This blog is about golf instructors versus golf instructors/players. I believe all are a large necessity in the world of golf, but because a person has learned how to teach through books and new software available doesn’t make them experts in the game. Everyone now a days says Butch Harmon is the best currently in teaching the golf swing, it is hard to argue this because of the success of his stable of players. My argument is that Butch also played the game on higher levels and can translate his philosophy to the course. Many people are talking about Sean Foley and his teachings, he has many players in his stable but my question is what has he ever done playing wise. Mike Bender is another instructor that is very popular and knowledgeable, he is also a former PGA Tour player. My question and theme is which is better an instructor who has played and knows how to instruct or someone who studied the swing and understands the physics and mathematics of the swing?
My personal opinion because I am a former PGA Tour player is to have someone who understands not only the game and how to play it but also knows the intricate workings of the golf swing. Yes golf is a game but when you play it for a living the game becomes a lively hood. I respect all levels and types of golf instructors this is their profession, I just have a hard time with instructors that have never played the game with everything on the line. All level of instructors are needed for the game of golf to grow but when it comes to the top players in the world an instructor should understand what their players are dealing with on the practice tee and on the course. Mathematics and physics are a large part of golf instruction, but knowing how to implement this part in the golf swing and game of golf is essential in helping a player get to the next if not the top level of the game. What I am saying is just because you have learned the hard facts of the golf swing and know a particular philosophy doesn’t make you an expert on how to implement it. Knowing how to teach a player to swing a club and hit particular shots is one part of the process, what I have witnessed is the lack of how instructors preach tempo/pace of the swing not only in practice but on the course. Knowing how to teach players to change gears on the course is an essential part of being a golf instructor/coach. Instructors that have not played on higher levels don’t realize that once a player is on the first tee of the tournament the tempo increases a minimum of 10% as a result of pressure and tournament golf.
To make sense of what I have said I am referring to Tiger Woods situation and the lack of quality golf we are used to seeing from one of the greatest players to play the game. He is getting older and is not adjusting his game to his physical abilities as a result of his age. Jack Nicklaus made these adjustments and this is the reason he was able to compete and win as long as he did. From all reports Tiger and Sean Foley talk numbers and angles and rarely if at all spend time on the practice tee working on the swing. Tiger is injured but has tried to increase speed of swing and ball instead of adjusting to actual physical abilities. This is where I feel Mr. Foley is missing the boat and is being blamed for a lot of what is going on with Tiger, now Tiger is to blame for this as well. Tiger needs to check his ego and adjust to physical abilities and play the game accordingly, if he would approach the game this way he would be hard to beat as a result of his mental strengths. He would not have to look 20 yards offline for his ball as often!