Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Teaching Philosophy

Teaching Philosophy

My philosophy on teaching is that there are four areas that an individual needs to focus on to improve the golf game.  They are
1. The golf swing
2. Physical fitness or conditioning,
3. Properly fit golf equipment,
4. The mental/emotional part of the game
 
I have found that there are common moves that the majority of successful golfers make.  I believe that if you "copy" these moves you will produce a more repetitive swing.  I also think there are a number of  "killer" moves which can produce seriously bad results unless the student can "fix" the swing with a compensating move to produce an acceptable shot.  Many of my students tell me they want to be more consistent.  On occasion, they can hit a very acceptable shot and sometimes they can even hit a very good shot with a so called killer move.  What they did was compensate on the down swing to offset the killer move.  When the timing is off it becomes very difficult to offset the killer move and as a result they will hit a poor shot and their play will be inconsistent.
A good example of a true story about a professional golf swing with a serious flaw concerns Billy Britton and his ability to compensate for the flaw with timing, some of the time, but not all of the time. When Billy Britton was on the PGA tour and taking lessons with Jim McLean at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Westchester.  Billy was playing very well that year and had won a tour event and was leading the tournament  the last day in a number of tournaments.  He came to Jim and told him that his driver would start going straight right or would start hooking on the final nine holes on the last day of the tournament.  He hit one drive in the lesson and he and Jim went into the video room to look at that swing.  The "shot" was perfect.  In other words, it went straight as an arrow and long.  I thought to myself " what are they going to find wrong with that swing?"  When they looked at the swing, Billy's head would fall back and down at impact.  When his timing was on he could compensate and hit it straight.  But when he would get a little nervous (e.g. leading a tour event) that move can cause blocks and hooks.  So they went to work on that particular swing fault.  As a result, Billy would not have to rely on timing to produce great drives.
That example proved to me that any athletic individual can compensate at any time and produce a good shot but it is hard to rely on having to do that in a golf swing time and time again. So I will proceed to "fix" any swing flaws I feel will produce poor shots when timing is not perfect.

My approach is simple and systematic.  This is the sequence I follow when I work on a golf swing.
1. The set up, the grip and alignment
2. The start of the backswing
3. The top of the backswing
4. The transition and the downswing
5. Impact position
6. Release and follow through
For example, it is very difficult to work on impact when someone has a bad grip or a poor backswing, etc.  As self evident as it sounds, each person needs a good backswing to have a good downswing.  and a good setup to have a good backswing. I work from the ground up to build a fundamentally sound golf swing that a person can depend on whether the timing is on or off.

Physical Conditioning
It is important to have flexibility and proper golf conditioning to achieve peak performance in golf.  I am a believer that the more a person works on flexibility, core strength and stability the better the golf game.

Club Fitting
Another important aspect to peak performance is properly fitted equipment.  There are so many shafts on the market now that it is imperative that the person has not only the right size clubs, loft and lie angles, but also has  the correct flex in the shaft of the irons and woods.

Mental and Emotional Conditioning
When I played in tour events and local PGA/LPGA events, I worked with a sports psychologist to improve my performance on the course. When a player has attained a dependable swing it is very important to stay focused and to stay in control whether playing in a club event or tour event.