The first step in training any student is to fully understand the player's own knowledge of the sport, their swing, basic swing mechanics and setup, shot shapes and fundamentals. This is what we call the "Golfer's IQ". With each student, we conduct and interview to determine their knowledge of the sport. We also use this interview to discover each student's strengths, weaknesses, ball flight, club to ball contact, tendencies, short term and long term goals. We must also determine the age, ability, and desire of each student; desire being the most important and clearly defined. We must have a clear understanding and agreement before we can make recommendations on what program or plan of attack best fits a special student.
Many sophisticated and somewhat complicated biomechanical movements in a golf swing require the human body to do complex tasks that require timing and efficiency. A TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Physical Screening will help us diagnose each student's physical abilities regarding mobility and stability. The more we know about the body's abilities and inabilities, the better we can make a body to swing connection as well as establish the best approach. This ultimately helps us focus our efforts in a manner that aligns with the physical condition of the athlete. We now have essentially three ways to manage our time.
- If a student is a perfectly conditioned athlete, which is rare, than we simply work on playing golf.
- If a student is not a perfectly conditioned athlete, are they willing to take the time to improve their physical conditioning as it applies to their game?
- Are we going to find ways to improve by working around physical abilities?
With the 3rd option, we would still encourage each athlete to take care of their body and still show them the potential that better conditioning can provide. It would be a disservice not to.
Once a route is chosen, communication becomes the difference between memorizing and truly learning. Without the understanding of why we should do it, how we are going to do it, and what happens when we achieve it; then why do it in the first place? Connecting the "What and Why" to the "When, Where and How" is communication. Communication is simply the glue that connects mechanics to performance, conscious thoughts to athletic movements or ideas into skills. Communication, along with purposeful, dedicated and motivated repetition that aligns with the desire and ability of the athlete, is the key to learning any motor skill.
Let's align our understanding, desires, physical abilities, communication and practice habits in order to get you on the right track. We will admit, this isn't always the path of least resistance. However, our job is to get you down the road to success as fast as possible.
Brian Natzel, PGA
Director of Instruction
The Academy at Swan Lake Resort