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Hit the Links and Try Golf Lessons

They help you avoid injury and have more fun

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Judd Noto

Golf lessons are not just for people who enjoy golf. In fact, they may prove more helpful for those who do not like it.

“We’re here to help people play better golf and have more fun,” said Brad Kelley, golf coach with GOLFTEC Rochester in Rochester. “Playing bad golf is not much fun. We help them understand the cause and effect of a poor shot and what’s causing it.”

He uses video cameras so he can help clients see where they are going wrong. For example, many golfers struggle controlling the “low point” of their swing.

After about five lessons, most clients begin to see marked improvement.

Kelley has one long-time client who has been with him nine years.

“If tour players have coaches, we can learn what we’re doing better ourselves,” Kelley added.

In his 28 years of experience, John Rose, PGA golf professional at Big Oak Driving Range & Golf in East Rochester, said many people begin at golf by hitting a bucket of balls at a driving range. When they fail to see improvement, they often become discouraged and quit.

“Investing in a few lessons is as beneficial as hitting 20 buckets of balls,” he quipped.

In addition to one-on-one lessons, he offers golf clinics to keep the cost more affordable.

For mid-level golfers, individual lessons are more advisable, as typically these golfers have specific problems that require correcting. After giving 1,000 more lessons every year, he said he is to the point in his career where he can figure out within five minutes where clients need help.

It is vital to learn the right technique so that golfers can practice using the correct methods, according to Judd Noto, head PGA golf professional at Canandaigua Country Club in Canandaigua.

“Even if you take a lesson every year or couple of months, it gives you something to work for,” Noto said. “It’s practicing with a purpose.”

Learning the right technique may also help prevent injury. But overall, “it’s important for the enjoyment of the student if they’re working on the right things,” he added. “Practicing proper techniques will be the recipe for better results.”

For Chris DeVincentis, head PGA Golf professional at Eagle Vale Golf Club in Fairport, learning about clients’ sports and activity background can help him better understand their physical skills and how those would relate to golf.

“I’m going to be teaching them how to play golf, not just teaching golf,” he said.

He is a big believer in laying a foundation with the basics of golf such as the right grip, posture and swing. For example, the wrong posture can result in a loss of speed. At first, this can be challenging for clients to accept.

“A number of people are coordinated enough to do things with a bad posture and grip, but when they come to see me, I’ll tell them to change it and it will feel awful,” DeVincentis said. “They’ll think I’m crazy because they didn’t start right to begin with. It will be harder to get out of the bad habit than if they paid a little to get a few lessons and learn the foundation.

You build on that foundation like building a house.”

Golf lessons in the Rochester area cost about $100 to $125 per hour, according to a survey of several local websites.