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Another "Classic vs. Modern Instruction" Thread

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Modern day golf instruction is very prevalent these days.  A lot of the pros have professional coaches (not withstanding those who have never had a lesson). This has not always been the case as many of the “greats” are self taught.   I sometimes regret even giving my opinions as often I am rebuked, or chalked off as somebody who does not know what they are talking about because I choose not to ascribe to the methodology that is currently popular.  I have seen a lot come and go.  I have seen many so called “new approaches” are nothing more than what has been used in years past.  I have seen the golf swing change a great deal over the years, but at the same time I have noticed a commonality among some of the greatest present day players using those techniques of the best players of the past.  Maybe it’s because of my age and the fact that I have been around the game for a lot longer than some of the most successful swing guru’s of modern times. I am sure I have “forgotten” a great deal too.

When I first started playing some forty years ago, which is not really that long; everybody was using wooden drivers and fairway woods either persimmon or laminated oak. All the irons were blades. I used a lot of Macgregor Tourneys, Spauldings, Tommy Armour. We did not carry much more than a pitching wedge and sand wedge. No hybrids (or not that many) but plenty of rescue clubs, bafflers and the like.

I have never been a “good” golfer, but I did manage to score quite a bit lower than I do now. My scores have risen by anywhere from 12 to 15 strokes more per round. I also did not play golf continually, often times going for years without swinging a single club. Now I am getting back into the sport and I can see definite improvement from week to week even though I still do not get out more than once a week and sometimes only once a month.  I have read, studied, and have definitely benefited from the lessons, tips, and observation of the players and instructors of today. That being said, I have the benefit of being able to sort of “pick and choose” the little tidbits that seem to work best for me, recalling things from the past that I “know” work and at the same time pick up something new or different from what I am used to  that I can use to my advantage now.   I am not too old to learn, and I relish critique and criticism.  But one thing that I take exception to, is the attitude of some instructors being adamant that “Their way, is the only way” or the “ correct” way. 

No, I am not “good” and never will be, but perhaps my observation of this great game over the years should be something not to be dismissed as an “Old man’s ramblings” and I still like to feel as if I am contributing something useful to the game.  Let us see how you feel thirty or forty years from now. Of course I won’t be here then.

 

Original Title: Let the "flaming" begin...(very long and wordy) deletion optional

post #2 of 15
I vote for deletion. Sorry James, heard this "discussion" a few times too many already.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post

I vote for deletion. Sorry James, heard this "discussion" a few times too many already.

Q.E.D.

post #4 of 15
Sure, if it makes you feel better...Q.E.D.
post #5 of 15
Look James, I'm not dismissing older people out of hand or even necessarily disparaging whatever the opposite of modern instruction is. Is there value in the classical instruction? Of course there is, people didn't just start playing stellar golf from 1990 on so obviously great golf and great instruction was around longer than that. It just that SO much of classical (for lack of a better term) instruction was entirely feel based, there were no high speed camera capabilities and that lead to a lot of bad or misguided information. Did some of these old timers really know how to swing a club? Absolutely. Did they have the ability to convey this information in a objective, universally accessible fashion? No not really, the people who could relate to the feels that worked for the instructor did great, the people that felt things differently were S.O.L. That's not Latin so you might have to google it.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacker James View Post

This has not always been the case as many of the “greats” are self taught.

 

Name them.

 

Golf instruction didn't really exist before the 1960s, and even Ben Hogan would confer with his fellow PGA Tour players. Bobby Jones learned from Stuart Maiden. People still "learned" but there weren't any terribly formal "instructors." Heck, pros were second-class citizens until the 40s or so.

 

Nicklaus learned from Grout. Arnie from his dad. The list goes on and on. Competition has gotten fiercer. It's the natural evolution of things - golf instruction has evolved, and will continue to do so, as golfers have evolved.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacker James View Post

I have seen the golf swing change a great deal over the years, but at the same time I have noticed a commonality among some of the greatest present day players using those techniques of the best players of the past.

 

Have you seen http://purestrike5sk.com/ ?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacker James View Post

I have read, studied, and have definitely benefited from the lessons, tips, and observation of the players and instructors of today.

 

So… ?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacker James View Post

But one thing that I take exception to, is the attitude of some instructors being adamant that “Their way, is the only way” or the “ correct” way.

 

Cite specific examples or sentences like that don't mean very much.

 

There are some things about the golf swing that are not subjective. Facts about how the ball flies the way it does, for example. There are plenty of others which are, and part of the art of teaching is knowing how to get something out of a student, or get them to understand certain things.

post #7 of 15

I figure the "classic" guys would have loved to have had the technology to know exactly what was going on in their swings so they would have reference points from when things were going great and when they weren't.

 

I'm not sure this video is allowed because a product is mentioned but the topic is relevant. (If it's deleted it won't hurt my feelings any). a3_biggrin.gif

 

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post

I figure the "classic" guys would have loved to have had the technology to know exactly what was going on in their swings so they would have reference points from when things were going great and when they weren't.

 

Exactly, and way better expressed than my post. It's not so much that the old instructors weren't good, it's more about the limitations they had due to inferior tools. A modern instructor, if he's good, should be more effiecient and quicker at make a student better simply because he has a) a better diagnostic process b) he's able to monitor and measure. The other part of instruction is the art of teaching someone something new, but at the end of the day with all things being equal, I'm choosing the guy with the better toolkit.

post #9 of 15
Thumbs up.
post #10 of 15
Hate my phone.

Technology aside, if you can see it, you could offer some help.
post #11 of 15

Technical assistance to modern instruction:

  • Video-taping of golf swings: Jimmy Ballard - The Connection - got the idea for this from John Brodie, former NFL QB for the SF 49ers. Brodie told Ballard about NFL Monday morning video clip study to prepare for the upcoming game. Brodie went on to become the only NFL veteran to win a PGA tour event (Champions tour).
  • Computerized swing analysis: Launch monitor (simulation based on limited indoor tracking of shot's flight) OR Trackman, which tracks the entire outdoor flight of ball.

 

Along with plugged-in technology, there's the systems for breaking down the golf swing. Here on TST we often use the 9-position analysis.

 

But the infinite breaking down of the golf swing has led to a new problem:  How can people remember five or six things in a swing that lasts less than 2 seconds?

 

And, there's a range of goals for golf instruction: Are you preparing a person for NCAA golf or the pro tour, or are you teaching someone the basics so they can break 90 most of the time?

 

A good instructor can tease out the swing which a person has inside.

 

Look at the movie "The Greatest Game Ever Played." The Francis Ouimet character gets instruction from the club pro, who uses a hickory shaft (minus the clubhead) as a lever to show him proper elbow angle, and balanced finish on the full swing. Classic yes, but he got a former caddie Ouimet to the point where he beat two English superstars to win the U.S. Open.

 

So, that brings us back to the start: The technology is great, but sooner or later someone has to generate a complete swing to hit the ball.

post #12 of 15

Not sure how a Bubba Watson figures into this discussion given the only instruction he's had was his dad when he was younger.  I don't hear him looking at his swing on video or worrying about the ball flight laws but he made it on the Tour and won a green jacket. 

 

Ultimately I think modern instruction can solve any swing problem but the path to get there isn't as easy as some (not here) make it seem.  They use a lot of the same technology in baseball and guys like Ike Davis still end up in the majors with obvious swing flaws.  Now the Mets and him are trying to fix it, but his flaw is so embedded in his muscle memory, making the appropriate adjustments has been so difficult they had to send him back to the minors. 

 

I know even with my own swing, bad things will sneak into it from time to time and with video I can identify them, but if I had that "feel" guys like Bubba have, it might eliminate the problem altogether.  Classic instructors seemed to teach more about the feel, maybe it just takes years to develop feel, but I'd like to have it. 

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

Not sure how a Bubba Watson figures into this discussion given the only instruction he's had was his dad when he was younger.  I don't hear him looking at his swing on video or worrying about the ball flight laws but he made it on the Tour and won a green jacket. 

 

Ultimately I think modern instruction can solve any swing problem but the path to get there isn't as easy as some (not here) make it seem.  They use a lot of the same technology in baseball and guys like Ike Davis still end up in the majors with obvious swing flaws.  Now the Mets and him are trying to fix it, but his flaw is so embedded in his muscle memory, making the appropriate adjustments has been so difficult they had to send him back to the minors. 

 

I know even with my own swing, bad things will sneak into it from time to time and with video I can identify them, but if I had that "feel" guys like Bubba have, it might eliminate the problem altogether.  Classic instructors seemed to teach more about the feel, maybe it just takes years to develop feel, but I'd like to have it. 

 

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times: everyone is a feel player.

 

The numbers or video are just there to confirm whether you've found the right feel or not. Using machines that provide "super-human vision" (HS cameras) or whatever (Flightscope, SwingCatalyst pressure plates, etc.) don't make people have swing thoughts or turn them into robots. They simply, used properly, confirm whether a feel is working properly.

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

Not sure how a Bubba Watson figures into this discussion given the only instruction he's had was his dad when he was younger.  I don't hear him looking at his swing on video or worrying about the ball flight laws but he made it on the Tour and won a green jacket. 

 

Ultimately I think modern instruction can solve any swing problem but the path to get there isn't as easy as some (not here) make it seem.  They use a lot of the same technology in baseball and guys like Ike Davis still end up in the majors with obvious swing flaws.  Now the Mets and him are trying to fix it, but his flaw is so embedded in his muscle memory, making the appropriate adjustments has been so difficult they had to send him back to the minors. 

 

I know even with my own swing, bad things will sneak into it from time to time and with video I can identify them, but if I had that "feel" guys like Bubba have, it might eliminate the problem altogether.  Classic instructors seemed to teach more about the feel, maybe it just takes years to develop feel, but I'd like to have it. 

 

That's because Bubba is extremely talented. He has tremendous hand eye coordination, and clubface control, he is basically an outlier in golf. One example doesn't prove or disprove anything. High speed video has done a tremendous service for golf instruction in the past 10 years. Even Tiger gave credence to the fact that younger golfers are able to view there swing, and hone there skill at an earlier age than when he learned his.

 

All human's have feel. Our bodies register two types interactions, pressure and heat. Everyone is a feel player, if someone wasn't they wouldn't be able to swing a golf club because they wouldn't be able to tell were the golf club is. If you say someone is very mechanical, that in its self is a feel, because they must feel like they are mechanical to be a golfer.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post

 

That's because Bubba is extremely talented. He has tremendous hand eye coordination, and clubface control, he is basically an outlier in golf. One example doesn't prove or disprove anything. High speed video has done a tremendous service for golf instruction in the past 10 years. Even Tiger gave credence to the fact that younger golfers are able to view there swing, and hone there skill at an earlier age than when he learned his.

 

All human's have feel. Our bodies register two types interactions, pressure and heat. Everyone is a feel player, if someone wasn't they wouldn't be able to swing a golf club because they wouldn't be able to tell were the golf club is. If you say someone is very mechanical, that in its self is a feel, because they must feel like they are mechanical to be a golfer.

I wasn't trying to prove or disprove anything.  I depend on modern instruction because I don't feel the things Bubba must in order to keep his swing working for him.  I was simply stating that I'd like to have a better sense of feel to go with the video. 

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