Updated #Ask Coach Franz- 9- [do you need a swing instructor or golf coach?]
Question: Hi Coach Franz, I desperately need to improve quickly as I have a very important event coming up in a month that I need to impress my boss who is an avid golf nut. We will be with clients and that's always additional pressure too. I have been playing for about 5 years and I score, on a good day high 80's. I do not have a lot of time for lessons, but I have taken some over the years, and everyone tells me I have a good swing. I see the programs that your company has and I am overwhelmed by the choices I see with all the instruction available, both at my home course and on YouTube. What's my best options, should I seek an swing instructor or a golf coach, can you please direct me?
Answer: Another great question, almost a follow-on from the last one we fielded. Yes there are a lot of choices generally available to a student.
1st recommendation: in your state of being overwhelmed, please do NOT turn to YouTube for the answer. There are some great instructors on the tube, but how would the average person know who? And then there are rest which I would say amounts to 95% of what is on there.
Thanks for the details regarding your 'dilemma', but let me start with a broader view first.
What is the difference between a swing instructor and a golf coach?
Now, while not being exhaustive, I look at it this way.
A swing instructor works on the mechanics of the golf swing, hopefully in accordance with the student's bio mechanics. ( Its one of the reasons why I always suggest to students to be TPI screened prior to a series of lessons)
A coach gets involved in all the aspects of the sport, not just the mechanics of the swing, This could include the physical and mental development of the student, book recommendations, nutritional suggestions, on course strategies, tournament preparation and the list goes on. It is dependent on whatever the individual student needs to achieve their goals.
Now the question is which is right for you, or for anyone? It depends on what your immediate and long term goals are. For improvement in anything in life, you must have a plan. Since the instructor or Coach is presumed to have more knowledge than you, we are the directors of the plan or the creators of the road map to get you where you want to go.
Some students want to have the best looking swing to impress their friends, some students want to shoot lower scores and don't care how they look! It is the best of all worlds to have a good looking golf swing that is consistent therefore repeatable, while also improving the golf score.
For you Hank, in your situation, I would recommend the long term approach of seeking a golf coach. They would be able to help you with any mechanical issues that you currently have, and help you score lower. (We couldn't open your video, so I don't know what your swing looks like, I know you said everyone thinks you have a good swing) The improvement you seek in a month (you are not in Canada obviously), may be that you need to learn course management skills- maybe your short game is lacking, maybe you need to improve your contact, maybe your set up position needs to be tweaked, really hard to say, you would have to be assessed first. Many times a student believes they have one or another issue and they are actually mistaken.
This is really a longer answer than usual, but its a very involved question. Ultimately whatever you decide, get a plan, and stick to the plan for long term benefit. Like everything in life, the shortcut is usually not the best method for actual improvement.
How do you know that you found the right person, whether instructor or coach? Are you improving is the simple answer. Is the golf ball doing what it is supposed to be doing! Also, very important, do you fit with that person. Do you look forward to going to the lesson. Is it fun? These 'intangibles' so to speak, are often really important. Someone could be the best in their field, but you dread the time ahead, not a good thing.
Let me know if you would like to send in a video for a comprehensive swing analysis. Best wishes.