If I gave you a lesson, or any form of coaching before the year 2009, I would give you your money back, if I had it. That was before the revolution that is sweeping golf instruction and coaching, was nascent and ill-formed. I based my approach then, on the backs of the old model of Instruction. It was short-sided, incomplete, and quite frankly irresponsible.
Ben Hogan said over 40 years ago that the average golfer should be able to break 80 consistently. Then why is it that the average handicap in the US is 18? That’s and average of 90! Why is it that golfers are leaving the game faster than a Jacksonville Jaguars football game? In 2012 there were 26 million core golfers, down from over 30 million in the Tiger crazed, pre-Escalade into the fire hydrant, days of the mid-200’s. The PGA commissioned a study not long ago (Turns out it’s a big problem for the nearly 30,000 PGA Members in the U.S. if people start throwing the towel in on golf) that cited TIME as the number one factor as to why people are leaving the game. I don’t buy that. I think that people would gladly commit time to golf, if they didn’t feel they were wasting it on bad golf.
There is a new paradigm for coaching and improvement, that is quietly revolutionizing the way golf will be coached, and practiced in the 21st Century. You have a choice: Jump off the old train, or stay on it to no-whereville. Keep shooting the same old scores, day in and day out, and keep wondering if you should really be mountain biking instead of chasing an over priced white ball around on Sundays.
If you want to jump off, here are your steps: First, find someone that has a boarding pass to the new train. The person(s) that you want to buy these passes from may, or may not have a hat that says PGA. Helpful, but not necessary. In fact, I would be skeptical of those that tout that badge as their only guiding light. Instead, look for things like Trackman Certifications, TPI Certified Instructors (Titleist Performance Institute), and those with advanced degrees in Exercise and Sport Science from Academically Accredited Universities, and in particular those with experience in biomechanics and motor learning. The real breakthroughs in knowledge are coming from science. Turns out Science and Objectivity trumps 2nd hand stories and subjective experience (See Galileo).
The conductors of the new train to lasting improvement and performance will be able to coherently integrate functional movement, swing analysis, and launch monitor feedback into a coherent plan based on progress, statistics, and measurable, quantifiable data. The Coach of the 21st century, for both the beginner and the pro, is a Golf Scientist. This is the new model of coaching and performance.
So, here’s the deal. The new train is leaving the station. What are you going to do? Schedule a lesson at the range with the same old guys? Or are you going to forge a new, Authentic plan for the new year?