Playing After A Lesson – Smart?

Have you ever played a round where you were bombing your driver and leaving yourself with some awesome looks at approach shots, but you subsequently bungled every one of them?  Last weekend I had my best driving day of the year but the 80 I shot at Poolesville was the absolute worst score I could have recorded for that very reason. The carnage included seven unforced errors from the “A-position”.   So yesterday I took my final lesson of the 2018 seasonal package in hopes that I could correct my awful iron play.  As usual, my instructor corrected something small just as we started (I was standing too far from the ball) and then we got to work on my major issues.  Of course, they were the same issues I’ve been dealing with my entire career, which is why they’re still issues.  We made great progress on the lesson tee and I booked a time at my club to play today.

What is your experience playing after a lesson?  Smart, not smart?  I think it depends on the lesson and where you are playing.  Last time I tried it the day after my putting lesson.  There was no adjustment period and was if someone else had possessed my body with the putter.  I made everything I looked at and the game was very easy.

Today was different.  Perhaps my club is not the best venue if you are working on swing mechanics because the first four holes at Blue Mash are very demanding and often require long iron approaches.  Last time out I hit four 3-irons on the first four holes.  It’s one of those stretches that if you start 3-over after four holes, you are playing fine.  Today it was 3-iron, 7-iron (downwind) from heavy rough, 3-iron, and another 3-iron.  Before my round I warmed up poorly with my 3-iron, but my approach on number one was pure and settled eight feet from the flag.  The second on #3 was good but went into a green-side bunker and I saved par.  The third was an awful pull hook (my big miss) and I made a lucky par out of some gnarly green-side rough.  On holes 5 and 6, I hit two stunning short iron shots that yielded a par and a birdie.  I was thrilled and it seemed I had it solved, but the problem was that I was playing golf swing and not golf.  The roof finally caved in on #8 after I laid the sod over a pitching wedge from the middle of the fairway.

This has happened before after taking a lesson; it’s always been a full swing lesson, and I’m always thinking too much.  I guess I was encouraged after the easy success of the putting lesson.

My favorite thing in golf is to play.  Next favorite is to take lessons, and least favorite is to practice.  But I know I need practice on this one and will get out to the range a couple times before next weekend’s round.  What has been your experience playing after a lesson?

Stay tuned: course review is coming from next weekend’s venue:  The Links at Gettysburg!

Play well!

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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10 Responses to Playing After A Lesson – Smart?

  1. Brian

    I have had very few lessons in my career, but I do not think playing directly after would be helpful. I am a practice first then play kind of player. I have never had any long term success making changes and using them without out practicing. I will have to say that I like play golf more than anything for sure. Good luck next week.

    Cheers Jim

    • Brian Penn says:

      Jim, given my druthers, I would practice first as well. My time is so limited to play that I just need to grab it when available. Usually Saturday is my practice day and Sunday is play day. This weekend, Saturday was lesson day. Oh well 🙂

      Thanks,

      Brian

  2. Brian,

    Since most of my instruction has been in the winter here in Canada rather than during the season, I haven’t had many opportunities to head straight out and play. However, I typically do better getting in a practice session or two before feeling comfortable working on the changes on the course. Of course, it depends on what the changes are exactly, but generally I’d find it pretty tough to head out right after a lesson.

    Take advantage of those beautiful drives my friend!

    Cheers
    Josh

    • Brian Penn says:

      Josh, I definitely needed that round the next day plus two practice sessions to help the lesson sink in.

      Can you retain what you learn over the winter or is there some use it or lose it involved?

      Thanks,

      Brian

      • As long as I get in sufficient practice while making the changes, much of it seems to stick in the summer. Of course, things and tendencies change throughout the season, so there is a bit of rework each winter, haha

  3. Brian,

    Typically I like to consistently practice for a few days and focus on what I corrected. You brought it up and that sometimes the course just won’t allow you to practice the shot you worked on because of the hole layout. With that said, I like to practice on the range or even later in the day when the course is not busy and I can hit a bunch of shots on the same hole.

    Sebastien

    • Brian Penn says:

      Sebastien, totally agree except this time it was not possible. My choice was to play or not play, the day after. Of course, I chose to play. I always will. Love the game too much to turn down an opportunity to play. But playing golf swing has its challenges!

      Thanks,

      Brian

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