I read an interesting piece on golf instruction the other night and I thought I would share it with all my “bloggers.” This is part One of a Two part piece.
Early in my career I was very careful who influenced my ideas and style on coaching and golf instruction. I was very fortunate to choose some incredible people. One of those was Jim Hardy. There is no wonder I sought him out, he was a mentor to one of my greatest influences, Hank Haney. Early in my career Hank gave me a great piece of advice. He said read everything you can on John Jacobs. Both Jim and Hank had worked to John Jacobs in his golf schools. While I never got the watch John teach I did get a chance to discuss coaching when he was inducted in the Golf Magazine Teachers Hall of Fame in 2008. I came across this piece on Mr. Jacobs written by Jim Hardy. This is the bases of my teaching as well and you will see why.
“I firmly believe John Jacobs is the father of modern golf instruction worldwide. His revelation on how to always correctly diagnose a student’s problems was revolutionary. It was ground breaking when he introduced it and still is today. Prior to John’s method of diagnosis and still to often today, the method used by instructors was to start with an examination of the swing relative to the fundamentals that the particular instructor thought was important. The focus was to make the swing conform to a certain preconceived fundamental shape. John’s approach started from an entirely different perspective. He started his diagnosis from the flight of the ball rather than the shape. His idea claimed the golfer’s mistake was the errant ball flight and you traced the cause of the mistake through a series of logical steps to the find its origination.
To understand his method, you first have to accept one of John’s rules of golf a true: i.e. ‘the sole purpose of the golf swing is to produce a correct impact – the method employed is of no significance as long as it is repetitive.’ That statement is at the root of John’s teaching and of his fault corrections. The swing may appear unorthodox- look and Jim Furyk, Lee Trevino, John Daly, etc…but if we are to understand golf, we must first judge the ball flight as to its correctness and repetitive nature. All the game’s great players with an unorthodox swing seem to defy swing fundamentals but produce correctness and repetitive impacts. If we can assume that a correct, repetitive impact is our goal rather than a correct appearing swing, then we made the first step in correctly diagnosing all swings. To correct a golf swing (or putt, chip, pitch, bunker shot) we must first understand what is wrong with it. The nature of the ball flight, (or roll) either it’s lack of correctness or repetition, is the student’s problem. Once we start at this point, then we can trace the swing problem to it origination. In this manner, all swing mechanics the instructor applies to the student swing will have a positive effect on the flight of the ball. Through this method, all students will see immediate improvement rather than suffer continued bad golf, or in many cases even worse golf.