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Don't ever forget this: All club pros are jerks.
Don't ever forget this: All club pros are jerks. (Mike Bailey/WorldGolf.com)

The only two golf lessons you'll ever need

John J. WhiteBy John J. White,

Forget all the lessons you took from golf pros. Forget the straight left arm, proper posture, head still, full shoulder turn, pronate, supinate, belt buckle to target, complete follow through, right elbow in pocket and the zillion other things some guy charged you $40 a half hour to remember.

There are only two lessons you'll need in order to be a good golfer. I'll tell you about them later in the article in order to force you to read the whole piece.

First, a truism. Not one of the two lessons but a truism, regardless. Don't ever forget this: All club pros are jerks. "Jerk" wasn't really what I wanted to say, but I believe in self censorship. Why are they jerks? I have a theory.

All their lives people have told them how great they are. When they were kids beating all the other golfers in town, their parents would brag about them. When they were the whiz kid golfers in high school who beat everyone in the state, the papers wrote stories about how the kid would be the next Jack Nicklaus. In college, they were All-American and were so good, they quit their junior year to join the PGA Tour. Then after two or three years of lousy golf, they quit and became a club pro.

All club pros ever think about is what could have been, so it leaves them in a constantly pissed-off mood, and that's why they treat everybody like crap. When they give you a golf lesson, it's because they want your money for that fresh bottle of Jim Beam later. They won't tell you the real secrets of golf. I will.

Lesson No. 1 has a story behind it. Dub Pagan was an old tour pro in West Palm Beach, Fla. who played against Snead, Hogan and Nelson in his time. I had never swung a golf club before, so I asked him for a lesson. I gave him 20 bucks, and he asked me to hit a few for him. I topped a couple of shots, and he said, "Stop - that's enough. Here." He handed me the $20 and said, "That's the worst swing I've ever seen. Go take up some other sport. You'll never be a golfer."

I was so upset that I swore to practice like crazy to show him he was wrong. Within three years, I had a single-digit handicap.

Lesson No. 2 also has a story behind it. Another pro, this time a woman, couldn't stop me from swaying during the swing. In frustration, she said, "Pretend you have a dime stuck between your ass cheeks, and you can't let it fall out during the swing."

I tried, but for the first couple of swings, I couldn't get the right feeling, and it was impossible to squeeze your cheeks together with your legs spread apart at address. She explained that I was to only imagine squeezing the dime near the top of the backswing and also right before the club head contacted the ball. This derriere squeeze would supposedly keep my right hip and leg from swaying too far right on the backswing and my left hip and leg from swaying too far left at contact.

When she left the range to answer a phone call, I took a dime out of my pocket and shoved it ... well, you can guess. I swung a few times and hit the ball pretty well. But then, before I could remove the dime from its new home, the pro returned. Unfortunately, the lesson lasted another 45 minutes, and try as I could to force it out, the dime stayed in place. You try to remove a dime from your ass in 90 percent humidity without your hands.

So what have you learned? You've learned that club pros are jerks and think they are better than you. Second, you've learned two secrets to good golf.

Lesson One: Have someone you respect tell you that you suck in golf.

Lesson Two: Pretend you have a dime stuck between your ass cheeks, and you can't let it fall out during the swing.

Why, in no time, you'll be a great golfer and can go around acting like a jerk.

John J. White is not a bad golfer. He just plays one on the course. When he is not golfing, he is an engineer and freelance writer. He has won several awards for his short stories, and has been published in literary magazines. He is currently working on his fourth novel, "Nisei," and lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife, editor and typist, Pamela.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Dub Pagan

    AaronGolf wrote on: May 3, 2017

    What a funny story! I grew up playing the WPBCC and took several lessons from Mr. Pagan. He was great to me as a junior learning the game. Dub was also a great player in his day (see PBC Sports Hall of Fame). Dub helped me go from an 18 to +1.


      • RE: Dub Pagan

        Mikio wrote on: Aug 22, 2017

        You can become a Top Golfers by following juala su Golf technique on her facebook page.


  • RE: Jerks

    Jerk Golf Pro wrote on: Dec 23, 2016

    I am going to start this reply by taking a page from John White's book called "Stereotypes by Ignorant People". There are two types of Club Professionals. There is the club professionals that thinks this business is just hitting balls on the range every day, telling the occasional person to keep their head down, and taking four days off every other week to go play in tournaments, which is the type of pro that our simple minded author came across, and then there is the rest of us. The majority of club professionals in this business care about our student's game more than our own. In addition, we have had to adapt to changes in our business. Not only are we teachers, but we have been forced into a multi-tasking role which includes, but is not limited to tournament operations, staff management, budgeting, IT operations, merchandising, not to mention overall customer service and ass kissing.
    My colleagues and I attempt to deliver the highest level of customer service to our respective clientele day in and day out. We sacrifice by working long hours and being away from our families on holidays and special occasions. We neglect our own game for the good of our students and for the success of our facilities and operations. And we do all of this will a smile. Why? Because we love the game and we love the people.
    John, I challenge to come spend a week with me during season and see my operation and the time and effort I put in. I don't drink Jim Beam and I treat all of my members with kindness and respect. I'm not sure what planet you are living on, but if all golf pros acted the way you described us, we would be out of a job. So come spend a week with me, do what I do, get paid the amount I get paid, and then go rewrite your blithering article.
    One definition of engineering is the application of mathematics, scientific, and practical knowledge in order to invent, innovate, or design structures, tools, systems, etc. After reading this article, it is clear to me that you applied absolutely zero knowledge of any kind when you wrote this article. I sure hope that you are a better engineer than a writer. Furthermore, the dime that you removed from your ass is not the only thing that needs to be removed.


      • RE: RE: Jerks

        Fred Plott wrote on: Jul 29, 2019

        This is what he is talking about. You just validated everything he wrote. All you PGA crying like children pissing and complaining jerks sacrifice soooo much for us ungreatfull ball beaters. maybe we should take up a collection and send the money to you with a card that sends our apologies for a hero like you. Thank you so much for nothing !!!


      • RE: RE: Jerks

        Joe wrote on: Aug 29, 2018

        Your hissy fit, panties-twisted-in-a-knot response was even funnier than the article. I especially love how you provided evidence of his point while frothing at the mouth about how false it was. I can almost literally see you picking up your ball and stomping away. Get a life...and some working brain cells while you're at it. The article was not meant to be taken seriously. How tragic that you actually needed that explained to you.
        Speaking of having things removed from their behinds, ask someone to help you remove your head from yours. Then maybe you can finally remove that feather that's driving you nuts.


  • jerks

    Marc Brady,PGA wrote on: Jul 5, 2014

    On the off chance that your column wasn't a joke...I have worked in golf all my life, am a Life member of the PGA and never wanted to play the tour, I wanted to teach, administer and serve to help make the game more enjoyable for people like you. Most of my PGA friends are hard working, dedicated and put up with people who often think they know more about golf, instruction and running a club then we do...but we keep working weekends, 65 hours a week and very seldom get to play the game we love. If you'll listen to a good teacher, work hard and do what he/she says you too can improve. Good luck!


      • RE: jerks

        fred wrote on: Mar 5, 2015

        most teaching pros ive been to are lazy. heres what the pga says to teach and thats how they teach. what if your right elbow is fused which makes your right arm 3" shorter than the left (right handed golfer). the right side of my back is in constant pain and i know its directly related to my bent right arm. all i get is confounded looks with the answer,"try your best to get in this position, see how _____, _____, ____ is doing it here?" i am a 7 handicap but not knowing how i should swing is holding me back. weird things happen when your body knows your about to cause it pain. answer that! mr. pga professional. I hit high, low, draws and fades. thankz, fred


      • RE: jerks

        Happy Gilmore wrote on: Jul 13, 2014

        So in other words you're a jerk lol!


  • golf

    dc piers wrote on: Jun 18, 2014

    Golf is a noun. You can play golf but you can't go golfing no more than you can go footballing.


      • RE: golf

        FU wrote on: Aug 17, 2016

        First of all, golf is a noun and a verb. Second of all, double negatives are a no no. (lol) You should have said, "you can't go golfing 'any' more" not "you can't go golfing 'no' more."


      • RE: golf

        Tbone wrote on: Mar 19, 2015

        You are wrong. It's a noun and a verb. Google it, then please retake 5th grade English. Football is only a noun.


      • RE: golf

        Jstew wrote on: Dec 20, 2014

        thanks.........That has always been one of my pet peeves. Misuse of the word golf.


  • Great tips

    erniemccracken wrote on: Dec 16, 2010

    Great article.
    I worked in a pro shop as a kid and can confirm that most club pros hate giving lessons and would much rather be working on their own games.


  • Great tips

    jeffreyfrog wrote on: Jun 11, 2010

    I know one site who will help you AND give this type of services.
    I suggest you should try or visit this site.
    I am saying this because I have also used this site.
    So, Try this one golf lesson
    Best of Luck


  • Dimes?

    Clam fist wrote on: May 27, 2010

    Are you talking about a roll of dimes?


  • My Best Lesson

    His Grace wrote on: Feb 19, 2010

    One time I was on the first tee at Allenmore golf course in Tacoma, WA. There was a big crowd around and it was my turn to tee off. I lined up and swung and missed. I took a second swing but hooked the ball so sharp it nearly hit an onlooker.
    Finally, the pro came up and said, "hit the ball as hard as you can, let the fuc*** fly"
    I wound up and hit that ball a country mile! Now I always remember the pro....hit it as hard as you can!!


      • RE: My Best Lesson

        paul bailey wrote on: Aug 5, 2011

        when u get up to the real ball, swing as though there is no ball at all. just use that beautiful practice swing.
        use your swing as though there was no ball there. make a smooth 3/4 power swing exactly as you did your practice swing.
        50 pinewood
        cabot, arkansas 72023


          • RE: RE: My Best Lesson

            paul bailey wrote on: Aug 8, 2011

            thanks for using my comment which was written aug 5 2011.
            its worked for me for about 50 years. I am 66 years old and because of physical problems I may not play again.
            my practice swing looks exactly like my real swing is going to look like. my real swing looks exactly like what my practice looked like.
            Its almost like cheating.


  • Only 2 Lessons

    Ken Holden wrote on: Nov 16, 2009

    In answer to John J White, as a PGA Professional myself from England I would have to partially agree with his assessment of the Club Golf Pro, most of us who teach golf for a living do so because we were not good enough to make money playing Pro golf.
    I work in Switzerland where we have more bad golfers per population than anywherelse in the world. There is one additional lesson or thought for all very bad golfers, why hit it shit with a shit swing when you could hit it shit with a good swing?
    It would also save you quite a lot of embarrassment on the golf course.
    Best Regards
    Ken PGA


      • RE: Only 2 Lessons

        PGA Professionals's wrote on: Aug 13, 2012

        The days of the good 'ol club professional who called EVERYONE "Pards", played golf 3-4 days a week with club members or other players, hung out in the grille and played cards with guests, and gave lessons because he actually cared about the person and their success- ARE LONG GONE!
        Take it from a 25-year veteran and PGA Member. It the "good 'ol days," the Professional owned the carts, range, merchandise, snack bar and reaped all the profits. Their job duties were to be visible- play golf regularly with clientele, eat lunch and play cards with them, and help them with their golf game.
        The Golf Course Management Companies have DESTROYED the role of the PGA Club Professional and turned them into a corporate puppet. Nowadays, a Club Professional is Retailer, Accountant, HR Manager, Data Entry Clerk, Greeter etc... and the list goes on and on and on.
        Club Professionals are now just a "number" to these large corporations and there is ZERO loyalty within them. Gone are the commissions from cart rentals, green fees, merchandise, range balls, etc... Now it's a flat salary (that is embarrassing) and a % of the lessons you give- of which you NEVER have time because you are working so many hours.
        More to come but I'd love to hear some feedback.....
        Captain-Penn State Golf Team


          • Do you know every single pro in the world?

            Heather wrote on: Jan 12, 2013

            I think it is funny how people equate one experience working in a golf shop and one or two golf professional experiences to conclude all golf pros are jerks.
            Essentially this is just another run of the mill stereotypical statement. I'd like you to write the same article and insert any other stereotypical phrase in place of all golf pros are jerks.
            I won't judge you by this one article alone, but I wonder what other types of problems you have with "certain types" of people.
            At least there is a lot of love in golf.
            There are still plenty of people out here willing to serve others and have compassion for fellow human beings. There are people that actually care about others (including their golf games)
            Just like how you feel about being categorized now as a "senior citizen". I don't appreciate being classified as a jerk.
            I'm a PGA Pro therefore I am a jerk. I know jerk pros, dentists, writers, lawyers...but I also know wonderful and kind PGA Professionals, Dentists, Writers & Lawyers.
            People are individuals. As much as we love to classify them based on a few experiences, this world would be a sad place if everyone had that same mentality.
            You write well John, but I disagree with your voice behind this article.
            PGA Professional


              • RE: Do you know every single pro in the world?

                rob wrote on: Jul 13, 2013

                finding a pro that works for you is hard.i was put of by one in england who taught how and not why so i didnt know what to do when i lost my swing.when i lived in florida i saw an old pro who not only gave me the love of my game back but also stories of playing with jack, arnie, gary player ect. i consider myself lucky. wonderful pro's are out there.


              • RE: Do you know every single pro in the world?

                Joe Busch wrote on: Feb 28, 2013

                Have to agree with Heather. As a 30+ handicapper I have come across several wonderful pros who have gotten me down to an 18.4 index. Even played in the World Am in Myrtle last year and met several pros in the SC area.
                Yes, there are lots of jerks on the golf course; I am usre many thought I was one years ago. Times change, folks all over are different, don't pidgeon-hole a whole group. As someone once wrote, if you and your golf pro don't have a good relationship, break-up and find another.
                Now, where is the pro who can get me to single digits, without years of practice!


                  • RE: RE: Do you know every single pro in the world?

                    Edward Byrne wrote on: Jan 22, 2014

                    thee are only a few fundamentals you really need to get right to be reasonably competent at golf. The ethical pro (nice person or not) knows this and teaches accordingly. Most important they need to teach you how to empty your head during the swing and rely on the wonderful human mind/body ability to perform an understood task on autopilot.


                      • RE: RE: RE: Do you know every single pro in the world?

                        Clete West wrote on: Jan 17, 2015

                        This is probably the most important thing for a golfer to achieve. All the lessons and all the practice will not achieve this act.
                        And while I am at it , the worst thing a golfer can do is to read all the baloney that is presented monthly in all the golf magazines, things that will mess you up forever.


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