Most of you know me as the General Manager/Director of Golf at Candia Woods and not as a golf professional and a teacher. I have actually been a golf professional since the tender age of 22 and a PGA Professional now for the past 41 years.
One of the aspects of being a golf professional that I enjoyed the most was teaching the game to a wide variety of people that included men, women, and juniors of all ages. No matter who they were they all shared my love for the game and I felt it was my responsibility as golf professional to help them enjoy the game as much as possible.
The satisfaction I gained by seeing the glimmer in someone’s eyes when they broke 100, 90 or even 80 for the first time was immeasurable. I had made a friend and maybe more important kept them hooked on the game of golf!
As I began giving lessons and passing on instructions I had received from PGA School, reading books by Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and other great players/teachers it became clear that no one method/philosophy was perfect.
I was fortunate to learn early on that no two people learned the same and what worked for a man 35 years old was not going to work for a lady 50 years old. It was at that point I decided on how I would approach coaching and teaching all of my prospective students.
My method or philosophy was to be practical with every student, taking the time before the lesson to discuss their expectations of the lesson(s) and how much time they were going to devote to practicing and playing. At that point I would set up reasonable but obtainable goals for the lesson(s) and work on achieving them.
You can imagine some students were harder than others to work with such as the guy in his mid 40’s who’s been a slicer all his life and wants to be able to draw the ball at the end of his 30 minute lesson! I believe using this method put students at ease by not having the fear of failure if they were not shooting even par after the lesson.
Another element to my philosophy was to listen carefully to each student, quickly analyze their physical abilities and then mentally start developing a learning strategy I felt best suited them. Developing key words and phrases that all students could relate to and then translate successfully to their golf swing was important.
Even my voice reflection was important to always show patience and project confidence. I also like to develop analogies about the golf swing to those students who may have played tennis, baseball and other sports.
Why? Well, after all the golf swing is just an athletic motion with very similar motions to those sports mentioned and others. If they can pick up something quicker this way the better for everyone. Remember in my “hay day” video lessons were only a dream!
Once I got my students on the range my goal was to make them successful at something before the lesson was over. It can be pretty terrifying for some to take a lesson when every time they had swung a club previously they whiffed or topped the ball.
Sometimes it was just a drill teeing ball the ball up and then having them swing the club one handed like a pendulum and asking them to knock the tee from under the ball. When that ball soared two feet high and went another four feet in the air… you would have we had invented electricity!
I constantly came up with drills that were simple and productive if practiced, keeping in mind success was a must. A sports psychologist I was fortune enough to hear speak reminded us that in order to learn a habit or behavior it must be repeated successfully better than 50% of time. So when developing drills and their progression it was important to make sure the student was capable of being successful more than 50% of time.
My love for teaching has covered decades now. The joy and excitement of helping someone accomplish something with their golf swing/game never gets old. I have been very fortunate overtime to work with and develop some good players, champions in their own rights at many different level.
Seeing these men, women and juniors achieve their goals and enjoy the game has been rewarding personally and as a golf professional. One such student who has achieved some very lofted goals and I must admit is my best student ever you might have heard of…Shaun Bishop!
It has been fun sharing my thoughts with you! Please feel free to ask me any questions when you see me at Candia Woods. Ted