I have been teaching a lot of beginners lately which is a great sign for the future of the game of golf! Whether it is a junior or and adult that is looking to take up the game I am always encouraged. I often times find that an effective method of teaching the full swing in golf for beginners is to really focus on what we are actually trying to accomplish with a golf swing. This method actually works really well for advanced players too! Sometimes advanced players lose sight of what they worked on to get them where they are currently and think that when something goes wrong in their swing that it’s time to jump ship and start over! For advanced players going back to basics can make all the difference in the world. And a lot of times beginners just simply do not know what to do and it is my job or my fellow coaches jobs to train them what we are trying to do when hitting a golf ball. I believe that a lot of coaches fail to realize this and let their students down. However, that is neither here nor there. I am here to make my students better and I will make them work for it.
So, let’s dive into this a bit. I was recently teaching a student and after a few good lessons he was still looking at me saying…”I practice and I get worse and I still do not know what I am doing wrong.” A coach’s worst nightmare…but it was a huge turning point for us. So, I took a step back and thought to myself that maybe I was approaching this the wrong way. Everyone that I teach wants to hit full shots and see the ball go very far. That part is a given and hitting a crisp iron or a long drive that you strike in the center of the club is what keeps people coming back to the golf course week after week. So, how do you get to that point where the ball goes where you want and travel very far? Well it doesn’t just happen overnight. There are several different steps that a player has to follow to get there. The first step is to understand the concept of what a golf swing is trying to accomplish and not getting so hung up on what you hear on the golf channel! Then we have to realize that starting small and then going big is the way to go.
We accomplish all of this by some very detailed coaching on the positions we are trying to get the golf club in when we make a golf swing. I always challenge my student’s to start with half shots. If we cannot get the club to the ball with the clubface square relative to the target in a half shot than what on earth happens when we go big? The misses we have with half shots will only be more dramatic and more penal with a full swing…lost balls, penalty shots, and high scores. Then we move on to some drills to help get us into those positions. After we go through some coaching and drills we do a lot of practice and put in the reps necessary to commit the skill to memory and to be able to pull it out when we make our way to the golf course. I always make sure to prescribe practice routines to my players whenever they leave a lesson. You must practice this or it is never going to get better.
I will leave you with a drill that may help get you back on line if your ball striking starts to break down. First, you can do this drill with any club in the bag. Take whichever club you are practicing with and make controlled half shots (belt high). Make sure that you have a target to hit at. You want to make sure that when you swing the golf club back that the club is parallel to your target line and that the toe is pointing towards the sky when the club gets to belt high. Next on the downswing be sure to start down with the body rotating towards the front foot and not starting down with your hands. Then, swing the club through to the finish at belt high and make sure that the toe of the club is pointing to the sky and the butt end of the grip is pointing to your belly button. Do the toe up to toe up drill 30 times a day to improve your ball striking in a hurry!
Justin Sigmon, PGA