I participated in a charity event with the ladies club at Mission Viejo Country Club last week. Every year they use their Christmas tournament to raise funds to benefit a shelter for battered women and children. This is a great way to have fun and help others at the same time.
My role was to stand on the fourth hole, which is hated by all of the ladies, and help them enjoy the day by hitting drives for them in exchange for a donation. This gave me an opportunity to visit with some members I usually do not spend much time with.
It really surprised me when one of the ladies told me she now was "good enough" to take a lesson. She told me she had been so bad until now that she would have been embarrassed to take a lesson. She said she would have felt uncomfortable having someone watch her closely, as happens during a lesson.
This sentiment was supported by another player in her group.
I explained to them that, as an instructor, I am only looking at ways to help a player improve her game. I am not judging how "bad" they are.
I assured them I teach many beginning golfers, and they are all "bad" to start with. Waiting until they are "good enough to take a lesson" often means they will have developed habits that have to be changed in order to improve further.
This conversation made me realize there are probably many golfers who feel just as these two women did.
As an instructor, I encourage you to start with lessons immediately. I want to assure all of those who feel this way that my job is to teach you good habits as you learn to play golf, not to judge you. I know it is much easier to learn good habits from the start, rather than having to change bad habits later.
In fact, I think I will now start to promote lessons aimed at all of you who feel this way. I'll call it "Lessons for really bad golfers who are embarrassed to take a lesson." I want to do this because I know you need the lessons if you are too embarrassed to take them.
If you are still reluctant, then I suggest you take lessons with a friend or two who are at about the same level as you, so you will not feel as if you are the only one the instructor is focusing on.
If you know a golfer like this, do them a favor and give them a gift certificate for lessons this Christmas.