The golf instructor, golf teacher, PGA instructor, and golf coach are fundamental to the growth and maintenance of the game of golf. Playing golf is not an obviously easy thing to do. By that I mean that most people when they first pick up a golf club do not immediately strike the ball well. In some ways the golf swing is counterintuitive, whether that is due to the design of golf clubs I am not entirely sure. A small, faced head, on the end of a relatively long pole, is taken back behind your human head via your arms and turning torso. It is then returned with force in a bid to solidly strike a small, dimpled ball sitting on the ground roughly in line with a spot between your legs. Hey, what could be easier!
Teaching The Game of Golf
The golf teacher conveys the essential actions, which must be undertaken by the golfer, in striking the golf ball effectively around the golf course. I have watched many lessons with rank beginners and observed the challenging task it involves. Patience is a key component for any PGA professional instructing newbies to the game of golf.
Essential Elements For The Golf Coach To Instruct
I asked golf instructor, Chad Jeevitee, what were the most important elements in the teaching of golf? What in, in his view, were the non-negotiables when it came to instructing golfers, according to his approach? Chad has been teaching the game to golfers of all standards for more than 12 years. Chad is a PGA professional and passionate promoter of the game of golf.
First, let’s talk about grip. The grip is the only point of contact between the golfer and the club. Think about that, it is where you and the golf club intersect. It is the only direct contact you have with the stick that hits the ball. A proper grip is essential for a consistent and accurate swing. There are three main grip types: the Vardon, the overlap, and the interlock. It’s important to choose the one that feels most comfortable for you. Once you have chosen your grip, make sure that the V’s formed by your thumb and index finger on both hands are pointing towards your right shoulder (for right-handed golfers) and towards your left shoulder (for left-handed golfers).
Golfers just starting out dig the leading edge into the ground, often, hitting fat shots. This makes people feel like fools. They focus all that bad feeling on the grip holding the handle of the club. Because they find it difficult to manoeuvre the club everything feels horribly uncomfortable. I tell them to get a grip LOL.
Next, let’s talk about alignment. Alignment refers to the position of the golfer’s body in relation to the target. Proper alignment is crucial for a straight and accurate shot. To align your body properly, stand behind the ball and imagine a line running from your target to your feet. Your feet, hips, shoulders, and eyes should all be parallel to this line. This will help ensure that your clubface is square to the target at impact.
We live at a time, where we sit in front of screens all day. We push buttons and touch screens, whilst sitting on our behinds. Golf is not like that. No, the game of golf demands something completely different. You must stand to the golf ball side on, looking down the target line to the flagstick in the distance. You, then, have to take the club back behind you, before bringing it back to the ball at speed. Lots can go wrong and often does. It is a crazy game when you think about it. I don’t know who invented it, some drunk Scot, I imagine. The average golfer struggles with alignment for much of their golfing life. The game of golf is incredibly process orientated and many folk are just too casual about their set up. They walk into a shot without really aligning themselves to the target in relation to the position of the golf ball. There is little chance of hitting it in the correct direction under these circumstances. Not very often anyway. Obviously, the golf instructor help his students, but it is something you have to be constantly vigilant about, even, in your own game.
Lastly, let’s talk about stance. A proper stance is essential for balance and power in the golf swing. To achieve a proper stance, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight evenly distributed between both feet. Your knees should be slightly flexed and your hips should be slightly tilted forward. This will help you maintain balance throughout your swing. Obviously, we stand with narrower stances for wedges and shorter irons. The golf ball is positioned just forward of centre for most iron shots.
I recommend slightly more weight on your lead side for iron shots, as we are hitting the ball with a descending blow going through. This helps us create compression when we are swinging well, which improves spin and launch.
The golf swing can be broken down into 3 key components and you need to make sure that you are in the right position for each of these. Sequencing the biomechanical moves via drills will make you stronger in the execution of them. Tempo is the glue that holds the golf swing together. It is very easy to lose your rhythm out on the golf course mid-round. Regathering it is sometimes much harder. The golf instructor knows the perils of the game, all too well.
It’s also important to keep in mind that these fundamentals are interrelated and one affects the other. For example, if your grip is incorrect, it will affect your alignment and stance. Similarly, if your alignment is off, it will affect your grip and stance. Therefore, it is important to regularly check and adjust all three fundamentals to ensure a consistent and accurate swing. GAS. Remember to GAS up your golf swing prior to hitting any shot.
In addition to these fundamentals, it is important to have a good understanding of the basic mechanics of the golf swing. This includes the proper sequencing of the backswing, downswing, and follow-through. It also includes understanding the role of the different parts of the body, such as the hips, shoulders, and wrists, in the swing. The golf swing is a mysterious beast at times, just ask any longtime golfer. You will have bad days out on the links no matter how good a golfer you may be. Grin and bear it, my friend, that is all we can do. Keeping your cool when things are disintegrating is not always easy. However, we all struggle every now and then, that is the nature of golf. I would tell any beginner, you will have stinkers and do not get too disheartened, especially at the start of your golfing journey. We have all been there, it is part of the initiation. Golf has protocols and lots of rules to abide by and these are necessary to maintain civility when playing such a challenging bloody game.
Remember to always focus on the fundamentals and practice consistently. With time and practice, you will see improvement in your golf game.
As a PGA professional, I have received extensive training on the golf swing and how to teach it to students of all skill levels. My training included both classroom instruction and hands-on training on the golf course and practice tee. The golf instructor must be committed to the progress of his students. In return, the student must likewise commit to the learning process. One lesson will not be enough. A minimum of 6 lessons, each of around 30 minutes, is a good starting point to introduce the basics of swinging 14 different clubs to a beginner.
One of the most important aspects of my training was learning how to effectively communicate the fundamentals of the golf swing to my students. This includes being able to demonstrate proper grip, alignment, and stance, as well as explaining the mechanics of the swing in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Additionally, I learned how to observe and analyse a student’s swing to identify specific areas that need improvement and how to provide customized drills and exercises to address those areas.
Another key aspect of my training was learning how to teach the golf swing to students of different skill levels and abilities. This includes understanding how to adjust my teaching methods and drills to suit the needs of beginner, intermediate, and advanced players. I also learned how to teach golfers with physical limitations and how to adapt the swing to accommodate those limitations.
I also received training on the latest technology and equipment used in the golf industry, such as launch monitors and swing analysis software, which helps me to provide accurate and valuable feedback to my students.
Additionally, I have received training in the coaching of the mental game, which is an essential aspect of the golf game. The mental game is often overlooked, but it’s crucial for a golfer to have a clear and focused mind to perform at their best. I learned how to help my students develop a positive mindset, manage their emotions, and stay focused during their round.
Throughout my PGA training, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best golf instructors and coaches in the industry, who have shared their knowledge and experience with me. I continue to learn and grow as an instructor through ongoing education and attending professional development events.
In summary, my PGA training has provided me with a thorough understanding of the golf swing and how to teach it effectively to students of all skill levels. It also equipped me with the latest technology and techniques to help my students improve their game. My training in mental game coaching also helps me to provide a well-rounded coaching to my students. I am committed to continuously improving my skills as an instructor to help my students reach their full potential.”
Thanks Chad Jeevitee
Chad promises to keep us up-to-date with future insights and trends in the golf instruction realm.