

 

 

Notice there is only two on the list- Jason Carbone and David Hunter in Central Ohio. I understand Muirfield Village will not allow non-members to take lessons there. I know from talking with David Hunter, at this time is only taking very talented junior golfers.

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A quick question...

 

When Golf Digest puts out these lists, how do they formulate a rankings list?

 

Is it by how much money the instructor charges? Is it by how much they make in a year?

 

I have looked into a few websites which rank instructors, the first thing they want to know and be able to confirm is your income...

 

There are some incredible instructors out there and there are some instructors with incredible marketing skills, IMO...

 

 

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A quick question...

 

When Golf Digest puts out these lists, how do they formulate a rankings list?

 

Is it by how much money the instructor charges? Is it by how much they make in a year?

 

I have looked into a few websites which rank instructors, the first thing they want to know and be able to confirm is your income...

 

There are some incredible instructors out there and there are some instructors with incredible marketing skills, IMO...

 

 

Very good point. One list ranks a guy in Ohio as Ohio's top instructor (not on the list above), and it's because he teaches the largest number of students. How? He only teaches beginners in large classes, 6 days a week!

 

Mike- how does one find the incredible instructors out there? I can talk to instructors, but all I really learn is whether or not I like them. How would you do it?

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Hopefully Zach(KascoPro) can comment. He's a top GD instructor in CA. The people on that list are very impressive too and I really don't think the price of the lessons is that much of a factor. I do believe that a lot of the teachers on the list come from established teaching schools (Harmon, Leadbetter, Flick, Mclean, etc.)

 

 

Communication, connection, and understanding a teacher is the key to success. If you can't translate or communicate each other's thoughts, you will never progress. Expectations and time to commit to practicing should be part of the equation.

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a VERY good point by Mike PGA

 

My instructor and close personal friend in not even close on the list. However, he has one of the most productive junior programs in the country based upon wins by his juniors including the number 1 10 year old in the country Julie Wang - I have played with her and let me tell ya, when a one foot nothing lil girl shoots -2 from the tips at raven south and takes a college player to extra innings before losing in a USGA event - that is a pretty good student taught by a pretty good teacher.

 

I have been to a couple of the rated instructors and have found they want to do nothing but teach a system - Their system usually works if you got the income and the ability and the time to spend with them, however,

 

to me the golf swing isn't really that hard, its all that stuff i think about that keeps me from executing it that is hard (hmm do i smell french fries?) - a good instructor will find a way to say/drill something in such a way that it makes sense to YOU individually.

 

Just look at a golf digest sometimes. It is basically 9-10 things each month said a million different ways over the years in hopes that one of those ways makes sense to you.

 

for example: If Tiger met Mikepga and started getting lessons from him, Mike would pick up other students as well AND be rated as a top instructor. Did his teaching change or the perception from the public?

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Systems help some and screw up others. The most important key with a good instructor is their eyes. Video should be used to show the student what the teacher sees and help visualize concepts. The GD list can be called a popularity contest but, alot of the people on there are very reputable. No style or personality is universal. Of course, not many can or would want to pay someone like Harmon 1k for a lesson either.

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Most teachers should let you "interview" them and that should give both parties a chance to feel each other out before cash is exchanged. I would create a list of what you think your weaknesses are, figure out what you want to become realistically, and then ask as many questions up front before making a commitment.

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The PGA teacher that I go to is probably the cheapest in our town, I have gone to a few of them and he seems to help me the most.

-

 

I am a feel player, and I don't use a whole lot of mechanics in my swing... my instructor is the same way and I think that is why I like him. You should consider the same aspect in choosing your instructor.

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I don't have any first hand knowledge of Golfing Machine guys. What I've heard is second hand so don't really want to comment. I know some people who are put into "mechanical" type situations when their bodies just can't do it and that has really screwed them up. Alot of people have a hard time figuring out their physical limitations and understanding how to work with what they have. That's also the job of a good instructor. To understand that everyone and their swing has some limitations and how to succeed with what you got. Not everyone is going to be able to be a single digit or plus golfer....Unless you post on an Internet Board. :friends:

 

I think if you are a true single digit golfer and you are not having fun with the game, then there is something else going on because you are the super nerds of the class.

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Limitations? Man do I have limitations! As I get older (50), I'm getting shorter and shorter off the tee. I was once a long ball hitter, but now, shorter than average for sure. Other than that, I certainly don't have the flexibility that 20somethings possess. I don't have much talent for green reading, I think it's eyesight. I know how very good players hit the ball, and I don't have what they have...eye hand coordination and clubhead speed.

 

All that said, my biggest limitations are on that 5 inch course- a mental midget! It's a golf version of ADD- swing thought of the day, or 9 or hole or sometimes even the shot. Geez- sometimes I'll be striking the ball ok, and I get an idea- "What if I do this?" and I'll try it! Heck, I've even done that in a tournament- funny thing is, if I'm playing well, it doesn't matter what crazy thing I try, it seems to work! and if I'm playing poorly, it won't!

 

I believe what I need is a disciplined coach; someone who says, "Here's the practice plan for the next week, or month or what ever." and takes a spiraling approach to teaching. "We are going to work on things in this order, and build on each concept going forward." I've asked several for this, and mainly gotten swing tips. I have a good friend who is a PGA teaching pro. He was the worst, yet many people love his instruction. I used to tell him to quit giving me band aids.

 

I'm guessing I am a strong contributor to this, as most pros will begin a lesson by asking, "How did you play since we last met?" I'll tell them about the bad stuff from that time, and they of course try to fix them. I think I sometimes sabotage the lessons that way. (ie)

 

Me, "I kept pulling my knock down approaches."

 

Pro, "Ok, let me see you hit some knock downs."

 

Any pros on here want to comment? Is it me?

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In no way am I suggesting that the instructors aren't worthy of being listed, I am more interested in how they go about creating those lists...

 

IMO again, top listed instructors do develop a reputation by the student's they work with...Generally they attract individuals who are willing and committed to spend the time they need to, to perform at the level they desire...

 

I have some students who play in the top 3 on their high school teams and a handful of collegiate players, but the majority of my students are looking to enjoy the game more as they work golf into their busy schedules...

 

Top instructors generally charge more money because they want individuals who are willing to make that financial and TIME committment, therefore they have fewer students and charge more money...

 

 

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In no way am I suggesting that the instructors aren't worthy of being listed, I am more interested in how they go about creating those lists...

 

IMO again, top listed instructors do develop a reputation by the student's they work with...Generally they attract individuals who are willing and committed to spend the time they need to, to perform at the level they desire...

 

I have some students who play in the top 3 on their high school teams and a handful of collegiate players, but the majority of my students are looking to enjoy the game more as they work golf into their busy schedules...

 

Top instructors generally charge more money because they want individuals who are willing to make that financial and TIME committment, therefore they have fewer students and charge more money...

 

 

That's true- I happily paid $250 hourly for a teacher 1200 miles away that I could only afford to see once or twice per year. Two days @ 2 hours each, plus hotel, rental car and airfares, thats an expensive set of lessons! If I could find someone I had as much confidence in in the Columbus area, imagine the commitment I would make.

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I took lessons from a top rated/$$$ instructor for almost a year. His theory was that he could tell me every key point in 15 min for that lesson. Beyond that would be information overload. The rest is just hitting balls.

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I took lessons from a top rated/$$$ instructor for almost a year. His theory was that he could tell me every key point in 15 min for that lesson. Beyond that would be information overload. The rest is just hitting balls.

 

 

GX, I'm sorry to hear that. I guess it just goes to show how hard can be to find someone that we can work with and be effective. I also think each of us has different needs. I think I'm looking for more a coach and less of a swing doctor? What do you look for?

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I took lessons from a top rated/$$$ instructor for almost a year. His theory was that he could tell me every key point in 15 min for that lesson. Beyond that would be information overload. The rest is just hitting balls.

 

 

GX, I'm sorry to hear that. I guess it just goes to show how hard can be to find someone that we can work with and be effective. I also think each of us has different needs. I think I'm looking for more a coach and less of a swing doctor? What do you look for?

 

I found for the most part he was correct. When I do take hour lessons, most of the time its talking with the guy. For me, its all about eyes, communication and trust. There's lots a ways a lesson has gone wrong for me. Came in too tense, distracted, or just didn't feel right. For my path, I started out with a "range instructor", went to a top rated/dollar one, and then saw a pro for awhile. It created a great foundation for me and exposed me to just about all the teaching types. Each one told me the samething though. There the training wheels and eventually I should be able to figure out everything myself. Its a hill and you just got to get over the hump. Seems like you got your issue down to the "mental" side of golf. Do you have any top ranked colleges in your area? Seems like most of the top sports psych guys are associated with good programs in the area.

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I want a coach, I live in Britain. I HATE being mechanical so atm i am just working on my own and going by ball flight, and experimenting alot. I experiment all the time, like im sitting in living room, suddenly get a thought and urge in my head and off i go in my golf nett and bang some balls. Im not doing too bad like this, im a low handicapper who wants to become a pro.

 

But my club pro is the kind of coach I want, he just teaches the basics really. Sets my shoulders square, good allingment, basic swing plane swinging slightly inside or outside and whatever gives me simple thoughts. But I havent had a lesson with him for about a year and a half now and i dont get on with him very much. I dont feel I can talk to him and ask him the questions i want too because he is a different person to me, im more of a quiet kind of person and he is kind of on the beer with all the members and everything and im not like that haha if you know what i mean! Its like i feel if i ask him questions i will come across goofy to him haha or maybe im too self concious and short of confidence.

 

Why not just try ur club pro and just ask him to coach you the basics.

 

trust me from experiance you dont need all this technical s**t!! All these swing theories. Just need good fundamentals and good basics.

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