The benefits of pro lessons: How 3+ lessons per year increase retention rates





Players 1st data shows that players at all skill levels benefit in terms of lowering their HCP by taking just 3+ lessons per year. New players especially benefit immensely from pros who can provide particularly pedagogical and exciting lessons, and clubs can increase their retention rates significantly by making sure players improve below 37+ HCP.



Professional lessons improve HCP
GolfBox recently provided statistics that showed how professional lessons improve game performance. Using Players 1st data we have been able to replicate their results: Players who take 3+ lessons per year are in fact much more likely to lower their handicap, regardless of their current skill level.

About 34 percent of players can improve their HCP index without taking lessons, however, by taking a minimum of just three pro lessons per year more than 50% percent of players will improve - and the more pro lessons you take, the better.


We found this to be true at all skill levels, but particularly when it comes to players in the 37+ HCP group. Interestingly though, players with a low HCP also have a much higher improvement rate when taking just a small handful of lessons each year - low HCP players benefit, in other ways than the high HCP group, by maintaining techniques and staying on track to keep improving.

Retain members by making them better golfers
Obviously, there are clear incentives for players to take lessons from club pros. The key point to be made here, however, relates to member retention: retaining members requires clubs to make sure new players become better golfers and that new members are socially integrated.

As we discussed back in February, in The PGA pro version 2.0, pros are in an ideal position to influence players on both accounts, which is all the more reason for clubs to provide flexible and socially oriented training opportunities to as many members as possible.

In that same study we also considered the fact that new players who do not improve below 37+ HCP are much more likely to abandon their club within a short period of time. The data clearly shows that a minimum of three pro lessons can significantly increase their likelihood to improve and thus their likelihood to stay in the club. Hence, clubs can retain more new members - particularly those who are new players or high HCP players - by providing them, one way or another, with just a few lessons per year.

Lessons and play frequency
For good measure we also tracked how players improved based on the amount of golf played. Indeed, the data shows that the more you play, the more you are also likely to improve your HCP, however, no matter how much and how often you play, anybody can still benefit from taking pro lessons.


While players can certainly improve just by playing a lot of golf, taking lessons substantially increases the likelihood of improvement. As depicted in the graph above, taking a minimum of three lessons per year increases average percentage of HCP improvements by almost 20 percentage points, regardless of how much golf you might play - pro training always increases the likelihood of improvement.

Lowering HCP by pro experience
In The PGA pro version 2.0 we found that players consistently tend to prioritize pedagogical and inspirational teaching methods over the technical skills of their PGA pro. In short, players have a better experience and rate their pro higher in terms of NPS when taking lessons from a pedagogically oriented pro - and the higher a pro’s NPS, the more players will take a greater amount of lessons.

We are now also able to prove that pedagogical teaching methods, rather than a technical approach, are more effective when it comes to helping players lower their HCP. In fact, 37+ HCP players who take lessons from a pro with the ability to teach golf in pedagogical, inspirational and exciting ways are almost twice as likely to improve compared to players who do not take lessons.

Additionally, the higher a pro is rated in terms of pedagogical teaching methods, the greater the positive effect on HCP development. This positive trend was, however, not detectable in correlation with ratings of a pro’s technical skills.

Especially the 37+ HCP group will benefit from pedagogically oriented pros, and clubs should feel motivated to provide as many lessons as possible, because a great pro experience will be a significant contribution to retention efforts and one of the best ways to prevent churn.

An investment in the future
Clubs have much to gain by making players better at the game. Even if it initially means they will have to spend extra funds to incentivize beginners to take lessons, it will surely be a valuable investment in the future.

Players in all HCP groups can improve. Regardless of skill level, when players take lessons it must mean they want to become better at the game, and clubs should strive to identify and satisfy their players’ training needs. When players, new as well as long-time members, become better golfers they will be more invested in the game because getting better is, quite simply, a truly great experience.

Providing 3+ lessons per year that aim to increase skill levels and socially integrate members in pedagogical and inspirational ways should be a cornerstone in any club’s retention strategy.


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