Updated: Mar 8, 2022
Full Version - Comprehensive, holistic approach that uses motor learning theories to optimize learning. Understanding, awareness, confidence, and autonomy are the goals. The human skills of golf are explored alongside technical skills. Purposeful practice, short game, and scoring are vital.
Golfers should play with freedom and enjoyment. A positive attitude enhances learning, performance, and retention. The coach's and students' mindsets will determine the level of success. Belief, trust, awareness, engagement, commitment, motivation, and enjoyment must be present.
My coaching philosophy is process-based. Discovery and exploration are valued over right and wrong.
No one swing fits everyone, but everybody has one best swing.
Awareness is curative
My focus is on developing awareness and remaining in the present moment. Knowing where we are, our intent, and staying connected to the physical realities is a good starting point. The next step was learning to remain free of interference and committed to the shot process or the lesson. Improving what the ball does, diagnosing a golf swing, pitch, bunker shot, chip, or putt starts here.
Teaching assumes that something is missing in the student's ability, and the teacher has to provide it. As a coach, I presume the capacity is already there and only needs to be brought out.
Fundamentals of Pre-swing
Adapting grip, posture, ball position, and alignment for each player generates efficient movements and consistency.
Fundamentals, Awareness, and Execution of the golf swing.
The biomechanical movements are simplified. The golf swing uses the body and the club to create momentum and accuracy. It's similar to throwing or batting a ball. We all have the capacity. Evolution has created this wonderful body that can throw a spear or swing a golf club. Improving what the ball does, diagnosing a golf swing, pitch, bunker shot, chip, or putt continues here.
More accurate, consistent movement patterns can create greater force and accuracy. These patterns will depend on player skill level and body dynamics. These will be explored, as will the elements of the swing, which include plane, face, ball-flight, balance, tempo, tension. Timing and rhythm create fluid energy that becomes the glue that bonds the swing together. (Check here for a blog on Biomechanics, Swing Physics, and ball flight.
All good players possess some combination of these skills and movement patterns. These essential skills are explored, but there is always allowance for different grips, set-ups, and swing patterns.
Many of the flaws in a golf swing can be traced to these fundamentals. We will help you discover the set of fundamentals that are best for you.
The swing is not a hit. Images, feelings, and reactions to the target are explored.
The ability to move is decided by how you believe you should move, your biomechanics, and your ability to move. The golf swing must be seen as a whole and not as parts, as an orbit, a circle, or an arc.
Focus is not placed on contrived mechanically draining body positions.
The left side of the brain is used for conscious thought, dissecting, analyzing, and organization and helps prepare your shot in the ThinkBox but is a hindrance in the movement and execution.
The fast, visual brain is the right side, which deals with images, movement, and sequencing. The right side must be activated by external cues, images, sound, or feel to swing confidently when entering the PlayBox.
Golfers must learn to use their senses, see, feel, and focus the mind on the intention, feel the clubhead, its energy delivery, and swing the golf club with clear intent towards the target.
The body's movements and positions will happen intuitively and respond to their intended target, ball flight, or the intended energy. Freedom to move comes from clarity, focus, commitment, and letting go of the last shot in the MemoryBox.
Be -See - Feel - Focus - Committ - Do - Reflect -Move on
( ThinkBox) (PlayBox) (MemoryBox)
The club acts as an implement to accomplish the goal and allows the body to move in the way it needs in response to those intentions. You must see and feel the golf swing in one sweeping motion.
When you hit the golf ball or force the swing, you manipulate the clubhead by pushing or flipping with the grip and shaft. This takes your clubface and or shaft off the intended orbit or circle, and you will lose momentum, acceleration, and speed, as well as the quality of impact placed on the ball.
Using science and technology
Players must understand the kinematic sequence. There is a natural order to how the body moves in the downswing. It starts from the ground up, feet to knees, hips, thorax, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands, moving the club and the clubhead.
Performance tools and videos provide evidence-based, unbiased information and feedback to help players understand ball fights, movement, and contact patterns. The technology analyzes ball flight, test equipment, player mobility, and swing patterns. Swing devices that optimize the feel of the proper movement patterns, kinematic sequence, and tempo reinforce natural movements. ( Check the Awareness Tools page to view the technology and swing aids we use for feedback and feel)
Purposeful Practice and short game emphasis
When the task is straightforward, the body will move intuitively. When the mind is clear, the body will move freely. Practice develops trust and confidence and eliminates doubt and fear.
No one becomes accomplished without purposeful practice. Curiosity, exploration, and creativity are fundamental to practicing and playing with awareness.
Purposeful practice challenges build confidence and trust in transferring your movement and thought patterns to the course or tournament. To optimize, it is essential to also practice on the course. Practicing correctly at the right time will maximize learning and performance with the right frame of mind. (Check my blog on Purposeful Practice.)
Practice should reflect the importance of each aspect of the game, 70% short game and putting and 30% full swing. As a coach, I use the same ratios in programming.
Feel and touch take time. Learning to paint with your club and the ball is a neverending joyful exploration. (Check here for all the short game shots you need)
Phil Mickelson has 20 PGA victories and a 50% average of fairways hit in regulation. Why, because of his wicked short game. Explore, challenge, and enjoy your short game. "Pitching is the prettiest part of the game." Ray Floyd. 4 PGA Majors, 3 Senior Majors, and 22 PGA victories from his book, "The Elements of Scoring." (Check my Blog on Putting and the Short Game)
Golf is a mind-body game. You can't play golf and move naturally with a cluttered, fearful mind.
The body will not lie to the brain. Play with confidence, trust, and positive mental imagery. Mindfulness, awareness, emotional resilience, depending are integral parts of playing well and my coaching philosophy. (Check my summary of Extraordinary Putting by Fred Shoemaker.)
Shot routine - ThinkBox - PlayBox - Memory Box
As a Vison 54 coach (following certification), I coach the importance of shot routine developed by Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson. ( Top 50 Golf Coaches). The three-part routine simplifies the separation of the thinking and feeling parts of the game. This enhances the golfer's ability to stay in the present and better control their emotions. It's similar to the effect tempo has on your physical game, the glue that holds it together. All their books are must-reads and their last "Be a Player is a golf classic. Along with the shot routine, three intangibles necessary to swing efficiently are balance, tension, and tempo. These are a part of every lesson and program.
I believe there is truth in Moe Norman's brilliant summary of the mental game. " You have to play with alert indifference." I would say, "You have to be committed to playing in a high state of awareness that minimizes interference."
When on the course you must imagine the golf you want to play. Stay committed to your intention, stay attentive, and focused. If you remain focused and have a clear mind, you will play well. This is not easy, and only the best players can do it. (Check here for an introduction to the shot routine.)
Wandering minds happen. It's the ability to refocus, remain confident, and trust in the process that will bring success.
The game involves strategy, and one must learn to use the senses to understand and react appropriately. Coaching your way around the golf course in a mindful way will lead to better scores. You accept the variabilities in the game and respond with confidence and commitment because you have practiced difficult lies and trouble shots. You have a routine a way to reel in the wandering mind. You manage risks and rewards and make the right decisions based on ability and facts. (Check here for my introduction to Scoring)
Finally, are you committed to the process, focused on outcomes? Dedicated to understanding, remaining present, aware, and open-minded during lessons, during practice, during play, engaged; or are you looking for a connect the dots swing, a quick fix. Do you play the game because of your love of the game and the enjoyment it brings?
My commitment as a coach is; "I don't simply coach you on how to swing a golf club. I coach you on how to play the game of golf, to transfer the physical and mental skills to the golf course so that you can become your own best coach. This includes recognizing your tendencies and increasing awareness to get you back on track."
My commitment is to help my students improve their skills and movement patterns faster and more efficiently, optimize the learning environment, and make learning more enjoyable.
I teach the whole game Technical skills; Human skills, Mental skills, Preparation, Purposeful practice, Mobility, Equipment, Scoring, Short Game, and Putting. (Check out the What"s in the Bag page and Equipment reviews blog)
As a total-game (comprehensive or holistic) coach, I actively pursue studying the science and art of coaching. Along with an M.Ed., I have followed certifications in mind-body coaching, golf psychology, motor learning, skill acquisition, personal development, biomechanics, and fitness.
Let's have some fun!