I have a few objectives with every lesson even though it can be such a moving target and no two people or swings are alike. I want to create a relaxed environment, and show how much fun and rewarding improving can be. The game can be frustrating, so making people feel comfortable and making sure they are ok with trying new things, hitting some wacky shots, and learning more about their own swing is always a priority.
Usually the first thing for me to figure out is what your familiarity with the game of golf actually is. Do you know the difference between a pitching wedge and a 7 iron? How about the difference between a hook or a slice? What would the optimal launch angle for a driver be? These are three random questions, but you can see how certain questions wouldn’t be worth approaching before a solid foundation is made.
To go along with your knowledge of the game, I want to know what your goals as a golfer are. The goals can mean both what can we accomplish in an hour together and what you want out of the game longer term. Player’s goals are constantly evolving as they improve and it is up to me to help identify milestones, suggest certain paths and monitor progress. Any adjustment or change I would suggest will have a clear reason behind it, and would go hand in hand with shared goals the student and I have agreed on.
I like to send a swing video recap with a voice-over after lessons to give a run down of any adjustments we made and to keep a file of students' progress. I want to show a few examples of some different golfers and a taste of what these recap videos can look like.
Ed has played golf a handful of times in his life and doesn’t spend much time working on his game (though I hope that starts to change!), but he has a company outing coming up and wanted to feel a little more confident over the ball. Ed is a strong natural athlete, but he basically had the wrong idea of how the club should be impacting the ball. Once we got the concept nailed down and he realized how the club was actually designed to work, things started to change in a hurry.
Jared is a more avid golfer, playing anywhere from 15 to 25 rounds a year, who also loves to practice and take lessons. He is a talented athlete, but struggled to diagnose his own swing and wondered why he wasn’t striking the ball cleanly often enough, sometimes shanking it. As a visual learner he got a lot out of being able to see his swing on video. Once we identified his tendencies, we rehearsed exaggerations of what felt like the opposite of what he’s used to. A little video confirmation gave him confidence he could make a more reliable and repeating move with a few focused adjustments.
Ellingston, a golfer who just recently began to find his swing was hitting the ground before the ball too often, and when he did make decent contact the ball tended to go high and right. By being able to watch the launch angle the ball took, we decided to try and do things to hit the ball lower. Just by trying to affect the ball and bring down the launch, he was able to start to change his body positions at impact and move more athletically through the swing.
Glenn plays a fair amount, but can struggle making solid contact, often relying on a ball with too much slice. The length of the backswing and the steepness of the shaft took some time to get figured out, but by the end of the hour, he was noticing he could hit the ball further and more consistently on the sweet spot by actually shortening the backswing. It’s a common realization for many golfers and being able to see it on video is sometimes the only way to make players believe that such a short backswing is actually better for their game.