Earlier in the season, I started a thread about how to deal with ability - or lack of. (http://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/81404-hitting-a-plateau-with-ability/#comment-354724). What I was after was more enjoyment out of what has become a very big part of my life. As is the case with many of my thoughts and opinion on golf, the idea that I can learn to be ok with a crappy game was mostly wrong. While I must learn to accept the current skill level at which I play, it’s difficult to suppress expectations on the course, and practice efforts off.
So, where the hell do I go from here?
- I Still believe continuous lessons are the best way for improvement. I like the idea of taking lessons in person. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be instructors in this state - much less the area - who share a similar teaching methodology and philosophy as Erik and Mike. I do believe in choosing a system and sticking with it.
Earlier this year, I took a single lesson from a local PGA pro. I had spoke with him a few times and got a feel for his methods, which I immediately liked. I loaned my copy of LSW to him. He was very positive about what he read, which indicated he wasn’t completely set in his ways. So we worked out a lesson where he would watch me play nine holes, then give me a priority piece to work on. While he did give me some pointers on the short game (which were great BTW), for the most part, he sat back and observed my full swing without commenting. At the end of 9 holes, he told me the one thing I needed to work on was keeping my head angled UP more at address. The reason being that I wasn’t allowing room for my left should to come around which was causing my head to move.
Ok… well that’s completely opposite of what I’ve learned. Maybe I’d been overdoing it all this time, so I made a slight change (not to the extent he recommended) and the results were not all bad. The next time I showed up at the course, he asked how the priority piece was working and we talked about another lesson. He told me he was going to show me how to roll my hands to draw the ball. While I really like this instructor, his views on swing mechanics seem different than what I’ve learned here. Even though lessons are probably the best way to show real improvement, it’s not always easy finding the right instructor.
- As it turns out, my budget wouldn’t allow for a series of lessons anyway, so that made the decision pretty easy. While this isn’t the only reason I don’t take lessons, it's likely the most impactful.
- Lessons aren’t a cure-all. Besides the issues of money, and the lack of good instruction, there’s my inability to understand not only what is being taught, but how to apply it. When it comes to learning, but this it’s not easy. Applying drills to a slow swing, and a slow swing to a full speed swing is very difficult. If I’m going to improve my game, I’ll first have to improve how I practice.
- How to turn successes into second-nature habits. What good is learning the best swing mechanics in the world when they will inevitably be forgotten? What seems to be common with better players, is they have no more than a single swing thought during a swing, while I’m trying to remember everything that I think has worked in the past - just before I push the shot OOB.
I don’t know how successful I’ll be at any of these, they’re just thoughts. It’s not like typing out and posting them is some guarantee they’ll get accomplished or even attempted. Plus, I’ve been wrong so many times over the last few years on what I thought was necessary towards improvement, that I’m kind of at a loss.
All I know is that playing well is so much more enjoyable that playing poorly.