Technology abounds. Every golfer wants it and many teachers love using it. Be it video, 3-D motion capture, launch monitors, foot-pressure pads, rangefinders, or the latest and greatest golf club technology, the world of golf has become obsessed with technology and its perceived ability to improve one’s game. There is no doubt there are some great tools out there to assist us in our teaching, along with giving us the reputation amongst our clients as being at the cutting edge of the instruction industry. We should all remember they are present to assist and not replace the human factor of observation. As instructors, we must first and foremost begin with observation and prioritize what we see. How often are we doing this in every lesson? I can personally go on about stories of students who have received lessons where the teaching professional never looked up from his computer, but I regress. So, where do we start? Students of different levels have different needs. A novice must learn basic components of setup, pivot, arm and club motion before a golf ball enters the picture, which may take some time…many lessons, in some cases. Our ability to observe without fail rather than going through the motions at this stage of a golfer’s evolution cannot be overstated. The lower hand on the club, as one example, can and more likely will lead to an incorrect clubface position and wrist hinge, causing further compensations throughout the motion. The reason the novice is in our hands is so such a problem doesn’t occur; otherwise, he or she may just as well take lessons from their over-qualified 27-handicap best friend. For the experienced player, ball flight comes first. Always! Ball flight is everything, because it offers the player feedback. Again, our job is to relate ball flight to motion tendencies. In other words, what is the club doing to create a particular ball flight? What is our body doing to make the club move in one fashion or another? This is our responsibility, and the observation facet relies on ball flight and our knowledge of what is occurring with the club and body as pertaining to every ball flight possibility. There aren’t many:
  • Initial Direction – Clubface direction at impact (85% responsible)
  • Curvature – Path as it relates to clubface
  • Trajectory – Angle of attack (steepness of pitch) and  vertical centeredness of strike
  • Distance – Speed of clubhead, centeredness of strike
As golf instructors, the aforementioned ball flight laws are our commandments, our constitutional amendments, or any term of our desire, but without fail they take priority over everything, including technology.
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