Jeremy Dale
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Don’t be too proud to take lessons…



Why do so few golfers take lessons?

When I ask golf show audiences how many of them go for regular coaching sessions, barely 15% will raise their hands.

The strange thing is that golfers are always looking for a secret. There is not a golfer out there who doesn’t want a tip that will either cure their slice, stop them chunking their chips or help them get out of a green side bunker.

On golf days the questions just keep coming so I know that golfers want help………perhaps they think they cannot learn?


Can you teach an old dog a new trick?

Some say that you can’t teach an old dog to perform new tricks but this reveals a very fixed view of our skill levels.

Others are more positive about our ability to learn and grow.

The best in any field usually have a coach or mentor and Jack Nicklaus was no exception – his life long coach was Scioto GC professional Jack Grout – but there is more to it than that………he also believed that he could improve, responded well to criticism and was not afraid to admit he did not have all the answers.


Here is another quote from the great man that reveals his attitude to admitting he could do better….

“For years, I never thought I needed a short game. Finally I just decided to do something about it. I needed to get up and down from tough spots on the par-5s for my birdies. So I went to Phil [Rogers]. He’s the best. For the last couple weeks, Phil has been staying at my house and we’ve been practicing in the evening’’ Jack Nicklaus

Another golfing great, Gary Player once said that the more he practised, the luckier he got – which further reveals a learning orientated or ‘Growth’ Mindset.


Which Mindset do you have?


If you believe that you have a fixed level of golfing ability and skill then, of course, you won’t practise or take lessons.

If however, you believe that you CAN improve, then practice and learning from a good coach would make a lot of sense…..and the only logical course of action would be to start now, work hard and keep going!

The Psychology of learning is fascinating and one of the most interesting recent developments is the study of Fixed and Growth Mindsets by the eminent Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck.


Failure as part of the learning process

After decades of research, Carol Dweck has shown that it is not just ability and talent that bring success but whether we bring a fixed or growth Mindset to the task. Her book is transforming education and is well worth a read, especially on the subject of dealing with failure.

“I think I fail a bit less than everyone else.” Jack Nicklaus.

For someone with a fixed Mindset, failure is really hard to deal with and the logical response is to avoid similar challenges in the future.

For great champions like Nicklaus and Bobby Jones who undoubtedly displayed a growth Mindset, failure is an opportunity to learn something.

“I never learned anything from a match that I won.” Bobby Jones.

This is of course what all great champions do in any sport……if you have never seen Michael Jordan’s famous ‘Failure’ advert then you can see it here……….



Conversely, says Dweck, if you think your ability is fixed, you’ll avoid challenges, give up when presented with an obstacles and feel threatened by the success of others…..all in all, not a very nice place to be.


How to improve your golf

“Simply by making the effort to start something, you will be miles ahead of almost everyone else.” Gary Player


In fact, it is not difficult to improve at golf. The academy pages of this website are full of quotations from golfers who took lessons and played better immediately…….read more here……

Why don’t you follow the example of the greatest ever professional player, Jack Nicklaus.

Get yourself a good coach (I am available if you want to get in touch…) and then do exactly what he or she says. This is what the best players do and it is what 85% of golfers do not do.

It is like learning a musical instrument…..or a new language

Learning to play golf is like learning a musical instrument or like learning a foreign language.

You need some information and then you need to practice the new skills until they feel normal and repeatable. Then you go back for the next lesson and the same thing happens. More information, more practice and perhaps some struggle too – that is normal part of learning and should be welcomed not feared.

Here is the thing – golf (or anything like driving a car, playing the guitar or learning chemistry) is NOT natural…….but LEARNING is natural.

We are programmed to learn all the time but our attitude needs to be right for it to work properly.

As you might imagine, a fixed Mindset will hold you back. It will kill your curiosity, stop you from learning and make failures harder to deal with too.

Luckily, you can change it if you want!

If you always wanted to get better at golf but never knew where to turn, then please get in touch…… me directly for a call back here…..

Image 6 Jeremy Dale Golf

Jeremy Dale is a PGA Coach and Psychology graduate (BA Hons Sussex University)

Based at Heythrop Park in the beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Jeremy is a brand ambassador for the Paradis Golf Hotel in Mauritius and The World Corporate Golf Challenge.

  • Walk 20 minutes to live longer: Huge study reveals benefit of daily exercise (and how a lack of it kills twice as many people as obesity) A lack of exercise kills twice as many people as obesity, researchers warn. The Cambridge University study found even modest activity prolongs life,twenty minutes of walking a day cuts premature risk of death by a third. A brisk daily walk of just 20 minutes could add years to your life

    Simple play golf and live longer

    • Yes – agree. Swedish study showed golfers living unto 5 years longer! It is worth getting out there!

  • Jeremy Leese

    I have to agree! I have had only a few lessons in my golfing life several years ago, yet managed to get down to single figures (I did avidly read books, magazines, watch Golf Channel etc). However late last year, I was hitting a brick wall in improving any further, so went to see my local teaching pro. This was the best thing I ever did – he coaxed out of me a far more consistent swing, better feel for distance and a more confident mental approach and I am playing and enjoying my golf more than ever. If the best players in the world have coaches, why do so many amateurs (myself included) think we can get by on our own, with reading a few books and a few, often, misplaced, words of wisdom from our friends? Next stop – custom fit clubs……another “no no” for so many of us weekenders!

    • Jeremy, Great post. Coaches save you time and eliminate doubt. The pupils who come regularly do not go down blind alleys as they try to work it out for themselves……

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