- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2009

May means the return of one of the PGA of America’s most popular pro-motions.

Throughout the month, the organization is sponsoring free 10-minute lessons at courses and facilities across the nation as part of its Play Golf America initiative.

“You really have to tip your hat to the organization for coming up with the concept,” said PGA member and participating veteran instructor Rick Zarlengo of Hidden Creek Country Club in Reston. “I’ve found that a quick blurb can be pretty effective in stimulating your game.”

In the past 11 years, the PGA of America has given away more than 938,000 free lessons as part of the promotion, and players might be surprised at the impact achieved by a bit of instruction.

Perhaps doubting the effectiveness of such a truncated lesson, I scheduled one earlier this week by logging onto playgolfamerica.com and typing in my zip code to locate participating pros.

I then showed up at the appointed time with a rusty game and low expectations… only practically to dance off the practice tee after spending a short time with Tom Carpus of Kennett Square (Pa.) Golf & Country Club.

“Frankly, 10 minutes is ideal in some respects because it isn’t enough time for a player to be overwhelmed with different swing thoughts,” said Carpus, who tweaked my setup and finish to produce my best ball-striking session in years. “It’s just enough time for me to watch you hit a few balls, have you tell me your goals and issues and give you one or at most two concepts to work on.

“Most players can’t absorb more than two keys at a time - one preshot and maybe one during the swing. In a normal-length lesson, you usually impart both of those within the first 10 minutes, and the duration of the session is just supervised practice. I’ve found that the 10-minute lessons can be beneficial for players of all ages and abilities.”

At least 11 different local pros are participating in this year’s promotion.

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