You have been thinking about taking a golf lesson but don’t know where to begin.

First and foremost, you need to find the right golf professional for you. The best way is by word of mouth. Ask friends who play golf who they recommend. Call and interview the professional.

Make sure he or she is a certified LPGA or PGA teaching professional. Ask if she teaches beginners. Does she use teaching aids? Do you receive written notes? Does she ever take her students out on the course? Ask what her rates are and if she reduces the rate for a series of lessons.

Next, expect the professional to interview you. He needs to know your physical limitations, whether you played other sports or exercise, and whether you are willing to practice between lessons. He needs to know your golf goals so that he can help you set up realistic expectations.

Make sure the professional is a good communicator. A good teacher will relate golf to other things you have done before. Analogies are effective communication tools.

The teacher should use both kinesthetic and visual teaching aids. The teacher should also check your equipment and make sure it fits you. Many new golfers come to lessons with the improper equipment.

If you already are a golfer and need help with your swing, I recommend that you don’t tell the professional what you think you’re doing wrong. Let her diagnose your problems after you hit a number of shots, and communicate back and forth.

Many students come to lessons after reading golf magazines and watching the Golf Channel. Those tips are generalizations, and they don’t know your ability to produce a certain swing.

The golf professional will explain cause and effect so that you will have knowledge in order to make effective changes.

Once you have found the right teacher for you, here are some hints to have a good lesson:

  • Arrive to lessons early. It takes time to relax and stretch. You don’t want to feel hurried.
  • Leave your stress in the parking lot, along with your cell phone.
  • Be open and receptive to trying new things.
  • Don’t expect a “quick fix.”
  • Know that improvements might mean caring more about the process than the outcome during the lesson.
  • Improvement comes through proper practice.

Now you are ready to take that golf lesson.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses.;