My teaching philosophy is based on the premise that any golfer can learn the correct concepts and elements necessary for improvement. My job is simply to facilitate each student’s learning.
I teach generally accepted fundamentals in terms of all short game and full swing shots with an emphasis placed on how the club should move to create proper impact for the desired shot. In doing so, however, I always adhere to a strict set of priorities that I believe make it easier for my students to comprehend the information and allows them to focus on small areas of improvement. These priorities are as follows:
- Setup – The setup or address includes all aspects which comprise the Pre-Swing: Grip, Aim, Stance, Posture, Ball Position.
- Motion – The proper motion for each shot is explained.
- Contact – Correct Impact Alignments.
- Direction – Elements controlling straight or curving shots.
- Distance – Controlling and/or adding power.
I help my students learn to approach all golf shots (putting to driving) with these priorities in mind and in the proper order. Golf instruction is all about concepts. For the beginning golfer, instruction provides the correct concepts at the outset. For experienced golfers, instruction is often about changing the players’ incorrect or incomplete concepts. As golfers improve their concepts about the game, their game improves (assuming correct practice).
My job as a golf instructor is to impart the knowledge each player requires to help them achieve their goals. Some of my students aspire to play golf for a living on the various professional tours. Some of my students just want to learn the basics so they won’t “embarrass” themselves on the course. The majority of my students fall somewhere in between. Regardless of the students’ goals my job is the same…I must provide the tools, in the form of proper instruction, each student needs to get the job done. I am a facilitator in a sense, a guidance counselor, guiding each student on their own individual path towards their own golfing enlightenment. How is this accomplished? Initially, I explain to every student my belief that anybody seeking to become a better golfer must understand that there are several aspects to the game that must be addressed in order to improve. These aspects are:
- Full Swing – Covers all shots outside 100 yards.
- Short Game – All shots inside 100 yards: Chipping, Pitching, Bunkers and Putting.
- Mental Game – Course Management and Mental Approach
- Golf-Specific Fitness – Improving the body’s ability to perform the desired motion.
- Equipment – Matching clubs to student (specifications and set make-up).
When I work with a student I incorporate all of these aspects into their Golf Improvement Program. Additionally, I teach on the golf course as often as possible instead of on the range. Ultimately, golfers must learn to play the game, not just practice the game. There is a tremendous difference between playing and practicing. Even during range practice sessions, I encourage my students to create challenging situations which mimic the pressure and anxiety they will feel out on the golf course.
The concept of “perfect practice” is an idea developed through many years of research. While it may be true that golf cannot be mastered, all golfers who wish to improve should still strive for perfection, whatever that means for them. For example, if a golfer needs to change their grip, then the golfer should work on it until it is as “perfect” as possible. If a golfer aims poorly, he must learn correct aim and then continually practice until his aim improves while always striving to make it “perfect”. The golfer ultimately may never be perfect, but improving any aspect just a little at a time makes that aspect better and a little bit closer to perfect. As each element improves, the golfer’s competence increases and their game improves. Additionally, “perfect practice” incorporates multiple learning concepts into the practice routine: blocked/random, massed/distributed, and precision/playful. Each form of practice can be useful in helping golfers improve. This philosophy has served me well throughout my career with all levels of players (beginner to advanced). I believe the fundamentals of the golf swing are the same for all players. Although each player’s goal may be different, ultimately all players must learn similar elements to improve their level of play. Any attempt to over-simplify golf instruction invariably leads to a longer than necessary learning process. My goal is to help my students improve…I accomplish this goal by teaching the proper fundamentals utilizing a systematic, consistent and practical approach.
Correct Concepts + Perfect Practice = Better Player!