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On Modern Instruction, "Feels" vs. Mechanics, and a Grab Bag of Related Topics


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This is why I came to The Sand Trap in the first place. I was looking for good instruction. I was intrigued by the good information here. Then I went to a clinic with Erik and Dave Wedzik and they covered their approach in person. They answered for me the most important question, "why". As an engineer, that is what I needed.

Thanks for posting @iacas.

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I think, however it could be done, that this post or 'essay' if you will should be easily available for anyone who's thinking of or is about to take lessons. Would be such a great read for those in such a situation.

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A lot of good thoughts and information here. Where I have failed in regards to this is I want it to be true that all getting better takes is using my natural swing and not thinking.  So as I’ve worked on my swing the past few years I want to be at the unconscious stage before I’m ready for it.  I will stick with “technical” (good) instruction for a time and give up since I think I’m not seeing much progress in my actual scores so think i must be making this too hard and I need to just keep things simple.  My hope for this year is to stick to the process of improving and using good/technical instruction. I don’t think I will regret doing that.  I do think I could regret just swinging “naturally”.  Even if both end up with the same result which I don’t think will happen. 

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4 hours ago, Wanzo said:

A lot of good thoughts and information here. Where I have failed in regards to this is I want it to be true that all getting better takes is using my natural swing and not thinking.  So as I’ve worked on my swing the past few years I want to be at the unconscious stage before I’m ready for it.  I will stick with “technical” (good) instruction for a time and give up since I think I’m not seeing much progress in my actual scores so think i must be making this too hard and I need to just keep things simple.  My hope for this year is to stick to the process of improving and using good/technical instruction. I don’t think I will regret doing that.  I do think I could regret just swinging “naturally”.  Even if both end up with the same result which I don’t think will happen. 

I agree.

Related topic: golfers think that PGA Tour players who are playing their best are "swinging naturally." And sometimes, they are swinging without too much of a thought. Sometimes, a PGA Tour player pictures the shot and then hits the shot. But that ignores two big things:

  • The massive amounts of work they've put in before that point (and the work they'll continue to put in after that point).
  • The other 99% of their rounds where they have something like 2.78 swing thoughts, or whatever the number was (it was between 2 and 3, and closer to 3) published recently.

You put in the work to make the swing better, to build up that habit, but it doesn't mean quite the same thing as "natural." And… particularly when you're a beginner or a higher handicapper, your "natural" swing is a horrible swing (not talking about you @Wanzo).

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As the very epitome of an untrained, natural swinger, I agree completely.  

Whatever small improvements I have made over the years have been a result of self-implementing small changes based on learning more about some technical aspect of the swing.  I have no doubt at all, that I coulda/woulda/shoulda been significantly better at this silly game had I had a good instructor, and the willingness to actually work with him toward understanding and implementing changes based on solid, technical knowledge, rather than strictly relying on pure, oft times misapplied athleticism.

 

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On 12/27/2018 at 10:21 PM, iacas said:

I agree.

Related topic: golfers think that PGA Tour players who are playing their best are "swinging naturally." And sometimes, they are swinging without too much of a thought. Sometimes, a PGA Tour player pictures the shot and then hits the shot. But that ignores two big things:

  • The massive amounts of work they've put in before that point (and the work they'll continue to put in after that point).
  • The other 99% of their rounds where they have something like 2.78 swing thoughts, or whatever the number was (it was between 2 and 3, and closer to 3) published recently.

You put in the work to make the swing better, to build up that habit, but it doesn't mean quite the same thing as "natural." And… particularly when you're a beginner or a higher handicapper, your "natural" swing is a horrible swing (not talking about you @Wanzo).

I agree. I see the TV broadcasts and all the palaver that goes on between a player and his/her caddie before a shot. In my present state, or any state of being prior to this, I would be absolutely paralyzed trying to play a stroke with that much stuff in my head! These people are so far inside the game that the vast majority of us have no idea! 

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I would like to add a point.  I am a big believer in instruction and training in all aspects of my life, golf included.

 

What many fail to realize is that instruction gives you the tools to practice.  Practice, utilizing the instruction, is what improves your skills.

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11 minutes ago, millsan1 said:

I would like to add a point.  I am a big believer in instruction and training in all aspects of my life, golf included.

 

What many fail to realize is that instruction gives you the tools to practice.  Practice, utilizing the instruction, is what improves your skills.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Pounding range balls is NOT practice (not calling you out bro). 

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Golf instructors are like car salesman....now that I think folks might agree with, but it's not because they're bad instructors in many cases because golf is a focused, individual, personal achievement game.  A bad shot is a reflection upon one's ability.  Guys tend to be more egotistical.  They want to show others they can "learn on their own" like they're "beating the odds".  Similar to why guys will drive all around town vs. asking for directions.  In golf, they "drive all around town" looking for tips and fixes vs. "asking for directions" from an instructor'.

Aside from golf, why do people set-out to play piano or guitar, then after a short time they quit?  It's because they think they can learn without mastering the basics such as playing scales with proper fingering.  But they're off to trying to tackle Beethoven's 5th Symphony before they can piece together Mary Had a Little Lamb.  

The problem in golf, like piano, is people develop and ingrain their own version of technique that is often bad to the core.  Unwinding bad habits in piano is 100X harder than learning the right way from the start.  In their minds what they're doing is "right" because it's become habitual / comfortable, and at some point they might string together two measures of a difficult song, or in golf, hit a great shot, which only serves to reinforce bad technique.. 

So IMO I don't bother teaching around bad fundamentals.  I tell the person they need to forget everything and start over....much like learning the scales in piano using proper technique.  A lot of instructors are criticized for a student's lack of advancement because they are hesitant to start folks from square one because that would essentially erase years of "hard work" for the guy who thinks shooting much lower is "just around the corner".  

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4 hours ago, Puttin4Dough said:

Golf instructors are like car salesman....

And then a paragraph in which you fail entirely to explain why "golf instructors are like car salesmen."

4 hours ago, Puttin4Dough said:

So IMO I don't bother teaching around bad fundamentals. I tell the person they need to forget everything and start over....much like learning the scales in piano using proper technique.

Utterly ridiculous, as I wrote above.

Talk about a "used car salesman" type of approach.

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59 minutes ago, iacas said:

And then a paragraph in which you fail entirely to explain why "golf instructors are like car salesmen."

Utterly ridiculous, as I wrote above.

Talk about a "used car salesman" type of approach.

You made the inference to car salesman....not me.  Do you read what you write?  It's like dealing with someone with acute ADD.  I don't even know where to begin.  If you allow students with lousy swings to build upon a false premise, then that's your deal, and why folks dislike instructors.  It's by far the worst way to teach anything.  Good gawd, you ran another thread about "non conning yourself" but then apparently you con your students.  I can't keep up with your lack of logic.

You have a handful of sycophants who agree with anything you write...but you are one guy in Erie PA who has never played on tour, your team members can barely win a city championship, but you want everyone to believe you're the guru of golf.  It's just utterly ridiculous.

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11 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

You made the inference to car salesman....not me.  Do you read what you write?  It's like dealing with someone with acute ADD.  I don't even know where to begin.  If you allow students with lousy swings to build upon a false premise, then that's your deal, and why folks dislike instructors.  It's by far the worst way to teach anything.  Good gawd, you ran another thread about "non conning yourself" but then apparently you con your students.  I can't keep up with your lack of logic.

You have a handful of sycophants who agree with anything you write...but you are one guy in Erie PA who has never played on tour, your team members can barely win a city championship, but you want everyone to believe you're the guru of golf.  It's just utterly ridiculous.

LOL! Wow. You’re ridiculous. That’s really about all I can say to that post. Absolutely zero respect for ‘ this one guy’ who spends his life helping others play this game, offers free advice, wrote a book about golf and points to what many have never understood, owns a website dedicated to golf, provides countless hours of data and research to back all his statements on instruction, always willing to discuss his teachings and show why he supports them with video, readings, data and experiments.  

You come on here with your ideas and opinions backed by....your own ideas and opinion and yours your alone experience. 

I think I’ll stick with that ‘one guy in Erie, PA.’

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40 minutes ago, Puttin4Dough said:

 I don't even know where to begin.  If you allow students with lousy swings to build upon a false premise, then that's your deal, and why folks dislike instructors.  It's by far the worst way to teach anything.  Good gawd, you ran another thread about "non conning yourself" but then apparently you con your students.  I can't keep up with your lack of logic.

You have a handful of sycophants who agree with anything you write...but you are one guy in Erie PA who has never played on tour, your team members can barely win a city championship, but you want everyone to believe you're the guru of golf.  It's just utterly ridiculous.

It isn't just one guy.  Nobody in the top 500 instructors in the world would choose to start somebody over after a bad swing, that's just ludicrous.  Even the worst swings have something unique and good about them that we can build on. 

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1 hour ago, Puttin4Dough said:

You made the inference to car salesman....not me.  Do you read what you write?  It's like dealing with someone with acute ADD.  I don't even know where to begin.  If you allow students with lousy swings to build upon a false premise, then that's your deal, and why folks dislike instructors.  It's by far the worst way to teach anything.  Good gawd, you ran another thread about "non conning yourself" but then apparently you con your students.  I can't keep up with your lack of logic.

You have a handful of sycophants who agree with anything you write...but you are one guy in Erie PA who has never played on tour, your team members can barely win a city championship, but you want everyone to believe you're the guru of golf.  It's just utterly ridiculous.

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