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As and add on to Erik's post above, I attended a clinic with Erik, Dave and James in 2010. They never really discussed S&T at all. We all worked on what eventually was 5SK. I did what felt like a thousand 1/2 swings working on key 2 at that clinic. My hands were so sore the next day!?

Do you find clinics to be more challenging to teach than individual lessons?

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42 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

As and add on to Erik's post above, I attended a clinic with Erik, Dave and James in 2010. They never really discussed S&T at all. We all worked on what eventually was 5SK. I did what felt like a thousand 1/2 swings working on key 2 at that clinic. My hands were so sore the next day!?

Sorry. :-) @Stretch was there too. And one of the various spellings of "shankapotamous" (there are many).

42 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Do you find clinics to be more challenging to teach than individual lessons?

Clinics are more difficult because you're under tremendous pressure to make sure everyone gets enough attention, to remember what each different person is working on, and so on. Keeping a low student-teacher ratio is important, as can other tricks like grouping people working on similar things together.

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My question is also on the instruction side. If you have your priority peice but are struggling to implement it what would your advice be. Keep finding a feel that works or move onto something else for a bit? Im really struggling with getting my hands more out in transition and I know you too are working on that. How do you deal with those tough times.

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11 minutes ago, adam3553 said:

My question is also on the instruction side. If you have your priority peice but are struggling to implement it what would your advice be. Keep finding a feel that works or move onto something else for a bit? Im really struggling with getting my hands more out in transition and I know you too are working on that. How do you deal with those tough times.

I wouldn't say I'm working on that, exactly. It has more to do with the wrist conditions and some other things.

Your priority is your priority. I am not in favor of diverting your attention very long at all to work on something else. Occasionally, if it's a small thing - like, for example, your grip gets a little out of whack or you've forgotten to slide forward a bit on the downswing because you're committing so much mental energy to something else - you can get away with spending a little time to clean it up.

But the vast majority of your time still has to be on your priority. If you ignore it, it won't get better, and in "fixing" priority 2 and 3 items, they may also be lost when you begin to change priority #1 when you get back to it.

Stick to the priority. Don't avoid detours altogether, but keep them brief and very to-the-point.

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14 hours ago, Phil McGleno said:

What is the single lesson you give the most-And is it the same as if you were to give one lesson to the world?

To the second question, just off the top of my head? Key #2 stuff. I'd get people to get their weight forward more at impact. Hitting the ball solidly is a big deal. You can play a slice, or a hook, so long as you aren't hitting 50-yard 7-irons from laying the sod over the ball.

The lesson I give the most? It seems to go in waves. Lately it's been a lot of hip turn stuff, which you could call Key #1 or #2 depending on the person's particular issues. Lots of the wall drill, etc.

I'm keen to notice trends and how easy it is to fall into seeing the same kinds of things in lots of people in a row, so as soon as I start to see a trend I really double or triple down on doing my due diligence to make sure I'm not being lazy and just seeing the same thing I saw in the last lesson.

This summer Dave seemed to get a lot of "weight forward, long arms" types, for example. And those were what I'd have taught his students, too. But I got a lot of backswing people with hips swaying back. Just how it went.

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Now that you are sort of leading the charge for golf instruction with LSW, what do you think it is the next area for instruction to explore to help golfers get better?

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9 hours ago, mchepp said:

Now that you are sort of leading the charge for golf instruction with LSW, what do you think it is the next area for instruction to explore to help golfers get better?

Golf moves very slowly, and so I think "the next area" is a decade or so away.

I'll flip it around and talk about what I think were the recent gains, which actually came in fairly rapid succession lately:

  • Steel shafts.
  • Specialized instructors (i.e. not just "the head pro").
  • Graphite, 460cc, cavity backs, the golf ball ("equipment").
  • High-speed video.
  • Launch monitors.
  • Understanding and applying statistics.

LSW and Broadie, as well as places like ShotsToHole.com, are leading the revolution there, IMO.

Some would probably say "the mental game" is next, but I think a lot of you know how I feel about that - a mental game is not going to change the swing of a guy who doesn't break 90 very much at all (and LSW includes the GamePlanning side of the mental game).

Off the cuff, perhaps simply having better instructors should be the next thing that helps golfers get better. There are still a lot of crappy instructors out there. If everyone could be at least a "B" instructor, golfers would improve (those who wanted to, that is - the beer drinking "happy to be outside doing something" guy who plays entirely for fun and doesn't care about shooting 100 will continue to exist) by the largest leap maybe ever.

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IIRC, you rate courses in your area for the USGA. Is that as fun as it sounds? How did you come about it and what does it entail?

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5 hours ago, nevets88 said:

IIRC, you rate courses in your area for the USGA. Is that as fun as it sounds? How did you come about it and what does it entail?

I do, and have for eight or nine years now. I think this is my ninth coming up, though with the "retiring" of the captain, I've assumed the mantle.

So people know, Steven's asking about course ratings - we measure courses (distances, speeds of greens, thickness of rough, etc.) - and rate various features (bunker depth, the slopes on greens, how "escapable" trees are, etc. We fill these out sheets of paper with a LOT of spots. The values for some things, like "mounds," can be different for the bogey and scratch golfer, because a lot of the times with bogey golfers we have to note the presence of mounds anywhere along the hole, while with a scratch player we care only about the landing areas and a small buffer to each side. Which makes sense, as a bogey golfer might have to contend with the mounding 180-yards off the tee on a 400-yard par four, but the scratch golfer is not concerned with them.

A computer crunches all of the numbers and spits out the course rating and slope.

It's fun. Absolutely. I love doing it. Before I was a pro, one of the nice perks is that we're supposed to be able to play the course when we do the rating, too, in case we see anything else pop up. So, back then, it was a nice way to play some cool courses now and then (you can skip playing the dumps if you want, but it's still free golf…). Now that doesn't matter so much.

Now, I still like it, because it's interesting to see what people are doing with changing golf courses over the years, and it's fun to get into debates about whether you think a green is "moderately contoured" or "relatively flat." It's interesting to see the golf course architecture and the effect it has on how players have to play a hole, or how it will affect the rating. It's interesting to compare two courses, two holes even, to see how they rate out.

I think we do a good job, too. The head of the rating committee, who is now the President, has always liked his "Erie" team. We give good ratings, he says, and never need to have any corrections made. A local CC disputed our ratings a few years ago and first had the local organization (West Penn) come in, THEN the national rating committee come in, and each time our rating held to almost exactly as we rated it, so ours held.

To get on the team I just found out who was doing the ratings and expressed interest to the local (regional, whatever you wanna call it) golf association. For me, again, it was the West Penn Golf Association (WPGA). They hooked me up with the then-current team captain Ric and I was trained kind of "on the job" and away I went.

Like any little thing, it's fun to have your own language with a few golf geeks, and for me, as it's a volunteer thing, it's a way that I can stay in touch with golf in yet another way and give back a little bit by volunteering my time to help out the local golf association and member courses.

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What do you think the easiest thing any golfer could do to improve his game? And if the answer is buy LSW, what part of LSW would be the most beneficial?

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5 hours ago, DeadMan said:

What do you think the easiest thing any golfer could do to improve his game? And if the answer is buy LSW, what part of LSW would be the most beneficial?

Spending thirty bucks and reading something sure is pretty easy, so yes, that would be at the top of my list. I actually wouldn't have thought of that (I'm not great or even very comfortable with self promotion), so thanks! :-) As for what part of the book… the GamePlanning part is pretty good. It's literally going to help you shoot lower scores the next time you play, without practicing anything. It's the entire third section of the book (the first section is technique, the second section is how to spend your valuable practice time, the third section is building a GamePlan).

The easiest thing, outside of that?

Work on your short game and putting. Seriously, both of those skills are relatively easy. The key word there is relatively. But get some good fundamentals, develop one or two basic shots, and then focus on getting the ball close to the hole with the short game shots or in the hole on putts inside of 10 feet. Even from eight feet PGA Tour pros are 50/50, but you can't be 30% from eight feet, and 50% from five feet… and you can't be chipping the ball to 15 feet, either.

I almost never work on my short game and putting, because I took the time to build a solid foundation, and so the skills tend to stick around.

And, again, they're relatively easy skills to get pretty good at.

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1 hour ago, SavvySwede said:

If you could have one superpower, which would it be and why?

Do I get to turn it on or off? I'm going to assume I do.

I'd like the ability to read minds. I like honesty, and it would help cut through the chase. If I'm talking to someone and they think something like "why is he still talking about that…" I can move on. Or during a lesson if someone thinks "he asked me if I understand, and I don't, but I'll look stupid if I say no, so I'll say yes." :-)

But like I said, I assumed I get to turn it off, because the last thing I want is some sort of What Women Want scenario.

If mind reading  doesn't qualify as a superpower, I'd like the ability to fly. I could make millions in the NBA, until (or if) they rewrite the rules related to traveling. Plus, seriously, how cool would flying be?

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How do you approach short game practice and even wedge fitting in the winter? Example: How do we keep our pitch and sand shot technique fresh when we can only practice off mats?

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On January 15, 2016 at 8:28 AM, boogielicious said:

How do you approach short game practice and even wedge fitting in the winter? Example: How do we keep our pitch and sand shot technique fresh when we can only practice off mats?

Honestly (as I said I would be)? I don't approach short game practice in the winter. Even in the summer I almost never practice my wedge game. I'm not saying it to brag, but I probably practiced my short game less than five hours in total last year. You know how we recommend 65/20/15 to everyone? Well, if it weren't for occasionally playing games putting or chipping into baskets, I'd be almost 100/0/0. Even with the games I'm around 96/2/2, and at the VERY least 90/4/6 or so.

How should you practice it, though? Lots of ways.

  • Pitch balls into a hoop or basket.
  • Practice trajectory control by hitting balls through a small hole in a sheet or something.
  • Practice hitting balls off a sponge (you'll know if you hit it too fat).
  • Practice right-handed.

These all assume you have some place to do it, and a little mat to hit them from. I of course have the downtown Golf Evolution building. Hey, I hit two pitch shots there earlier today. Granted, they were with my daughter's sand wedge, but that counts as practice too right?!?!

At the very least, there's no reason to think that practicing off mats should do anything to destroy your pitching technique. In some ways it's better to do that because the ground won't be muddy one time, firm the next, etc.

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I assume you plan on finishing the PGA PGM program?  Do you plan to do/help with anything different by being a full PGA member? Like help with PGA Education, Player Development programs, etc.?

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3 minutes ago, phillyk said:

I assume you plan on finishing the PGA PGM program?  Do you plan to do/help with anything different by being a full PGA member? Like help with PGA Education, Player Development programs, etc.?

I do plan on it, if for no other reason than that it's relatively easy to stay in once you're in, and I've already invested a good amount of money in the program.

I don't currently have any plans to do anything like what you mentioned, but suffice to say the PGA's educational program for instructors (likely in all aspects, but I can't speak to how well they prepare people to be assistant or head pros) leaves a lot to be desired. As the Director of Instructor Development for 5 Simple Keys®, I think I could help the PGA develop a far better training program.

But, that will likely never help or matter, because the PGA does not seem to care about developing "tracks" - they seem quite content and even insistent upon developing "jack of all trades, master of none" types.

I'm sure I'll do some little things here or there within my section. I've already done some, like helping with some veterans in the HOPE program, and so on. With my daughter I'm open to being involved with junior golf. But thus far, I'm just getting my work done (slowly, when I have time) and moving along in the program.

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