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The Instructor Quiz: Nine Questions You’ve Gotta Ask

Dec. 9, 2009     By     Comments (40)

How to avoid wasting your time and money: put your instructor through this simple quiz.

There are a lot of golf instructors out there. Many of them are qualified, intelligent instructors with the best of intentions. They want to help you, they want to see you improve, and they enjoy doing it.

Unfortunately, intentions don't always translate into ability, and there are a good number of instructors out there who may not be helping their students as much as they'd like.

Over the last few years I have become increasingly frustrated with feedback I have received from students who have taken lessons from seemingly "qualified" instructors. In this era of the Internet and YouTube, I have also had the chance to view a large number of videos and read many instructional articles online and, again, it seems that much of the information is misleading at best. Because of this I took the time to devise a short nine-question "test" for golf instructors.

I would like to point out upfront that I, and all the instructors at my academy, teach based on the 5 Simple Keys®… but all of the questions and answers are the same for any efficient method of swinging the golf club.

Question One: What gives the ball its initial direction: clubface angle or path?

Answer: Clubface angle is the primary determinant for starting direction, upwards of 85 to 90%. Data from Doppler radar-based launch monitors such as Trackman and Flightscope has confirmed this. A surprising number of pros will tell you that the swing path determines the starting line, but as is often the case in golf instruction, what the pros tell you and what they actually do in reality are two very different things.

Question Two: If a golfer wants to hit the biggest draw - would he move the weight the furthest forward or the furthest back?

Answer: Forward… at impact. Players whose weight is the furthest back are the biggest slicers of the ball. This simply has to do with the arc of the swing (picture a semi-circle transcribed on the ground). Players who hit draws hit the ball on the "back" side of the circle when the club is still swinging outward and downward to the golf ball. Players who hit slices generally hit the ball while the club is moving more out to in. Moving the weight forward effectively moves the ball position "back" on the circle.

Question Three: Does the spine's actual angle taken at address (the bend or flexion from the hips) stay that way throughout the backswing? Or does the spine's angle "change" as the hips come out of their anterior tilt?

Answer: The spine's flex is definitely changing as the hips come out of their address, anterior tilt. It is also bending to the left at the same time the extension is happening, as caused by the right and left knee changing flex and the hips releasing from the address tilt (to most golfers this feels like they are stretching their entire trail side upward). This is how the golfer stays in their inclination to the ground.

If you've ever been told to "maintain your spine angle" then your instructor is committing perhaps the most serious sin in golf instruction. Nobody on the PGA Tour truly "maintains their spine angle."…it is definitely changing in order to keep the head steady.

Question Four: The correct hand path is more a) circular or b) straight back and then down the target line in order to keep the clubhead online longer?

Answer: a) circular. Golf is not croquet - we play to the side of the ball on a tilted angle. The circular arc is a byproduct of that. Moving the hands in too much of a linear manner is the slowest way to swing the club and predisposes the golfer to lifting the arms an excessive amount.

Question Five: Which of these are true commonalities of all the game's greatest players: a) grip b) posture c) weight forward at impact d) a flat left wrist (right handed player) at impact?

Answer: C and D - having the weight forward and a flat left wrist at impact. The game's greatest players have played with grips and postures completely across the board, from strong to weak and hunched to erect, but they all are able to arrive at impact with the weight predominantly forward and the lead wrist "flat."

It is also worth noting that many average or poor players have better grips and setups than some touring professionals. If the instructor you are considering is spending too much time focusing on things that are not common to the greatest players of all time he/she may be doing you a disservice.

Question Six: To square the clubface at impact a golfer should a) feel a conscious release of the club through a rolling and rotation of the wrists and forearms b) feel passive wrists and forearms to hold the club square to the arc the club is swinging on?

Answer: b) feel passive wrists and forearms to hold the club square to the arc - a conscious release is something that, in itself, tips the club shaft out and over the top causing the golfer to hit too much out to in or across the ball.

Question Seven: During the backswing the right handed golfer's right knee should lessen its flex (not lock but definitely decrease flex) to allow the hips to turn completely and on a tilted angle? True or false?

Answer: True. If the golfer's right knee stays flexed the hips cannot turn to the proper extent and they do not maintain their tilted angle. It is at this point that the arms lift excessively and the beginnings of an over-the-top motion are in place.

Question Eight: The center of the golfer's hips must be in front of the golf ball (assuming a baseline ball position) at impact. True or false?

Answer: True. Don't take my word for it. Simply watch video of the game's greatest players.

Question Nine: Do you make use of video? Yes or No?

Answer: Yes! Don't buy into the fact that an instructor "has a great eye." Video is a must! Anyone relying on their eye when humanity has invented something better than "your eye" - high speed video - is wasting your time and money.

The End

So there you have it. How did you do? More importantly, how did your instructor do?

This article was written by Dave Wedzik, owner and director of golf instruction at Golf Evolution in Erie, PA. If you'd like to contribute, send us an email.

Discussion

  1. Kevin says:

    I some disagree with question 9. While I find video feedback to be extremely helpful and prefer it, it's not a deal breaker if I connect with the instructor. One of the best instructors I had was from an old timer who didn't use video. Padraig Harrington's instructor, Bob Torrance, doesn't use video.

    Again, I think it's a huge benefit but not a necessity.

  2. brodkorbtd says:

    I love it when people make top 10 lists in golf. Especially when it relates to the golf swing. [said in my best sarcastic voice]

    When did a golf instructor have to have a degree in physics and biology in order to effectively instruct someone. If my golf instructor started talking "spine goes from flexion to extension as the hips come out of their anterior tilt," I would demand my money back.

    This article makes it sound like you should want this from a golf lesson -

  3. Scott Hurst says:

    Padraig Harrington's instructor, Bob Torrance, doesn't use video.

    If Bob Torrance is your instructor, I bet this David fella would grant him an exception. The point he was trying to make is that even the human eye can't see subtle things and even the best golfer can't always feel what they're doing. Video has a way of making the instructor and the student better.

    If my golf instructor started talking "spine goes from flexion to extension as the hips come out of their anterior tilt," I would demand my money back.

    Who said he had to say those words to you? And what's so hard about "anterior"? It's the opposite of posterior.

    This article makes it sound like you should want this from a golf lesson

    You do realize you just linked to a satirical video on The Golfing Machine, right? As in http://thegolfingmachine.com/? From what I can tell, it's well respected.

    The point remains that this guy feels as though the spine angle changes throughout the swing. I would tend to agree, and your instructor should know that. Whether he uses terms like "anterior" - not exactly a high-level word - is irrelevant. It's simply that he knows it.

    Golf is a game of traditions, but that doesn't mean we need to stick to tradition "just because." Technology can make us better. Our instructors can be better equipped and better informed. Tell me - are both of you playing persimmon and balata? Didn't think so.

  4. David Wedzik says:

    brokkorbtd - Thanks for the comment and for taking the time to read the article.

    I should point out that I never said a golf instructor needed a degree in anything and, more importantly, I also never stated that golf instructors "should" tell students about moving the spine from flexion to extension (though how hard is that to understand?) , etc....what I SAID is that if you are going to give your money to an instructor they should KNOW that this happens. Whether they discuss these points with each individual student is really something the instructor decides based on whether or not their student is the type that can relate to that level of information.

    I've seen the video you linked to btw and is is VERY funny - not at all sure how a lot of my comments pertain to that but you are entitled to your opinion.

    Thanks again! Dave

  5. Kevin, if you think Paddy isn't using video… well, he does. Paddy's one of the biggest geeks (in a good way) on Tour. I also recall the announcers talking about how both Paddy and Torrance were going to spend a few days at the Titleist Performance Institute down the road in Carlsbad shortly after the Chevron tournament. Paddy's been there several times before.

    Plus, a PGA Tour pro is a different beast. They tend to be aware of things and can feel things more accurately than the average golfer. Despite that, they all still use video too (even Paddy).

  6. David Wedzik says:

    I some disagree with question 9. While I find video feedback to be extremely helpful and prefer it, it's not a deal breaker if I connect with the instructor. One of the best instructors I had was from an old timer who didn't use video. Padraig Harrington's instructor, Bob Torrance, doesn't use video.

    Again, I think it's a huge benefit but not a necessity.

    Thanks for reading the article - to be quite honest if an instructor gets the majority of these right they are ahead of the curve and likely a good choice. That said the video camera is very useful and my main point to any instructor would be "why not"? Besides the things the instructor may see, I think the best part about video is how enlightened the student is when they get to see their own swing...they are quite often amazed by how different feel is from real.

    Dave

  7. goblue107501 says:

    When I took lessons a few years ago the first thing we did was video my swing. Not only was it good for me to see how bad I was, but as soon as the instructor explained what I needed to do, I 'got it'. He gained my full trust within the first 30 minutes looking at the video. Mostly because he was able to take a few looks and outlined a plan for me right there. After that, it was all about working on the plan. Over 8-10 lessons after we never used video again. Mostly because he had a great eye and could tell me what was wrong. I guess if I had asked he would have, but he was able to tell me right or wrong when he saw me so it never came up.

  8. Kevin says:

    Kevin, if you think Paddy isn't using video… well, he does. Paddy's one of the biggest geeks (in a good way) on Tour. I also recall the announcers talking about how both Paddy and Torrance were going to spend a few days at the Titleist Performance Institute down the road in Carlsbad shortly after the Chevron tournament. Paddy's been there several times before.

    Plus, a PGA Tour pro is a different beast. They tend to be aware of things and can feel things more accurately than the average golfer. Despite that, they all still use video too (even Paddy).

    Erik - I was referring more to Torrance's teaching style than whether Paddy uses video (good article here). I remember reading a quote from Vijay saying he never wanted to see his swing on video because he'd be too horrified on how ugly it was. I thought that was pretty funny.

    Again, I'm a huge proponent of video. I tape myself frequently and get a lot out of lessons with video. I just don't feel it's a must if you have a good instructor.

  9. David Wedzik says:

    I was referring more to Torrance's teaching style than whether Paddy uses video (good article here).

    Yeah… great article for sure… thanks for posting it… video or not I would say "the boys" there are pretty lucky (and that BT would very likely answer the great majority of the questions spot on)!

  10. Tony Cat. says:

    All I care about is that they know the ball flight laws... that's my first question, if they answer that right I ask, so lets start the video...no video, no Tony..great stuff...

  11. jhirsch says:

    Not everybody in life is good at what they do. Its those that understand this and then do something to make themselves better is what separates achievers from being mediocre. To refute any of these points is a waste of oxygen. I once took a lesson from a well respected instructor...top 10... who did not use video. He would watch me hit a shot and ask me how the shot felt, if I said good he would say that looked good. If I said it felt bad he would say it looked bad. WTF? Golf is a pretty technical game, that may be a big understatement, and students need to become more spohisticated if they choose to improve. Your list of questions are the baseline whether the instructor that they are choosing to help them on their journey is the absolute baseline. Homer Kelley said " and educated struggle is better than a blind struggle." AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. DG says:

    I spend my money on golf balls....not golf lessons. :)

  13. UserK says:

    I think Question number one should be: What has more effect on trajectory of the ball, not : What gives the ball its initial direction: clubface angle or path?
    Because for example if I show you the trajectory of a fade or a slice that ended up in the middle of the fairway, you would see that what gives the ball its INITIAL direction is ONLY path

  14. Paul says:

    If its stack and tilt, then this is not the instructor for me. I am simply not strong enough to stack and tilt and swing as well.

    But I have no other idea on whether its a good method for teaching the golf swing. Possibly.

    I do agree that finding a good instructor is very important, unfortunately I don't think a survey or questions will do it. Only a lesson or two will answer that question.

    You know the the association of pilots that teaches people to fly offers a free session for this very reason. I think that is the way to go, or word of mouth.

    Nor do I put any value in golf magazine lists, because I am unclear on any private agreements or simply bias because of networking or contributions towards interviews, articles and so on.

  15. Because for example if I show you the trajectory of a fade or a slice that ended up in the middle of the fairway, you would see that what gives the ball its INITIAL direction is ONLY path.

    WIth all due respect, that's the part that's wrong, and the question is worded properly. Path (relative to the clubface) determines spin and contributes very, very little to starting line.

    I am simply not strong enough to stack and tilt and swing as well.

    That doesn't make any sense. Are you stronger than my wife? A 70-year old man? Plus, these questions are for any instructor, regardless of the method they teach. They should all give the same answers - these aren't S&T-specific.

    I do agree that finding a good instructor is very important, unfortunately I don't think a survey or questions will do it. Only a lesson or two will answer that question.

    I think the point David is trying to make is that you can weed out a lot of poorer quality instructors by considering some basic questions and their answers, not that this is the sole reason for determining who you might work with.

    Nor do I put any value in golf magazine lists, because I am unclear on any private agreements or simply bias because of networking or contributions towards interviews, articles and so on.

    There's no private agreement here. Dave made a list in the forum and I asked him if I could tweak the list (grammar, spelling, etc.) and publish it as an article.

  16. David Wedzik says:

    If its stack and tilt, then this is not the instructor for me. I am simply not strong enough to stack and tilt and swing as well.

    I do agree that finding a good instructor is very important, unfortunately I don't think a survey or questions will do it. Only a lesson or two will answer that question.

    Paul - thanks for taking the time to read the article! The article itself has nothing to do with Stack and Tilt - it is a list of questions to help you find a good instructor (Stack and Tilt or otherwise) - if anyone who reads this isn't interested in using the list that is fine. If you find value in it that is great!

    As to a lesson or two answering the question of whom to chose as an instructor… that is EXACTLY why I did the list. I can't tell you how many times I have been told by people that they have taken 1, 2, 4, or 6 lessons putting their trust in an instructor only to find out they were getting worse… not better. A lot of money is wasted by that point (even after only one or two lessons). Again… the point was to try to help people make an educated decision before spending any money.

    Because for example if I show you the trajectory of a fade or a slice that ended up in the middle of the fairway, you would see that what gives the ball its INITIAL direction is ONLY path.

    Thanks for reading! Please do not take my word for this… do some research on your own… the CLUB FACE is the determinant for starting line of the ball (up to 85-90%) and for all intents and purposes the path is only a factor in influencing the curve of the ball in the air.

    Dave

  17. Tommy C. says:

    I Had a short lesson with David W. a few months ago. I can honestly say that my "ball striking", and my misses have never been better. I definitly think video is a major benefit to any and all golfers, and teachers. Keep up the good work!!!

    That guy Tony Cat. is a great teacher as well!!!

  18. Paul says:

    That doesn't make any sense. Are you stronger than my wife? A 70-year old man? Plus, these questions are for any instructor, regardless of the method they teach. They should all give the same answers - these aren't S&T-specific.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the S&T method teach, that you put your weight forward and tilt slightly at the start of your swing, i.e. before you take your back swing. I am just not strong enough to do that, I can S&T, but I can't take my backswing, I simply find it hard to turn.

    Now if that isn't what S&T teaches, then I am wrong.

  19. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the S&T method teach, that you put your weight forward and tilt slightly at the start of your swing, i.e. before you take your back swing.

    No, it doesn't teach that.

    If anything, Stack and Tilt requires less flexibility and strength than virtually any other mainstream method of swinging the club that I've ever seen.

  20. Phana24JG says:

    Like some other commentors, I may quibble with one or two of the questions, but I really like the attitude the author is conveying. I had a part-time range pro take me from hackerdom down to about 6-7, where I stalled. We realized I needed a new instructor. I spent hundreds of dollars, but more importantly, wasted countless hours playing with planes, supernating and extending forearms, playing grip games. and getting ZERO improvement.

    Finally, I found an intelligent instruction forum, got a reference within driving distance, and in 1.5 hrs and about three practice sessions later, was hitting the ball better than ever. It is YOUR time and money, why waste it if the guy does not even understand elementary physics? DUH!!!!

  21. mick says:

    Gawd -
    Imagine being an instructor and someone asking you all of these questions. You'd be firing the client quick smart.

  22. Imagine being an instructor and someone asking you all of these questions. You'd be firing the client quick smart.

    Yeah, much better to take the money from the naive, unwitting people out there, eh?

    If I were an instructor I'd love to have a student ask me questions. I could begin to prove to him that I know my stuff. The rest of the proof would come with my instruction.

  23. PipePro says:

    It is a better idea to choose a teaching professional with a track record, but his record must fit your needs. I have played golf 52 years, caddied, course maintenance, assist Pro, head Pro, Club repair, management, and even design, 35+. I think it would be a bad idea to ask a PGA professional these questions, did you ever ask your Doctor where he graduated in his class?

    There are so many different theories on how to swing a golf club. Different types of swings (The Perfect Swing and Stack and Tilt, Old style, New style) different types of teachers (L-to-R Flick, Smith, Leadbetter-R-to-L Penick, Hogan, Harmon) how do you choose.

    First and foremost over 80% of golfers grip, alingnment, and setup are wrong, 70+% play with the wrong flex shafts, 90% will get a lesson and play within days of the lesson without practicing.

    I have a $20,000 GolfTek swing analyzer (that tells me everything imaginable at 2000 frames a second) and using on most people is like putting silk stockings on a pig. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well a video is worth a thousand swing thoughts. It can help the teacher but the player is another story. My swing coach never let me look at an ugly swing, he edited anything bad, and showed me the good things I was doing. Video, clubface, and swing plane info does make my job alot easier.

    Your questions though all were pretty much basic knowledge for a qualified professional.

  24. Phana24JG says:

    Gawd -
    Imagine being an instructor and someone asking you all of these questions. You'd be firing the client quick smart.

    LOL..... you do have a point Mick. I think the article was intended to give the student a slightly different attitude and perspective. The FACT is that the PGA certification process does not spend very much time on instruction, and there are a lot of poor to mediocre teachers out there. Why not take a little time and maximize your chance of finding a good one?

  25. Phana24JG says:

    It is a better idea to choose a teaching professional with a track record, but his record must fit your needs. I have played golf 52 years, caddied, course maintenance, assist Pro, head Pro, Club repair, management, and even design, 35+. I think it would be a bad idea to ask a PGA professional these questions, did you ever ask your Doctor where he graduated in his class?

    Pipe, with all due respect, I believe this is a weak analogy. Would you allow your GP to perform brain surgery?

    I think the author is actually agreeing with a lot of your other points. I also inferred (perhaps incorrectly) that he was addressing SERIOUS students who have decent fundamentals that understand the importance of post-lesson practice.

    I have a $20,000 GolfTek swing analyzer (that tells me everything imaginable at 2000 frames a second) and using on most people is like putting silk stockings on a pig.

    No Trackman??? Just kidding :)

  26. David Wedzik says:

    It is a better idea to choose a teaching professional with a track record, but his record must fit your needs. I have played golf 52 years, caddied, course maintenance, assist Pro, head Pro, Club repair, management, and even design, 35+. I think it would be a bad idea to ask a PGA professional these questions, did you ever ask your Doctor where he graduated in his class?

    Thanks for taking the time to read the article. First and foremost, I never said these were the only 9 questions someone could ask and I actually never said they were even the best (to each his own to some extent). I did say, however, that these would be 9 great questions and if the instructor didn't answer most to all of them correctly I wouldn't consider that instructor.

    As to choosing a pro based on "track record" I couldn't agree LESS - I know of many, many pros out there that have been respected pros for a long time and won awards, etc. (good track record) and I wouldn't even consider sending a friend their way for lessons. Why would we not ask good questions to qualify our instructors? If a doctor graduated from medical school we can be pretty sure he had information (I hope) given to him/her along the way...with golf pros I honestly can't say that (and I am one...I have seen this first hand!) at all.

    There are so many different theories on how to swing a golf club. Different types of swings (The Perfect Swing and Stack and Tilt, Old style, New style) different types of teachers (L-to-R Flick, Smith, Leadbetter-R-to-L Penick, Hogan, Harmon) how do you choose.

    This is the whole point of the article. You choose based on questions such as these that should cover most any "method" or style.

    First and foremost over 80% of golfers grip, alingnment, and setup are wrong, 70+% play with the wrong flex shafts,

    Not arguing whether grips and setups aren't textbook in the masses out there, but a playable grip combined with other good pieces will put a student way ahead of a perfect grip and horrible mechanics. That is why I don't put grip at the TOP of any list. This article really had nothing to do with equipment.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well a video is worth a thousand swing thoughts. It can help the teacher but the player is another story. My swing coach never let me look at an ugly swing, he edited anything bad

    I have seen video help players as much as teachers and confirm with the student that they need to make the necessary change. With many students a light goes off when they see a certain thing and they say "wow...I can't believe I was doing that". That alone makes it easier to get them to buy into necessary changes.

    Again...regardless of whether you agree or not thanks for reading!

    Dave

  27. David Wedzik says:

    Gawd -
    Imagine being an instructor and someone asking you all of these questions. You'd be firing the client quick smart.

    Good, competent instructors......happy to answer these I'm sure.

    Instructors without answers that stopped learning long ago...I'm sure you are exactly right....my point in an nutshell.

  28. Phil says:

    As a golf instructor myself, I think this is a very good article, however the author made one big mistake and that was with the title. He should have called it, "9 things all good golf instructors should know". 90% of readers would have agreed with that and it would have prevented most of the redundant replies received.

    Moving on though, I would like to make two points. Please understand I am not having a go at the author here, just stating my feelings about golf instruction both as a student for 20 years and a teacher for 5 years.

    1) On golf instructors: I think a lot of golf instructors are at risk of becoming too clever for their own good. Knowing the theory behind the golf swing like the back of your hand, doesn't mean you can transmit this information to the student and make them a better player. The average golfer is a 24-handicapper struggling to break 100 on a regular basis and what he/she really needs is for golf instruction to get simpler, not more complex. The last thing someone having lessons wants is a smug golf instructor with a degree in biomechanics in love with the sound of his own voice. He/she needs simple language he/she can relate to addressing the root problem in their game, usually the basics (grip, posture, alignment). Also, change only two things per lesson, very few people can handle more.

    2) On students: When I was younger, I used to spend loads of money on lessons jumping from instructor to instructor. I did this because I didn't notice an improvement within 2 weeks. Of course, I blamed the instructor and looked for another. It was only as I matured, that I realized I was hearing the same thing from every instructor and the problem to my game not getting any better was much closer to home than I thought. In order to get better at golf you need to find the time to practice as there are no short cuts in golf. On one of the courses I took, they told us that in order to change a habit you had to make 4,000 perfect repetitions. I fully agree with that. How anyone can expect to improve taking a lesson once in a blue moon and then not hitting balls at the range, or swinging a club at home for a week until their next round, is anyone's guess.

    It takes two to tango - golf instructors and students alike need to do a lot of soul-searching if that average handicap is ever going to come down.

  29. I disagree...for the average student (24-handicapper and above), I would say nearly everything you've written in your article is "high level". I am never ceased to be amazed just how little students know about the game.

    Dave gave the answers to the questions. The student doesn't need to know why the answers are what they are - just that their instructor can answer them and get them correct.

    Otherwise, they're likely doomed to start down the wrong path, and that's not going to benefit anyone.

    P.S. The golfers you're talking about don't scour the Internet looking for advice on finding a good instructor. This article, simply by being online, almost selectively narrows the field from "average golfer" to "more advanced golfer" automatically.

  30. David Wedzik says:

    1) On golf instructors: I think a lot of golf instructors are at risk of becoming too clever for their own good. Knowing the theory behind the golf swing like the back of your hand, doesn't mean you can transmit this information to the student and make them a better player. The last thing someone having lessons wants is a smug golf instructor with a degree in biomechanics in love with the sound of his own voice. He/she needs simple language he/she can relate to addressing the root problem in their game, usually the basics (grip, posture, alignment). Also, change only two things per lesson, very few people can handle more.

    I completely agree but this is not what this article is about at all. By no means was I saying instructors should necessarily use certain "high level" terminology (though the great majority of the terms used in my article are far from high level). I was saying, however, that having enough of a knowledge base to answer questions such as these IS very important.

    On students: When I was younger, I used to spend loads of money on lessons jumping from instructor to instructor. I did this because I didn't notice an improvement within 2 weeks. Of course, I blamed the instructor and looked for another. It was only as I matured, that I realized I was hearing the same thing from every instructor and the problem to my game not getting any better was much closer to home than I thought. In order to get better at golf you need to find the time to practice as there are no short cuts in golf. On one of the courses I took, they told us that in order to change a habit you had to make 4,000 perfect repetitions. I fully agree with that. How anyone can expect to improve taking a lesson once in a blue moon and then not hitting balls at the range, or swinging a club at home for a week until their next round, is anyone's guess.

    It takes two to tango - golf instructors and students alike need to do a lot of soul-searching if that average handicap is ever going to come down.

    Agreed… thanks for reading!

  31. Phil says:

    Hi Dave,

    I disagree...for the average student (24-handicapper and above), I would say nearly everything you've written in your article is "high level". I am never ceased to be amazed just how little students know about the game. The most complex question I ever get asked is, "are my hands too far in front of the ball at address or OK?!". That's why I think you got the title wrong as this is golf instructor's knowledge. Perhaps you give lessons to much low handicappers or pros...

    I have ordered my copy of S&T and can't wait to receive it. The more I read about it, the more I like the concept.

  32. PipePro says:

    Pipe, with all due respect, I believe this is a weak analogy. Would you allow your GP to perform brain surgery?

    I think brain surgery or at least psychology is what we perform when we give a lesson. The ability to transmit digestable information is what seperates a teacher from somebody trying to teach.

    I am lucky enough to have Beginners to Tour Pros as my clients. I would much rather work with a very good player because I know he or she will work at it. I also can share technical information with someone that can relate, all the rest of my students are at the mercy of their time constraits put on them by family and apathy.

    I tried your S&T and it didn't work for me (in my 60's and had a tough time on uneven lies squaring club) I am more of a right heel to left front foot teacher and swinger. A great principle though, I struggle with my beginners teaching a rotating trunk with a stable base, they all seem to lift and sway.

    David I am sure you are very knowledgeable and you wrote a great article, I have always said that any golfer taking advice from anyone other than a qualified instructer is like going to a proctologist for Heart surgery, and you are correct there are pros giving lessons that really don't address the students needs, but with that said there are still plenty of qualified pros out there, and by track record I meant someone with experience and results. Remember also that most of the people we see are looking for a band aid to cover a gaping hole. We give instruction not ability and commitment, but even if you are correct and the student fails they will blame you. Sorry if I got off the subject again, I'm extrapulating.

    My advice to golfers looking for help, is to ask other golfers for pros that have helped someone they know. Erik, great website, I'm smitten, at least till spring.

  33. David Wedzik says:

    I disagree...for the average student (24-handicapper and above), I would say nearly everything you've written in your article is "high level".

    Thanks again - and agreeing to disagree on this one is fine. Readers can easily decide for themselves how complex each question is (or isn't).

    I have ordered my copy of S&T and can't wait to receive it. The more I read about it, the more I like the concept.

    Glad you ordered the book - I think you will love it and want more!

    I tried your S&T and it didn't work for me (in my 60's and had a tough time on uneven lies squaring club) I am more of a right heel to left front foot teacher and swinger. A great principle though, I struggle with my beginners teaching a rotating trunk with a stable base, they all seem to lift and sway.

    Thanks again for well thought out comments Pipe! More FYI than anything because I find there is a lot of misconceptions out there re: Stack and Tilt. I wouldn't classify SnT as rotating trunk, stable base (the image there is of "still" hips). It is much more fixed center with full shoulder and hip rotation (backswing)...followed by continuous forward (center of hips/tailbone) which allows both the hips and shoulders to keep turning along their prescribed arc.

  34. Phil says:

    When you go to have a golf lesson you have to put 100% faith in the instructor. If you don't, you are wasting your time and money. Before going to any instructor, you have to do some research to find out what sort of track record he/she has and whether they are recommended.

  35. Jeffery Passage says:

    Hey, David Wedzik knows his stuff. So, pay attention. Basically, if a golf instructor does not understand geometry, physics, kinesiology, and biomechanics as they pertain to golf, then he or she is not much of a golf instructor.

    Early in 2009, I took six lessons from a highly regarded PGA pro in my hometown. After six lessons, my golf swing was WORSE than when I started. He used video with every lesson. He would tell me to do this and do that. But when I asked him "How?", he couldn't show me or explain it to me in a way that made sense. All he could tell me is "it takes time."

    My internet research took me through several golf swing methods and theories. I finally latched onto the Stack & Tilt as the best of the bunch for me (without an instructor, no less). Questions one through eight above are addressed and explained in the Stack & Tilt videos and the newly released Stack & Tilt book.

  36. glebert says:

    Gawd - Imagine being an instructor and someone asking you all of these questions.You'd be firing the client quick smart.

    That was my thought too, especially if they are a novice golfer.

  37. Scott Hurst says:

    That was my thought too, especially if they are a novice golfer.

    A novice golfer should be no less deserving of a quality instructor than an intermediate or advanced golfer.

  38. Chris says:

    The problem with this is that an instructor may know the answers to all nine questions, but that doesn't necessarily make him or her a good teacher. Not a word here about the mental game, which is wildly overlooked by teaching professionals across the board.
    Many have commented about the lack of practice a student puts in after a lesson. This is not entirely the students fault. The teacher needs to find out just how much the student will practice and what their expectations are. The teacher also needs to clearly define the amount of time it may take before improvement will be seen.
    There are a lot of qualities that make up a good golf instructor, much more than 9 questions. Any 21 year old PGM student will answer those nine questions correctly if they have a genuine interest in teaching and haven't been brainwashed by the PGA teaching Manual.

  39. The problem with this is that an instructor may know the answers to all nine questions, but that doesn't necessarily make him or her a good teacher.

    It may not necessarily make him a good teacher, I agree, but getting the answers wrong is a pretty good indicator that he's a BAD teacher.

    Obviously other things matter, like "personality" and the mental game as you said and so on. This isn't a definitive guide by any stretch, but it does speak to some of the important things that an instructor should get right.

  40. David Wedzik says:

    Any 21 year old PGM student will answer those nine questions correctly if they have a genuine interest in teaching and haven't been brainwashed by the PGA teaching Manual.

    Erik already made many of the points I would have made but, to emphasize, this list of questions was not supposed to determine if the instructor was DEFINITELY a good one...but rather to make it easier to "sort through" and eliminate a bad one.

    Also...in reply to your "any 21 yr. old PGM student will answer those nine questions correctly" comment I would quite simply say...NO, most of them would absolutely not answer them correctly...and that is unfortunate.

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