Each golf instructor you encounter will have their own personality and a unique format for lessons. Students are often intimidated by PGA pros, so look for instructors who set you at ease and develop rapport prior to the session. For beginning golfers, make sure they can simply explain the game to you, including the basic golf equipment and the learning process.
Ask friends and playing partners for referrals and determine specifically how their golf game improved with that instructor. Check with the LPGA or PGA websites to confirm your potential golf instructor's accreditation. Ask for former student references.
A good instructor will be happy to talk to you about your game, and get to know you as an individual, prior to helping you.
Is the instructor a good communicator and listener, or are they wrapped up in their particular teaching method that comes with its own jargon and concepts that are difficult to remember? If you are puzzled by the answer, do they take the time to break it down into simpler terms until you understand it?
Is the instructor looking out for you? Does the instructor first collect general background information about you, including sports history and previous injury history? This should lead to a more relaxed approach.
Make sure there is a fit between you and your instructor on all levels. Your golf instructor should be organized and have a formal way for you to ask questions, give feedback, receive follow-up instructions, schedule lessons, and make other inquiries after your lesson.