Finally! Someone speaking some sense

Butch Harmon has made some insightful comments about Tiger Woods in the Wall Street Journal. From a coaching and learning perspective his remarks are spot on. I’m pleased to hear a coach getting away from the technical instruction that’s so prevalent.

“For me, and I think we saw this at the Masters, he looks like he’s playing ‘golf-swing’ and not golf,” Harmon said. “In my opinion, he’s very robotic. And you could see that at Augusta with all his practice swings and the double-cross shots when he’s trying to fade it and he hooks it. I think everyone thought because he won at Bay Hill that he was back; well, he didn’t hit it great at Bay Hill, he hit it OK. And Bay Hill’s not a major.”

CS: There you go. Tiger is not playing golf and I couldn’t agree more. He seems to have lost the spark and the flair that made him so good. Also found Harmon’s comments about Bay Hill interesting. A win (a good shot or lucky streak) doesn’t guarantee future success.

“When I had him, I’m more of a natural-type teacher, I like to keep what you do naturally and just try to improve on it. I like to let you be creative, which he was good at.” There comes a point where swing changes, no matter how sound and well-intended, can become counterproductive. “Under pressure,” Harmon said, “which swing am I using? What am I thinking? What are my eyes seeing? There’s too much more that goes into it than just the actual swing. He’s changed so many times he may have confused himself.

CS: Wow! This is the kind of teaching that seems to have been lost in recent times. Why can’t coaches let Tiger play? All the changes cannot be good and they are definitely holding him back. Tiger has gotten so far away from playing the game that he appears lost and doesn’t know what to do in certain situations. Maybe he is taking lessons to try and find his old game – but it does become an awkward merry-go-round.

The same goes for you. If you mess around too much with your golf swing it’s not hard to lose the plot.

How can Tiger turn it around? “If he ever asked me what I thought he needed to do, I’d tell him, look, go on the practice tee without anybody—without me, without Sean [Foley, his current coach], without Haney, without a camera, and start hitting golf shots. Hit some high draws, some low draws, high fades, low fades, move the ball up and down, move it around; don’t worry about how you do it and go back to feeling it again. Quit playing golf-swing and just hit shots; just say to himself, I’m gonna hit a low fade, and I don’t need anybody to tell me how to do it, I’m just gonna feel it. He’s Tiger Woods, for God’s sake. He doesn’t know how to hit a shot?”

CS: Give the man a high five. This is some of the best coaching I’ve heard come from a mainstream golf coach. Is there anything else one could tell Tiger? He’s the best player of all time and knows how to hit the ball. He needs to get back to that focus again. Give him a club and a ball and let him hit it. The rest will take care of itself.

Read the full article here.

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