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Should a great instructor also be a great golfer? - Page 3

Poll Results: Would you take lessons from an instructor that isn't a great golfer?

 
  • 65% (27)
    Yes
  • 34% (14)
    No
41 Total Votes  
post #37 of 63

I would expect the instructor to be an above average player, absolutely.  The one exception I think I would make is for age.

post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post

Rather an instructor played to a low hdcp or not is not important to me. A great instructor to me is some one who can add to all the good things the golfer already has, and make that golfer better. For amateurs,  an instructor who also knows how a golf club works would be good thing. A qualified swing guru, that's also club builder is a great combination.

Several years ago, my family, as a birthday present, gave me 5 lessons at Butch Harmon's School of Golf. His building was just down the street from our home and the gift also included a round of golf at Rio Secco, so it was a good deal. No, I never even saw Harmon, but the instructor assigned to me was pretty good. I told him I wanted all 5 lesson applied to my short game from 100 yards out. He agreed, and that's all we worked on. To me he was a good instructor for letting me pick the type of instruction I wanted. He told me he was new to golf instruction and was a 7 hdcp. More importantly he helped my short game score quite a bit.  

My long game improve after only one session with a $25 an hour, no name  range pro. He gave me just one swing thought that eventually saved me close to 5 strokes, on average, off the tee, and on my longer approach shots. I was the only one who showed up for a group instruction. I got the hour to myself. When it came time to settle up he only wanted the original $25 agreed on at sign up. He received much more.  Unfortunately, since business was not so good for him, he moved on to another course.  In his office was proof he had played in 4 US Opens, so he was obviously a low hdcp.  
I for one want to know the swing thought!
post #39 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post
 

So if we say that's a benchmark for instructors, can Foley and Butch Harmon pass this test?

 

I would say yes, I know Foley can (also have a great looking swing) and I'm pretty sure Butch can as well, he played on tour and won the '71 BC Open.

 

Quick side note, yes most teaching pros started off wanting to play for a living. Foley was different, he grew up wanting to be David Leadbetter or Butch Harmon and never had the desire to become a tour player.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkNballs View Post

 

If you're not a PGA instructor... is there another cert. you need to teach?  Or does someone just advertise golf lessons on Craigslist or something?  

 

You don't need to be certified in anything in order to teach golf. There are many great instructors that aren't PGA pros, Foley and Butch aren't PGA pros.

post #40 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukari View Post

Those who can do. Those who can't teach.

And those with nothing to contribute repeat cliches as if they are making a profound statement. And they insult every teacher into the bargain. Not funny.

 

A great teacher doesn't have to be a "great" player, but he/she could not possibly be a great teacher without a lot of knowledge and the ability to transmit that knowledge effectively.

post #41 of 63

I think it depends on what your definition of great would be, mine would be better than scratch therefore I voted yes however I don't think anyone should teach anything that they themselves cannot stand up to a ball and show how to do it. I know someone who thinks he can teach and professes he charges $55 for a half hour lesson but the last time I played golf with him he shot an 97 to my 80, and he's not 80 years old in fact just a couple years older than me but I know for a fact I will never pay for any instruction from him or ask any free tips either, he has one of the most terrible swings I have ever seen for someone who plays for as many years as he has. Unfortunately there may be someone who pays him to teach them and subsequently he steers them in such a bad direction that they probably never want another lesson by anyone again.

post #42 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by flopster View Post
 

I think it depends on what your definition of great would be, mine would be better than scratch therefore I voted yes however I don't think anyone should teach anything that they themselves cannot stand up to a ball and show how to do it. I know someone who thinks he can teach and professes he charges $55 for a half hour lesson but the last time I played golf with him he shot an 97 to my 80, and he's not 80 years old in fact just a couple years older than me but I know for a fact I will never pay for any instruction from him or ask any free tips either, he has one of the most terrible swings I have ever seen for someone who plays for as many years as he has. Unfortunately there may be someone who pays him to teach them and subsequently he steers them in such a bad direction that they probably never want another lesson by anyone again.

That seems to be a common opinion in golf but strangely not so much in other sports. 

 

I would learn from somebody in a wheelchair if they had knowledge that I could use.

post #43 of 63

I think an instructor has to have a thirst for knowledge. Be a curious person always on the lookout for how to improve himself and his students. Second he must be a good communicator to be able to give his message to the student and they understand it. Probably a strong mix of patience as golf is pretty damn hard and anyone trying to make changes to their swing is going to need someone patient to keep the student focused. 

 

I think in the process of learning about golf you will get pretty good at it. I think an instructor may not have the physical talents to be a great golfer but that does not mean they cannot teach. 

post #44 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 

That seems to be a common opinion in golf but strangely not so much in other sports. 

 

I would learn from somebody in a wheelchair if they had knowledge that I could use.


I would too if I knew that they were at one point an accomplished player to some degree, I think that in order to express how exactly they would want you to do something they should know how that feels so it's possible to describe it to you in a way you can better understand. I just don't think knowledge by itself is enough, Harvey Pennick obviously couldn't play any longer but he knew what the player should feel when they do a drill or any other swing change because he at one time experienced it himself.

post #45 of 63
I think this question begs us to ask another one. What makes a great instructor? They're not born, it's a skill that's acquired but there is talent involved imho.

We all can see a swing slowed down at 120-240-1000 fps given today's tech. What do they see we don't? How do they know which is the priority piece to fix?
post #46 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by nevets88 View Post

I think this question begs us to ask another one. What makes a great instructor? They're not born, it's a skill that's acquired but there is talent involved imho.

We all can see a swing slowed down at 120-240-1000 fps given today's tech. What do they see we don't? How do they know which is the priority piece to fix?

Obviously having the knowledge and eye to recognize the flaw is critical, 2 other aspects that are essential are being able to communicate to the student what it is that's wrong and what I feel is even more important is knowing how and what drill to use to fix the problem.

post #47 of 63
Obviously not, Hank Haney had yips with the driver for years and he's made a pretty good go of it
post #48 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nevets88 View Post

I think this question begs us to ask another one. What makes a great instructor? They're not born, it's a skill that's acquired but there is talent involved imho.

We all can see a swing slowed down at 120-240-1000 fps given today's tech. What do they see we don't? How do they know which is the priority piece to fix?

I think that's the real question.  Thanks to Erik, we know what the 5 Simple Keys are and how to spot them but it obviously goes beyond that.  Instructors need to spot the problems and then determine what the cause and effect is.

 

I also think the real key to a great instructor is their ability to communicate, which I believe is one of the reasons Foley is so popular now.  I am not qualified to judge his knowledge, but he communicates well so whatever point he's trying to make I am able to grasp.  I think I'd enjoy working with Foley, too bad he's taking on any new clients.

post #49 of 63
I've only seen a few swings, but I have never been impressed by Haney.
post #50 of 63
I gave Haney 119 for his swing plane trainer. I think he is ok. His students get a similiar swing.

The Harmon effect is more subtle. I like his style a great deal.
post #51 of 63

I was having a problem (and still do on occasion) of swinging too far in to out.  I could tell by my divots and balls flight.  I had an instructor tell me what I already knew.  A good teacher will tell you WHY you are swinging too far in to out.  Some teachers will just tell you that you are coming out of your spine angle and standing up (early extension), but the good ones will tell you WHY.  

 

A lot of swing faults are just reactionary moves due to a bad set up or bad back swing.  The mediocre instructors treat the symptoms and not the disease.     

post #52 of 63

High school teachers and coaches have done a good job as golf instructors in different places I have lived. Among the ones who are semi-retired, a number of them caddied while teenagers - back when most courses used caddies. So they had experience observing golfers even before they became teachers.

 

A couple of these people got their PGA cards as retirement neared, and work second careers as full time instructors and golf pros.

 

Locally, we have a man who play golf fairly well, and instructs at recreational site golf clinics. People who have taken his lessons say he is very good at teaching beginners sound fundamentals. Several high school golfers got their start with him, although they moved on to a regular pro once they get serious about the game.

 

I would say an instructor should be a decent golfer, and also have the ability to explain things to individuals. Golfers need an individual education plan that takes into account their individual strengths and weaknesses.

 

In other places, I have worked with young pros who were scratch golfers and trying for the mini-tour. Both these guys were talented natural athletes, but had trouble explaining the golf swing to everyday people like me.

 

Then there's guys like me - I'm a former caddie. If we're playing together and you complain when you hit your third straight tee shot into the right rough, I'll tell you that you keep lining up 20 degrees to the right.  

 

The First Tee program is looking for volunteers to work with kids, but I won't volunteer until I can break 90 regularly.

post #53 of 63

Great players don't make great coaches...However there are a lot of people that learn by watching so you should be able to do what you coach even if you are 100 yards shorter.  When you are talking about the pro coaches there is no way that they can beat their pros on a routine basis but not too many of us have this issue yet.  If there is a "perfect swing" throw it out of the window because most people will not be able to emulate it consistently due to muscle mass, injury, etc.  This is where a coach belongs.  Pro's also have each club fitted nearly perfectly... how many am's/hacker's can make this point.  

post #54 of 63

I could teach anyone to consistently break 100, but then they need to seek professional help after that point.  ;)

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