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Question for the Teachers here. (no, I'm not trolling...)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Question. Why is it some people need to be shown every technical detail of a golf swing in order to properly push a golf ball downrange, and then there are others who with a simple description, or maybe a visual example, seem to do just fine?

 

For example:

 

My daughter wanted me to teach her how to play golf. OK. So I took her to a driving range, and we walked way down to the end, so our talking wouldn't bother anyone. Now my daughter was a pretty good athlete in school, playing soccer, softball, basketball, and volleyball. So I know she has pretty good hand-eye coordination.

 

Right away, she started asking questions about stance, grip, the swing, etc., etc.. I thought about it for a second or two and decided I wasn't going to fill her head with a bunch of mechanical stuff that I'm not entirely sure I understand. So, I though I'd try something different. I explained how the clubface and swing path control ball flight, and how you want to square the clubface at impact. Then I asked her if she remembered how she swung a baseball bat. She said yes, so I asked her to swing the club like a baseball bat. She started on her back foot and stepped into the bucket and made a very good swing.

 

Now, I said, the major difference between a bat and golf club is the flat of the club face. You need to get it square to your target line to get a decent impact. So do whatever you have to do to get the face square. And I suggested she not start on her back foot, but rather transfer her weight to the right on the backswing, and then slide forward with the downswing, posting/pushing up on her left leg just before impact to add additional power to the release. I also told her to make impact BEFORE her wrists released fully so the shaft doesn't unload too soon.

 

She wiffed a couple, got mad, and asked me to  hit a few for her. She just stood there and watched, then grabbed a club and withing 20 balls or so, was making pretty darn good contact. Her swing was bottoming out a little too soon, so I suggested that the bottom of her swing should be in front of the ball. She gave me this 'well why didn't you tell me that earlier?' look, and proceeded to start making some really decent contact. I mean really, really good contact. I was impressed!

 

Some of her shots were going right and left (mostly right) and she asked me how to fix this. Instead of answering, I asked her how she would hit a ball down the first or third baseline, or right at the pitcher? She looked at my kinda funny, then thought about it. She struggled a bit, but pretty soon she was pretty much hitting it in the direction she wanted. Granted she couldn't hit a 5 yard fade, but she could move the ball left to right, or right to left fairly consistently.

 

So, after 3 range sessions, we're headed to the local par 3 to play 'real golf' (her words). She hits her driver about 160, had one triple, several doubles and one par. Wow.

 

Now she telling her husband (no athlete, lousy golfer) she wants clubs so she can start playing. And she said, he can babysit while she's playing golf with me. I may have created a monster here, but it's been a long time since I've seen her smile like that.

 

SO.....(the crux of my post, I guess) how is she doing this? We're both visual types, I'm a feel player, and I am thinking she will be also. But how on earth is she doing so well, so fast?

 

Bill

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post #2 of 15

Not a teacher here but for me it's simply about how people's minds work. Some people work solely on visual stimuli, some require audible and some kinaesthetic. Your daughter presumably is a phenomenal visual learner so once she has a rudimentary understanding she can pick up the minor details others miss. Some people require a full, detailed description of the golf swing or require the feeling of the club being swung to realise that something's not right.

 

For me I have the feeling of a rhino and the audible learning ability of a worm so it's all visual (and I'd kill to be able to pick things up as quickly as your daughter!) a3_biggrin.gif

 

My suggestion would be to find a few pros with swing styles similar and get her copying those pros. Not saying you're not a great role model at all by the way; just that a pro would likely be a better goal. a1_smile.gif

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiniBlueDragon View Post


My suggestion would be to find a few pros with swing styles similar and get her copying those pros. Not saying you're not a great role model at all by the way; just that a pro would likely be a better goal. a1_smile.gif


You're right, of course, my swing is too upright (bad lower back) and while I'm a D/D, she's more of a D/S (driver/slider). She likes Paula Creamer, as we watch the girls play when we can. I'd say she'd be an ok role model. And she's a girlie girl like my daughter.

 

post #4 of 15

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmiller View Post

SO.....(the crux of my post, I guess) how is she doing this? We're both visual types, I'm a feel player, and I am thinking she will be also. But how on earth is she doing so well, so fast?


There are two sides to teaching. One is knowing the information stone cold. The other is knowing not only how much information to share with a student (to avoid overload, not to withhold it) but how to share the information so that it connects with the student the most.

 

Your daughter may simply be more adept at learning the way you taught her. Other people will learn better other ways.

 

There are guys on the PGA Tour that don't really care what you tell them so long as it works. They don't want any real "information" - they just want to be able to hit the ball the way they want to. I've seen guys at the practice range at Muirfield Village being told all kinds of BS. A lot of the time it's just psychological - the instructor say something so the student gets his mind off other things.

 

There are some differences in talent, too. I don't think it's as widespread as people think, but I can swing all sorts of screwy ways and still get around the golf course in 75 or fewer. Yet we've taught people who can't seem to find the golf ball with the clubhead if you ask them to do anything differently than their normal swing. Your daughter seems like she's well into the first group.

 

No trolling assumed! Good questions. I don't know that I've given you anything close to an answer, but I hope I have helped a little.

 

P.S. I think it's great that she wants to play golf with you.

post #5 of 15

People learn differently.  I had a friend who could hear a song, sit down on a guitar and figure out how to play it without the sheet music.  Even if he had the sheet music it wouldn't have helped because he couldn't read it.  I've seen the same in sports, some people have the ability to translate what they see or hear and duplicate it, others like me have to learn the hard way.  

post #6 of 15


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmiller View Post

Question. Why is it some people need to be shown every technical detail of a golf swing in order to properly push a golf ball downrange, and then there are others who with a simple description, or maybe a visual example, seem to do just fine?

 


I'm one of those people that needs every technical detail of a golf swing in order to properly push a golf ball downrange. If I didn't, I'd have no chance of playing well. In the beginning, I did nothing naturally correct. And when I say "nothing," I literally mean "nothing." I flipped, left my weight back, spun my hips and shoulders out, bent my arms, and my head moved all over the place. Without the details, I'd still be a 130s shooter.

 

The people who need minimal advice are typically the ones with a decent amount of natural ability. 

 

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by wmiller View Post

Right away, she started asking questions about stance, grip, the swing, etc., etc.. I thought about it for a second or two and decided I wasn't going to fill her head with a bunch of mechanical stuff that I'm not entirely sure I understand. So, I though I'd try something different. I explained how the clubface and swing path control ball flight, and how you want to square the clubface at impact. 

 

Just to be "detailed" here, the clubface isn't square to the target line if for example the ball starts out to the right and then draws, or if the ball starts out to the left and then fades. Now, if the ball starts out straight and then peels off left or right, then yea, the club face was square to the target at impact.... and if you get a dead straight shot, it was square to the target at impact too.

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by wmiller View Post

 

Now, I said, the major difference between a bat and golf club is the flat of the club face. You need to get it square to your target line to get a decent impact. So do whatever you have to do to get the face square. 

 

 

Again, be careful with this, because a lot of chronic slicers and hookers have a square clubface at impact. The face angle at impact has to be compatible to the swing path for the shot to find its intended target. For example, if you're hitting a big push draw (all my examples for a right handed golfers BTW), the club face is open to the target line at impact, but closed relative to the swing path, and said swing path is inside-out. Often times, high handicappers will be told "to get the face square at impact at all costs," and they'll do it -- but they do so with a swing path that is over-the-top, thus producing a shot that starts straight and then peels off to the right significantly. 

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by wmiller View Post

 

SO.....(the crux of my post, I guess) how is she doing this? We're both visual types, I'm a feel player, and I am thinking she will be also. But how on earth is she doing so well, so fast?

 

Bill

 

 

She's doing decently well probably because she has some natural talent! a1_smile.gif

 

And we're all feel players. I'm very technical and mechanical when it comes to discussing golf away from the course.... but on the course or at the range, I'm a feel player. I think that's a big misconception about mechanical types. Everything everyone does when its all said and done is based on "feel." I don't think there's a single golfer on the planet who can juggle multiple swing thoughts and still play to their abilities. 

 

So, I disagree that a person can only be either a feel player or a technical/mechanical player. Most players definitely don't like to know all the details of the golf swing -- but we're all feel players.

 

Anyway, good luck to her! You must be thrilled to have her take to the game so quickly. The game of golf needs more people playing and loving it. Especially women players!

 

 

 

post #7 of 15

Not an instructor. I agree with MiniBlueDragon and I think playing innocently without fear (like a 8 year old would) helps. I Found this on You Tube, here is the full title;

Lady Golfers and Focus Update; Shawn Clement 2011 Teacher of the Year Nominee for PGA of Ontario

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

There are some differences in talent, too. I don't think it's as widespread as people think, but I can swing all sorts of screwy ways and still get around the golf course in 75 or fewer. Yet we've taught people who can't seem to find the golf ball with the clubhead if you ask them to do anything differently than their normal swing. Your daughter seems like she's well into the first group.

 

No trolling assumed! Good questions. I don't know that I've given you anything close to an answer, but I hope I have helped a little.

 

P.S. I think it's great that she wants to play golf with you.


Thanks! I am getting kind of excited about playing with her as well. I too can use way different swings, stances, and ball positions and play adequately, though not to your level. Maybe she has some of my so-called 'talent'? Of course that might not be a good thing, from a consistency standpoint. Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

 

My concern with getting her lessons is that many of the teaching pros in my area here are very fixed into one method of swinging a club. One guy stresses 'positions', another timing, and so on. I don't want to confuse her, or frustrate her into quitting. For now, she can watch me, I guess. She said she needs to get into the 70s so she can beat her Old Man. I told her that if she just waits a few years, she won't have to go quite so low...  ;)

 

post #9 of 15
I think some of it has to do with pure athleticism, in addition to the differences in people's learning.

For instance, I can pick up most sports and look at least half-decent, but if I don't fully engross myself in it, learn everything I possibly can, I'm never going to take it to the next level. I have friends though that are polar opposites. While I'm somewhere in the middle, I have one friend that could pick up a golf club, never having seen the sport, and find a way to get around the course in the 70s. I have another friend that would take decades to sniff the 70s.

Good topic, BTW.
post #10 of 15

I'm like JetFan1983, which is ironic because I am an avid Pats fan! (see we can get along).  I like to learn everything about the subject and need to know why and not just how.  I can get obsessive about learning everything.  My buddy who is around a 7 HC is the exact opposite.  He could care less and just plays by feel.

 

You see this in all sports.  I've coached soccer for a dozen years.  Some kids are naturals using both feet from the very beginning.  They can kick and dribble and pass with almost no teaching.  Other kids take a long time to develop the individual skills.  But those same kids who take a long time to pick up the individual skills can pick up the team strategy of the game much more easily.  They don't have the physical ability, but have a better mental grasp of the game.  I've seen this a lot.

 

Your daughter may have a bit of both if she asks the "why" questions.  Have fun with it.

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post

I'm like JetFan1983, which is ironic because I am an avid Pats fan! (see we can get along).

 

Six days out of the week, sure b2_tongue.gif

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post

I think some of it has to do with pure athleticism, in addition to the differences in people's learning.
 I have friends though that are polar opposites. While I'm somewhere in the middle, I have one friend that could pick up a golf club, never having seen the sport, and find a way to get around the course in the 70s. I have another friend that would take decades to sniff the 70s.


Those are my 2 sons!  The younger plays basketball and is in 5th grade can make 3's from anywhere.  The older one has no athleticism but loves golf.  He can't "feel" where his body is, very loose.  I'm a visual learner and so is my younger son, if I demonstrated something let's say how to finish with the right arm high when shooting a basketball and said , "make it look like this", he could do it or come close.  I can't do that with the older one because he wouldn't pick up on what to see or how to translate it.  So I would have to manually put him in that position, hold him arm, and have him close his eyes so he could gain some spacial awareness.  In golf it can be funny because he'll work on a piece, get it good, and then overdo it really fast.

 

 

 

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post



Those are my 2 sons!  The younger plays basketball and is in 5th grade can make 3's from anywhere.  The older one has no athleticism but loves golf.  He can't "feel" where his body is, very loose.  I'm a visual learner and so is my younger son, if I demonstrated something let's say how to finish with the right arm high when shooting a basketball and said , "make it look like this", he could do it or come close.  I can't do that with the older one because he wouldn't pick up on what to see or how to translate it.  So I would have to manually put him in that position, hold him arm, and have him close his eyes so he could gain some spacial awareness.  In golf it can be funny because he'll work on a piece, get it good, and then overdo it really fast.

 

 

 

 

 

Those are my two boys!  The oldest is more like me.  Engineering type with fair-to-midling athleticism.  May excel or not depending purely on obsessiveness and work ethic.  He hits a golf ball and it goes left because he pretty much swings across it 45 degrees.  I don't know where my youngest came from.  He's two, started walking at 8 months, could do a chin-up at 9 months, started driving the motorized cars at 12 months, and on and on.  I gave him a golf club and he took a wide stance, centered pivot, steep shoulder turn, inside path, hits it dead straight and runs after it.  I don't know whether to work with him or just let him go.  So far I've not given him any instruction because the one time I did, it made him do something really weird with the golf club.  There's definitely some weird mix in my family genetics.  Some people are couch potatoes and some just happen to be the former world BMX champion.
 

 

post #14 of 15

As a teacher it is called learning styles, we all learn differently. I also coach our high school golf team and some kids I can quickly give a few tips and they understand it and can put it into action, others I have to show them each step and very slowly. Other kids I have to move the club while they are doing the swing so they can feel and for others the video analysis is the key. I tend to be a visual learner and I tend to record all of my students because I have a terrible eye when watching a swing live..lol. As soon as I see it in on tape I can really zero in on things, along with my own swing.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post

I think some of it has to do with pure athleticism, in addition to the differences in people's learning.
 



 

I am a teacher - high school English.

 

I picked up golf again a few years ago after not playing for a decade and, as an adult who was an athlete, instantly got pretty good when I dedicated myself to doing so. I work with an instructor, now only meeting once every few months.

 

In seeing my instructor work with others, and watching others learn/teach the game, I think the athleticism thing has a lot of merit.

The golf swing is a finely-tuned athletic move. I was a baseball pitcher, and there are similar thought processes to constructing both of the movements.

 

Seeing someone who is, basically, an athlete learn the golf swing is a lot different from seeing a non-athlete learn it. Why? Because, when you look at someone who is unathletic learning the game, many of their struggles come from their lack of body/mind awareness of balance, power, coordination, rhythm, etc.

 

I think an athlete who is willing to work a little bit can get good at the game pretty quickly. Charles Barkley (who was once a low-capper, don't forget) not withstanding, you see many pro athletes pick up the game very quickly and play very well. Ever watch the Tahoe classic? Besides Rick Rhoden and Billie Joe Tolliver, who are essentially golf pros, most of the 'regular' pro athletes would easily be the best guy in your foursome. Why? Their level of athleticism makes the process of correcting flaws in the golf swing pretty easy because you also don't have to correct their basic athleticism.

 

It's like speaking a foreign language. Most of us learn one in school but never become truly fluent (metaphor for athletic competency), so while we can travel to Madrid and ride the bus system, we would be laughable at best if we tried to write poetry in that language. The golf swing is to movement what poetry is to language in that respect, an advanced action that is easier to speak once one has a solid mastery of basic concepts. One could learn to write poetry in another language, but their initial attempts would be mechanical at best and lack the sensibility and/or musicality in the language to really have the essence of what poetry can become in any language. Teaching a non-athlete one thing in the golf swing just causes them to fall off balance somewhere else, and everything is more arduous.

 

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