Fire Ridge Head Golf Professional Andy Podolak has spent more than two thirds of his life around the game golf; therefore, it’s safe to say he’s just about seen it all when it comes to etiquette or lack thereof on the course. For our second installment of Andy’s Pro Page we thought it might be a good exercise to ask him just exactly how you go about giving and accepting help during a round. We’ve all been on both sides of the coin, either you’re struggling mightily or someone in your group is. It’s a delicate subject, but thank goodness we have Andy’s insight.
I’m sure we can all relate to this subject of giving or taking advice during a casual round of golf. I know I’ve been there numerous times. The natural instinct for me being a golf instructor is to always offer help. I really can’t help myself. If an individual in my group is struggling during the round , I have to speak up and offer help. Regardless if I already know them or not, they can always decline. But what about someone who’s not a professional instructor, what should they do in this situation? Below are a few of my thoughts on this touchy subject.
If you’re the one finding yourself wanting to offer advice to someone who’s really struggling during a round, just keep things as simple as possible. First of all, trying to help or teach an individual during the course of a round is not a good idea because it’s not the range. We don’t have the luxury of hitting numerous balls in a row, which is what one should do when trying something new or making a change. So your pieces of advice should be very fundamental based such as grip, alignment, ball position, posture, balance or rhythm. If you attempt to give technical advice like “try to get your hands or arms in this position,” there’s a slim chance it’s going to take. Or if you tell the person “hey…try this…it works for me,” stop right there. Everyone’s issues are totally different and what works for one doesn’t mean it will work for someone else.
Now if you’re the one that tries anything new when you’re struggling on the course, be careful whom you accept advice from. If you’re a true beginner at the game, yes any logical advice might do you some good and results might happen immediately. If you’re farther along than a beginner (a 9-14 handicap for example), just ask yourself, “how knowledgeable is this person? Remember you can always decline the offer kindly and just stick to what you know.
If you do find yourself helping another out during the round, please don’t forget about the golfers behind you. If you see them waiting on you every other hole while you’re more or less giving a lesson, they have every right to be upset and irritated. Keep things brief and pick and choose your time. While your group is waiting for the foursome ahead to clear the green might be the best time.
In conclusion, advice about what someone should or shouldn’t do is a touchy subject matter. You will always run into the guy that thinks he’s know it all and everything he says is correct and the golfer that will try anything to help them play better golf. At the end of the day, quality advice comes in small doses from someone with experience. As for the one who might be taking advice, keep things as simple as possible. If you start down a good road don’t take an exit in hopes it might be a faster way. Chances are you’ll just get lost and wish you never ventured off your original path.
Please shade differently as always [if tight on space use smaller pix of him]
Andy Podolak is the Head PGA Golf Professional at Fire Ridge Golf Club in Grafton, Wisconsin. Andy is currently in his 10th year and before his days at Fire Ridge he played professionally on NGA/Hooters, Various Mini Tours and many Nationwide/ PGA Tour qualifiers. Andy’s lesson rates start at $45 per half hour or $75 per hour session. Various lesson packages are also available and he can be reached at Fire Ridge GC by calling 262-375-2252 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit Andy’s facebook page at Podolak Golf Instruction.