WHY PEOPLE QUIT GOLF?
According to the National Golf Foundation (NGF) 1 million people take up the game and 1 million people quit every year in United States. These are staggering numbers and are not getting any better. I believe the problem stems from the fact that we are not doing a very good job of introducing the game to people. The way we do it now is to welcome new players to the golf course, show them how to purchase range balls for practicing and how to book a tee time. Then we show them what clubs they should be using for the different shots and give them some tips on the basic fundamentals. Then they are basically on their own. They watch the Golf Channel, read magazines and books and receive information from every person they know, or don’t know if they happen to be on the range hitting balls and are female. They play golf for a few years and then decide they probably should take some lessons to get better. The lessons are OK but there are no immediate results. After several different instructors and teaching methods they decide the game is too difficult, not having any fun and quit. All of this could have been avoided if they had just started correctly.
The game of golf takes many years to get acquainted with. If a person is born with the gift of natural talent then it comes fairly quickly. If not, it can be a very daunting task for sure. If a beginning golfer learns how to place their hands on the golf club correctly and how each golf club is designed to function, they will then be able to improve in time. We are doing a major disservice to beginning golfers, especially those not born with natural ability, by delegating our least experienced instructors to teaching the beginning golfer in the first place. I believe that beginning golfers need the proper tools and knowledge so they can make informed decisions on their own, progressing at their own speed. We are giving novice golfers way too much information, which only serves to confuse and disinterest them. As for golf lessons we (golf instructors) are way too technical for the majority of golfers and are turning them off with our over analysis. I believe that to keep it simple we should be focusing on how the golf club works, which is basically swing path and club-face position in the impact zone. There are many different ways to accomplish this and the golf ball does not know the difference. I use a 7 iron with a grip trainer and have my students hit balls off a short tee. The most success I have had is to use the toe up – toe up drill, where the student swings half way back to toe-up and half way through to toe-up. This allows the beginner to get the ball airborne and will put a smile on their face, which should be our most important goal as instructors.John Mason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send your thoughts or articles to email@example.com.