Sometimes Golf Lessons Can Complicate Things
By Stan Hunt, Columnist for THE PILOT, Southern Pines, NC
March 10, 2004

One might wonder why golf is so difficult.

For one thing, hundreds of muscles come into play in striking the ball
properly. The other thing involves taking that first golf lesson. Now that can be

One day, at the practice range of a local golf range, the pro put down a bunch
of golf balls for us to hit.

“All right, let’s start with the grip,” our learned pro tells us. “We usually use the
Vardon grip or in some cases the interlocking one.”

One might ask, “What the hell is the Vardon grip?”

The pro tells us, “Have a firm grip on the club and swing it up over your ear in
the proper plane.”

What’s a proper plane – a jet or a light ship? And what does that have to do
with golf?

“Now, we want to aim ourselves at the target, either the fairway or the pin,” our
pro tells us. First we set up with the club in front of us, placed behind the ball
and then we aim.”

Wait a minute. I set up facing the ball and the target is to my left, then I aim. I
am looking at the ball and the target is some 90 degrees to my left. How do I
do that?

The question is answered when our pro says, “Turn your head to the left and
sight your target.” Somehow this is not right. I am looking ahead at the ball
and trying to hit it to my left.

Maybe I should have taken up lawn bowling.

“Now, let’s shift our weight to the right on the back swing and quickly turn our
hips and shift to the left,” our pro tells us. Why not keep weight on the left side
if that’s where we intend to go, I wonder.

I try this a few times and all I hit is the air. This movement is truly silly. Shift to
the right, shift to the left – it almost sounds like dancing, and I don’t do that
very well, either.

“Now, we have 14 different clubs to use, each for a different distance and
shot,” our pro says.

Fourteen Clubs! I’ve swung at least 20 times and still haven’t made contact
with the ball.

Our pro now tells us more stuff that I didn’t understand, stuff about spin and
trajectory. All this while I have only been able to dribble the little white ball
some 10 or so yards in front of me. Is this guy for real?

Then, in a later lesson, our pro – not entirely satisfied at our lack of ability –
takes us over to a pile of sand and tosses a bunch of balls into the sand.

“OK, now for sand play, use your sand wedge and we will learn how simple it
is to get the ball from the sand on to the green, which lies above us,” the pro

This guy is mad. We’ve hurt our hands, our backs and have only managed to
get a few balls airborne. He now expects me to use one of these clubs to
extricate the little ball from the sand and get it on the green

Well, needless to say the first day was a miserable mess of frustration.

But our pro left us with some advice, “Go home tonight and turn on the TV
and watch The Golf Channel. Watch the pros hit the ball and get a positive
attitude from what they do.”

Sounds good. So I go home and who is on the Golf Channel? – none other
than Tiger Woods, a guy who hits the ball so far one cannot see it. We are
supposed to gain confidence from this?

I tell you this, if things don’t get better soon, I’m quitting.
© 2006 Michael Hebron