Why Golf Instruction
Golf "Instruction" is an Oxy-Moron
No sport on earth has as many "training
aids", "swing gurus" and "tips"
to try and help you improve. With the amount of
money spent on improving equipment technology
and studying the motions of the swing one would
think there would be a "cure for the common
swing" by now. But, like the common cold,
we are no closer to finding a solution to this
ailment than when we began. We can send someone
to the moon and back but have yet to figure out
a way to get rid of a slice. A car can run on
solar power but hitting a five yard draw is an
elusive mystery for most. Golfers seek out every
latest teaching fad, instructional tip and equipment
breakthrough as if it were the cure for cancer,
hoping that "this will be the one."
Sadly, it never will be. Golf instruction by itself
will never make you a good golfer, especially
today's instruction. Neither will hitting all
the balls in the world using every training aid
ever made with the latest and greatest in equipment.
A sound golf swing is attainable, but you must
go down the right path to find it.
One of the greatest ironies of life is the constant
search for answers and meaning. People spend their
entire lives searching for some cosmic truth as
to why we are all here and what our purpose in
life is, just the way golfers spend countless
hours on the range or reading books or watching
TV for that one tip that will change their golf
game forever. This insatiable desire to hit good
golf shots creates a market for the countless
training aids and golf instructors who can charge
$5000 for a morning of their time, yet can guarantee
absolutely nothing in return. It takes most golfers
an entire lifetime to realize, much like happiness,
you can't "buy" a good golf swing. So
how does one attain a good golf swing? Are some
just doomed to slicing because of a lack of talent
or athleticism? No more than they are doomed to
a life of sadness are they doomed to a life of
So what is the cure to the slice? What is the
"secret" to hitting 300 yard drives?
Sadly, because you have read this far, it means
that you are still looking for that one secret
tip that all good ball strikers know and you don't.
You are still looking externally for answers when
you had them all along. The cosmic joke of the
universe is that the answers to all your questions
about life, peace, happiness and a good golf swing
have always been right in front of your eyes.
The secret is that there is no secret. The second
you stop trying to understand the golf swing at
an intellectual level is the very moment in your
golfing career that you open yourself up to your
true golfing potential. The golf swing is much
like Zen, it can't be taught, only experienced.
If I tried to explain to you with words what Zen
or love or happiness are, they would never suffice.
There are no exact words to accurately describe
how to make a proper golf swing just as there
are no words to describe what love is. If you
try and explain what love is to a computer it
will never understand because love is not logical,
but a human who has experienced love can fully
comprehend what love is without any words being
said. If someone were to try and "teach"
a human how to love, it would never work because
words cannot replace the experience. In much the
same way, NO ONE can explain to you how to swing
a golf club and guarantee you will "get it".
There are some things that can be put into words
just as there are some words that can describe
happiness. But to truly understand happiness you
must first experience it. So, how can anyone ever
expect to learn the golf swing?
A good golf instructor is one who understands
that the technical aspects of the golf swing are
never the sole focus of learning, no more than
a Buddhist monk would be expected to attain enlightenment
by learning the details of "how to"
meditate. A Zen master would act as a guide to
the monk, passing along wisdom and experience,
not just "technical" details. But first,
the Zen master must experience enlightenment for
himself, how else could he guide someone down
a path that clearly cannot be explained with words
alone? How can someone learn to love from someone
who has never loved? In much the same way, taking
lessons from a golf instructor who can't strike
the ball like a master and focuses only on the
technical details guarantees you one thing - that
you are missing half the picture.
When instructors are asked to describe the golf
swing, it often sounds something like this. A
golfer addresses the ball with it positioned just
off the left instep and the club resting directly
behind it. The shaft of the club should be near
vertical with the ball positioned off the center
of the club face. To start the swing, the club
begins moving back low and slow to the ground,
maintaining the triangle established by the arms
and chest. When the arms reach parallel to the
ground, the club should be at a perpendicular
angle to the arms, vertical to the ground. You
get the picture. This goes on into infinity, with
every single last detail technically explained.
This is the level of understanding most golf instructors
have of the swing today. The chances for someone
successfully striking a golf ball following this
"instruction" are about as good as someone
being told how to love in the same manner and
having a successful marriage. It won't happen.
If someone were to ask me to describe the golf
swing, I would say this. The golf swing is a natural,
athletic and dynamic motion. That's it. That is
my contribution to the overly complex world of
golf instruction. How profound, no? No details,
no technique, no lecture on the importance of
a good grip. Not that these things are not important,
but they are the tip of the iceberg and more of
a pitfall than they are helpful. Those that get
bogged down in the sludge of technique of how
to swing a golf club will never truly understand
how to swing a golf club.
There are dozens and
dozens of so called "experts" of the
golf swing. I even saw one person who says he
earned his "doctorate of golf" from
The Swing Machine. This person loves to talk about
the angles and lines of the golf swing. This is
how he teaches, by having students look at lines
on a video monitor and getting a lesson in geometry.
I suppose if you could carry the monitor around
with you during a round of golf, it could be helpful.
The golf swing is far less complex than most instructors
would like you to believe. They teach you a very
complicated two plane swing either because that
is all they know or they want you to keep coming
back for more lessons so they can make more money.
I consider myself to be more like the renegade
magicians who go and share the "secrets"
of magic tricks so that all who want to truly
learn, can. The "secrets" of the golf
swing have run their course. My goal is and always
will be to teach a golfer the golf swing in one
lesson, and then I never want to see you again
:-) If in one lesson I can't teach you everything
you need to truly know about the golf swing and
dramatically simplify your understanding of the
swing, then you need to find a better instructor.
If you have realized some truths about golf and
want to improve your game, not just your technique,