Problems With the New "Method" Golf Swing Instruction
How many times have you heard something like, " Tom Smith, teaching pro, has been working with Ernie for the past year. Looks like that new swing is paying off for Ernie"
There it is. The golf swing method 'teaser' is out there. You heard it. You saw it work. Then you see an article in your favorite golf magazine and now they're talking about this new golf swing method on the GOLF CHANNEL. You decide this is going to be the year! You don't need a new club just that new swing method and you'll be all set. Really?
Let's be honest here. You've been working on correcting those golf swing issues for years.
Now it's the middle of the winter and you're starting to think about that trip with the guys to Myrtle Beach in a couple months. You have decided THIS is the year to FINALLY take care of those nagging problems once and for all.
You seek out a teaching pro, in your area, who teaches this new method and begin work in earnest. After all, if it works for the TOUR player is will really help you!
Fast forward a month into the season after working to develop this new golf swing. You're hitting the ball worse than ever! Nobody ever said it would take THIS long.
You decide this new method really isn't for you, so you're going to get back to your old swing. But, when you try to go back, even your old swing fails you.
You wake up to the reality that you didn't really understand the new golf swing method. Not only that. You never really worked on understanding your old swing let alone thoroughly looking into the new method in the first place. You'd simply bought into the hype.
You realize when you took those lessons from the method golf instructor, not only did you not ask questions about the new method, but the teaching pro never really explained the differences between your old swing and the new one. Sure it was explained but not the way you understand the swing and you didn't push to have it laid out in your terms.
I've said many times, "There is no such thing as the perfect golf swing." , (except Iron Byron of course), and, "There's no 'best' way to swing the club. Only yours."
Honestly, I have little problem with 'swing' methods. I do have a problem with how these swing methods are promoted or marketed.
While I will admit, in recent years, the method craze seems to have abated somewhat and given way to teaching pros trying to explain single plane vs. the conventional swing. That said, it seems as if they've only changed their approach to hooking people in to their particular 'idea' of the best swing as there's always at least a twist or spin by the author to have you buy in to their particular take on the swing.
To the credit of most of the teaching pros in the tranches working with regular folks, fewer of them today openly espouse a particular golf swing method and instead seem to be more in touch with the communicative side of teaching. To the benefit, I must say, of the student.
Here are some things you might consider with respects what you might consider with regards taking lessons, your own golf swing and improving it. Give it some thought. It could save you a lot of time, money and aggravation.
You're a beginner. You need to know about the 'absolutes' of the golf swing, not a swing method.
The basics: grip, stance and posture - the set up. From there, you then need to 'understand' and feel the reality of balance, rhythm, tempo and timing as it relates to the swing motion. After that, it's the responsibility of the pro to help you FEEL the basics of the take away, explain and help you feel transition, the down swing and follow through. That is the starting point and generally can be done in small groups or clinics. Neither does this level require any type of 'swing methodology'.
You've been playing for a number of years but never taken a lesson. Input by the pro should be designed here to help you develop and identify the different pieces of your golf swing around the basic swing concepts. Incorporate that understanding of your swing into a workable and reliable swing motion. Then working with you, based on your goals, further develop your golf swing.
You've been playing for a long time and taken lessons from this several pros over the years with no real success. Your handicap has been sitting at 11 for years and you have decided this season is your year to get that handicap into single digits.
This last group of golfers is generally the most susceptible to method golf swing . They're the ones who have 'poked' around reading and trying different methods over the years to help them do everything from hit it longer off the tee to gaining more yards in the fairway never seriously considering the impact of improving their putting by 25-30%, which would achieve that goal of a single digit handicap.
In all honesty, if you look at most swing methods, you will find less of a difference between them and the conventional golf swing. That is when you leave marketing out of the equation.
Concepts could be considered merely a different way of packaging the same set of fundamentals. After all, which method does not rely on balance, rhythm, tempo, and timing? Which method has as its main goal something other than clean effective, repeatable ball striking, and accuracy and oh yes, simplicity.
It is the responsibility of the teaching pro to understand the latest and greatest swing methods out there, no matter their opinion of them. Why? It is the best way to be able to help the student. The more knowledge a teaching professional has about the different methods, the better able they are to help.
So when you're interviewing a prospective golf teaching professional looking for help with your golf swing, listen very carefully to what they say. The clues to his or her commitment to you, the student, will be found in that initial conversation. And, if it sounds like they may be method golf instructors. Ask! After all it IS your golf swing.
About the Author:
Steve Riggs is a retired golf teaching professional of over 30 years working with countless clients in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Now retired, Steve is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and regular contriubtor to Par Excellence Magazine, New England Golf Monthly magazine and mynegm.com. Steve is the host/producer of a weekly Radio/Internet golf program, THE myNEGM LESSON TEE which airs Wednesdays 10:05-11am ET. Listen live at WNRI 1380 AM radio or online at: mynegm.com and www.wnri.com . The show is followed around the country and Canada in it's second year on air.
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