It used to be that a golf student would come to a teacher, explain what was wrong and what the desired outcome was, and the teacher would come up with a simplistic plan to fix the problem. In perusing the Internet these days, some people make it seem like you need a Ph.D. in teaching golf to be effective. Below are some real quotes from golf forums and the like found on the Internet: “External cues and Socratic method teaching.” “Would it be logical to assume that the more v (speed) the more A (centripetal) will line up with the line between the weight and the fulcrum?” “20% Technique, 20% Golf IQ, 30% On-Course Decision Making, 30% Peak State of Performance.” “We have been working to correct his swing plane number 60 to 50 with driver and 70 to 60 with 6-iron thus far. A byproduct has been his path going from 3-4 right to 8-10 right.” “The joint moments and GRF curves are of GREAT interest to me in better understanding how this golf swing develops.” “For the angular motions, up-slopes mean left rotation, posterior tilt, and right lateral tilt, vice versa.” “Creating compression with forces in the backswing creates ‘increased weight applied to the feet’ thus increasing traction to support body torque.” Whew! Anyone else’s head spinning? It’s not that the above statements are so hard to understand necessarily, but it demonstrates the effort some teachers go through in order to learn more about the golf swing and the science and study behind it. While the USGTF always welcomes its members learning as much as they can about techniques, it seems a whole industry has thrived in making teaching golf as much as an egghead activity as possible. It just didn’t start with the advent of the Internet, of course. Back in 1969, Homer Kelley published his book The Golfing Machine, a tome so difficult to follow that only the most intelligent and/or persistent among us can understand what it is saying. As the years went on and Kelley’s book became the gospel according to many teachers, a school of thought even developed among some in this fraternity that if you didn’t understand Kelley’s book and failed to use its methodologies, you weren’t even qualified to teach golf! Undoubtedly a similar sentiment holds true today among many golf teaching geeks, where if you aren’t up-to-date on the latest technology, methodologies, and in-depth science behind the swing and ball flight laws, you aren’t worth your weight as a teacher. If this were true, one would have to wonder how Jack Grout was able to develop Jack Nicklaus as a layer, simplistically holding young Nicklaus’ hair in an effort to keep his head steady. Or Deacon Palmer, who told 3-year-old Arnold to hold the club this way, and saying, “Boy, don’t you ever change it.” In 1957, the year that Ben Hogan’s iconic book Five Lessons was published, there were probably a few golfers scratching their heads over Hogan’s concept of the backswing plane vs. the downswing plane. But for the most part, Hogan wrote a highly technical book in a very simplified manner that didn’t require a degree from Harvard to understand. This brings up a challenge to the modern-day 21stcentury teacher: How to make use of all the information and technology available, utilizing it in a manner so that ordinary students can benefit. One of the credos the USGTF has held since its inception in 1989 is to teach the game in a simplified manner. That credo is valid today as it was 27 years ago, when any golf instruction was imparted in person, in print, or through video means. One way to do this is to put yourself in your student’s shoes, and realize that they most likely know very little of the technical aspects of the game. Talk to them almost as if talking to a child. This is not condescending. This is effective communication of potentially complicated subject matter. We’ve said it before on these pages, and we’ll say it again: Teaching golf comes down to the basics that have been utilized by great champions throughout the years. These basics consist of the setup, properly pivoting, matching up the arm swing with the pivot, and knowing the ball flight laws. By all means, yes, explore all there is out there in the technological world. Engage in in-depth theoretical discussions on the Internet. But remember that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to teach golf – even in 2016.  
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