Terrible golf teaching

The late great PGA champion and TV analyst Dave Marr believed the best way to learn to play golf was to pick up a stick, and whistle it through the air. “There: That’s your golf swing,” he would say.

That’s another quote from the full Sally Jenkins article.

If you’re stuck in a fix it mindset and like technical instruction you will think this is horrendous teaching.

This is the worst advice I’ve ever heard.
From the comments section of the Washington Post

And it is terrible teaching.

He doesn’t tell you how to stand.
How to hold the club.
Or how to make a backswing.

But it’s brilliant coaching. And there’s a vast difference between coaching and teaching.

The teaching mindset is all about telling the pupil what to do. And most of us lap this kind of thing up – we hate having to figure things out for ourselves. It seems far easier to put our trust in someone else and get them to simply tell us what we’re doing wrong.

I know that seems like a pretty solid deal but how has that been working for you? Is your golf game where you want it to be? Most golfers I know are somewhere between frustrated and in a slump.

Compare that to a coaching philosophy. There’s room for experiment, individuality and flair. There’s even scope for some fun. Marr’s coaching here is profound.

“Swing a stick and whistle it through the air.”

While he doesn’t tell you how to hold or swing, he gives you enough to be dangerous. If you follow his objective you’ll develop a perfectly fine swing. To make the stick whistle you’ll have to swing it quickly. To swing it quickly you’ll need a certain type of grip and stance. Your learning machine will take care of this without you having to over-think the situation. This like pivot, swing plane and rotation will all be there but there’s nothing messy or getting in the way. It’s natural learning plain and simple.

Best of all it will be your swing. It will be natural and instinctive and you’ll have it whenever you need it. It can give you years of enjoyment and I’m willing to be that it would be far better than any contrived motion that you’re currently working on.

The problems

You’re the biggest issue here. You’ll doubt yourself and you’ll think you’re doing something wrong. You’ll want outside influence to help you correct any flaws. You’ll panic after a bad shot or two. Don’t. Resist Pesky and get on with it. If you follow the objective you can’t stuff it up. Your swing will be perfect. And as Dave Marr says, “There: That’s your golf swing”.

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1 Comment

  • adam

    Reply Reply May 12, 2013

    Another way of putting golf into simplicity is to say “club. Ball. Hole. Done”

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