What do top teachers think about the current state of golf instruction?
Photo from http://www.youtube.com/user/tomstickneygolf
A few weeks ago, I was on a plane heading back from a corporate outing I do every year with about 20 other teaching professionals. All of us were either a Golf Digest Top-50 Teacher and/or a Golf Magazine Top-100 Teacher. Since you’re a GolfWRX reader, these are teachers that you probably know by name; you know, the ones who teach some of the best professional golfers in the world.
The event is one of my favorites of the year because, surrounded with so many great teachers, it’s impossible not to learn new things that can make me a better instructor to my students. Each night after teaching, we would all sit down together over a few drinks and tell different stories about life in the instructional world in which we live: some good, some bad, some ugly. I couldn’t help but reflect on a few things that were said about the game, the students we teach (both professionals and amateurs) and what these teachers viewed as the future of the game we all know and love.
So it’s with great pleasure that I present the thoughts of some of the very best teachers in the game today. I won’t name names, because it doesn’t really matter who said what. Everyone one of these insights is from one of golf’s most accomplished teaching professionals.
- No amount of practice can overcome a bad attitude on the golf course. It will eventually catch up with you.
- At the highest levels of proficiency, sometimes “letting go” on the putting green can take a player from struggling to putting well, instantly.
- Doppler radar launch monitors like Trackman and FlightScope have changed the way we teach the game. When placed in the best hands, they can help players become LESS technical and LESS position-oriented with their swings.
- Force plates are a wave of the future and will help us to better understand how to generate more power out of the ground.
- The PGA of America must revamp its instructional curriculum to include the new technology, amended ball-flight laws and should also add a chapter covering the psychological aspects of instruction so our young professionals are more prepared.
- The short game is important, but there’s been a shift in focus to improving longer shots. It’s an efforts to eliminate unmanageable approach shots, as well as ones that cause penalty shots.
- Young professionals must be willing to work ungodly hours in an effort to build their brand and take advantage of the power of social media and the web.
- No amount of reading, YouTube videos, or technology utilized by the younger generation of teachers can make up for the experience that 10,000 hours or on the lesson tee provides, but the gap is closing quickly.
- If you have to be asked repeatedly during a lesson to remember to do something we asked earlier (like altering your grip before you hit a shot) then you are not listening and handicapping what the instructor is trying to piece together.
- Sometimes fixing the path is impossible, but managing the face-to-path relationship can change a person’s life on the course.
- There is no such thing as the “magic dust” that makes things better without focused practice.
- During one lesson, a top teacher couldn’t get through to a student so he head-butted him. They guy listened from that point on.
- Practice on the putting green without focusing on speed drills and feel is a waste of time.
- Everyone should get at least a basic club fitting that includes: club length, lie, shaft flex, grip size and set make up based on their ability level.
- Most players need a 60-degree wedge in their bag.
- Wedge fitting is a must to eliminate gaps and to ensure you can hit the ball comfortable distances with each wedge.
- At the higher levels, the golf ball you play can cost you distance off the tee and control into and around the green.
- Hitting flatter trajectory wedges into the green is more consistent for distance and spin control.
- Most players have the wrong bounce on their wedges.
- Low spin drivers cannot make up for improper angles of attack or poor impact points.
- Practicing on the golf course is a must after obtaining the “feel” you want on the range.
- The serious high school and college golfers of today can score better than yesterday’s kids, but usually have only one shot that they can hit under pressure.
- Ladies’ putters are often hand-me-downs and are the most ill-fitted clubs in the game of golf.
- The most effective practice comes in short bursts, not overly long sessions.
- Forcing everyone into a model swing is dangerous and tends to paint instructors into a corner.
- Most people forget that golf is supposed to be FUN! Relax and enjoy it!
I hope you enjoyed the thoughts from my peers on golf today and what’s going on. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to respond.