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My golf game is coming along nicely, largely in part to having a great coach but I have the problem that, currently, I am working 300 miles from home so I can't book in any lessons.

There are, however, a lot of golf facilities near where I work so I am thankfully still able to get plenty of practice in.

Wanting to keep improving my ability, I am now thinking about getting some tuition from a coach at one of the golf facilities near where I work.

I am concerned though that having a second instructor may be counter-productive. There's a huge chance that a new coach will have a different coaching style, different ideas about optimum swings, stance, etc. and lessons here could antagonise the teachings of my "home" coach.

I'm a high-handicapper so I'm still really working on the fundamental aspects of the game but I am aware that what I learn now is very important to my future improvement.

Is having two separate coaches going to be counter-productive? I know this would be a good question for my current coach but I'm not in contact with him whilst I'm away.

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2 Answers 2

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Is having two separate coaches going to be counter-productive?

In my honest opinion and experience, very counter-productive.


I am concerned though that having a second instructor may be counter-productive. There's a huge chance that a new coach will have a different coaching style, different ideas about optimum swings, stance, etc. and lessons here could antagonise the teachings of my "home" coach.

Exactly.


I have never had a golf coach. However, I have watched golf, instructional videos, and had multiple golfers/golf pros/etc. give me advice. Most of the time, philosophies on how to approach the fundamentals of the game varied, sometimes greatly.

For example, two golfers may instruct you to keep your lead arm straight through impact, then follow through...but one golfer's philosophy may be to have even weight with your head behind the ball at impact (a flatter swing) while the other golfer's philosophy may be to have most of your weight on your lead foot with your head over the ball at impact (stack and tilt, a more upright swing). Same fundamental, different philosophy.

I'd imagine the philosophy between two coaches would be different. Even if one coach is a "protege" of a more established coach, there will be slight differences in philosophy.

Because of the mental aspect of the game, I would suggest that you stick with your current swing coach, as your game is coming along nicely, and you have been working with his philosophy. Next time you see your coach, ask about fundamentals that you can work on while you are away. Thus, you will remain to have one philosophy that you follow.

Some pro golfers meet with their coaches 3-4 times a year to go over fundamentals and philosophies. Some of us are more involved. Some of us are not. Once again, the kind of golfer you are comes down to the philosophy you follow. Adding another coach most likely means adding another philosophy which most likely means the mental aspect of your game will suffer.

Personally, I have tried many golf swings and philosophies, but through time and frustration, I decided to work with what I naturally have (for example, even if I am cognizant of shortening my swing, I still swing my club past parallel with my woods and long irons during my backswing) and work on fundamentals. Also, I limited my thoughts before my swing to one swing thought. After deciding to let go of my mental struggles and frustration, my time on the course has been more fun and I have been playing better. It's nice to hit drives around 300 yards and hit the fairway half the time...still have the short game to work on...


I know this would be a good question for my current coach but I'm not in contact with him whilst I'm away.

I would be weary of bias ;)

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Thanks for the comprehensive answer. +1 and accepted. It's unfortunately what I expected - I just needed to hear someone say it to stop me booking lessons down here! –  Ste Aug 29 '13 at 16:41

I think this can work under the right set of circumstances. I spent a year as an assistant pro at a resort course, where a lot of people had vacation / second homes. It wasn't common, but I specifically remember some of our instructors essentially acting as a second set of eyes for a golfer's regular instructor. In the case of one particularly good junior player, the head pro stayed in regular communication with the kid's primary coach to make sure they were on the same page. That way he knew what the kid was working on, what sort of drills he should be doing, etc.

The success of an arrangement like this depends on a number of things. First, the primary instructor has to have a plan for how they will help you improve. If they are the type of instructor who just patches whatever flaw you happen to exhibit on lesson day, this isn't going to work. A really good instructor will have a development plan for you - i.e. starting with one skill that leads to the next, followed by another, etc. In a case like this, you will typically leave each lesson with a homework assignment - ie some drills to work on a particular move. Having a trained second set of eyes can really help you work on those things properly.

It's not at all uncommon on tour to see players on the range asking other players, or even other coaches, to watch them for a few minutes to see if they see something specific. Similarly, most of the top coaches have staff that will do drills with the tour players when they're at their home facility - not unlike an assistant coach in other sports.

The second instructor also has to respect the primary instructor to be comfortable in this sort of role. If they think you are working on the wrong things, it's understandably hard for them to not contradict the primary instructor.

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+1. I like this answer. If the "secondary" instructor plays an "advisory" type of role, especially as a second set of eyes, then I find nothing wrong with these circumstances. –  edmastermind29 Apr 11 at 20:51

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