In the midst of some really great weather this past couple of weeks, I have been able to spend some valuable time on the golf course with some of my students. In a typical lesson progression, I will do a 4 lesson series that consists of full swing mechanics to improve their ball striking, time spent on each short game skill and at least an hour putting. After the student starts to improve their skills in each area, I reach for the question, “Guru, what do you suggest we do next?” I promptly encourage the learner to join me for a 2 hour playing lesson. The key to success at my job is to guide my students into taking their changes from the lesson tee and being able to perform them on the golf course. It bothers me when a student leaves me for a few weeks to practice and play and returns with higher scores when I have witnessed the skill improve. There is a clear disconnect in the way they are approaching the process of playing golf. Changes take time and even the best players in the world get caught up in playing “golf swing” instead of playing “golf.” Perfect example is Tiger Woods. As he goes through another major swing change, pay close attention to what he says in his interviews to get an insight on how much trust that he has in his new technique. For example: After his loss in the Match Play event, he was asked how often he had to think about how to “perform” his new movement pattern. His answer was a definite,”I have to think about it on every swing!” This is not a player that is in a place of trust in his skill. Meanwhile…….After shooting 66 last week on Sunday and finishing top 10 for the first time in who knows when, Tiger said,”I made many quality swings today and when I made a bad one, I knew how to rectify it on the next one,” As soon as he can let go of having to think about his changes and starts thinking about scoring you will see his short game and putting come around and the rest of the tour should be very afraid……..Anyway, back to the importance of playing lessons. I actually had two playing lessons today and I am very good at reading body language with my students and how much they are using
INWARD THINKING AS OPPOSED TO TARGET FOCUSED OR OUTWARD THINKING. I study their routine (if they have one) and suggest a few changes to help organize their brains better to play better golf. Here is one example today.
My students routine consisted of 1. standing beside the ball. 2. making two practice swings 3. stepping into the ball with a glare as if it stole something from him, tension building for the longest time. Never looking up and then 4. pulling the trigger
In four different swings, he managed to aim left twice and right twice. Made swings that were not characteristic of what I had witnessed on the range. He was obviously nervous being in front of me and thinking about everything that we had worked on including some Golf Channel tips that he had brought along (he awkwardly admitted as such when I asked) This is where I can really help.
So after witnessing this for two holes, I asked if I could make a few changes. NOT SWING CHANGES, I KNEW THAT THE SKILL WAS THERE…..WE JUST NEEDED TO FIND IT!
Here is what we did: We changed the process of his thinking pattern and the way he approached the ball.
1. We started 3 steps behind the ball where I allowed him to ask 3 questions 1. where is my target…..2. what do I want my ball flight to look like as it flies at my target and 3. what is 1 swing thought that will help my swing propel the ball at the target. I showed him the value of a proper rehearsal swing (50/50) and how that feel can connect to his swing thought. We learned to walk into the ball and aim the clubface and align his body. We established a rule that once we started to walk into the ball, He could only think of target and ball flight.
At first he was very uncomfortable with his new routine but after about 2 more holes he started hitting the prettiest shots that you have ever seen. I asked him what he was thinking about and he replied with a big smile, “Playing Golf!” There is so much value in taking a playing lesson and there is plenty more to share but I will save it for next time. Thanks for reading my post and feel free to leave a comment at the bottom.
Take a playing lesson ………It will be the best time ever spent with your coach. The golf course, Where a coach can be a coach! I wish I could give all my lessons on the golf course! A Coach can dream right.
To schedule a lesson with the guru……please call 704-542-7635 or follow me on twitter @twitter.com/onplanegolf
See you on the lesson tee,