You are either here because you are looking to learn how to play golf or you need some PGA golf lessons to help you cure that wicked slice, duck hook, shank, top…well you get the picture. Many players think that all golf instructors are created equal. That is not exactly true. Like other professions, there is a way for a professional to separate themselves through education.
Often we get questions about taking PGA golf lessons. Below are the most common questions that we get and some helpful information to get you started…
Are there different levels of golf instructors?
Obviously, there are different levels of golf instructors as they will vary in experience as well as how they have educated themselves within the world of golf instruction. Within the PGA of America, there are different levels of membership. We will start with the highest rank and move down the list.
Master Professional – Once a Class A Professional has to have been a member for at least eight years and completed the requirements to become a Certified Professional, they can opt to become a Master Professional. To become a Master Professional, the professional must submit a project that is reviewed by other Master Professionals. In addition, they need to give a presentation and defend their project in front of a panel of Master Professionals. The process typically takes a couple of years and currently, there are less than 200 in the US.
Certified Professional – As a Class A Professional, the professional has the chance to further their education in golf instruction by becoming Certified by the PGA of America in golf instruction. At this writing, the professional must write a paper that is overseen by a Master Professional as well as pass a written test on golf instruction. There are currently just over 400 PGA of America Certified Professionals in Golf Instruction in the US.
Class A Professional – A Class A Member has completed all of the membership requirements and education testing.
Apprentice Professional – An apprentice professional is working towards PGA of America membership. They are required to work for two years, pass all of the required testing as well as pass a Player’s Ability Test (PAT).
How do I find a good golf instructor for PGA golf lessons?
Now that you understand the various levels of professionals within the PGA, you can find a good golf instructor and decide which one will best fit you depending on your goals. Some of you may just be beginning and are looking to have some fun while gaining some exercise while others are looking to play tournament golf and are looking to shoot the lowest possible scores.
To find a good golf instructor, go about it just as you would find a doctor, accountant, or real estate agent. Start by asking other friends or golfers that you know who are reaching the same goals that you want to reach. You can also resort to how you tend to find the majority of your information and head to your favorite search engine and start searching. One of the challenges with this is that many of the golf instructors that will come up in the search results may not be in your area.
How are PGA golf lessons offered?
Private Golf Lessons – This is the typical way that most people think of when they think of learning the game. The best part of taking a private golf lesson is that it is private. You are there with the professional and their focus is solely on you and trying to help you. This type of lesson will become a necessity if your goals are to be a tournament player. However, this is not for everybody. This format is intimidating to many players, especially newer players as they do not feel comfortable as an expert in the game of golf is watching them and getting ready to critique their swing.
Group Golf Clinic – If you have social golf goals, learning the game through a group golf clinic will be perfect for you. Although the format may vary, the instructor will give a short presentation to start the class, and then the group will break up into individual stations to work on the message in the presentation. The instructor will then visit each participant and help them as best they can. You could be thinking that it does not seem like you would get very much instruction in this format. You will not receive as much as you would from a private lesson but that fact is offset by the lower cost of a golf group clinic. In addition, you will meet others that have the same interests that you do. You just may strike up a friendship that ends up being a life-long golfing partner!
Golf School – A golf school can be offered as a half-day school all of the way up to a five-day school. Of course, the format of every school will be different but they are usually pretty heavy on the golf instruction end to the point the participants wear themselves out since they are not used to practicing that much.
Online Golf Lessons – Online golf lessons are becoming a more and more accepted way to learn how to play golf or improve your game. Since literally, anybody can put anything online, you will want to do the proper research with the information from above. With this being said, there are many great options to take online golf lessons. You will have access to a greater number of teachers, you can take them when you want to take them and you can take them wherever you are as long as you have an internet connection.
What should you ask before taking PGA golf lessons?
No matter whether you are looking for beginning golf lessons or looking to take lessons from an online golf academy, any instructor worth learning from will be more than happy to meet in person, on the phone, or swap emails about their teaching style. You should ask about how the lesson(s) will be structured and what they expect from you during your lesson. After a brief interview, they should be able to confirm that you are taking instruction in the correct format and create a plan to reach some short-term golf goals to which you both agree. In addition, the cost of the instruction should be very clear to you as well.
You should already know which type of learning style best suits you. Can you just be told something and change your swing? Do you like to see someone else do it and then mimic it? Do you like to feel how the motion is supposed to feel through drills? There is no right or wrong answer to this but you will want to convey the answer to your instructor as this may change how the instructor will help you achieve your goals.
What to do next…
You now understand the various levels of PGA Golf Professionals, have a few good leads on who you would like to learn from, have a good idea which format you would like to take your instruction in, and have asked questions before taking the lessons. Now what? Schedule your lesson, sign up for the group or get your free online golf lesson membership and get started!