A lot of people ask me how or what is my method of teaching. In a word(s) I fix what the ball does. We all have tendencies and I try to improve what the ball does, do it more often and for the bad ones not to be so bad. After all isn’t that what all golfers want? It doesn’t matter if it is a putt, chip, bunker shot, pitch shot or full swing with a driver or 7 iron. Every golfer wants the golf ball to do something better, do it more often and for the bad ones not to be so bad.
Swing thoughts are not bad you just need to use the right ones. “There are good swing thoughts and bad swing thoughts” says Dr Gabriele Wulf, a professor of kinesiology at UNLV and a leading expert on performance cue research. “We have found that the swing cues that shift your attention away from your body, what we call external cues, are much more effective than internal swing cues, or those that focus on your body. Dr. Wulf goes a step further and says, “In decades of research, I’ve never seen anyone improve by using internal swing thoughts.” A pretty bold statement but I would have to agree. I found a long time ago that the last time I checked the club face hit the ball. So my teaching is about improving what the ball does by improving what the club and face do.
I have found through my extensive experience that I have to fix what the ball does and that means I had to fix impact. So I needed to have a good idea of what the CLUB and CLUB FACE were doing at impact to produce both bad and good ball results. The club and club face are external from your body. So if a student way hitting a shot that goes off to the right I will ask them what the club face was at impact. Was it open or closed? I am trying to get them to understand what the club and club face are doing to cause the result. We then need to back up from impact and find what the club and club face are doing to produce that poor ball flight. I will then focus on getting the club and face to do something better to produce a better ball result.
An external cue may be as harmless as “rotate your hands through impact,” but because that thought is focused on a specific part of your body, it tends to constrain the movements and make learning and retaining the move more difficult. Replacing that thought with something as simple as “square the clubface” and then with me showing them with hands on examples what that is – proves to be much more effective.
I teach by evaluating, recognize, plan, repair, and review. Evaluate ball flight, and back up to what the club and face are doing at impact, downswing, backswing and address. I then recognize the cause. I plan my fix. I repair what the club and face are doing and then review the results. Results are what the ball is doing.