There are many good teaching professionals out there. Unfortunately there are also some black sheep. Moreover not every pro and teaching style might be the right one for you. Finding a good teacher can sometimes feel like looking for the needle in the haystack. Here are some questions to get a better feel for the pro and what he’s about.
Can you relate to the instructor and does he sound positive to you? Does he care?
This may seem obvious as you don’t want to give money to someone and spend your time with someone you don’t like in the first place. Nonetheless it’s a biggie and I think it’s essential for a good learning or coaching environment. Ask yourself these questions and your gut feeling will give you the answer.
Does he communicate to you in a way that makes things easy to understand?
Many teachers have a lot of knowledge and expertise but lack the skill of communication. If you have a hard time following even after asking several question maybe find someone whose talking more your language.
Does he use several methods to explain his concepts? (through physical demonstration, talking, swinging the club with the student)
There are teachers who are only talking, only showing or teaching by letting the student figure it out. Ideally you want someone who uses every method available to help you achieve your goals. This way you learn faster and more effectively.
Does the instructor offer lesson packages?
Every teaching pro who gets it offers lesson packages. A onetime pit-stop won’t help you in the long run. Once you’ve decided to move forward with a pro there should be a good offer to compensate you for your commitment and dedication to him.
Does he use video?
This one is another biggie. Every teaching professional should use video as a teaching aid today. No exceptions, period! Yes, there’s tradition even in teaching but video has been around for a long time now and everybody who considers himself a teaching professional should use it.
List your personal goals for improving your golf game and ask the pro if these goals are realistic.
An instructor should be able to develop a plan together with you. There are some teachers out there who just want to force their way onto their students. Instead if you ask for a specific practice plan, there should be a solution that is tailored to your needs.
Does he offer drills you can do at home or before teeing off at the course?
He should be able to offer drills you can use to improve on your own. The “You just have to practise and results will come.” attitude is very outdated and not very effective. Every teaching professional who knows his job should be able to give you specific drills you can use to improve the things you are working on.
Can he estimate how many lessons you will need to achieve your goals?
He should have a clear picture in his mind on what you can expect with him. Of course this depends greatly on your willingness to learn and your own abilities. Nevertheless he should be able to tell you what typical results can be expected from past experience and students.