Our Process For Learning Golf
Golf is a game that requires skills. Specifically, a golfer needs the ability to control where their golf ball finishes. The three key ball control skills are solid, straight and far.
To be successful in developing these skills, you need two things:
1. Clarity on how you need to deliver the golf club to the ball to make it finish at your target
2. Technique, based on your physical capabilities, that allows you to consistently deliver the club in that successful way.
As you would imagine, our process needs to be flexible so it can help golfers of all skills and aspirations. While we take ample time to learn about each student’s background and goals for their golf, for the ease of demonstration, here are two brief descriptions of our process for beginners and developing golfers.
Beginner and New Golfers
We like working with new golfers because as the saying goes, “they don’t have any bad habits”! Getting instruction early on helps avoid the many challenges golfers face. Maybe the most notable challenge is that many things about golf are counter intuitive. What seems to make sense isn’t always correct or effective…
Our General Steps with a Beginner:
- Our intake process helps us learn a student’s background with other sports, injuries and goals for their golf
- Instruction begins with helping a golfer learn or refine their basic techniques in putting, short game and full swing while sprinkling in the key concepts of solid contact and direction control.
- When the golfer has the framework of technique and the ability to repeat it, we turn our focus to skill development
– Solid Contact
– Direction Control
– Speed Creation and Control
Skill development relies on effective practice to ensure the fastest possible improvement so we coach our students on both what and how to practice
- The next and final step for a new golfer is getting them onto the golf course so they can begin learning to play the game
Developing golfers arrive with techniques and concepts already somewhat established. Their arrival at the academy is saying they aren’t happy with what their golf ball has been up to or what their scorecard has been saying. We get to help them figure out why! What makes our approach so successful is, unlike so many coaches, we don’t start with changing a student’s technique. We begin the improvement process by ensuring their isn’t an easier way.
Some options we have seen that can sabotage a golfer’s performance and can be changed quite quickly:
- Already having a consistent shot pattern but not aiming correctly
- Not knowing how far they hit the ball with each club
- Not having effective practice habits
- Equipment problems – improper fit, sub-optimal set configuration, etc.
- Wrong concepts of how to deliver a club through impact to create solid and straight golf shots
Golf is a very interesting activity in that it may be the only one where the participants aren’t all focused on the tool and how it should be used, they are often focusing on their body parts and how they think they should be moving them. Think about other sports or activities you engage in. When doing them, are you thinking about elbows and knees or how the tool needs to be used?
Our experience is that most golfers don’t fully understand what they are trying to do with the golf club to create solid and straight golf shots. Further, most golfers don’t think about the club as they are hitting golf shots. So, with golfers who are not hitting the golf shots they want, we start with understanding how the golf club should be used. Often, this clarity leads to quick and permanent improvement.
Step 1 – Clarity of Intention
Like any tool, if you want to be good with a golf club, you need to know what you are trying to do with it, especially through impact. Our first step with developing golfers is to either validate what they already know about delivering a club through impact or we help them understand this critical phase of the swing. We call this “Clarity of Intention”.
Step 2 – Skill Development
When a golfer knows how they want to deliver the club to impact and is trying to do it, we can quickly determine if their technique (swing, short game, putting stroke) is good enough to meet their needs. If their technique “checks out”, we move on to ensuring the student has effective practice habits to develop and maintain the ball control skills needed to reach their goals.
Step 3 (if needed) – Technique Improvements
If a student’s technique doesn’t allow for desired skill development, we now make informed decisions about what changes can be made so better skills can be learned. When we make changes to technique, it is critical to do this in the correct way to avoid “getting worse before you get better”. Contrary to popular belief, golf instruction shouldn’t make you worse before improvements can be made…
Step 4 (if needed) – Skill Development
Technique improvements are being made and the student is ready to build ball control skills like never before!
Step 5 – Performance Training
Once a golfer has the skills they need, the ability to access them is very important. If you have ever been great on the driving range, only to struggle on the golf course, you know the pain. Performance training gives our students the ability to transfer the skills they have learned to any situation including the first tee, trying to take $2 off your buddy, finishing off a great round, tournaments or any other situation that causes you to struggle. We coach you up on how to perform up to your abilities, all the time!
Step 6 – Thank Your Speeches and How to Stay Humble
Once you are playing up to your potential, all that is left is handling your success with class…