It’s a fast-paced world out there. Information and communication are at our fingertips. We can board a plane and be on the other side of the planet within 24 hours. In fact, technology has bred a whole new generation of “I want it now-ers!” Fortunately for mankind, however, the game of golf seems to be the only holdout. There’s no magic wand to becoming a good golfer, and you can’t buy an instant reputable golf game.
The ability to play well takes time, effort, guidance, and perseverance. It involves frustration, for some even tears, and I may add a thousand humbling experiences. What becoming a competent golfer does require, and as Sherlock Holmes once said, is “Patience, my dear Watson!”
Being in the personal service business, I believe it is important to be honest with your students, especially beginners. Let them know about these learning factors and that they won’t become great overnight. Let them know that golf can be a lifetime learning process, but the benefits of pursuing the game far outweigh everything else.
I recall a recent conversation with Mike Levine, USGTF Level IV member and course examiner. Mike is a very quiet, thoughtful and soft spoken individual – all factors that contribute to his popularity as a teaching pro. He was talking about how the advent of the Internet can’t provide our kind of personal service; how the Internet can’t recognize talent or talk to a young golfer’s parents about nurturing that talent properly. And, about the handshake and dealing with people face-to-face as human beings.
In training teachers, Mike always makes a point to talk about sharing with students the idea of enjoying the journey of the golf learning curve. “Progress will come if your students allow it,” he espouses, “but in the meantime, they should be encouraged to enjoy the belly laughs, the camaraderie, and all the other elements involved in the pursuit of improvement.”
Pretty good advice in golf and in life.