GolfTEC Lesson Review

GolfTec Lesson Review (2)

50 Words or Less

GolfTEC provides a strong base of technology for their teachers to work from.  With the right instructor, lessons with GolfTEC can be a great experience.

Introduction

We all know that most golfers don’t take lessons, and it’s not hard to understand why.  Lessons are expensive, but more importantly, how do you decide where to get them?  Do you go to the pro at your course?  Take a recommendation from a friend?  How do you know if you’ll like what they’re teaching?

GolfTEC has risen to an unprecedented level in golf instruction by offering golfers a wealth of technology and a somewhat standardized approach to instruction.  I recently checked in for a lesson to get my driver on track and to let you know if your next lesson should be at GolfTEC.

*Full disclosure: I worked at GolfTEC for six months in 2011.

*NOTE TO READERS: Please read all the comments below.  It seems, especially of late, that GolfTEC has done a poor job with customer service.  While, as I explain in this piece, things vary from one center to the next, it appears that the new corporate policies are not consumer-friendly.

GolfTec Lesson Review (6)

The Swing Evaluation

Your first lesson with GolfTEC is called the Swing Evaluation.  This is a lesson that lasts between 60 and 90 minutes where you get to meet your coach, discuss your game, evaluate your swing, and put together a plan for improvement.

I had my lesson with Meredith Robinson, a former college golfer and PGA and LPGA Golf Professional, who has taught over 3,000 lessons with GolfTEC.  We started by discussing the current state of my game, which is to say, the sorry state of my driver.  Since I had a clear idea of what I needed to fix, our discussion was fairly brief, but these interviews can be a substantial part of the process.

The next step was to see the “Before” swing.  I got strapped into GolfTEC’s proprietary motion capture technology and hit a number of drives.  After a few swings, Meredith and I went through the video frame by frame breaking down what was good and what needed improvement.  At this point, I, like most golfers, was thoroughly disgusted with my swing and ready to fix it.  Meredith showed me the first change we were going to make, and we began working on drills to start ingraining that.  As our lesson came to a close, she captured an “After” swing to show me the improvement, and we discussed what the next steps would be.

GolfTec Lesson Review (10)

Positives and Negatives of GolfTEC

Positives

The biggest reason for taking a lesson with GolfTEC is the technology, and golfers’ favorite piece of technology is video.  Each GolfTEC bay is equipped with two cameras showing your swing from face-on and down-the-line views.  Every swing that you make during the lesson is filmed so that you can see if you’re making the changes you want or if you’re stuck in your bad habits.  During the lesson, your coach has the ability to draw lines on the video (just like Peter Kostis) to illustrate her points and give you guidance.

Video is just a part of GolfTEC’s technology package.  As I mentioned earlier, they have proprietary motion capture that tells you how your body is moving during the swing.  You’ll notice in the picture above that there are numbers on the left side of the screens.  Those are the motion capture numbers, and the colors indicate what I’m doing well (green), ok (yellow), and poorly (red), based on a composite of professional players’ swings.  Finally, many GolfTEC bays have Foresight launch monitors.  This allows players to not only see the swing but the result as well.

GolfTEC also offers a lot between lessons.  Each lesson comes with a “take home report” that you can access online as often as you want.  Your coach makes this report during your lesson – they’ll post certain drills, thoughts, and a before and after swing comparison – to help you retain the information and better your practice.  Finally, most GolfTEC students have practice memberships that allow them to use the bays between lessons.  This gives them access to the video, motion capture, and launch monitor so that they can come to the next lesson ready to learn something new.

Negatives

The same danger that exists in golf instructional generally exists at GolfTEC: bad teachers.  GolfTEC has some great teachers, like Meredith.  However, you should not assume that a teacher is good because he works for GolfTEC, just as you not should assume they’re good because they have PGA credentials.  Before you commit to even one lesson, make sure you find a qualified coach that you enjoy.

Another negative that can also be applied outside GolfTEC is that coaches can get caught up in the numbers and the way things look.  This is less of a concern since the introduction of Foresight, but it’s still very easy to be seduced by line drawing, green numbers, and comparisons to pro’s swings.  While it’s important to trust your coach, you also need to make sure the focus is on real, meaningful improvement, not just aesthetics and numbers.

My final concern is GolfTEC’s high turnover.  While some coaches make GolfTEC into a career, many do not.  You may start your lessons with a coach whom you really enjoy, only to be transferred to someone else when he leaves.  Of course this could happen in any instructional situation, so it wouldn’t stop me from taking lessons, but it is something to be aware of.

GolfTec Lesson Review (3)

Cost

Cost for lessons at GolfTEC will vary based on your location and the teacher that you’re working with.  The Swing Evaluation – your first lesson – typically costs between $99 and $150 dollars.  From there, your instructor recommends a plan that can range from five 30-minute lessons to a year-long package of lessons and practice time.  GolfTEC is focused on long-term relationships with their students because they believe that is required for real improvement.  If you’d prefer for someone to slap a band aid on your bullet hole rather than fix your swing piece by piece, this is not for you.

GolfTec Lesson Review (4)

Conclusion

If you’re ready to invest the time and money into improving your game, I recommend adding GolfTEC to the list of places that you investigate.  They have an excellent technology package that can speed up your improvement and make lessons more fun.  As with most things, however, it’s the people that really make the difference, so make sure that you find a coach you like and trust before diving in.

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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34 Comments

  1. Not having worked with golftec myself, what’s the story behind the “wall of fame?”

  2. Richard Schrager

    Good article. There’s a GolfTec near me, and i’ve been thinking about it. So, how do you find a good coach? Are there questions to ask?

    Thanks.

    • Matt Saternus

      Richard,

      Great question. I will plan to tackle this comprehensively in a post at some point, but here’s a short version off the top of my head.
      1) Find someone you like, on a personal level. If you wouldn’t want to have lunch with them, don’t take lessons with them.
      2) Figure out what you care about in a coach. Does it matter to you that they’re a good player or PGA accredited?
      3) Understand your learning style. I’m NOT talking about that visual/kinetic/auditory bullsh*t, but rather questions like, “Do you need to know the why behind what you’re doing or are you happy being given simple instructions?” “What kind of examples/ideas/suggestions do you find memorable and effective?” Find a coach who matches up. Some coaches hate students who ask why. Some are obsessed with the why.
      4) Finally, figure out what you want out of lessons and make sure your coach will deliver that. This may require a lesson to figure out since few coaches will tell you up front that they’re not going to teach to your goal, so perhaps you want to go into the first lesson with the idea that it’s a try out for the coach.

      Also take a look at this post: https://pluggedingolf.com/how-to-take-a-golf-lesson/

      Best,

      Matt

  3. john stella

    I decided to try the evaluation. Best investment,I then signed up for golf lessons at Clearwater mall fl.with coach Alex Humphreys, only after a few lessons and my 30 min practice session, my game improved tremendously.after my 3 month lesson package. I went from 14 handicap to 9. I am very pleased at professionalism of Alex in coaching and the way he handled a situation with another employee.good job golftec and Alex.Highly recommend. John Stella.

  4. I tried Golftec. No trackman all they did was try to tell me I needed a new “off the rack” driver (was located inside a Golfsmith).

    No thanks. Went to a place with trackman. Improved my drives 35 yards and my score by 14 strokes after just 4 sessions.

    Won’t ever not use trackman again. Now a single digit HC all due to the numbers.

  5. I take my golf game very seriously, and as a 17 year old 3 handicap I’m very urgent to break par consistently! So I turn to golftec thinking maybe a little technology would help. I took the lesson at 1:30 p.m. yesterday and it’s currently 2:18 a.m. because I have very mixed feelings about the lesson and am concerned about wether I should keep doing lessons and trust golf tec (change the swing I have works so hard on for years) or keep doing my own thing. Do you recommend more lessons, trying a new golf tec coach, or looking for an entirely new coach?

    • Matt Saternus

      Zach,

      You’re asking for a very weighty recommendation, and without knowing A LOT more, I can’t make an educated recommendation. My suggestion is to trust yourself. If you don’t think GolfTEC is right, it’s probably not.

      Best,

      Matt

  6. Mike Patrician

    How do you get to meet different potential coaches, after one initial visit do you not have to commit? Its fine to say find the right coach but if you only meet one where to go from there?

    • Matt Saternus

      Mike,

      Go to the center and ask to meet all the coaches before you schedule the swing evaluation. Ask them all some questions that are important to you.

      Best,

      Matt

  7. Edwin H Lloyd

    I have taken several lessons with GolfTEC and I must say that I have seen some improvements in my swing. I am new to the game of golf, but having an instructor like Brian Gussis has been quite helpful. Brian is patient, yet instructional. He goes over each lesson carefully and ensures that I understand what I am doing. I still have a military game (to the left and right), but I am getting better at hitting drives straight down the fairway the more I practice and play. I appreciate the indoor practice sessions, as I am able to see what I am doing correctly or not.

  8. Nice review Matt, thank you. I used to play with quite a bit of golf when I was single Ha ha ha and now that I’m nearing 60 I want to pick up the sport again. My best consistent scores from younger days was about 80 to 85. I think at this point I’m interested in a solid repeatable swing without all the technical garb. Does this seem like a fit with your experience at golftec? Also I live in northern Illinois and Vernon Hills is the closest facility. Any recommendations?

    • Matt Saternus

      Jeff,

      To be honest, no. With the caveat that there are all different kinds of teachers at GolfTECs, I find that they are very much into the numbers from their motion capture. Whether or not that’s “technical garb” to you, I don’t know.

      I don’t know the teachers at the Vernon Hills facility, but if you’re in northern Illinois, I would strongly recommend checking out Rick Silva. I wrote about a lesson with him here: https://pluggedingolf.com/best-golf-lesson-ive-ever/ and he’s also started contributing content to PIG.

      Best,

      Matt

  9. Their business model is not customer first. You pay up front a package plan for 10, 15, 20 lessons. What happens if you cannot complete the program. I had neck surgery and now my neck is failing again so I am unable or not recommended through doctor to continue. I asked for reasonable refund, but as of right now no response? I think people should be aware of this before choosing golftec! Financially it is great for Golftec, if you the customer is unfortunately not getting any improvement and a major life event happens, well your screwed!

    • Matt Saternus

      Jason,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Any given person’s experience with GolfTEC will be driven by the individuals at their location. I hope they (and the corporate offices) get you the refund that it seems like you should be entitled to.

      Best,

      Matt

  10. 18 months with Golf Tech and are so tied up with technicalities that can Bearkat hit the ball. Brought me from a single digit to higher. Very frustrating process.

  11. My wife signed up for 40 lessons at a cost of over $2000 but used only ten lessons, then she had to have foot surgery and was unable to play for two to three yrs. when she went to the golf tech stor today the manager would not honor her contract at all and hand the temerity to insult us be saying she abandoned her lessons and corporate could not honor her purchase . ( he used typical corporate speak ) just a mouth piece for the CEO. I am going to draft a letter to the CEO as well as seek legal on the matter. I’m sur the social media would love to hear of Golf Tech and it’s policy. They even refused to refund any fees and wanted to charge $600 dollars to re activate the original purchase. The manager is useless and I feel very insulted by his tone and total disregard for his clients. The better business office will also receive a formal complaint. I would never recommend this company to any one !!

    • Matt Saternus

      CIC,

      I’m sorry to hear this. I’ve added a note to the top of this review so hopefully others will not have similar experiences.

      Best,

      Matt

  12. I realize that this is an old review, but I just came across it and thought I would add my 2 cents based on my year’s worth of lessons from Golftec.

    I think it’s important for people to understand that Golftec doesn’t give golf lessons, they give swing lessons. That’s an important distiction to make. A full swing from level ground is the only thing that can really be looked into at a Golftec facility.

    Also, for a company with “tec” in their name the technology is very outdated. The cameras capture low definition images and the frame rate is so slow it is very rare that you will actually be able to isolate impact (typically you will see the club about a foot before or after the ball strike). You get better video from cell phones these days.

    I have made significantly more gains performing impact drills (focusing on starting the divot at or after the ball, using various methods to focus on hitting the center of the clubface, etc.) than I have from trying to alter the mechanics of each specific part of my swing to match what the pros do on TV which is how Golftec teaches.

    If you know that there are big problems with the shape of your swing Golftec is a great way to identify and address those flaws. Just understand that the shape of your swing on level ground is the only part of your game that Golftec works on. It is a great tool to help develop this one aspect of the game but shouldn’t be your primary/only form of instruction.

    • Hi Dan, thanks for the very helpful comment. Please see my 2nd question below regarding what you mean by golf lessons vs. swing lessons, especially for beginners.

  13. I have had 4 of 10 lessons so far with Golftec instructor and am very pleased. Yes, it is swing instruction, not golf lessons. When you play every shot is different.

    When you are learning to correct your swing path and body movements, you have to understand that changes will be necessary. Some people may not be able to relate to the video evidence of what they really do when making a swing. But if you can, and you try to make the changes, you can improve your play.

    My experience is that I am playing better golf, hitting more consistent full swing shots and scoring better. Isn’t that the reason to take lessons? To get better?

    I have already been scoring 5-10 shots less per round after 4 lessons. I do practice a lot, which makes a big difference ingraining the swing changes. But seeing what you are doing right or wrong visually makes all the difference for me. Each lesson shows the improvements and what else to work on.

    BTW – I am 67 and hoping to play good golf for many more years. I think this was a wise move for me and am loving the improvements. I am hitting my driver 30-40 yards further than I was and my irons 10-15 yards further. And straighter! I record every shot on a Game Golf chip on my clubs, so I know exactly how each shot did. Reviewing my rounds now is getting much more fun.

  14. Very varied feedback, I am more undecided now about taking lessons with golf tec than when I started. What I don’t like is how their website doesn’t have pricing for their packages, you have to request it via a form. I don’t like that extra step. They say pricing varies based on location, than just show each locations pricing. I could easily go to either one of two locations,I don’t want to have two request two separate pricing forms.

    • I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Any estimates on costs (I am in NJ just outside of Philly) would be appreciated. I don’t really have the desire to walk in there just to find out their prices are outside my range. I am only trying to improve my game and not win the U.S. Open.

      Thanks

  15. Thank you Matt for the very helpful review and to the commenters for their insights and feedback as well.

    I am pretty much brand new to golf and I’m considering using GolfTEC to get started with learning. My father tried teaching me a few times when I was growing up, but I never stuck with it. I’m now 29 and have played a handful of times over the years as an adult, mostly as an excuse for day drinking with some friends, so you can see how seriously I was taking it (we didn’t even keep score!). If I took 30 shots at the driving range, I would probably only make solid contact once or twice, and even then I would barely hit it over 100 yards. I do casually follow the PGA and watch the majors every year, so I have some very basic understanding of the game from that, but otherwise that’s the extent of my experience.

    Ultimately my goal is just to get good enough to be able to actually play a full round without annoying and slowing down everyone else on the course around me. If I could shoot under 110 I’d be happy.

    With that said, a few questions for Matt or any other readers/commenters that can help:

    1) Would you recommend GolfTEC for someone that is just getting started? It seems like it’s better for people that already know the basics and just need to refine their swing. Then again, it also seems like it could be very beneficial to use the technology to get your swing right the first time, and avoid having to unlearn bad habits that get ingrained in your muscle memory.

    2) Related to that question, what exactly does commenter Dan mean when he says that GolfTEC is swing lessons not golf lessons? It seems to me like it’s two things: 1) it doesn’t teach you how to adjust your swing for the uneven surfaces you’ll be playing on a real course, such as hitting out of a trap or on an incline/decline. 2) It doesn’t teach you strategy, like what club to use, when to lay up vs. aiming for the pin, etc. If I’m understanding that right, are those issues really that important for a beginner, or is focusing on swing mechanics from an even surface the right way to get started?

    3) In your experience, how does GolfTEC pricing compare to other options like taking lessons with a club pro? Are there any direct competitors to GolfTEC or other good options for learning? I know pricing varies everywhere and GolfTEC includes added benefits like practice facilities and online resources, so just looking for any kind of financial comparison.

    4) It seems like GolfTEC also tries to push its club fitting program and sell you clubs; are the sales guys pushy about that? For someone like me, how important is it to have perfectly fitting clubs right away? I have a set of old clubs from my dad, which should be fine but certainly are not a perfect fit. I don’t really want to invest in new clubs right away, unless it’s really going to impact my swing and development.

    Thank you very much to anyone that can help me with these questions!

    • Matt Saternus

      Noah,

      These are great questions. Unfortunately, some of the answers are not going to be black and white, but here are the facts as I see them:

      1) I can’t say that any golfer at any level should or shouldn’t use GolfTEC. On average, I think their instructors are average. There are some good ones and some bad ones. If I was just starting out, I would be talking to golfers I know to find a recommendation, and I would put a lot of emphasis on the recommendations of people with personalities similar to mine. Any halfway decent instructor can set you up with some reasonable fundamentals, I would be focused on working with someone I liked and who listened to my goals.

      2) You have a good grasp on the difference between “teaching golf and teaching golf swing”. If your goal is to get on the course, shoot 110, and keep it moving, I think learning golf is ten times more important than learning golf swing. I can take anyone who can put the ball on the club face and get them around in 110 with good decisions. To that point, check out my posts on “How to Break 100”.

      3) GolfTEC pricing is a little steeper than the average price for a lesson, at least in my area. If you use the practice regularly, it’s a decent deal, but the reality is that most people don’t.

      4) GolfTEC pushes their instructors VERY HARD to sell. I can’t speak to their current push on club fitting, but they are pushy about using and buying lessons.
      To your question about clubs, they make a HUGE difference at EVERY level. Again, if you want to break 110, go get fit for proper clubs now. If you don’t have an eye on playing at a high level eventually, don’t worry about “out growing” your clubs. That’s a misconception anyway. Visit someone like Club Champion and let them show you how easy (or hard) clubs can make the game. I said earlier I can take anyone and get them around in 110. If that anyone has fitted clubs, I could get them around in 110 blindfolded. :)

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,

      Matt

  16. So I have been going to Golftec for 4 years and yes I understand the swing, path, sway,shoulder turn etc a lot better. Don’t necessarily score much better when I play but I don’t scramble as much. I was a feel player before but I find I have become mechanical when I play. In the 4 years I have only hit my 7I at Golftec. My pro does not believe in hitting a lot of balls(so he says) but he sure likes to hear himself talk. He talks for 20 mins and I hit for 10. My short game is not good . It’s anyone’s guess what will happen if I go in a sand trap. 50/50 chance of getting out in one shot. Not good odds. Need to putt better . Nothing about putting. At this point I am thinking of going to a Pro for short game lessons. Not going to get it at Golftec as there is no place to do this. There certainly isn’t a sand trap on premises.

  17. Golftec is a place where young professional golfers sabatoge their careers. It’s all about the sales. I attended the store in Naperville for years. There are about 30-40 pros teaching at golftec in Illinois yet,I rarely see any of them compete in professional events locally. You need to be outside to be a good golfer and changing your swing ,via a golf pro, on an indoor monitor every week won’t likely help much. The manager at the Naperville store was rude. The proof lies in the pudding! How many teaching pros at golftec have placed top 25 at the Illinois Open? Heck,I don’t think even more than a few of the 20-30-40 pros in Illinois even sign up for the weekly IPGA events. If you want to be a good golfer,sign up with an outdoor pro who has IPGA tournament experience and wants to win.

  18. Very interesting feedback. I have taken 10-12 lessons over 2 spring seasons at Golftec in Vernon Hills, Illinois and couldn’t be happier. I went from taking lessons where the pro would “fix” something, to taking lessons where the Golftec coach attempted to rebuild my whole swing. After the initial evaluation, I felt there was an actual plan, and then my coach proceeded to execute that plan at the pace that I absorbed it. I am still a work in progress, but I no longer go from “fix” to “fix”. Rather I am committed to the swing changes we are working on and finally feel like I am on the right track.. The only thing holding me back will be my lack of talent and the amount pf practice time I can devote to this. I recommend Golftec (and my coach, Scott Woods) every chance I get.

  19. Fred Renault

    I enjoyed this article but this web page makes it quite tedious reading the comments because JavaScript keeps doing something, making the page jump and lose my place. If I switch javaScript off, I can read it. Aggravating.

  20. Mike Mendoza

    I’m a 53 year old newbie to this wonderful sport. I decided to try GolfTEC because the technology used interested me. I was fortunate to get an instructor that taught the way I learn. Brian W. in Tukwila, WA, is technically-minded, encouraging and with a good sense of humor. I am on my sixth lesson, with the first five really focusing on the mechanics of my swing. In those five lessons, my slice has all but disappeared and I am not scalping the ball as bad as I was when I first started. The adjustments at practice and the homework provided are invaluable to the improvement of my game. My goal is just to be able to play a competitive game with my friends without slowing anyone down, and I believe that I am on course (no pun intended) for that to happen. I think too the package I paid for, which allows me to use their facilities during the week (outside of my scheduled times) is invaluable as I get to analyze my swing on my own. Yes, it’s expensive but you know the old saying–you get what you pay for. Fortunately for me, GolfTEC works. I’d recommend it to anyone, especially a beginner. Before I found out about GolfTEC, my swing looked like I was in the jungle hacking away at the brush with a machete. I take it as a real compliment when my friends tell me “man, your swing has improved a 100%! Where’d you learn that?”

  21. GolfTec is one of those companies that are just a scam. Examples: You need a shorter driver. Thus screwing up your swing. you are 65, but you should have Tony Finau’s swing. So ignore the stupidity of giving up a levers length, and the concept that not everyone swings the same. Waste more and more money!

  22. Lew in Atlanta

    Found your site today and enjoyed reading your articles and reviews. Unfortunately, everything i’ve read so far is a couple years old so not sure if this site is very active anymore.
    I’m considering Golftec but want to know how to find a good coach and you have more than put me on a good path and I thank you for that.

    Of course, nobody like to be around a pushy sales guy but shouldn’t every golf instructor (Golftec or independant) be in business to sell clubs as well? I don’t see that as a red flag. I’m a business owner so from my perspective, if a golf instructor is not in the business to sell clubs as well, he is not taking his business seriously or he’s financially secure. It’s going to be one of my Why questions.
    Thanks again

  23. Unfortunately, Golftec seems to be more about lesson sales than anything else. I am coming back to golf after a knee surgery and 5 years off, so I signed up for a swing evaluation hoping to get recommendations to focus on over the next several months. When I told them that I didn’t intend to take lessons after the swing evaluation, they recommended that we cancel the eval. I’m very comfortable working on my game on my own and will look for a swing evaluation from someone else.

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