I believe that it is important that we always hunger to learn. Think of the many changes throughout our careers. I’ll begin with EQUIPMENT.
Over the years, golf instruction has been based on the equipment of the day. Much of the “old school” teaching was based on feel. The player had to harmonize with his equipment, and there were no guarantees of consistency from club to club. The way we swing the club today is a direct reflection of the equipment, which has been frequency-matched against much tighter controls.
Next, think about TECHNOLOGY. The use of video, launch monitors, TrackMan, and other advances have given us more information than ever before. At some point, though, a student will still need to know what causes their problems and what path they must take to find continued improvement. This is when the professional shows his or her true expertise.
Have PEOPLE changed? Certainly! We have always known that there are different types of learners (visual, verbal, tactile, etc.), but people ride the ebb and flow of our society. Students have been conditioned for instant gratification and the use of the shortcut. Kids, especially, have so many distractions that it is increasingly hard for them to dedicate to golf in the manner that creates golfers of the highest level.
I feel fortunate to be old enough to have used “wood” clubs, and have watched some of the all-time greats play. On the other hand, I am young enough to absorb information and make use of the many tools available to us as teachers. I try to learn about MYSELF, also. I don’t ever want to grow complacent. I realize we all change. I hope to always have the ability and willingness to look within and give an honest assessment.
We must be open to continued education. The instructor who can speak knowledgeably about the past, present, and future of the game of golf will always be valued.
There is no better way to promote this game than through instruction. We make the game healthy by introducing new golfers to the game and keeping golfers of all ages playing well and interested in the future. We have a great opportunity, as members of the USGTF, to be leaders in the field of instruction. It should be more than a slogan. It should be a firm commitment.
Finally, I’m looking forward to going to the US Golf Teachers Cup in Nevada. The competition is great and the people are even better. I hope to see you there.