Instructors like students who are committed to the process, because improving at golf is not often “take one lesson” type of situation. Often instructors like to see a student three or five times over the course of several months to continue to build and refine. So, it’s important to do your homework when choosing an instructor.
First, survey the landscape. Look around so you know who is even available. Look on the Internet, ask your friends. Ask other pros or good players who they see. Write down a list including where they teach, what you can find out about them, who they teach, what technology or facilities they have available to them, their prices, etc. Consider instructors up to a few hours away if you’re serious, but don’t assume that you have to travel to find a great instructor, either.
Next, look everyone on your list up on the Internet. Maybe someone prefers a style of swinging that you don’t particularly like. Or you don’t get a good vibe from their videos. Or maybe you do, and you think they put out a lot of good stuff. Start to sort your list based on these things, as well as the distance/cost/facility stuff from the first step. Rule out a few instructors if you want (just don’t perhaps rule out an instructor who doesn’t have an online presence – sometimes an instructor who is too busy coaching doesn’t have time to put out a lot online!).
Next, talk to your top three or five instructors. Email them, call them, or otherwise engage them in a brief but pointed conversation: what your goals are, what their philosophy or working style is, etc. Ask them open-ended questions and see how they respond. You’re not necessarily looking for “answers” but just how they communicate.
Finally, observe (or take!) a lesson. Many instructors will let you observe a lesson or two, and if they don’t but the instructor is on your short list, commit to one lesson to see how it goes, with the idea that you’ll just be evaluating them and their road map for consideration. For your own best interests, don’t do this for too many instructors – maybe narrow it down to three before you take a bunch of lessons from a bunch of people. 😀