I often marvel at how much money is spent at the game of golf and how little is spent on fixing obvious flaws-present company included. A membership at a private club costs several hundred dollars a month, not including tournament fees. There is no difficulty in reaching four figures of cost in filling your golf bag, with new drivers going for $500 and top iron sets nearing a grand. Then there are travel costs and green fees to play alluring courses around the country and the world. I put a personal pencil to the task to see just how much money I have spent on the game in the last decade versus how much I have spent on advice.

Here's my ledger:

Golf-Related Expenses 

Dues: ten years @ $500/month = $60,000
Destinations: Trips to Scotland, Pacific Dunes, Cypress Point, and a smattering of other top 100 courses =  $15,000
Equipment: Two major equipment purchases in ten years, plus adding the occasional sand iron or utility club =  $2,500
Golf clothes/shoes/bags/balls, etc. = ten years @ $500 =  $5,000
Lost: $2-$5 per numerous lost Nassaus (bets) =  ??
Total for Last Decade: $82,500

Advice Expense 

Average of one lesson per year @$75/per
Total: $750

The price I've paid for instruction has been less than 1% of what I pay annually to participate in the game. But, as with many golfers, it is more than participation to me-it's a meaningful part of my life. I am passionate about the game. I love the competition (the annual member/guest with my brother is a highlight of every summer). I love to travel and play great courses with old friends. My wife and I share an affection for the game and many rounds each year together (she is the more decorated golfer). We start every year with a golf trip together. Say nothing of the fellowship and banter with the weekly foursome and occasional oddities that happen on the course and serve as fodder over beers for years to come.

So why have I invested so little in the research and development of my own game? It is a question I began to ask myself last summer after one of my Friday foursome shot an iPhone video of my tee shot. I looked at the video, gagged, and said to my group, "I had no idea that you've had to look at that all these years." I truly felt bad for them. I looked like a corkscrew trying to address a golf ball. At that point, I sincerely wished that golf carts came equipped with barf bags. This abbreviated, corkscrewing, contortionist motion in which I somehow managed to achieve contact with the ball and levitate to a 9 handicap was nothing less than miraculous, but then I realized it was most offensive to view. I knew then I had to do something because the only sure thing about my golf swing was that I was unsure about it.

So why didn't I get some advice? Why didn't I ask for the MRI and find out what was really wrong and see if there was any hope for a hobby I spend $8K per year on. To be truthful, like advisors, not all golf instructors are equally as gifted at what they do. 

There are many parallels. I've been underwhelmed by more than one golf instructor throughout the years. I'll never forget the teacher who watched me for 20 minutes as I hit fade after fade and said, " I don't know, man. Doesn't make sense. Everything looks right to me but they keep going right." And I'm thinking, "I paid for this." 

I've met more than one golf instructor who was simply in love with the sound of his own voice and spent almost the entire time telling stories and pontificating. Then there are the technique guys who want to put their swing on you. I've also met a few that I could tell knew their stuff but were very poor communicators and couldn't find the proper language for transferring their knowledge to their students.

I decided that since I'm not getting any younger (53) and the laws of diminishing athletic returns had already shown up in my basketball game, it was now or never. I had to try to find some exceptional advice and find out what was possible for me at this point in my game and life. I got lucky.

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