Developing a relationship with a golf instructor you know, like, and trust is critical to your improvement as a golfer. A great golf pro isn’t just someone who will give you golf lessons. They will be your trusted partner on your journey to better golf. The person who will motivate you, who will pick you up after a big disappointment, who knows your strengths, weaknesses, and mental hangups that you wouldn’t dare share will your golf buddies for fear of exploitation. They’ll be the first person you text when you get your first hole-in-one or when you finally break 80 (or 90 or 100) for the first time.
If you’re serious about lowering your handicap, you’ll need to find an instructor who is competent, experienced, and a good fit for you. I find that most golfers just settle for the most convenient option by taking lessons from the pro at their home course. The pro you already know may truly be the best fit for you, but it’s smart to do some due diligence and talk to 2-3 potential golf instructors.
The best place to begin your search is to ask for recommendations from golfers whom you respect. Online searches will also help you identify a few potential candidates. Golf Digest publishes an annual list of the Best Teachers in Your State that is quite extensive.
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of potential suitors, call and ask to meet in person to ask a few questions before making your hiring decision. Most golf pros will be happy to spend time discussing your goals and what you are looking for in a golf instructor.
When you sit down with a new potential golf teacher, what questions should you ask? That’s what this week’s post is all about…
6 Smart Interview Questions to ask your next Golf Instructor
1) Tell me about your background, experience, and how you got into the golf industry.
The #1 requirement for a golf instructor is passion about the game and teaching others. Their passion should come out in their answer to this question. You want to find an instructor who has been in the industry for several years and who ideally, has been at his or her current club for many years.
2) Do you subscribe to any particular teaching method?
Be careful about working with a teacher that is too narrow in their teaching methods. A great instructor will tailor their instruction to you and not try to fit you into their specific mold.
3) What tools and technology do you use?
I’m sort of old school in this way. An iPhone video is good enough for me, but many teachers have access to some very sophisticated technology. If measuring your launch angle is important to you, you’ll want to find out more about their technology capabilities.
4) Do you play golf competitively?
If you’re a 10-handicap, would you be okay working with an instructor who can’t break 90? Would you hire a personal trainer who is a 300-lbs? Probably not. You’d be surprised by how many instructors aren’t very good golfers. You’ll want to weigh how important their personal playing ability is to you. Personally, I need a teacher who can kick my butt more often than not when we play a round together.
5) I am a ___ handicap now. My goal is to get to a ___ handicap. What’s your experience taking golfers from where I currently am to where I want to be? What will it take to get there?
You want a teacher who has experience taking a student from where you are to where you want to go. You also should get a sense of how much they believe in you from their answer to this question. A few years ago, when I was a 7 handicap, I interviewed a potential golf instructor and told him I wanted to be scratch. He said that goal would be very difficult to achieve and explained to me that I needed to focus on a more realistic goal. Say what??!!?
6) Will our lessons focus on putting, chipping, playing golf, or lessons on the range?
Your lesson plan should include putting, short game, and playing lessons. You want to find a teacher who will address all aspects of your game.
- Location: I just hired a new golf instructor who is an hour’s drive from my house. 90 minutes if traffic is bad. I only take lessons 1-2 times a month so the long drive is no biggie for me. How far are you willing to travel for the right teacher? Some professional golfers and talented juniors get on an airplane to visit their golf coach.
- Rates: This shouldn’t be the #1 factor in your hiring decision, but lesson rates vary widely so you want a teacher who is within your budget.
As a bonus, I’ve done all the work for you and included a free printable of the above questions to take to your interview:
—>>>>> CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE <<<<<—
When you’re on the hunt for the right fit, it’s essential to sit down with 2-3 potential golf instructors and ask them these important questions before making a hiring decision. A great teacher will be your partner for years to come and will be vital in helping you achieve your goals. Hopefully these questions will guide you in finding a great fit and a true partner in your next golf instructor.