Does Receiving Advice on the Course Help?
My biggest worry sneaking out golfing is that I will get matched with someone intent on giving me a free lesson. I think most golfers who do this mean well. Unfortunately, all you are doing is getting in my head and messing up my game. I do politely ask them to stop, some respect it, some don’t. Let’s be honest, you are not fixing my game in 2 minutes on the tee box.
My short game is very good. I can hit my 9 iron, pitching wedge, gap wedge, and 60 degree wedge beautifully. On occasion, people will ask me what they are doing wrong. I look at them for errors I learned about that I had made and corrected from Youtube. It was a simple fix. If they aren’t making that error, I can’t help them. I improved my slice, and got the bonus of learning to hit my hybrid from Youtube as well. No one has ever asked for my advice about their long or mid game. If you want it, here you go. Watch what I do, then try something else.
I have a friend who is very good. He actually gave me useful advice, showing me how to line up my swing, and fixed my aim to account for my slice. I’ve hit the ball a lot better since. We had already played together a few times, and gave me time to get warmed up. He did not mess with my swing or grip. He also stopped me from taking shots with a horrible lie and had me drop in a better spot. This is the exception to the rule. I learned that I hit off my back foot. I still hit off my back foot. I know where to line up now. They were simple corrections from someone who could judge my game honestly.
Other times it usually goes like this, assuming I am with someone who refuses to accept I don’t want the free lesson. They watch me on the first hole. My first hole is usually a warm up. I may occasionally par it, but we all know about the 1st hole par jinx. My 1st 2 holes are usually a warm up. It doesn’t bother me. I can still finish mid 90’s for 18.
I can tell how it is going to go on the 2nd tee box. I have had people start giving me lectures on everything I’m doing wrong. My look of annoyance must be mistaken for a look of interest. As we all know, golf is a mental game. So what did the lecture accomplish? Now my head is a mess, trying to micromanage my swing, before I am even warmed up and focused on the
round. All I want to do is focus on hitting the ball, instead I am worried about if my elbow is a ¼ inch off. It goes poorly.
So the 3rd hole, they are still going on about what I am doing wrong. I err on the side of being polite. I should just be rude at this point ‘My issue now is you are in my head screwing me up!’. So I go with it, keeping my mouth shut, and instead of trying to keep it under 100, break 90 on a good day, I am trying to keep it under 150. I can usually put most shots in the air, a round like this I won’t get the ball off the ground, the ball will just roll. Then they have the nerve to tell me to go to the range and keep trying their awful advice. Even worse, they will join me on 19 and keep going.
To those of you who insist on ‘helping’. Wait 4 or 5 holes. We don’t all hit the range first. The nets where you can’t hit over a 7 iron don’t really help me get warmed up. A bad swing on the first hole doesn’t mean someone is a hacker. It means they are cold and need to get going. Give us a chance to check our mechanics. With me, my grip is usually off, which I can adjust on my own. I don’t need to hear ‘keep your elbow here, your knee isn’t bent right, your lined up wrong…’. I’m 2 strokes in, you can’t judge my game. If you were trying to ruin it, mission accomplished. As an added bonus, you just added an hour to the round as I struggle. A common theme I have found with these people, they will not stop.
A funny experience with this, I was playing well, caught up to a single in front of me. It slowed down, the pace fell off, I tightened up and had a real ugly swing. I do this sometimes, and have occasional melt downs, then recover. Buddy claimed to be a golf pro, then pointed out every error in that particular swing, that I had already written off as a bad shot. I can’t imagine a pro who gives lessons for a living will make a conclusion based off of ONE swing. I have a terrible slice, this ball went left. He proceeded to give advice every swing. Instead of getting back on track, my game imploded. Keep in mind, the pros hit bad shots too.
I’ve had experiences where I was in a 4 some, 1 older golfer, myself, and 2 teens. I ignored the advice, but was hitting good enough for this guy to mostly leave me alone. The older guy hit well, not long, but straight. The 2 teens started off straight-ish, struggling to get the ball in the air. So buddy decides to ‘help’. All he did was put them from the middle of the fairway, into the woods. They still could barely get it off the ground.
So in answer to my title, the answer is ‘No!’. On the golf course is not the place to tinker with your swing. That is what the driving range is for. I appreciate the advice at the range. It has fixed my grip, cleaned me up a bit, and I showed improvement after 20–30 balls. On the course, I can’t practice that driver technique over and over, I can’t keep hitting that long iron shot…. I have made my own tweaks on the course, usually a simple fix I found. This works for me, I improved my slice and learned to hit my hybrid this way. The difference, I knew what I was tweaking and why, not changing every aspect of my game blindly. So, thanks for trying to help me, but please just leave me to it.
By Sebastian Wyczawski