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  1. Last year at about this time, I was added to Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers in America list: (I'll turn 40 in March, so that will put an end to my eligibility on that list). That was cool, and I was honored. This year, while I was returning from the Newport Cup, the lists for Best in State were released. Dave Wedzik and I are in a somewhat odd situation: we're in the Western New York section of the PGA. We've spoken at PGA Education seminars for WNY, NEOH, SOH, and other PGA sections, but none within PA. Votes for Best in State are compiled by asking other instructors in your state to select and rank their peers. Our peers in NY and Ohio have never had the option to choose us (nor, for example, can I vote for John Graham, among others who deserve more acclaim than they've gotten to date - he too is on the Best in State list). Anyway, I missed all the Tweets and Facebook posts about people showing off their "Best in State" status. I forget how I first found out, but at any rate, both @david_wedzik and I are on the list; he's 4th (and a two-time PGA Section Teacher of the Year), I'm 6th. First is Top 50 John Dunigan, a guy I'm happy to call a friend, and a 5SK® Certified instructor. I'm even, somehow, ranked ahead of Eric Johnson, formerly of Oakmont. https://www.golfdigest.com/story/best-teachers-state-ranking That's all pretty nice, and like the Best Young Teachers award, I'm honored. And… that's about all I have to say about that. Thanks. P.S. I think Dave and I are the only two instructors in Western PA. I haven't checked a few of the locations yet, but I'm pretty sure most are at Nemacolin or east, and most are around Philadelphia. P.P.S. Oh, here's the list of PA instructors on the list:
  2. I'm not a pro, I don't claim to be. I've come across something, that has helped me become more consistent from inside of ~150 yards. I actually have been working on this for a while. I NEVER take a "full" swing inside of about 150 yards. Though I usually can take 1-2 less clubs than what a given distance calls for. For example, if I'm 120 yards out on a given hole, I can usually with a 3/4 swing, hit a PW. Lately, I'll hit about a roughly 1/2 swing 9-iron. Why? My shot zone is tighter. The dispersion is less. If I happen to miss a green, it's always a nGIR. (That's been an outlier recently). From 100 yards or so, I hit more baby PW (about a half swing) shots, than 3/4 GW shots. I just wanted to share this thread with everyone, and get their thoughts about it.
  3. I am just wondering if someone can explain to me why my arms are not extending through impact? I have had this problem for a while and cannot seem to figure it out. A video is attached Thanks
  4. Swing analysis devices

    Looking for any and all opinions on folks with experience having owned or used any of the currently offered swing analysis gizmos on the market: zepp, blast motion, arcos, etc. I was about to pull the trigger on the zepp, but I'm reading good things about other options out there. thanks in advance for your advice!
  5. The results of this poll astound me. There's absolutely no way the average golfer (or 30% of average golfers) should choose a playing lesson for 4x the cost of a regular lesson. This is largely true because there's absolutely no way that a playing lesson offers 4x the value of a regular lesson. I don't care if the regular lessons are a great value - 4x that for a playing lesson is, for the vast majority of golfers, not a reasonable choice. Let's assume that the lessons are an hour, and the playing lesson is four hours and 18 holes. If you have 4x the cost of a regular lesson burning a hole in your pocket, here's what I suggest: take four regular lessons! This is an even wiser choice if you can spend a few minutes to assess your strengths and weaknesses. You don't have to be perfect… you just have to have a general idea what types of shots give you trouble, what your miss tends to be, and what areas of your game are truly costing you strokes. Even if you're close, it's helpful information that the instructor can blend with what he sees with his own eyes. Golfers love playing lessons, though. To their detriment. I enjoy and recommend playing lessons in two cases. With new students, so I can assess their game myself. This isn't necessary if they can provide even a reasonable assessment and that aligns with what I see from them when teaching them. With long-time students, so I can see how they're taking the lessons to the course, and so we can talk about strategy a little and to re-inforce what we've learned on the lesson tee. For the first, it's pretty obvious what the deal is there… I want to see how they play, the shots that trouble them, etc. This means it's not really a playing lesson so much as it is an assessment. The second, well, long-time students typically fall back into their same two, three, five "things" that they always do. They typically know the causes and fixes, and though we can sometimes create different feels to work on them, it's rare for a "new" problem to pop up. So, occasionally, getting them out on the course to see how their mind works during a round is a valuable use of time. But not at full rate for four hours. I'll often take two people out at a time for playing lessons, on the rare case I give them. I'll charge then for a single lesson… or less. And hey, not to brag too much, but I literally wrote a very popular book which includes a huge section on course strategy, so… the students are getting something of value out of those. And yet I still don't recommend them that much. They can just buy the book and read and internalize a lot of what's in there. Their time - and mine helping them - is most often better spent on the range, or the short game facility, or working with SAM PuttLab… or whatever. A lesson provides numerous benefits over being on the course, including: Ready access to the full arsenal of technology - cameras, FlightScope, SAM PuttLab, levels, training aids, extra clubs, mirrors, etc. No time wasted driving around from shot to shot, collecting balls, etc. This results in a much higher balls-per-minute rate. No pressure to hit a target, so, easier to make actual changes to the motion, to try things, to actually improve. No small sample sizes. In a playing lesson, what, you might have someone "try something" two or three times before you have to get in the cart and drive off to collect the balls? If they hit them badly, what's that tell you? What if they hit them well? Lack of ability to write down notes. What are you going to really take away from a playing lesson? You'll forget at least half of what you talk about during the round. Lack of ability to focus. You're on the tee and the guy says "I hate water right." So you talk about that. Then he hits a shot in the left rough, and chunk-pulls his 8I, so you talk about that. Then he's in the bunker, so you talk about that. Then he has a 30-footer, so you talk about putting or green reading or something… who learns like that? What part of that is worth 4x the cost of a regular lesson?
  6. The Awesome Jason Day explaining in detail his three best moves on how to get it close to the pin... Despite nagging injuries, Jason Day held the No. 1 ranking for nearly a year, thanks in part to an unparalleled iron game. Here's how to steal his three easy moves and launch pin-seeking approach shots
  7. I was messing around in the hitting bay today at DSG. I was swinging with about 75% effort. In other words, easier than normal... My clubhead speed did go down a tick (99-104 driver vs my normal 107-110)... And it seemed as if I was getting a the same or higher ball speed with the smoother swing. So to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I hit some 7-iron shots with the same sort of feeling, 75% effort same sort of thing. So I put some impact tape on both clubs, and realized why... My strikes were much closer to the sweet spot with a smoother swing than they were with my normal we'll say 90% effort. (It's probably more than that, I don't have per se an effort meter on me). I hit a few 10:30, 9:00, 7:30 swings with the 7-iron, same thing more consistent strikes, better contact, staying on plane. My question is, why am I hitting it "further" with less effort, than I do with 90-95%? Any information on this would be appreciated, not looking for an easy fix, but it solves some of my issues. Thanks, Shane P.S. The 7-iron I hit was the new TM P-770, awesome club for any of you better players out there, and worth every penny. And it worked with every damn club I tried, wedges, irons, hybrids, fairways and drivers.
  8. I see some old threads on this but nothing recent. I would like to hear today's gang weigh in. Is this thing any good? \
  9. I try to practice twice a week at the driving range. $20 a week! Thinking about investing in a golf net so I can practice more often.
  10. I was messing around with some impact tape with my driver. I hit about 10 shots, and noticed all of my shots were toward the heel. I can't seem to figure out why. It may explain why I lose a little distance with my driver. I guess at least it's consistent. I can post a new video in My Swing thread in the next couple days, but in the mean time what could be the cause? And all there any drills I can do to improve my impact to get it closer to the center? I think I'm losing 10-20 yards by not hitting the center of the face. Thanks as always, Shane
  11. Shotmakers, I have launched Episode 7 of "Let Me See What Happens If I.." This is a discussion on how you approach and achieve. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUunm_ai0JhOASjdRNHT7RQ
  12. My Swing (Heffinger)

    I usually hit a push fade with my driver and a block with my irons. My worst swing send both drives and irons off the hosel to the right. I'll occasionally draw and hook my drives. Any thoughts on my swing and advice is much appreciated. Drills are my friend. I've been Playing Golf for: 1 year My current handicap index or average score is: 25 My typical ball flight is: fade The shot I hate or the "miss" I'm trying to reduce/eliminate is: push fade Videos:
  13. My Swing (tobydeh)

    If i'm posting in the wrong section then I apologise, please point me in the right direction. I have been playing golf regularly for the past 4 years and I've managed to get down to 8.9 even though I suffer from severe inconsistency. Over the past few months I have seen little progress and I'm really starting to struggle. The first video below is from 2015 when I was playing well, the others were taken today during a trip to the driving range. - I have dipped in and out of trying 'Stack and Tilt', usually it works well for me but I end up reverting when others discourage me or give me other misinformation - Also may be worth mentioning I get pain in the lower right side of my back above my glute and I often get told I am stopping at the bottom and not getting through the ball. If anyone has any ideas on why my swing can be so inconsistent or any other advice on any flaws they can see it would be much appreciated. Thanks, Toby
  14. @thefinlex, I'm a bit more direct than @RandallT, and you really seem to have misread his post. It wasn't remotely rude or aggressive. The truth from my perspective is that of course there's no "one swing fits all," but the reason a bogey golfer is a bogey golfer is because their swing is not very good. It's not got much to do with the idea that they haven't "learned to score" it's that they're incapable of scoring with their swing. You can't score when you don't have a predictable shot. Learning the game from the green backward is also often backward, if you're using that as a way of saying to work on the short game and putting first and learn the full swing later on. As we know now, the full swing is more important to scoring. I see you've got 35 or 36 posts or so, but stick around and continue engaging, and we can all learn and grow and play better golf. P.S. Good instructors don't have "one swing" for every player. P.P.S. The golf course is no place to learn how to change/improve mechanics.
  15. Hi Guys, As a PGA professional I spend a lot of my time giving lessons and helping students improve their games. I have however been having a few thoughts about how I deliver my coaching and I would love to get a few thoughts. Traditionally, people will come to me and tell me they are having issues with driving, pitching etc. We will then go and work on that specific skill with the hopes that making this change will ultimately improve their scores. I often have wondered would coaches be better off giving lessons on the course so that they could see all of the students game during a lesson? Although the student may feel they have an issue with a certain aspect of the game, a coach would be able to find the root cause of the problem. An example would be a lot of golfers complain they struggle with putting; when in fact they regularly leave themselves 50ft+ putts and in reality what they actually struggle with is pitching the ball close enough to the hole with their 2nd or 3rd shot. I would love to get some thoughts on this, have any of you had lessons and not seen improvements? Do you feel you would of been better off learning on the course? All the best, Peter Faragher
  16. After many years of playing golf I finally decided to get some instruction to help me hit the driver further. As should be expected, the swing changes I've been working on over the past few weeks have been translated to all my clubs. But, for me I had never really gotten my lower body involved in the swing enough. In my lesson yesterday, after working on mechanics and drills for a while, my instructor had me pull my driver back out and hit it. First hit was a mishit - still doing drills in my head. Second swing was just a full, fluid swing. I was really surprised as the results were much different than anything in the past. I'm 6' and pretty stout. I've always been really strong, constantly having to work on my flexibility to play this game. But, I always got the impression I could/should be longer off the tee. Normal drives for me have been in the 200-240 range, with the occasional over 250. Yet, many of my playing partners can really cream it. So, anyway...At my lesson yesterday I wind up with my new "legs-included" swing and just smashed a drive. After impact my instructor said, "How far was that?" and my answer was, "It hasn't come down yet." It carried 300. Carried. I just looked at him and said, "I've never hit a drive like that." and calmly put my driver back in the bag, pulling an iron to continue my drills. Kind of feels like I'm starting a new chapter in the game for me.
  17. There will always be good and bad teachers as long as there is no standard lesson plan. I'm going to keep pounding this drum until I get a decent hearing. The Professional Ski Instructors of America twenty-five years ago had it right. There was a way to teach skiing which could be standardized and mastered and anyone can fit somewhere on the learning curve from absolute beginner to the bumps and race course. I could teach someone to bring their skis parallel from a wedge, taught by someone who got them up on skis the first time. Then another pro could take them and teach them how to start their skis parallel, and maybe how to absorb a mogul. It's a process. Golf, I believe, is no different. It has a learning curve which can be broken down and taught from beginner who knows scratch to golfer who plays to scratch. I'm a really good student. I've got chops when it comes to learning. I'm seeing the similarities from Hogan to (insert name here). There is no top ski pro. There are lots and lots of experts, all about equal in voice because they are singing from the same songbook, and even more who are like I was--who got the newbies up on skis, to the towline, and down the hill, safely. Those who took advantage of beginner lessons kept skiing. Those who were taught by their fathers or boyfriends did not come back after the first time. See the comparisons at all? How hard is it to teach a putting stroke? A lot easier than hitting a putt. But there seems to be a thousand ways for a thousand golfers. Yet every single one have to come through the ball square to the line. What percentage would you guess the number of golfers who have actually had a lesson in putting? Self-taught, all the rest of us. The biggest reason most can't hit a four-foot putt every time is because they don't practice them at all, if any. Yet. If there is an opportunity for growth in golf, the leader in the clubhouse should be the pro--specifically the PGA. There should be a program, Learn to Pitch, Putt and Chip, which is like learning the wedge in skiing, the top-spin forehand in tennis. They are basic moves. Increase the pitch to a seven iron, and finally a five iron. Then go out to the 150 yard line and try to get the ball in the hole in two-over. Then one-over. Any pro, anywhere, could take a student at the level they are at and help them progress to the next level. It's not that hard. Yet, it will never happen. Did I say there are as many excuses as their are golfers? Times ten? It won't get a hearing. Nobody will even think about it, because change is radical and golf is the last holdout for the old school. Too bad. I think the my alternative sounds like a lot more fun and entertaining. Just my answer to why there are any bad pros at all.
  18. Took a lesson.

    I started to pull my driver and 3W pretty badly, to the point that it cost me a handful of balls...that is pretty rare for me. I started to think that it could be the swing plane or club path and I could not fix the issue once it showed up. So I went to see my local Pro. The results of most of my problems are set up and a faulty grip. The stupid set up ruins my rounds, what is more annoying, I do not even notice it. . I was setting up with an open stance, that would typically would cause I slice. But in this case it was causing me to stay behind and force me to throw my hands and arms out. So the instructor asked me to move bring my left foot further in front..(opposite for right handed golfers)...and boom!..problem solved. I have to admit, alignment is always being a challenge for me. On the course sometimes it is hard to pick a straight line...I don't know why. Visually some holes and angles don't seem to make sense in my mind and I double cross shots or hit it OB despite the good contact. I thought about using alignment sticks but, why couldn't I just use a couple of my clubs? If you are having similar issues check and re check your set up...such an easy fundamental causes a lot of headaches.
  19. Do some people just never get it?

    Over last 5 months or so I have had 3 lessons early on and another recently. I play on a course 1-2 times a week and hit the range 3-4 times a week most weeks, it varies of course. I just don't seem to be getting anywhere! I just hit the range with a basket of 50 and a 7 iron, trying to practive what I was taught from last lesson. It was bad. No real good strikes, many awful ones, 4 hit the right wall of my bay. Some days I feel like what is the point lol, perhaps some people just do not have the motor function required! I am due to play tomorrow and almost felt like calling can cancelling... I can't strike a ball on the range now so what chance to I have on the course?! Right rage, whinge and moan over. Of course I will soldier on. My golfing journey http://www.ragingbeard.com
  20. MySwing Golf Launches Major Software Update Scottsdale, AZ (November 16, 2016) — MySwing Golf, Inc., the world’s leading full-body 3D motion capture analysis system for the golf swing, has announced the launch of its newest and most sophisticated software package. The software is now available for download to all existing MySwing customers. The key upgrades with the new software include biofeedback, which uses both audio and visual cues, that allows coaches to share instant swing feedback with their students; and a report comparing a student’s swing to tour ranges, allowing instructors to quickly focus on one or two major swing issues and provide a quick evaluation to the student. Instructors can add comments to this report and share it with their students via PDF. In addition, there are a variety of 3D planes and a new 3D wrist view. “Students learn much faster if they can both see and feel what their instructor wants them to do rather than the instructor forcing the player into a certain position,” said MySwing Director of Product Development, Chase Cooper. “Our goal with MySwing is to be as visual and user friendly as possible. Forcing instructors and their students to look at and understand graphs really isn’t the right approach.” The MySwing Professional product is the only wireless 3D system that is portable and can be used indoors as well as outdoors for a real-time teaching experience. According to Cooper, the MySwing Pro state-of-the-art system takes golf instruction to a new level. “Golf instructors have two goals: improve their students and increase revenue. With this new software release, we will help them accomplish both.” For more information about MySwing Golf, visit www.myswing.com. Now then… I wanted to start a thread on the MySwing. The software and everything was a little rough the last time @david_wedzik and I checked it out at the PGA Show last year, but I'm curious about the improvements they've made. I'll talk with Chuck (Evans) about it, as he's been using it for awhile, and I know others who have a system as well. Generally speaking, I tend to like technology but not like it when it requires doing too much different than regular golf. For example, the K-Vest was cool and all… but it was an actual vest and took some strapping in and all that. Time that is sometimes better spent, plus, the golfer didn't "feel" like they were playing golf, they felt like they were in an experiment. The MySwing is fairly non-intrusive.
  21. Hi Everyone, Attached below is an article I have written that I believe can help anyone just getting started in the golf business. Take a look and let me know what you think! 5 Things I've Learnt in My First Years as a Golf Professional My name is Sean Murray I am a young PGA of Canada Golf Professional who was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and currently works in Calgary, Alberta. During the cold Canadian winter there is what a lot of people call downtime. This is a great time to take and use it to your advantage and grow as a Golf Professional. Whether it's reading books, watching instructional videos, making your own instructional videos, visiting year round facilitys to shadow others, build your brand, attend seminars or write articles for blogs it all goes a long way for your development. I figured I would write the top 5 things I've learnt in my first 3 years as a Golf Professional. Now, this is obviously biased but, I believe as someone just starting out in the business these could help you in some way, shape or form. 1.Have to have passion I haven't met one person in my short lived career that said they got into the golf business to make a fortune. We all love what we do and if we don't I personally think you won't go very far in this industry. Being a Golf Professional means you're going to work long hours during the summer, not do a whole lot during the long cold canadian winters and not get paid a lot for it. I truely believe in the saying "if you love what you do, you dont have to work a day in your life. Waking up early to go open the gates to the course is personally the only time I enjoy waking up befor the sunrises. Now, I've met a couple Golf Professionals in my first year or even befor I playied in saying well don't do it if you love the game because if you do you'll end up hating it. Or, don't get started you dont make very much money. I see these guys and in my opinion their passion is gone. They're very content where they are, what they earn and probably staying where they have been for the last 5,10,15 years. I truely believe the more passion you have for the game and to suceed the more you earn, I've seen it first hand. I have met many Golf Professionals who are always continuing to learn, grow and still have that passion for the business and coincidently those are the guys who are working at the top clubs and making a very good living. 2. Get involved Starting out as an Apprentice or CFM I urge everyone to get involed within your golf course and the zone or section you're apart of. Members and fellow Professionals notice what you do at your course and what you do at events the zone or section puts on. This is a great way to get to know your peers and potentially future employers. Usually your local zone will put on many events where you can volunteer a couple hours teaching lessons. Not only is this a great chance to make an impression on your peers it is also a great chance to learn from others around you. Alot of these events you're teaching 15-20 minute lessons for a couple hours. This is a great way to improve your knowledge and its a great chance to meet potential clients. Play in local tournaments even if you know the chances of you placing is low. Now I can say this first hand, I am not as good as I would like to be. But, I always try to play in atleast 3-5 tournaments a year to put myself out there and network with a couple of fellow Professionals. I highly doubt it the guy you're playing with is going to remember or judge you if you don't shoot low 70's. I say there is a greater chance he remembers you if you act like a baby about it, swear and throw clubs. Yes, shooting pourly sucks but, I garuntee it if you smile, talk to your group, ask how things are, and shake their hands you will be remembered postively no matter what you shoot. My last employer new I wasn't going to go out there and win 3 tournaments but, he didnt say during the interview how impressed he was with me how I also went out of my way to shake his hand and ask how he was doing. Now, saying this shooting low scores can definitely help you find potential jobs and saying you were the Player of the year could definitly bring some clients your way. So, I would still say I work hard on my game and continue to try and get better. 3. Educate Yourself Education is absolutely everywhere. Your provincial or national office usually has a website where you can find a library for Professional Development. This is all on you to take a peak at what they have. They have anything from mechanics of the golf swing, branding, and course mapping. These articles are done by some of the best Professionals in the nation, take advantage of them. Get social media and follow the crap out of the best Golf Professionals. I've learnt more from Twitter, Instagram and Youtube then I can ever imagine. Some of the most successful Golf Professionals in the world share their content and findings and post their own instructional videos on their to help you as an Insctructor. Alot of the time they cause debates or bring up questions which they all share their opinion. This is a great way to learn and to see where the best instructors are at or what they think. The best thing about this content, it is absolutely 100% free. Alot of PGA of America sections have educational seminars that they film and eventually put it on youtube for everyone to watch. These speakers are some of the top rated instructors in the world such as Chuck Cook and Butch Harmon. Again, this content is all free. Pick up a book, you hear this everytime from the best instructors. They read everything they get their hands on. Even if you disagree with what they're saying you can still learn alot from reading that book. There are endless topics you can read as well, it doesn't always have to be on the golf swing. It can be on pyscology, learning aqquisition, branding, leadership. All of these would help you become a better Golf Professional. Ask the top Instructors in your region if you can spend a couple hours shadowing their lessons. There is a reason why these guys are where they are today. There is always something to learn from someone. Even if its not on the swing, it can be how they present the information, how they set up their lesson tee, their appearence or many other little things. People want to help you, there hasn't been a time where I emailed a Golf Pro and get turned down. A qoute I live by is, "continue to move forward or you're going to get left behind." There is new findings and technology daily, get on them, learn, grow, and ask questions . 4. Options Just because you're a Golf Professional, doesn't mean you have to become a Head Golf Professional. You have many different paths you can take during your career in the Golf Industry. During my first couple years during as a Golf Professional I have had many different thoughts on which path I would like to pursee during my career. As someone in the industry you can become a Sales Rep, a General Manager, a Director of Golf, Retail Manager, an Associate Golf Professional, a Teaching Professional or a Member Services manager and i'm sure a couple more. They can all be very rewarding, you don't have to become a Head Golf Professional or a General Manager/Director of Golf to make the best the living. Now, on average I would take an educated guess and say they do make the most money. But, I do know some very sucessful Associates, Member Services Manager and Teaching Professional. I would say take a look and explore all options, you may enjoy or have more passion for one or the other. 5. Find the right place to work My grade 11 metals teacher once said "as an apprentice you only learn as much as your much as your employer." Obviously you have a responsibility to take time to educate yourself as stated above. But, be a sponge to those arround you. You're there to learn and grow as a Professional. When you believe you can't learn anymore from the people around, don't be afraid to move on. Your Head Professional wants to see you succeed and move on to bigger and better things. Before you apply for a position research the facility and Professional Staff of that facility. There is no question that your employer will research you before you are hired. Whether its browsing through your social media or calling your references. Why shouldn't you do the same? Research their website and see what their calender looks likes. Do they have a lot of member events? Do they have a seperate page promoting their inscructors? What kind of practice facility do they have? How big is their junior program? Whats the Pro Shop like? These are all very important questions that you can simply get from looking at their website. Now if things go to as planned and you continue to climb the ladder don't burn the bridges you've built with your past employers. Thank them for the oppurtunity to be apart of the club and stay connected. Your past employer most definitly helped you in one way or another. Remember, they're going to be a great asset to you down the road when you apply at other clubs. A simple text, email or call asking how they're doing goes a long way. I would love to hear your comments please feel free to reach out to me. Email: smurray@golfbearspaw.com Twitter: @seanmurrayCPGA Instagram: @smglessons
  22. Golfers are more confused than ever for two reasons. Never before has there been so much information available to the average golfer. The "bad instructors" have as much of a platform as the "good instructors." The two kind of go hand in hand. A golfer will hear "stay behind the ball and roll your hands over to hit a draw" from one guy while he hears about how he's got to get his weight forward and follow through more like Zach Johnson from some other guy.
  23. Read that. On first pass, most people wouldn't have any problem with that at all. It sounds right, right? But think about it critically. Even if you've not read things on this site that might make you question this… you might find yourself wondering why it is supposedly easier to time accelerating into the ball at exactly the right speed over reaching hitting the ball near the peak speed. If you continue to think about it… if the clubhead needs to be moving 23 or 47 or xx.x MPH when you hit the ball for it to travel a certain distance, which is easier to time: accelerating at impact or hitting it around the "max velocity" (little to no acceleration or deceleration)? If you remember the putting thread (linked below), this graphic might help: From this thread: This isn't a post about Dave Pelz. It's about thinking critically… and not accepting information just because an instructor - famous or otherwise - says it. This is a short post, but basically, ask one question of your instructors: why? Whether you ask that in your mind or you actually ask your instructor, ask why. I tell my students they're welcome to ask "why?" any time they want because I'll always have an answer for them. When they give you an answer, use your BS meter and your intellect to see if it jives. See if it makes sense to you. Then, go from there…
  24. Lesson Frequency

    Personal trainers often schedule their clients to come in and work out with them for a low per-workout cost, but commit the student to thrice-weekly, monthly packages that might include three workouts per week for three or six months. This works really well for many people because, left to their own devices, they'd skip out on their scheduled workouts, but because they'd be "disappointing" their trainer (and many will pre-pay), they go to the gym and do their workouts. There are golf pros who do this same thing: they charge less, but commit people to a block of regularly scheduled lessons. Let's say that Instructor A schedules golfers for a weekly 45-minute lesson that costs $45. That's $180/month for three hours of instruction. If you're serious about golf, $180/month isn't too bad. Instructor B charges $120/hour… and will see you as often as you want to come in, but strongly urges you to go work on the instruction he's given you and come back in a few months when you've had the chance to work on it. It doesn't take high-level math to figure out Instructor A is both more (per month) and less (hourly) expensive than Instructor B. But which plan is right for you? There's no one right answer, but most people should opt for Instructor B. You see, unless golfers are working on something simple in, they can't make changes in a week. Often I'll sell a series (four lessons, I just ask that they use them within about a year or so) of lessons to a student and after the first lesson we'll have this exchange: Student: Wow that was great! Same time next week? Me: Well, let me ask you this. If you came back in an hour, would these changes be ingrained or would you get the same lesson? Student: Uhh, the same lesson, of course. Me: And in a day? Student: The same lesson, yeah. I'm not gonna be able to practice between now and tomorrow at this time. Me: And in two days? Student: Okay, I get your point. Me: Right. I don't want to waste your time or money working on the same thing. How about this: practice for a few weeks, and come to see me if one of two things happens: you start to struggle and need a reminder or a tune-up or another feel that you can use to keep working on this piece, or you feel you've got it and can replicate it well at full speed without giving it too much thought. I'll talk with them about not "searching" for some other answer, and note that if I see them they should feel free to ask me for a five-minute mini-refresher or to watch them hit a few balls (happy to do it), and to stick with their "priority piece." Change takes time. Golf isn't math: you can't "learn" something and then just be able to do it. There's no "light bulb" moment, really, in golf… not in terms of making your body actually change an ingrained habit or pattern. Most students are better off taking lessons spread out three, four, even six, eight weeks. For those who want to do something a bit more frequent… I offer "supervised practice" at a lower cost to students, often in small groups, and I think that's a good way to have check-ups. Other students see me in person every few months and mix online lessons for $39/month in there. We also offered "Lesson Blocks" at Chautauqua last summer: two students at once for just over half the cost of a single lesson. A bit more than supervised practice, and a bit less than a full-blown lesson. Long story short: beware of the weekly lesson. You're not getting the full value, even at a lower cost, and you might actually be getting worse instruction if the instructor truly tries to teach you something new each and every week. Oh, and by way of a postscript… I will let you in on a secret. I have had series students come back as quickly as a few days later… to work on their putting or some other completely different area of their game.
  25. The Essence of Improving

    When I was teaching drum lessons, students would complain that they weren’t getting better. I would ask how much they practiced since the last lesson and then listen to the excuses. I would tell them that if they really want to get better, they need to spend 3-4 days a week practicing for at least 15 minutes. Just taking lessons from me was not going to make them improve. The purpose of the lesson is for me to teach them what they need to practice, but practice is where things happen. I would explain that they can’t do 60 minutes on 1 day and call it a week. They need to practice almost every day. I would cover the principle of practice with students up front and they would agree. They would be dedicated for a week or so and then fizzle out. Just like golf, drumming is hard. If you take a second and try to make each arm and leg do something different, you will get what I mean. The basic rock beat is to have your right hand tap a repeating 4 count, your right foot tap on the 1 and 3, and your left hand taps on the 2 and 4. To add some spice with 4-way independence, have your left foot tap on every 1 count. Once you have that down, you need to double the times that your right hand is tapping counting, “1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and”. If you have never played drums before and was able do that with ease at a pretty fast pace, I would buy some drums today and rock out! People usually can't, BUT I can usually teach someone how to do that in less than 30 minutes. It’s very slow at first, and then slightly faster, then faster and faster. Now you have all had your first drum lesson for free. I'm not a golf teacher (yet), but I believe the same principle applies. Sadly, most drum students give up after a month or so. This is why there are so many used drum sets for sale on Craig's List. It doesn’t make sense to take lessons unless you are willing to put in practice time on your own. “Why do I need an instructor if all I have to do is practice?” you might ask. The instructor is there to check up on you and make sure you are going the right direction much like an airplane pilot is monitoring the navigational instruments and making adjustments. Sometimes they have to make major adjustments and other times a small one, but they can only make one adjustment at a time. The plane will not change course if the rudder and ailerons do not respond. This would be like a student who doesn’t practice. I think that most instructors teach something different on each lesson to make the student feel like they are getting value for their money, even if the student has not progressed from the last lesson. I think they are doing a major disservice to the student even though the student is more likely to stay engaged for more lessons. The student thinks that they are progressing when they really aren’t, and after a few months, their scorecard will confirm that. A math teacher does not progress to calculation before a student is competent with addition and subtraction. I hope not at least. If a student sees results from good teaching, they will be a student for life. I went to a drum clinic with a famous drummer a few years ago. It was Todd Sucherman who is currently playing for Styx. This guy is really awesome! I arrived early and got a seat in the front row. He played for a while and blew everyone’s minds. Then he started taking questions. He picked me and I said, “Since you’re a drummer, you have to be working on something, so what are you working on now?” He first looked shocked that someone would ask that question. After all, he is a master at drumming and making a living doing it. He then cracked a smile, let his guard down, and said he was working on some stuff from Buddy Rich, and it was “totally kicking his butt”. Even masters who are proficient at their craft are always trying to improve and learn something new. To apply that to golf, I think everyone needs a teacher if they want to get better. For someone who is content to play the game and enjoy doing it, that’s fine. For most of us, time is not in great supply, but trying to do the 5 Minutes Daily Practice Challenge has opened my eyes. I realized that I was like one of my students who wasn’t putting in the practice time needed to get better. I also learned that 5 minutes a day is not a lot of time. I hear a lot of people asking on TST how to find a good teacher, but I would say that first you need to commit to being a good student. Commit to a regular practice regimen, and then go find a good instructor. Anyone who is trying to improve should be posting in 5 Minutes Daily Practice threads regularly

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