when off course, get online

John Hughes, PGA


Published: Thursday, November 11, 2010 | 3:16 p.m.

The internet is fast becoming a creative tool to help golfers improve. There are numerous websites, software providers, and individuals who have placed their mark on technology, offering numerous choices for you to track your stats, continue your lesson plans, or just getting answers to your questions. When it comes to improving your golf game, the internet can be an inexpensive and affective ally in your quest to improve.

Words of caution before you start downloading "free" software or paying for services on the internet. Beware of the product or person that wants more personal information than actual data of your game. This is a sure sign you will be getting a lot of "spam" versus instruction, as well as being a potential portal for identity theft. Insure that you have thoroughly investigated the program and provider to prevent any nightmares you could encounter.

Internet based improvement is designed to focus on follow-up, continuing the learning curve, and offering alternative communication means for a pupil and instructor who have distance between them. Sending videos of drills, set-up instructions, swing thoughts, sharing of statistical reporting and data, and other improvement-based ideals is the optimal way of using the internet to continue your golf improvement plan. You can also use the internet to simulcast a practice session or set-up a follow-up lesson.

To be effective and affordable, be willing to pay a little more to an individual instructor, academy, or school that includes the price of this type communication and follow-up within its prices structure. Chances are the people you are dealing with invested their time and financial resources to not only make this type of instruction easy for you, but easy for their various users as well. If the cost of such follow-up is extra, or a yearly subscription fee is necessary, be inquisitive as to extras you should expect for the extra funds. Extra fees with this type of instruction can be compared to the car insurance you continually decline at the rental counter. Unless you feel it absolutely necessary to pay the extra fee, don't.

Statistic programs range from simple spreadsheet supported offerings to sophisticated and expensive choices. At the minimum, these programs should be easy to set-up and use, as well as provide a minimal of trending information about your game. Knowing your trends over several rounds is valuable information for you to understand your game and great information to offer your instructor. With this information, your instructor can create an improvement plan that focuses on your true weaknesses, not your perceived shortcomings. The more bells and whistles within the software, the more costly the software. There are companies that offer statistical tracking as part of an overall subscription to their site or services. It will be up to you to decide if the extra products and services offered within these subscriptions are added benefits to you, or just unused frills.

A great way to get your questions answered as well as keep up with the latest industry trends is by joining an internet community. "Chat Rooms" are great places to interact with other golfers around the world on various subjects such as equipment, instruction, professional tours, golf travel, and course reviews. Most are cost free and have authorities on different issues moderating and administering the content. You will be surprised with the information you will find within these site. Golfers are fanatical about many subjects, including issues internet instruction methods. Chances are if you are thinking about it, so are hundreds of others. The biggest red flag to these sites are the golfers who claim to be experts. They probably have enough information about certain issues to be dangerous. As with any free advice, askers beware.