A beginner golf lesson #1

The golf video below is of Corinne my expert video producer. She was helping Mike Clayton and me shoot some rangefinder videos a few weeks ago and couldn’t resist and wanted to have her first try at golf. The video was completely unscripted (as you can tell by Mike’s joking around).

Watch the video and I’ll add a few thoughts at the bottom.

Cameron thoughts:

The first thing is Corinne has never played before. She is a complete newbie and it’s completely normal to take air swings and look uncoordinated. There is no getting away from this if you’ve never picked up a club before.

You’ll notice me repeatedly saying, “hit the ball”. Really, this is the only objective you can give a beginner at this early stage. Thoughts of swing, stance and grip are usually only going to make a difficult skill harder.

This is not bashing Mike (he will be the first to tell you he is not a golf coach – he reluctantly helped out here), but the mindset of most in the industry is to give multiple verbal instructions. So the information on the grip and stance did not help. It confuses the issue.

My thoughts on teaching beginners is you have to let them get a feel for the game first and then work on making minor adjustments. In this case, I would have had Corinne focused on hitting the ball. This would be her primary objective. If she struggled with it I would have made the task easier, like hitting a big sponge ball. If she could hit the ball each time we could focus on hitting a certain part of the ball (with the objective of getting the ball into the air).

It’s my opinion that this objective based mindset allows the newbie to learn without too many complications. It also allows them to learn with their own unique style and flair – something that is going to help them in the future.

I know most golfers and coaches are certain the grip and stance needs to be perfect from day one. But does it really matter if the learner uses a split grip or wonky stance when they first start out? I don’t think so. And if they continue to play the game they’ll naturally adjust their technique to suit their ever growing skill/power/goals. It’s magic when it’s allowed to happen but unfortunately it’s rare in the modern coaching world.

Feel free to leave your thoughts.

This is the first in a series of beginner golf lessons and insight into coaching. In the next lesson I’m going to take a look at an example from another sport. This is a brilliant example of expert coaching that quite possibly was the catalyst for a stellar international career. Coming soon.

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