As the calendar flips to a new year, I’m excited to bring you the most visionary, cutting edge breakthrough in golf instruction. With recent technological tools brought to the game, the advancement of equipment, plus proven physical training programs, being able to play at the highest level is now achievable. Imagine cutting strokes off your game, hitting the ball longer, while draining putts from every conceivable distance. It’s happening and it’s happening RIGHT NOW! Let me show you how.
Have you ever read or watched a video proclaiming many of the aforementioned claims? Sure you have. With the start of another year you’re about to be inundated with them again. As you sit on your couch watching the PGA Tour kick things off in Hawaii, you’ll wonder what you can do to up your game this season. A new driver, that sure fire swing aid being splashed in the commercial slots, the incredible one time offer at your local fitness center or perhaps the advanced golf training curriculum being offered at your local medical center can bring improvement. Let’s face it. It’s better than doing nothing. But if you think there is something new out there, I’m sorry to disappoint you. There is not.
Golf, for one thing, is the most difficult game in the world. You can debate this but in the back of your mind you know it’s true. There are no perfect games, ultimate score (I guess you could rationalize 18 as the apex), or fool proof methods available to make you play your best every day. If there were one way to play (not swing), every player would pursue it. Yet because golf is an individual game made up of players of all shapes and sizes, personalities and analytical processes, one size does not fit all.
The one absolute in golf is getting the clubhead on the back of the ball with as much speed as needed combined with a square clubface aimed at the target. That is it, final, game over. It’s that fundamental.
However, when it comes to instruction, the acronym of “more is better” seemingly goes a long way these days . Analysis, categorization, investigation, experimentation, interpretation, print outs, video, Trackman numbers, you conceive it, some teacher is out there conjuring ways of introducing it while charging you for it. Does it do Bill, a 17 handicapper who plays twice a week, any good to compare him to Jordan Spieth’s swing or T’man numbers? You could argue it might persuade Bill to buy a boat and sell his clubs in his next garage sale. How can he possibly achieve the same movement or stats? All that does is show Bill a comparison. Here is the best in the world and you’re not close. Great incentive? You tell me.
There is no question golfers know more about what they’re not doing than perhaps what they need to do at this point in time. Players can access some form of technology that records every conceivable aspect of their game. Tour players know where they excel as well as what needs attention. But that is their livelihood, their bread and butter. They need to focus on details. Most of us don’t.
It is advantageous to know the weak areas of your game. It’s important to know the distances you hit your clubs. You can benefit from relying on your tendencies plus your imagination. Working on visualization and feel is vital. Consistency is an ongoing battle. But if you’re looking for a shortcut, an easier way to improve, your search will prove exhausting. Unfortunately that realization may dissuade some from taking up the game. On the other hand, those looking for an activity where you meet great people, can laugh at yourself on occasion, enjoy the outdoors, be encouraged by small increments of improvement and embrace the challenge, well this game might be for you.
History tells us, for those who care to delve into it, instructional methods are based on proper fundamentals. Ernest Jones, George Low, Tommy Armour, Percy Boomer, Claude Harmon Sr., Jack Grout, Jim Flick, and countless others taught the players of past generations. While their approaches may have differed, their ideas are still being taught today. They’ve been dusted off, polished and introduced with new “techno” packaging but they are still the same ideals. Any instructor with a thesaurus can make Ernest Jones’ method sound like the newest revelation in teaching. I agree there are new ways of interpreting swings and being able to dissect them on infinite levels but in the end, does that help the average player shoot lower scores?
My primary concern and certainly that of PurePlayGolf is whether instructors are actually teaching golfers how to play the game in these modern times. I’ve discussed this at length and won’t bore you with it here. If you should happen to visit one of these “voodoo” instructors, after they give you all of your Trackman numbers and video comparisons to Dustin Johnson, ask them what their strategy is for improving your play. I’ll bet you’ll get a funny look.
Ultimately the revolutionary breakthrough in golf instruction for 2018 is apparent –there isn’t one. Here’s a hint. There won’t be one for 2019 either.