Equipment vs Lessons

Deemac

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2009
HCP
4
Local club/country
Torrance House Golf Club EK
Irons
MP 69's
Driver
Mizuno JPX 850 Fujikura Orochi 60g Stiff
#1
Ever since I started playing golf, I have always put investment in my swing before investment in equipment.

You all know how much of a fanatic I am about Mizuno equipment, and it is the best, but I have always thought that spending money on lessons has been better for me than spending loads of money on kit.

I always laughed at people who thought that buying a new driver would make them hit it longer and straighter, or how a new putter would make them sink more putts, when clearly, their technique was poor.

I am still a HUGE advocate of custom fitting and using good quality equipment, but think that lessons should be the first thing someone invests in.

Thoughts?
 

LOS

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Joined
Dec 3, 2015
Local club/country
England
#2
I am sure there are a lot of debates about this on the internet so just one question.
How does a new adult starter at golf find a Pro who is a very good communicator and good at giving simple easy to understand lessons which work for that individual? It isn't as easy as it should be.
 

Deemac

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2009
HCP
4
Local club/country
Torrance House Golf Club EK
Irons
MP 69's
Driver
Mizuno JPX 850 Fujikura Orochi 60g Stiff
#3
Agree! I've stood next to people getting lessons from complete muppets!

I've had 3 instructors since starting to play golf, and they were all carefully selected after a lot of research. I had to balance my budget with the instructor's level of competence.

I have been really lucky to have had 3 really good instructors!

Research is the key to finding a good one!
 

LOS

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Joined
Dec 3, 2015
Local club/country
England
#4
In the 60's the only lessons I could afford were during the winter when the local Pro did tuition in the school gym 1 night a week. Eveything was by rote for all of us, I think there between 6 and 8.
 

DCB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Location
Midlothian
HCP
15
Local club/country
Midlothian, Scotland http://www.merchantsgolf.com
Irons
My ReHab Bag - Mizuno JPX 900 HM 5-GW A Shafts, JPX EX 4H, JPX 900 5 & 7 Wood Orochi RL Shafts.
Driver
JPX 900
#5
Finding a good teacher is critical IMO, you also need to be able to communicate well in a manner that you both understand what is being said or asked. I went through a spell of getting lessons in an effort to improve, biggest problem was getting enough practice in to ingrain the new technique. Lessons are only part of the improvement process, the practice is the other part. However, there can be an information overload and that can cause brain freeze and really spoil your golf. We play for enjoyment, something we sometimes lose track of. I'm sure I have managed to manufacture my current golf swing due to the info I gained during those lessons. I can remember talking to a physio in hospital and explaing what I was going to try to do, in time it worked out well. Yes its an "old man" swing now, but at least I can get the clubbed into the back of the ball, which to me is the critical part of the swing.
 

Deemac

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2009
HCP
4
Local club/country
Torrance House Golf Club EK
Irons
MP 69's
Driver
Mizuno JPX 850 Fujikura Orochi 60g Stiff
#6
Indeed DCB, we are all different, I suppose I am talking about the group of players who rely on equipment to improve their game rather than lessons, hard work and practice...

I've had 3 great coaches:

1) Kevin Craggs, got me to 12 and then we got stuck, and I moved on
2) The late, great Adam Hunter, coach of Paul Lawrie when he won the Open, sadly our relationship was ended when he passed away from leukemia, and he is sadly missed
3) David Patrick, who worked on my short game with me just before I stopped playing

Now that I'm back, I've booked a full-day golf clinic with David again and see if I can pick up where I left off.

In terms of equipment, however, I already have a bag full of Mizuno magic and have no plans to change.
 

MrK20

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Joined
Sep 4, 2018
Local club/country
Germany
Irons
Mizuno / MP 20 HMB; MP 20; T20 / 2; 3-9; 49, 54, 60, Nippon Modus 120 S
Driver
Mizuno / JPX 900 / 9.5°D, 14°F, 18°F, 22H, Fujikura Speeder Evo II 757 X(D, F), Fujikura SIX R(H)
#7
I like buying equipment from time to time. Not because I believe it will make me a better golfer or the new equipment will help me play better, rather it is a bit of a hobby of mine. It is quite exciting to have something new and looking at something shiny and different might spark something as well. But I know that to play better I have to work on it myself - with or without lessons. I have had 3 teachers so far, and only one of them I was really able to learn a lot from - because I understood what he was trying to do, but most importantly he understood what I was trying to do as well. Also whilst he was listening to me what I was thinking were my problems he also showed me different areas on my game where we could save lots of strokes by working on them. Those aspects really were the key.
The other two teachers I had looked at amateurs with a very one dimensional approach I always thought. I never really got much out of those lessons which is why I stopped taking them.
Sadly my last teacher, the one I got on with well, moved to a different club and is out of reach to me. So now I'm trying to just continue working on what we started, but I'm still seeing benefits! Never before have I played as consistently as I have now - and never have I understood more what I needed to do to post a decent score, even when I'm not hitting it well. A key area that he worked on with me.

But I do like equipment as well :). It's just part of the hobby. That doesn't actually mean I change much, but I like to have some clubs. I have a Hybrid and a 3 iron even though I realistically only need one of them (the 3 iron mostly). I also have an order placed on a 2 iron, but I also already have a 5 wood I'm very happy with at that point of the bag. But I want the full set of irons, just because I like them. There's nothing wrong with spending earned money on stuff that I want to have I think.
 

DCB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Location
Midlothian
HCP
15
Local club/country
Midlothian, Scotland http://www.merchantsgolf.com
Irons
My ReHab Bag - Mizuno JPX 900 HM 5-GW A Shafts, JPX EX 4H, JPX 900 5 & 7 Wood Orochi RL Shafts.
Driver
JPX 900
#8
There is probably quite a group of players nowadays at all levels where equipment has made the game easier. Whether the players can make the most of that assistance is another thing. Look at wedges nowadays, so many options to choose from that anyone playing should be able to get a wedge set up to suit their game. However, the good old days, when you had one wedge and you had to be creative to get the most out of it certainly had an appeal IMO. As for clubheads, everything is massive nowadays compare with 30-40 years back. I remember playing with a set of Letters clubs (real Letters from Hillington Park) where you could shave with the 5 iron, the 3 iron could slit your throat, but we knew how to make the most of them. We hs the old reverce C swing and we managed to get the clubhead into the ball (most times) and play the shot. Nowadays people are taught a much more athletic/agressive swing than used to be the norm. Club design has changed and the GI iron is very much more prevalent than it was even 15 years ago. Even Mizuno started down that line when the EZs first came out in 2013/14. I'm certainly grateful they went tha way as it has helped me keep on playing
 

Stewart 57

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Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Location
Sandnes, Norway
HCP
11.
Local club/country
Sandnes Golf Club, Norway
Irons
Mizuno MP 18`s 4 - PW. MP T7 ,50,54,&58 dgr, wedges, Mizuno A, 309 Putter,
Driver
JPX 850 driver, JPX 3 wood, JPX 900, hybrid,
#9
Totally agree with you DCB, when I learned to play golf, and was always told and taught, " Straight back and through, keep low with the ground, " all I see now regards to putter training in mirrors and arc, so now we all tend to putt in an arc,???? who started this ???
 

Brattz

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Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Location
Derby, Derbyshire
HCP
Pro
Local club/country
Derby Golf Centre
Irons
Mizuno JPX 919 Tour (4-PW) - Project X LZ 6.5 120g - 0.5° Flat - 1/2"+
Driver
Titleist TS3 - HC Project X LZ17 6.5 60g, 9.5°, A1 - 11g
#10
Totally agree with you DCB, when I learned to play golf, and was always told and taught, " Straight back and through, keep low with the ground, " all I see now regards to putter training in mirrors and arc, so now we all tend to putt in an arc,???? who started this ???
Interestingly Stewart I was always told there were 2 types of putter, the person who prefers a slight arc and the person who is straight back and thru. Both options dictated solely where your eyes are at address.
If your eyes are above the ball, you will see straight back and through as your best method and as such use a mallet putter. If you are inside the ball with your eyes (between hands and ball) you will see an arc’d putting stroke and use a heel/toe putter.

That’s stuck with me since about 1990 when I went to a David Leadbetter exhibition with Nick Faldo and Nick Price at Lindrick. One Pete Cowen was the pro at Lindrick at the time having finished his European tour playing days.
 

Siolag

New Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
HCP
30
Local club/country
Stirling
Irons
MP18 MB 4-9 MMC Fli Hi 3 iron
Driver
Titleist 913
#11
I bought new wedges earlier this year, the first brand new clubs I have every had. They are a joy to use and I practice a lot as well as being out on the course. My brother was rather critical of my buying them as he said it’s a waste of money, but at the end of the day, it’s my money and I enjoy using them. I didn’t buy them thinking my short game would somehow magically improve. Practice has done that.
 

POB

Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2020
Local club/country
United Kingdom
#12
I have never had a lesson, and don't intend doing so, don't have lessons for any other sport i take part in and wouldn't for golf.

Sometimes ppl buy new clubs after a fitting which can lead to some gains, sometimes ppl just buy new clubs to make them feel better or simply to give them some encouragement to get out and be enthusiastic about the game again!

Any of these reasons are good enough for me.
 

Bernhard G

Active Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
HCP
18
Local club/country
VcG
Irons
MP-5
Driver
JPX 850 / 11.5 / Aldila Tour Blue 65 Stiff
#13
Ever since I started playing golf, I have always put investment in my swing before investment in equipment.

You all know how much of a fanatic I am about Mizuno equipment, and it is the best, but I have always thought that spending money on lessons has been better for me than spending loads of money on kit.

I always laughed at people who thought that buying a new driver would make them hit it longer and straighter, or how a new putter would make them sink more putts, when clearly, their technique was poor.

I am still a HUGE advocate of custom fitting and using good quality equipment, but think that lessons should be the first thing someone invests in.

Thoughts?
I think there is a common misconception in this dichotomy of (training the) skills vs equipment. It's not so much an equation of summing up one against the other parameter (and making a judgement which of the two weighs more), but more a multiplication of several factors, equipment and skills being two of the factors. (and talent being a third factor. But when not comparing different people it's irrelevant, because for each of us our talent is a given constant more or less.)
Skills and suitability of equipment for the task multiply each other. Both are important.
If one is zero, you get nothing, regardless how good the other is.
In my humble experience, the difficulty is in finding
-a good coach
-finding equipment that is suitable for you

With coaches 4 out of 5 (random numbers but the general proportion is like that) are not able to help you much, beyond getting you up to some very basic skills. The problem is not so much how good of a golfer they are themselves, but about how well they understand the different needs of different mentalities and different physiologies and how good their methodology is to get the help across.
Maybe 1 out of 10 is really good and 1 out of 100 is worth a road trip for a one time instruction.
Regular practice obviously is the most important factor to get better, together with frequent supervision to not groove in bad habits and technique.

Now the question of what is good equipment and how to find it is even more difficult to tackle for the amateur golfer.
Obviously a static fitting (length of club, lie, grip size) is necessary.
Weight and consistency of weight and heft (MOI) is then the most important factor and most ignored in the average golfing population in my humble experience.
The state of the art of fitting is a disaster - at least in the general area where I live - and that is the bottleneck where the golfing industry suffers the most IMO. A good fitting with the correct objectives - not profit but golfer oriented - is very hard to find for amateur players.

In reality most golfers start out with badly fitted equipment (and fitting does not mean the new shiny stuff, but something with correct weight, length, lie, consistent MOI over all clubs, etc.) and thus they get better slower than they could get, even with good instruction and lots of practice.

E.g. a lot of today's lightweight equipment is good for the ageing golfing population, helping somewhat to offset their overall loss in muscle power, but the downside is less control and precision. It's not so good for the player trying to get better, since you can't feel the club's and clubhead's position well, and meaningful feedback is the most important factor in learning how to deliver the club face better toward the ball.

It's a tough game in a fake market full of thieves where good men die like dogs, and then there is also a bad side. :)
 
Last edited:

RobCH

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Joined
May 1, 2013
Location
London, England
HCP
13
Local club/country
Nomadic
Irons
JPX 900 Forged 5-PW graphite, JPX FliHi 4, T7 50, 54, 58 wedges. Odyssey Tank putter
Driver
GT180 driver & 3 wood, JPX 900 3 Hybrid
#14
If I see a really good golfer, playing with good clubs, do I assume it was the clubs that made them that good in the first place?

No.
 

Bernhard G

Active Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
HCP
18
Local club/country
VcG
Irons
MP-5
Driver
JPX 850 / 11.5 / Aldila Tour Blue 65 Stiff
#15
If I see a really good golfer, playing with good clubs, do I assume it was the clubs that made them that good in the first place?

No.
I meet a lot of people particularly in the Western Hemisphere, who have this strange limitation in their thinking: that there has to be one reason only, when in reality it is a complex multifactorial interaction that yields certain results.
Congratulations for constructing an artificial “hen or egg first” dilemma, where there is none.

No doubt the player himself is the by far biggest factor. Doesn't mean there aren't other, smaller, factors involved as well who can, in their way they come into the equation, make big differences as well.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 6, 2020
HCP
15
Local club/country
Australia
Irons
3 - PW MP-20 HMB with Miyazaki Jinsoku 76s Shafts 50/55/60 T20 Satin Chrome Wedges with Miyazaki C.Kua 95w Wedge Shafts
Driver
ST190G -10 degree in UST Proforce TSPX VTS Silver 6S
#16
Understanding the correct sequencing and path of a sound golf swing trumps any equipment IMHO. Someone starting out on the right path will improve much quicker than someone who must try to "unlearn" bad habits and rebuild their action.

Irons have only really seen advance in metallurgy and tech in the last five years, beyond that loft creep is the main factor in distance increases, Driver design and better Titanium being used by OEM's (SP700 and Beta - Ti) instead of cheap 6AL4-V have improved longevity and spin rates but all are limited to COR of .83 regardless, with the main tech increase across the board being ball technology.

If you can't swing it consistently on a given plane to a point you can trust the result all the tech in the world won't get it done.

Golf equipment is the most successfully marketed product in the world, its the only sport someone will happily drop $2500 on with no idea why and how it may help them, just that it looks nice......... sad really.
 

RobCH

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 1, 2013
Location
London, England
HCP
13
Local club/country
Nomadic
Irons
JPX 900 Forged 5-PW graphite, JPX FliHi 4, T7 50, 54, 58 wedges. Odyssey Tank putter
Driver
GT180 driver & 3 wood, JPX 900 3 Hybrid
#17
I meet a lot of people particularly in the Western Hemisphere, who have this strange limitation in their thinking: that there has to be one reason only, when in reality it is a complex multifactorial interaction that yields certain results.
Congratulations for constructing an artificial “hen or egg first” dilemma, where there is none.

No doubt the player himself is the by far biggest factor. Doesn't mean there aren't other, smaller, factors involved as well who can, in their way they come into the equation, make big differences as well.
Luckily my reply was not based on the presumption that only one factor was involved. So no congratulations are required. But thanks anyway.
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
HCP
6
Local club/country
Northumberland
Irons
MP H5
Driver
ST190
#18
Indeed DCB, we are all different, I suppose I am talking about the group of players who rely on equipment to improve their game rather than lessons, hard work and practice...

I've had 3 great coaches:

1) Kevin Craggs, got me to 12 and then we got stuck, and I moved on
2) The late, great Adam Hunter, coach of Paul Lawrie when he won the Open, sadly our relationship was ended when he passed away from leukemia, and he is sadly missed
3) David Patrick, who worked on my short game with me just before I stopped playing

Now that I'm back, I've booked a full-day golf clinic with David again and see if I can pick up where I left off.

In terms of equipment, however, I already have a bag full of Mizuno magic and have no plans to change.
 

Deemac

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2009
HCP
4
Local club/country
Torrance House Golf Club EK
Irons
MP 69's
Driver
Mizuno JPX 850 Fujikura Orochi 60g Stiff
#19
3 lessons since i started back and my ball striking, ball flight and shot shape are all sooooo much better!
 

PaulBoy

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Joined
Nov 18, 2012
HCP
4.5 CONGU
Local club/country
Army GC & New Forest GC
Irons
In between irons
Driver
Callaway Rogue 10.5 MRC Tensei Orange 60s
#20
3 lessons since i started back and my ball striking, ball flight and shot shape are all sooooo much better!
Great to hear that Deemac - Mind you, your coach has plenty to work with - The big question is, will you be "bulking up" a la Bryson De C to add more distance?
Paul
 
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