When the USGTF began operations in 1989, the common method of teaching was to look at a student’s most obvious visual fault and then try to “correct” it. This also came about with the advent of the portable video cassette camera, where the teacher could pop the tape into a video cassette recorder (VCR). This allowed for instant analysis, frame by frame, of a student’s swing.

Today, much quicker video systems abound, but one tremendous addition has been the game-changing launch monitor. Most teachers now strive for the repeatability of a swing over the look of a swing, even if that swing has what previous generations of teachers would consider “flaws.” Is it possible to rely solely on technology to provide the numbers?

The answer is no. It still takes a teacher with a great understanding of the mechanics of the golf swing and the cause and effect of certain motor patterns to accurately come up with a correct game plan for swing improvement. These launch monitors, which not only tell us exactly what the ball is doing but exactly what the club is doing, are a valuable addition to a teacher’s arsenal. But make no mistake: They do not replace the teacher!

There is also talk of artificial intelligence (AI) being able to take over the role of a teacher. This might involve a student uploading his or her swing and letting the AI give the instruction. While theoretically this is possible, from a practical point of view in the year 2023 it is just not, well, practical. Good teaching often relies on physically placing the student into the correct position or guiding them through the correct motion, and AI can’t do that. There is also the problem of AI offering what could only be described as “formulaic” solutions when a more creative approach is needed. So at this time, while modern technology is great, the role of the human teacher is probably more important than ever to help their students navigate all these modern wonders.  
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