It is a decision that most recreational golfers face: to take lessons or not to take lessons. There is no clear cut answer. Lessons can help a game, but also change a fun activity into a chore. Some diehard golfers in Boston sports media share their thoughts on the lesson decision.
“Honestly, I’ve never taken a lesson, which is why I’m stuck at about an 18 handicap,” says John Rooke, voice of Providence College, Patriots’ PA announcer, Patriots.com, and GoLocalProv.com columnist. “I watch a few golf shows, read the magazines, and fiddle with the hybrids, all in an effort to take some of the slice out of the swing.”
Rooke’s Gillette Stadium colleague, 98.5 The Sports Hub play-by-play announcer Bob Socci, is battling a similar challenge. He relates, “I’m an absolutely terrible slicer, and I spend most of my time on the course looking for lost golf balls. I actually took a few lessons with several pros. The problem is I got even worse. Like most people, I tried to turn my club had to adjust to my slice, but that didn’t work.”
Conversely, NESN Bruins’ analyst Andy Brickley eschewed lessons for experience. “I learned the game by watching better players on the course and on TV. Golf was just a summer activity that filled a gap when I wasn’t playing baseball.
“My brother Quintin took lessons from Lyman Doane at Mount Hood. I was just trying to pick up the basics of seeing the ball, hitting the ball, and getting to the hole. I golf with a buddy, Mike Libby, who is a pro. It’s like getting a private lesson every time we play.”
Similarly, WCVB-TV icon Mike Lynch took the experiential route to learn the game. He explains, “I was a caddy at Tedesco. I used to follow the railroad tracks behind my house which led right to the 15th hole. I never took any lessons, but used to look forward to Mondays when the caddies could get out there and play.”
Radio personality Pete Sheppard combined instruction with vacation. “We were actually on vacation and I took lessons for five days in the Pompano Beach area. I really learned the etiquette of golf as well as the importance of the grip. I became really good playing with the low irons. I didn’t hit so much for distance as I did for accuracy.”
For former Comcast SportsNet and current Fox Sports personality Donny Marshall, it is what and who you know. He states, “In 1997, I was invited to play in celebrity a long drive competition at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut. I had never played golf, so I called my closest friend in the world, Chuck Grodovich, who owned a couple of courses in the Hartford area.
“He asked me when the competition was. I told him, ‘Two hours.’ Chuck took me to the range and we hit balls for 90 minutes. My hands were so sore. He told me to keep my eye on the ball and swing hard. I still follow those lessons today.”
Marshall’s former Comcast SportsNet colleague, Celtics’ play-by-play legend Mike Gorman, puts lessons into perspective stating, “I have taken a lot of lessons, probably more than I needed to take. Sometimes it can be thoroughly confusing being coached by different people. I really just love to get out on the range and hit balls.”
John Molori is the co-author of “The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball’s Prized Players.” Like him on Facebook at John Molori, Twitter @MoloriMedia. Email firstname.lastname@example.orgWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?