Modern Golf Instruction - Position Oriented Teaching

Just as I mentioned in earlier posts, it is imperative that teachers approach each golfer as an individual. This means that the teacher considers the background of the player, handicap or skill level, injury history etc., before deciding a course of action for the golfer. This also means that the teacher is not bound by the overall look of the swing, but rather is focused on helping the player develop a swing that repeats and is reliable on the course.  It is worth mentioning that for those who think the look of a swing is more important than its effectiveness, may I have you consider how many unusual swings are on the PGA Tour, and in the Golf Hall of Fame.  If the look of a swing is really so important then Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd, Nancy Lopez, Miller Barber, Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson and many, many more would not be considered among golf's great players.  They all have swings that do not conform to any kind of position diagram and most have what are considered strange swings.  Same very upright swings and some more rounded swings, some stand square to ball and some don't.  But all of these players hit the ball great and are able to return the club to the ball time after time correctly. In the late 80's position teaching became extremely popular.  Several instructors wrote books highlighting key positions in the swing and then structured lessons and golf schools around these, so called, key positions.  Here we are years later, seeing the result of position-oriented teaching and many golfers have become overly technical and mechanical with their swings.  Countless players hit thousands of balls trying to perfect these positions only, in many cases, to play worse than before they had the lessons.  This is tragic and has caused these golfers to play less or, in some cases, to quit golf altogether.  Recently, however, we are seeing shift in golf instruction that is moving back to a better time and a more simpler one. We are teaching simpler lessons and making it easier for players to hit the ball well because we are focusing on impact and ball flight instead of swing positions.  For a golfer to improve, they must know why their ball goes where it goes and how to make adjustments if their swing is a little off.  And for clarity, good lessons sometimes include making changes in positions, but if those changes don't improve the flight of the ball, then the change should be questioned by the student as to why the teacher chose the course of action and how will help the player in the future.  As a teaching community we must help golfers hit the ball more solid and shoot lower scores and move them away from the technical and mechanical mind-set.    - MW