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Do you work on your priority now to improve or do you do it to maintain your level of play?  If you do it to improve, do you feel like you have gotten better? And have you seen the results in your scores?

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That depends. If it's in a different area of their game, almost always. i.e. if the person wanted to work on their short game, but they were topping their driver, I might just go along with the s

This is an AMA type of thread, and you can ask me anything. I'd imagine most of the questions will be about golf, but, really, ask me anything. Some basic rules…

Yes, we train some, and are looking to do more, or at least introduce more PGM type students (or "current non-instructors considering such") to 5SK®/LSW®. The downside is that a lot

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On March 11, 2016 at 3:25 AM, Abu3baid said:

Do you work on your priority now to improve or do you do it to maintain your level of play?  If you do it to improve, do you feel like you have gotten better? And have you seen the results in your scores?

Both. Improving is maintaining my level of play, or vice versa. At my level changes are pretty small.

I've gotten better over time, yes, and continue to do so. I owe part of that to LSW, as even though I wrote the book, I didn't always follow it to the letter. Since writing the book, I pretty much do… always… even from 70 yards away I'm not aiming at X, for example.

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20 minutes ago, Phil McGleno said:

If you could work with a Tour player, would you choose to work with a top player, a mid-tier player, or a struggling player?-Why?

I'd work with an LPGA Tour player. I think I could have the biggest impact, they would probably be appreciative and not too demanding, and they look better in shorts. Most of them, anyway…

If I'm restricted to men on the PGA Tour, I think someone 50th to 100th on the standings (mid to low level) would be good. They'd need some actual work or something to improve, and they could notch their first win or pull out a good season with the right priority.

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6 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

What is it you think you could teach an LPGA Tour player that you couldn't teach to an upper level PGA Tour player?

It's not about what they could or couldn't learn but about the huge gap in the LPGA Tour players. Most women have much more room to improve - and quickly - than men simply because to get to the PGA Tour a guy is likely WAY further along.

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I was looking into the USGA's Rules of Golf Workshop and was wondering what this seminar provides that you can't get out of reading/videos? What boggles my mind, and forgive me for my ignorance, the RoG are not my strong point, is that it's three days long - are the RoG so complex? Or is it mostly new stuff due to technology? Have you ever officiated an event or considered officiating?

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6 hours ago, nevets88 said:

I was looking into the USGA's Rules of Golf Workshop and was wondering what this seminar provides that you can't get out of reading/videos? What boggles my mind, and forgive me for my ignorance, the RoG are not my strong point, is that it's three days long - are the RoG so complex? Or is it mostly new stuff due to technology? Have you ever officiated an event or considered officiating?

The seminar provides…

  • Certification that you attended the seminar.
  • A far more thorough and organized look at the Rules than you could likely get via self study.
  • Additional materials via "USGA University." Mostly about 40 PDFs with various things.
  • A 100- or 80-question test at the end where your score matters quite a bit.
  • Networking with peers and like-minded Rules Geeks and other people in various organizations.

The Rules of Golf are fairly complex, yes. Now, 95% of anything you encounter are covered by some very basic rules, but what do you do if you're playing in a threesome and you direct the opposing player's caddie to tend the flag, and he does, but as he pulls the flag out he pulls the hole liner out and your ball hits it? Do you know the answer off-hand? Or… all kinds of other things. What can you do to see the golf ball in a bunker when it's covered by leaves? When someone hits a ball that may be OB what's the order of play in a match? Does it change when the ball is found to be OB but closer to the hole than the opponent?

The Rules of Golf are complex (not that the NHL's rules aren't complex either) in large part because both the formats of play AND the fields of play (and spectators, etc.) are nowhere near as simple as every other sport which is mostly contested on uniform fields (for the most part - baseball stadiums being an obvious but small exception).

I might consider officiating. It seems fun. The Rules are logical, for the most part, and I like that sort of stuff.

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On 05/01/2016 at 2:43 PM, iacas said:

Biggest obstacle? Me. :-) But seriously, and I said I'd be honest, and so here's some of that.

Over a decade ago when I first started the site, I was a dick. I was 25 or so, thought I knew everything, etc. I was a jerk. Plain and simple. No two ways to say it. Not always, and there were clearly bigger jerks than me. Curiously, even back then, I still didn't ban people much, though.

I'm not one anymore. Though many, many people will disagree with what I just wrote, I'm capable of judging that for myself, particularly when I know enough other people I've met in person, or people like @mvmac who have seen the behind-the-scenes stuff that people do, and who will back me on that.

Oh, don't get me wrong - I can still act like a jerk, but you have to really do something to warrant it these days, and by "really do something" most of the time I only really even mean to my wife or daughter, because I've learned over the years to not really care about things done to me. I can take it, and often choose to just move on. I don't get worked up over things. There are things that matter so much more in life. (I feel the same way about sports more and more, too - I root for my favorite teams, but they don't really affect my day-to-day life, so there's a limit to how much I care.)

Yet if the point of communication is to be understood - as I will tell people it is - then sometimes I feel I fail at that. Whether it's because people are looking to take what I say a certain way, or they think using big words makes me appear snotty, or whatever… I sometimes fail to communicate properly how I feel about something, or the manner in which I'm typing something.

I think a lot of people picture an angry dude here banging away at keys when they read some of my answers, and the truth is that if emotional scales run from 1-10, I'm pretty much a 4-6 99% of the time. This stuff doesn't really matter in the long term, particularly with people who are such strangers they don't even share their names (pet peeve of mine… the Internet is great and all, but I've always believed in putting my name on things, as it makes you more accountable). It doesn't matter in the long term - family matters, being happy matters, etc. I couldn't care less whether some guy in upstate New York thinks I'm right about something. I do want to help people play better golf - it's one of the ways I feel I can make the world a better place - but there's a limit to how much I care about strangers on the Internet, and it's pretty low.

I think those who have met me - and in particular @mvmac who have gotten a peek behind the curtain - can see that. Those who have met me in person will attest to how much I care about THEM - real people.

Oh, don't get me wrong - I'm still direct, and appreciate the same in return. People will sometimes accuse me of having a thin skin, but the total opposite is true. If you're calling me names during a discussion, quite honestly, you're losing. I'm probably disappointed. Contrary to some opinions, I love having debates. I like discussing things. I like differences of opinion, because at the end of the discussion I'll either have strengthened my position or modified it slightly, and both are an advance. I'll say it's my scientific background, but the opposite is probably true: I gravitated toward the sciences because I liked the fact that "the truth" was revered, and people didn't take being wrong personally. But regardless of which is the chicken and which is the egg, that's still true about me today: if you can show me I'm wrong about something, I'm much happier about that than when you agree, because if I'm actually wrong about something, it's a gift - I can instantly upgrade my knowledge. If I just have a bunch of yes-men around, well… I'm never challenged, and never grow.

The other toughest thing is related: other people. I sometimes don't know what other people are thinking, and yet, I tend to be endlessly fascinated by the motivations behind people, what they're thinking, etc. This often means I can't let something go, and move on. This combines with the fact that I love discussing and debating things. Philosophers did it, and it's a way of discussing and learning things. I like doing it. But again, people often take doggedness there not as intended - me trying to suss out a good argument - but as something negative. So I kind of suck at reading the minds of others in determining where that point lies.

Plus, other people are different. Some people are easily personally offended when you disagree with them about something that's purely opinion. Others have a hard time admitting they're wrong, or they goofed. We're text-based, so we lose all facial expressions, tone, etc. That's tough, on everyone.

Since I've spent awhile now bashing myself, I will just add a few positive things quickly, and then answer the second part of your question by not really answering it. ;-)

  • Those who have met me in person, by and large, tend to like me. And while I don't "need" for them to like me by any stretch of the imagination, it's good to know I'm not the way I'm always perceived to be by people who don't see my face, hear my tone, etc. :-)
  • I'm really good at what I do. Those who know me also know that it's not bragging, because there's not really much competition against which to judge myself in the field of golf instruction. Those who don't know me will take BOTH of those sentences as "proof" of my ego, but they'd be wrong and they'd admit to it if they knew what I knew and saw the things I've seen.
  • I put a lot of effort into the site, and trying to help people, and it's basically all free. The Supporter memberships are basically "donations" as there aren't really major perks (well, they do get Member Reviews) for them. I think people under-appreciate how much I put into this site. Yeah, we make a few bucks, but I could make more doing other things. I just wouldn't enjoy it as much.
  • Bah. This isn't answering the question, and contrary to what some think I hate saying good things about myself (my brain is hard wired to see the things that need fixing, not to recognize what's fine or good), so I'll stop there.

Oh, one more of the bad things: I don't care that much about equipment. I feel that's a big part of what led to GolfWRX being the larger site. (That and they have very little moderation - it's seriously brutal at times, including death threats, the works…) If I cared more about equipment, I might have cultivated a larger audience willing to spend $700 on a Tour shaft they hit no better than the $40 stock shaft their driver came with… ;-) I just don't. Even back when I started TST, I must have known it was more about the meat holding the metal rather than the other way around.

The second part of your question… Greatest achievement in TST history? I don't have one, and instead of giving you the corny "it's yet to come" type of bullshit, I'll just list some of the things of which I'm proud:

  • I'm proud that this site exists after 12 years or so. That's a really, really long time.
  • I feel I've helped a lot of people enjoy golf more, and thus, enjoy their lives more. Though people rarely stop to say thanks, I take continued posting here by people, Supporter memberships, and so on as "thanks." It's been rewarding in that sense.
  • I'm proud of the 2015 Newport Cup. @mvmac did a bit more of the work, but the event was great. I really enjoyed meeting a bunch of people, and it cemented some good relationships. We had a really good time.
  • I'm proud of the transition from Huddler. People, not even Mike, know how big of an undertaking that was. It went off almost as well as it could have.
  • I'm proud of the staff. We've had very little turn-over. They're all top-notch people, and they do it for the same reasons I do what I do: they're passionate about the game of golf.
  • I'm proud of the future. :-)

Does that answer your question? :-)

Not really contributing with a question, but this is an awesome post. Serious props :-)

Edit: Actually, I do have a question - if you could correct/eradicate one misconception about golf, what would it be?

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2 hours ago, b101 said:

Edit: Actually, I do have a question - if you could correct/eradicate one misconception about golf, what would it be?

Good, because you're supposed to have one. It's in the rules. :-)

One misconception? I'll answer it two ways: one misconception golfers seem to have, and second one misconception non-golfers seem to have.

The misconception that golfers have which I'd love to clear up is that in order to get better, you have to "tear down and build up your swing from the ground up." Golfers can get better by using what they have and working on one of their bigger issues, not tearing their swing to pieces. It's a corollary, then, that I'd like golfers to also understand that getting significantly better - and "significantly better" is a much smaller distance for a +1 handicapper than for an 18 - requires work. Very little in golf comes easily, and there are no miracles to be had.

For non-golfers, I'd love to change the misconception that golf takes a lot of time. Unfortunately, I won't be able to do that so long as it's true… :-(

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1 hour ago, Pretzel said:

What is the most common swing flaw that you see in golfers that come to you for the first time? 

I try not to look at that stuff because I would worry about then "seeing" it too commonly. I like to force myself to look at every golfer with fresh eyes, without thinking anything like "oh, probably another {whatever} coming in…".

That said, there are some lessons that are given quite a bit:

  • Hips swaying in the backswing/not turning properly.
  • Not getting the weight forward properly with or without "short" arms.

Key #1 and 2 stuff.

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8 hours ago, Jakester23 said:

Which clubs are most important to have customer fit? Could you rank them 1-6?

1. Putter, because you use it so darn often (excluding the nine tap-ins per round, you're looking at 18-27 putts per round).
2. Driver, for the same reason (12-14 times per round), and because distance is important.
3. Wedges. Greenside shots are important too..

After that, I think people should mostly make sure their clubs are fit, but if they don't want a full-set fitting, to make sure they have good distance gaps between all of their remaining clubs.

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I haven't read all of the previous posts and maybe you answered this before.

When did you have the epiphany that you were good at teaching, or helping golfers get better? 

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12 hours ago, jsgolfer said:

When did you have the epiphany that you were good at teaching, or helping golfers get better? 

I didn't have any intention of getting involved with instruction. And yet, here I am. :-)

I've told this story before, but basically…

I always assumed from having seen some instructors that they were basically full of shit. Throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. No rhyme or reason; very little different than what you might read in a magazine each month… etc.

But then I went through a period where my handicap went from 2.8 to 1.4 or something like that… without hitting a single solid shot for months. Everything was just a tad thin. Straight, but thin. Felt like crap.

So I asked around and took lessons from @david_wedzik. I liked and realized for the first time that there was some cause and effect to the golf swing. Logic. Reason. Geometry. Science.

So I turned pro and began watching and shortly thereafter teaching golf lessons. I've improved since the first few, but at the same time, those first few were still better than people would get from anyone else but Dave around here.

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