Do you become a better teacher by teaching better players?
This is a question I have had for quite some time now, after 20 years teaching beginner, iintermediate, top amateur, and Professional players; I can tell you from vast experience that it is far more rewarding and challenging to teach beginners and intermediate golfers the skill set they need to acquire, in order to become as proficient as they want to be, right up to Professional.
This is the skill set all top amateurs and Pros already have…thats why they are where they are, along with a lot of work…I wouldn’t call it a job, because it’s something they love to do.
Beginning golfers, on the other hand have to work on their basic fundamentals and swing sequence in order to be able to play at a pace and score they are comfortable with. Their proficiency at the game can only increase when these fundamentals are practiced with a purpose until the golfer is proficient enough to experiment with different ball flights, distance increases, and predictive curvatures of the ball.
I believe teaching the game to new and intermediate players, is the basis not only to the growth of the game, but to the industry itself. There is far too much emphasis placed on the swings and games of the best players in the world, and while they are extremely compelling to watch (much like any Professional sport), emulating, dissecting, and comparing their game to the one we play, is akin to comparing your car driving ability to that of Lewis Hamilton, or Ken Block, fun to watch, but…
Beginning and intermediate golfers turn into avid golfers if and when they become proficient enough at the game to have fun, and challenge themselves to get a little better each year. Sometimes they play in a league, participate in local or club tournaments, support local charities, and purchase the fashion, equipment, and accessories to keep this industry afloat.
Once a player becomes a potential Professional player, the industry looks after them. Equipment, clothing, and accessory manufacturers, will support these players in hopes they will influence other golfers to purchase the equipment they endorse. So…it is those of us who love the game for the game that
support the industry as a whole, so we (Teaching Professionals) should support them. How?
By delivering a consistent, understandable, common sense laden message that ensures the player is not inundated with contradictory, misleading, or un-necessary information that leads to confusion and frustration. Teaching a Professional or top amateur player ,in my experience, is an exercise in ball flight adjustment and cheerleading. These players have tremendous control over their basic fundamentals and sequence, they just need (want) a small adjustment and an ego stroke like all Professional athletes.
The future of this game depends on the men and women in the trenches, delivering a positive, understandable message of simplicity and encouragement so they can rise to whatever level of play they desire; not inundated with the tweaks and idiosyncrasies of the players who already have a great command of their bodies and fundamentals.
So, here’s to the Professional (Amateur Golf) Instructors, it’s up to us to make the difference and focus the industry’s attention on the 95%, who love and play this game for fun, exercise, and connection with nature, friends, and family. Talk soon