A super simple golf lesson

Here’s a really super simple golf lesson I gave a few years back. It still sticks in my mind as one of my best. And it was absolutely needed at the time, because this poor golfer was being overloaded with too many thoughts and ideas. She was getting down on herself because she had lost the magic and flair that she once had. Here’s the original article.

Amanda is a 16 year old golfer. She’s talented but a little stuck. Her coach told me that she has been “messed up” and is working on getting her game back on track.

I could see right away she has a flair for the game. She wasn’t interested in talking, but preferred to putt and chip and chase golf balls around.

When she started hitting some full shots I could see some tension. She was a little stiff and not quite sure of herself – a sign that there could be some over-coaching going on.

Me: Amanda, would it be ok for me to coach you for a few minutes?

Amanda: Sure, that would be great.

Me: OK, I’d like for you to start the ball at the left side of the green and then have it move to the right – maybe a metre or so.

Amanda: I have trouble with the fade. I can’t hit it very well.

Me: Let’s not worry about the past now. Just get comfortable and see if you can hit a fade.

Amanda hit 3 perfect shots in a row. They were brilliant attempts. I then gave her another club and asked her to hit a slightly higher fade.

Again, Amanda was able to hit the ball beautifully.

Me: It’s a shame you can’t hit a fade because those shots were really good. Oh well, maybe next time.

Not sure Amanda understood my sarcasm but I was pleased for her. Our little session was completely untechnical and she was able to hit balls for a few minutes without clutter. She was free and able to swing the club in a way that suited her.

Her coach didn’t miss her work either (he was viewing from the green)

Coach: They were great shots. Amanda has trouble hitting a fade and is constantly fighting a big pull.

Me: Would you like to know how I got her to hit those fades?

Coach: Yeah, what did you tell her?

Me: It was really complicated and technical golf lesson.

Coach: What was it?

Me: I asked her to play a fade …

The look on his face told the story.

Me: Has anyone asked her to experiment with fading the ball?

Coach: No. We’ve been working on her setup and her backswing and her downswing.

Sometimes the simplest lessons are the most effective. And sometimes it’s easy to ignore these simple golf lessons because they’re just too obvious. And oftentimes coaches think they need to work on the fancy stuff at the expense of the obvious things. And here’s the kicker …

… the student has absolutely got all the skill and talent to do the work here. In fact, when presented with such a simple task they’ll thrive and make the golf ball talk. It’s how we played when we were young and well before we got all serious and started over-thinking.

Not sure what ever happened to her (I’d like to think I helped her simplify and she continued to play free from distractions), but the excitement and joy on her face that these handful of shots gave was priceless. One thing is for sure, and I’ve proven this many times over the years, a simple golf lesson like this can work wonders for any golfer.

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