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ChetlovesMer

One Reason Why Teaching/Coaching Golf Is Difficult

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I have this golf buddy. He's a good guy and I like playing with him. He's the kind of guy that spends the entire round telling you about the round he's playing as he's playing it. I'm sure most of us have a buddy like that... or maybe you are the buddy like that.

You know as you are walking to the green he's saying "If I just do this.... but I did this... when ever I do this … this happens... I need to focus on this.... that last shot I did this … and this happened that last hole..." you get the idea. 

Okay so, this year he's been going to the range as we can't really play yet. The weather sucks. He feels like he's losing distance off his driver, and he's started hitting a wicked fade/slice. (Incidentally he plays off about a 20-25 hcp. My guess, I'm not really sure.) He's been complaining about his driver. So I say "Why don't you get a lesson, or sign up for multiple lessons?" He's reluctant. He wants to figure it out on his own. But finally he relents and signs up for a free lesson. (First one is free.) 

Okay, so he's in the slot at the range working with the pro. I'm in the next slot over, half hitting shots, half trying to glean information off his lesson. 

I thought the pro does a really good job. He's got him on trackman. He's videoing my buddy's swing from the side and down the line. I'm not completely paying attention but it looks like he's doing coaching type things. 

To make a long story … less long. The pro diagnoses that my buddy is "coming off the ball" on his backswing. Essentially, he's swaying back and his head is travelling back with his body and then he's sliding into the ball., and he's got to make a million little adjustments to get back to where he's supposed to be. So, the coach gives him some "feels" to try to go for, and some drills and suddenly my buddy is hitting it way better. And I mean tons better. 

So, I'm in the next booth going "Eh, cool." 

They finish up and they head inside. I eventually catch up with them and they are going over the videos, both good and bad, of my buddy's swing. The coach is saying stuff like "Look where you are here and this is the result." … "Then look where you are here and see how much better the result is." The coach is drawing lines on the screen, talking about what my buddy says the feeling he was getting during this move was etc...  I pretty much get the idea. Then the coach shows him a couple of pros swings in an attempt to show him how that particular move he's making is similar to Tiger and Rory and whom ever. He finishes the lesson with "Remember how we were working on this feeling and it was working for you." See how when you do that your spin numbers come way down your trajectory improves etc.... He sends my buddy away with a feel and two drills to reinforce it. 

So, I'm kind of happy for my buddy. Maybe he's got a new swing coach. 

Fast forward to this week when I see my buddy on the range. He's back to his slice, he's hitting it worse than before. He's also raking and smacking balls at an alarming rate with the driver. 

"Hey, how are you doing"

"Fine" he says in that voice that tells you it's not really fine.

"Are you working on that feel and those drills the swing coach gave you." 

"No" 

His tone of voice tells me I shouldn't ask. But I'm an idiot and I ask "Why not?" 

"He wants me to swing like Tiger or Rory. I'm not Tiger or Rory." 

"Oh" I say confused.

"See, that's why I told you I didn't want lessons. Golf coaches only have one type of swing in mind and they try to make you do that swing. I just wanted him to fix my swing, not try to get me to do Tiger's swing." 

Okay, so I'm the first to admit I wasn't completely always paying attention to his lesson. But, that's not what I perceived happened at all. So, I made a silent vow to myself that the next time I meet with my swing coach I'm going to try hard to appreciate what he does. It can NOT be easy to teach this silly game. 

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your friend makes me chuckle

so if he wants to hit "HIS" swing.  then make him aim way left and swing away

Edited by rehmwa

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I can't imagine improving that quickly and then rejecting it all as soon as I left the lesson. I know I am stubborn, but I'd like to think I'm not THAT stubborn. I haven't taken any lessons, so I don't know what my actual reaction would be, but this seems extreme.

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16 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

I fixed the title @ChetlovesMer. Spelling counts. 😀

Thanks, as I've said many times, I went to Chicago Public Schools. 

 

1 hour ago, Bonvivant said:

I can't imagine improving that quickly and then rejecting it all as soon as I left the lesson. I know I am stubborn, but I'd like to think I'm not THAT stubborn. I haven't taken any lessons, so I don't know what my actual reaction would be, but this seems extreme.

This all took place over a period of about 10 days or so. 

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Students need someone to blame when they don't practice and thus don't get any better, and for better or worse… it's often the instructor.

We've had guys who are 1 handicaps who, when we show them drills and they gain 12 yards with their 7-irons and begin taking divots instead of thinning everything a little… will within a week completely revert to their old stuff because they think they've "got it." They don't, and a quick video check would tell them that, plus the loss of distance and the divots they're no longer taking…

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That is an annoying type, most of us have seen some version of that.

If he’s a 20-25 handicap, let him know he’s not good enough to get mad at a bad shot lol.

The type that wears on me is “swing your swing”. Ya thanks dude. Believe it or not, I tried that. If my ball went where I wanted and shot 70-74 every time - then I probably would.

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9 hours ago, Slim_Pivot said:

If he’s a 20-25 handicap, let him know he’s not good enough to get mad at a bad shot lol.

Every time I see a PGA player chunk a wedge, shank, hit a drive into another fairway, I feel better about myself. :-)

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13 hours ago, iacas said:

Students need someone to blame when they don't practice and thus don't get any better, and for better or worse… it's often the instructor.

We've had guys who are 1 handicaps who, when we show them drills and they gain 12 yards with their 7-irons and begin taking divots instead of thinning everything a little… will within a week completely revert to their old stuff because they think they've "got it." They don't, and a quick video check would tell them that, plus the loss of distance and the divots they're no longer taking…

I would be completely dishonest if I said that I have not done this. I have been here before and it's just the easiest scapegoat. I can remember stating things like "He made this or that change and now I'm hitting it worse than ever."  It's hard for an athletic, competitive person to stand on the range and hit terrible shots in front of others and not get angry. After making my way to this site and actually reading and learning about the process, it just takes time and work. Focus on the drills you have been given (that many times are accompanied by your instructor telling you "now you may hit some bad shots until you get this move down, don't stress over it") and put the work in. I still have to work on this with myself and have gotten MUCH better!

@ChetlovesMer

I would get back with your friend and explain to him that his instructor isn't saying that you have to swing like Rory or Tiger. Make him understand that on his good swings, he was actually doing the same things as Rory and Tiger, which should be a compliment and a boost in mentality. Coming from a guy that used to think like your buddy does, I would have greatly appreciated a much better golfer coming to me and showing me the calm and more productive way to approach practice.

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39 minutes ago, TN94z said:

Focus on the drills you have been given (that many times are accompanied by your instructor telling you "now you may hit some bad shots until you get this move down, don't stress over it") 

This is really good advice. I can't guarantee that the swing coach didn't do this. I was kind of listening in, but I wasn't actually IN the lesson. 

43 minutes ago, TN94z said:

 

@ChetlovesMer

I would get back with your friend and explain to him that his instructor isn't saying that you have to swing like Rory or Tiger. Make him understand that on his good swings, he was actually doing the same things as Rory and Tiger, which should be a compliment and a boost in mentality. Coming from a guy that used to think like your buddy does, I would have greatly appreciated a much better golfer coming to me and showing me the calm and more productive way to approach practice.

A couple of people have suggested similar stuff to this. I will give it a try and report back. 

15 hours ago, billchao said:

@ChetlovesMer, did you try to steer your friend in the right direction after that or is he a lost cause?

I haven't yet. He didn't seem to be in a state of mind where my advice would be well received. I will try.

16 hours ago, boogielicious said:

I fixed the title @ChetlovesMer. Spelling counts. 😀

I promise that won't be the last spelling mistake I ever make on this forum. I sumtimes strugle with speeling 

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On 3/11/2020 at 1:35 PM, ChetlovesMer said:

I have this golf buddy. He's a good guy and I like playing with him. He's the kind of guy that spends the entire round telling you about the round he's playing as he's playing it. I'm sure most of us have a buddy like that... or maybe you are the buddy like that.

So I say "Why don't you get a lesson, or sign up for multiple lessons?" He's reluctant. He wants to figure it out on his own. But finally he relents and signs up for a free lesson. (First one is free.) 

Okay, so he's in the slot at the range working with the pro. I'm in the next slot over, half hitting shots, half trying to glean information off his lesson. 

So, the coach gives him some "feels" to try to go for, and some drills and suddenly my buddy is hitting it way better. And I mean tons better. 

I don't know your buddy so I can't tell you if you should talk to him.  I took excerpts out of your post that might give you an idea what to do.

I guess if you don't mind the constant whining throughout the round, and you think it might upset him too much, then you can always pass and accept that will be your day at the course.

I like the use of the word "relents", it does show a degree of perseverance on your part.

If you decide to pursue talking to him, you have all sorts of ammo.  I mean, you were there, you saw the immediate results and were impressed.

I probably wouldn't say anything until you guys play again.  When he starts up again during the round, I'd tell him how great he hit the ball at his lesson.  You were there and saw it.  Depending how much you want to push it, you can make it a game of attrition.

If I had a buddy that constantly complained and then I actually saw that he could improve fairly easily, it would be tough to listen to it.  You feel bad when someone is off, but

when that person refuses to take advice that works from an instructor, I don't know.

John


 

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I had a similar experience with a coach.  Went to see him for 1 hour and was hitting the ball better than I ever have before, then when I went to the range a couple days after and I just couldn’t recreate the feeling he gave me and it was frustrating. 
 

Funnily enough my coach was telling me to swing like Tommy Fleetwood. Didn’t really resonate with me until I saw a break down of another player with a l steep swing and tried to copy that a bit and now Somethings clicked and I’m hitting it loads better. But I asked my friends and they said my swing doesn’t look any different. 
 

Maybe try and explain to your friend that he won’t lose ‘his swing’. The difference will be very subtle but unless he’s found a new revolutionary way to swing the club, his swing is never going to be completely dissimilar to at least one tour pro. 

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I can get mad after a bad shot if I want. But my coach once told me this: "Golf is not like other sports. In other sports like basketball, emotions can be a good thing and can be used to fire up a team. But in golf emotions will absolutely punish you." 

I need a lot of range work. Practice at the range needs to be focused.

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