Every year as I compose my goals for my life and career, I also update a list that I started about 15 years ago called my life list. A bucket list of sorts that included things that I wanted to do in my career. Several of them involve working with other top coaches. If you want to be at the top of your profession or field like I want to someday be, you must get around people who you admire or that have accomplished similar things that you aspire to do. Tony Robbins calls this modeling. I call this building relationships that will make you better with like-minded people. Today I am glad to say that I can mark one of those items off of my list as I got to spend the day coaching with one of the best short game coaches in the world. Mr. Todd Sones (@toddsones). I have been fortunate in the last few years to build a relationship with Mr. Sones as he has kind of taken me under his wing and mentored me in many areas of the teaching business and life. So when he emailed my boss and asked if he could come to our golf school and partner with me and do a scoring game school I was very excited. An opportunity like this does not come along very often for me to work alongside a top 50 teacher and observe how he works with average players. I assembled 8 of my students to experience working with myself and Mr. Sones for a great day of learning about putting and the short game. We started off with a presentation about Todd’s philosophy and what the students should expect for the day which I recorded for your viewing pleasure (pending). I wish I would have had someone video the whole thing because I couldn’t process everything that I was witnessing as I was trying to teach and also follow behind my mentor as we went through each student.
We started with putting for the majority of the morning which included a set of stations for the students to work (drills and practice) as I filtered each student to Todd to assess and also fit for a coutour putter which is Mr. Sones putter company where he can build high quality putters that fit the student properly. Getting students into proper posture and then fitting them is the only way to go. Out of 8 students, only 2 of them had putters that were even close to what would allow them to putt to their potential and one had been fit by me. Needless to say, once we put putters into their hands and they could see the results immediately…..they all bought new putters. The great thing about Todd is that he has that ability to help the students and also educate other teachers as well. Myself along with some other staff members and one PGA pro who drove in from Virginia, were privy to observe and pick the brain of one of the best as he did his work. I had seen Todd present his philosophy many times and had many conversations with him about teaching putting but until you see a guy work one on one with a student, you just don’t get the full effect. To see how he could make simple adjustments to their setup, explain it to the student and have them understand it and implement it quickly was great to see. After 3 hours of putting instruction, the students were all able to tell us what we had worked on and how they will practice their changes which I feel is the true sign that the student really gets it.
We ended the last couple of hours by working on shots from the edge of the green and back to about 40 yards which is so crucial in the scoring zone. Mr. Sones believes, as do I, that the terms “pitch” and “chip” are terms that don’t fully describe short game shots. These terms are often misused and confuse the average golfer. So the cool thing about what he teaches is the different language that he uses for each shot. We taught the students these shots:
1. bump and run - short shot played with a putting grip and stance (pw, 8iron)
2. bump and spin - same shot only played with a sand wedge to spin it
3. hinge and hold - played from the rough using an early hinge action to create a steeper angle of approach
4. low toss shot - 25 yards off the green
5. high toss shot - same shot with a higher trajectory
He uses a different way of getting into setup which start by setting the club for the shot at hand and then “standing to the handle” which positions the butt of the club in the middle of your body. This sets the proper ball position without even mentioning it which is one less thing for the student to think about.
Mr. Sones says” A good short game can be summed up in one word, “descend!” and a poor short game can be described as “ASCEND.”
There were plenty more nuggets that I picked up as we talked in between and after the session that I will have to share later or you will just have to hit me up on twitter or come and take a short game lesson. Better yet, come out and get fit for a Coutour putter that will help me teach you better.
Because today I am a better coach than I was yesterday and that is what it is all about…..Am I Right? I can’t believe that I get paid to do this. Thanks for reading my blog and share this with someone who needs help with their short game. You can find me at the Dana Rader Golf School on the both sides of the building….not just the range. or on twitter @twitter.com/golfgurutv
This year, make your lesson plan include at least 50 percent short game and putting and you will thank me later.
*****Special thanks to my friend Todd Sones for a great day and sharing his knowledge with me and my students.
See you on the lesson tee,