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By Bruce Meadows

 golf 707333

How do you find the right instructor?
Maybe your golf game isn’t what you think it should be for any number of reasons, real or imagined.
Maybe you’ve been away from the sport for a while and are trying to make a comeback.
Maybe you’ve reached a “plateau” and it seems like you just aren’t getting any better.
Maybe, quite probably, you need some help
So then the question is: What golf instructor would be best for me?
When golfers ask that question, I start by telling them finding a teacher that works for you is like finding a doctor with whom you feel comfortable.
You might get lucky and find the right one the first time, or you might end up taking lessons from several pros before you find the one that suits you best.
It’s a simplication, and one pros might dispute, but golf instructors pretty much tell their students the same things. It’s how they explain things to you that can make the difference, how they connect with you.
Friends of mine have told me about hearing the same thing from a number of instructors, but then finding someone “who has a special way of explaining things so they make sense.”
I’ve never actually had a lesson, although I sort of got one from John Russell at Windsor when I was doing a story on golf instructors.
John had me swing and then mentioned a couple of small things I was doing incorrectly. I heard what he was saying but didn’t agree with him.

Northwood GC in Monte Rio has been called one of the "noisiest" courses in Sonoma County because of the abundance of old redwood trees that golfers often hit.
Northwood GC in Monte Rio has been called one of the “noisiest” courses in Sonoma County because of the abundance of old redwood trees that golfers often hit.

So John showed me the video . . . he was right and I was wrong, and it showed me that another view is often helpful to improving your game.
An article I recently read listed a few things a golfer might want to consider when seeking help from a golf instructor.
1. Is the instructor using modern methods of communication that provide you with instant feedback and contact or is he or she using antiquated forms of communication and not replying to a students need for follow-up help?
2. Does your instructor have the education and experience to take your game to the next level and does he use modern video to help “diagnose” your golfing ailments?
3. How much time and money are you willing to invest in order to improve your game?
Another article I read said pro golf teachers come in two types: The ones who really want to help and the ones who want to get paid. You are the best judge of what kind of teacher you have.
It was also suggested by former golf teacher Steve Riggs that you take a single lesson and not get talked into a series right away. Some instructors won’t suggest a series until they feel the two of you are on the same page.
Bottom line: It’s OK to shop around, like you might for a doctor or a new car . . . it’s worth the effort. And it’s good to ask golfers who have had lessons from a particular pro if they felt he really helped them as much as they expected.
Golf lessons aren’t particularly inexpensive and you owe it to yourself to find a pro that works for you and takes time to know about your game and you.
If you have any interesting experiences finding a good instructor — or a not-so-good onr– email me and let me know at
Girls earn all-league honors
The North Bay League and Sonoma County League have named their 2014 all-league girls’ golf teams.
In the NBL, Santa Rosa High’s Kara Curry was named Player of the Year after averaging 6.5 shots over par this past season.
Other girls named to the first team include Cardinal Newman’s Megan McConnell (7.3); Maria Carrillo’s Morgan Olhiser (10.7); Montgomery’s Jaxen Brazell (11.7); Windsor’s Ashley Llames (12.3), and Ukiah’s Cassidy Schutz (12.7).
Second-team NBL honors went to Newman’s Emily Pham (12.8); Casa Grande’s Emma Dennett (13.0); Ukiah’s Grace Eversole (13.5); Newman’s Angela Chang (15.3) and the Cardinals’ Natalie Justice (16.9).
Thanks to Ukiah coach Chris Philbrick for the information.
The SCL chose a five-girl first team that included Madison Beckett and Hailey Windsor of Analy; Sarah Jane Catarrazoli of Petaluma and Hannah Mae Cronin and Amanda Pruitt of Healdsburg.
Thanks to Healdsburg coach Jane Wann for this information.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving
Rooster Run GC in Petaluma is hosting an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start on Thanksgiving morning.
Cost is $65, and $55 for Petaluma residents, and includes green fee, cart fee, range balls and a sleeve of ProV1 golf balls as well as coffee and donuts.
Call 778-1211 to sign up.
Most if not all local golf courses will be offering some kind of special deal for Thanksgiving, so call and see what’s on the table.
And keep in mind that a lot of courses will be closing early that day so staff members can enjoy Thanksgiving with their friends and family.
A ‘Tip” from Dave Johnson
Golf pro Dave Johnson comes up with this gem on “The Most Interesting Golfer on the Planet.”
–The wind adjusts to help his golf shots.
–The ball actually listens when he speaks to it!
–The greens ‘read’ him!
–His golf shots land so softly he has never had to repair a ball mark!
–Even the dimples on his face are there for aerodynamic reasons!
–‘Iron Byron’ comes to him to fix his swing!
–He often scores 10 out 10 while shooting skeet…with a 4 iron and a bucket of range balls!
–He doesn’t anchor his putter…he putts with an anchor!
–He simply is the “Most Interesting Golfer on the Planet”
“Stay turfy my friends!”
Green Tree lists fall, winter rates
Green Tree Golf Club in Vacaville has posted its fall and winter rates, including twillight and super twilight.
Twilight starts at 11 a.m., super twilight at 1 p.m. Weekday rates are $36 for twilight, $22 for super twilight, and includes a cart. Weekend rates are $38 and $26.
Weekday mornings are $44, weekends and holidays $54. Call 448-1420
Just about every course offers twilight rates and some winter rates so call your favorite courses and find out what‘s available.
Shameless plug
I work in the pro shop at Fairgrounds GC four mornings a week, so have to remind you about the covered driving range.
We got our first real precipitation last week and unless you like standing in the rain hitting balls, Fairgrounds is the only place in Santa Rosa where you can work on your game and stay dry. The range is also lighted and stays open until 6:30 or 7 at night. Call 284-3520.
Keep your comments coming
Please send me items you think are suitable for our Golf 707 notebook, and also suggestions for future golf feature stories.
I am definitely looking for some of those special, personal items about your golf experiences as well as information you might want to publicize when it comes to tournaments, clinics or events at your golf course.
Email me at and we will take it from there.