Having invested in quite a large sum of money on golf lessons this year and quite a lot of time in practice (given I work 55 hours a week in a busy ED), I must say I’ve been a little disappointed in the level of coaching in general.
Like the thread about the Lakes golf course and course architecture, I’m hoping a teaching pro will jump in and give us his perspective.
I have received little nuggets of information from each coach and from my home course pro, who I have regular lessons with, I am learning to play golf rather than the golf swing.
Having said that, I’ve been left to my own devices to put the pieces together.
Not one coach looked at my grip. I found out that I had a gap between my left thumb pad and the grip causing my left hand to move on the grip during the swing.
No one checked any mobility restrictions I had and figure out how that may have affected my swing. For example, I tend to stop my body rotation too early in the backswing causing my arms to become disconnected from my body. I’ve been told to put a glove under my right armpit or left armpit or both, make a bigger hip turn in the backswing and just plain “don’t swing that far back”.
Through a trainer, I found I had a big restriction in neck rotation. I could only turn my head around 45 deg. So I’ve been working on this and doing some neck stretching and mobility exercises for last few weeks. I can already see a big difference in my backswing pivot and arms are staying connected more. Tempo has naturally become more even instead to rushing the transition as my arms get disconnected.
I don’t think golf coaches need to be physical therapists but I think they should do a rudimentary mobility screen before they start teaching the swing. Some anatomical movements in golf are close to end range for most people. These include hip internal rotation (especially the left hip for right handed golfers as we follow through), thoracic rotation, cervical rotation, and right shoulder external rotation (watch Ben Hogan during transition). These at least should be looked at.
I think part of the reason that most coaches are “tips” based is because of the golfing public who don’t see the value in long term lessons and just want a quick fix. Compare this to something like playing a musical instrument. If you took up playing the guitar, you’d likely have weekly lessons until certain level has been attained and then still have regular catch up lessons afterwards. Why is golf any different?
Sorry about the long rant but I’d love to see the level of coaching stepping up a level in general.