Well, as you're on my website and maybe looking for lessons, then I hope you think they do or would!
However, only 15% of golfers (players that play once per month) actually have lessons. Why? The top reason, before affordability, time etc is... most people think you'll go backwards before you go forwards.
This is a myth, worst case scenario after one lesson is you'll leave with a better understanding of how to improve. On almost every occasion, players will leave a lesson with an improvement in ball flight, strike etc.
What happens next however, is the reason players believe lessons don't work...
If from a 60 minute lesson, you think a technical change will stick when you play on the course the following day, it wont. You'll go back to default. Depending how that round goes I'll get one of the following messages...
"Oli, changes worked great! shot the lowest round of the year so far!"
"Implemented the changes from the lesson on the course and it wasn't working."
"Thanks again for the lesson, really enjoyed it and looking forward to starting the programme. I played a round Friday that went really well! Then again Sunday which was awful!"
In both situations, 99% of the time there would have been no change in the swing technically.
What can change instantly; decision making, expectations, understanding. All of which would improve your scores. The technical changes usually take longer.
Interviewer: So what have you been working on with Colin (Morikawa)?
Rick Sessinghaus (coach): Well, kinda the same thing for the last 3 years
3 years! Best ball striker in the world is still working on technical improvements. Check out JTs comment below!
So when you see coaches (including myself), post 'before and after' swings from the same lesson. Even if this isn't a drill, its been done in a very sterile environment, not the course in an event. Big difference!
Technical changes take time! But, there is some good news! While working on technical changes, you can develop other parts of your game to improve!
Lessons and practice (when competent) should include an aspect of skill development. Improving your skill can also help change technique and if this is a change in technique that was created by the player, it's usually a quicker change that will last longer.
GAME MANAGEMENT AND EXPECTATIONS
Most players would instantly save shots if they were realistic with yardages and accepted their miss. Measure your practice and dont assume you'll hit your best 150 yards baby fade with your 7 iron each shot. Remember, you've also got a 120 weak slice as part of your shot pattern.
So yes, lessons do work but they should include skill development, game management as well as just drills for technical changes. Regular feedback between coach and player is also crucial to help ensure nothing slips back to default. This can be done online between lessons and if you're down at Tee Box, all your practice is recorded!
Lesson programmes work, one off quick tips don't.