It sounds a little too good to be true—that all it took was twelve minutes with Class A LPGA Teaching Professional Sandy LaBauve to set Karen S. Carter’s golf game on the right path—but it shouldn’t be so hard to believe.
I think a lot of us can relate to Karen. Though we call can’t be super successful businesswomen, taking on the scope of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we have all been in her shoes in one way or another when it comes to golf.
“I’m not one to read the instructions for anything,” Karen said. “I tend to dive right in, believing I can figure it out. I took the same approach to golf—which obviously doesn’t work.”
Karen’s golf journey has been played out a million times. Let me know if this sounds familiar:
Karen played a lot of golf before taking her first professional lesson, and though she kept golf as a sport she played casually and frequently, she wasn’t seeing any improvement from round-to-round. She had dived into the sport headfirst and hoped to learn as she went along.
If you’re anything like Karen, someone who plays casually with no real aspirations of taking your game any further than finishing your round with almost as many golf balls as you started, then you might be a little reluctant to start taking lessons from a golf pro.
But like any skill—whether it be cooking, driving, or underwater basket weaving—you’ll find you’ll have an easier and more enjoyable time if you allow yourself to slow down and ease into the basics with the help of a professional.
Starting to take lessons from a golf professional might seem as logical as going to culinary school just because the neighborhood potluck is coming up, but I can assure you, it’s not as big of a leap as you think.
If you’re nervous about seeking out a pro to help you, don’t worry. Maybe you’ve been to a pro before or gotten tips from your significant other or a family member, and it didn’t go as well as expected. Well, let me be the first to tell you that the experience can—and should be—different. And it can all be achieved with the help of an LPGA certified teacher.
Not all teachers or golf instruction is one size fits all, but LPGA Teaching Pros are highly-trained to target your specific needs and address them without talking over your head or making you feel inadequate about your game.
So, for the next twelve minutes, I invite you to join Karen for her first golf lesson and see that it pays to take the time to be a beginner.
Before Karen met with Sandy, she was excited and had her fair share of nerves. She'd known good golfers, and it didn’t take long to realize that there were some common denominators separating the good and the bad golfers.
“All the people that I know that are really good golfers have had lessons,” Karen realized.
Before the lesson begins, an LPGA Teaching Pro will take some time beforehand to get to know you, your golf goals, your learning style, your golf history . . . anything they will need to set a baseline and make sure you feel like you’re in good hands with your instructor.
After learning about you, your LPGA Teaching Pro will take some time to learn about your clubs and how you use them. They’ll also help you understand the differences between each of the clubs in your bag and when to use them on the course. No set of clubs will be perfect for everyone, and it is more likely than you think to have been playing this whole time with a set of ill-fitted clubs—either too long or too short, or with worn grips, any combination of things that can result not only in high scores but the risk of accidentally injuring yourself.
Far too often, golfers begin their journey with a faulty grip and must compensate somewhere in their swing to overcorrect. This settles into your muscle memory and later becomes a hard habit to break.
“I understand why people take lessons,” Karen told us. “The fundamentals are critical.”
During your lesson, your LPGA Teaching Pro will take the time to ensure that you understand what a proper grip should feel like. As Sandy explains in Karen’s lesson, your hands are your only connection to your clubs, meaning your grip is one of the most essential parts of your swing. The grip also plays a key role in determining the direction of your clubface, which, if pointed in the wrong direction, could send your ball flying off somewhere unintended.
Golf Swing Basics
Your LPGA Teaching Pro will deconstruct the golf swing, breaking its components down into smaller, more digestible parts. She will help you get a feel for an in-motion swing and the way the club should make contact with the ball and the ground, an important step towards ensuring a successful swing and preventing injury.
During Karen’s lesson, she began to understand that small tweaks to your game can make a big difference.
Reviewing Your Progress
Don’t underestimate the power of looking at your own golf swing. A swing video is a simple way to get visual feedback and review your progress. Keeping a video of your swing will also remind you of what you did well during your last session.
“It was interesting to see how I was fighting against my own swing,” Karen said after viewing the video Sandy took of her swing. “But when I relaxed, set up correctly, and focused on the fundamentals, you could definitely see the difference in my swing and the end result."
And that, in a nut shell, is what a lesson with an LPGA Teaching Professional is like. After her lesson, Karen felt relieved and excited. She could actually hit the ball—and hit it wonderfully! Since her lesson, she hasn’t yet played a full 18 holes, but her confidence has greatly improved, and she learned some techniques that she could take with her out to the golf course for her next round.
“I’ve learned that getting the lesson to stick required practice in-between lessons.” Karen said. “I’m currently working on my grip, posture, and relaxing during my swing. It all sounds easy, but I am learning that the proper set up every time is key.”
If you’re thinking about taking golf lessons to sharpen your skills, consider reaching out to an LPGA Teaching Professional in your area. There are over 1700 LPGA Professionals across the country—and the world!
To find an LPGA Professional near you, you can Find a Teacher here>>
Or, if you think you’ll feel more comfortable learning in a group of other beginners in a no-pressure, women’s golf crash course, check out the LPGA Golf 101 program, hosted by certified Class A LPGA Professionals.
Find group classes near you here>>