On Golf Swing Instructors

Most great golfers in history have recorded how they developed and applied their golf swings, documentation that can be studied if desired.  Despite this fact, I can understand why so many players might prefer a more personalized approach and interaction in the course of formulating and maintaining their golf swings.  Given my experience of how comparatively simple a golf swing is to master, am I therefore insinuating that all golf teachers who believe a golf swing is difficult are lying?  No, I am not.  For instructors whose primary activities aside from golf involvement might comprise fishing, gardening, or jogging, a golf swing may truly be a more complex motion to be studied.  Or for those who have spent the majority of their time searching for the intellectual and theoretical solutions to problems and less on the physical or practical aspects of performance, they may spontaneously tend to overanalyze a swing when examining the action.  Exposure to an unlimited number of various other pursuits and experiences absolutely contributes to one’s foundational beliefs about a golf swing, and there is clearly no deceit intended on the part of most such instructors.  Some who believe the golf swing is complex are still excellent overall teachers, in part due to an extensive knowledge of the game in other areas, plus an ability to somehow and always help bring out the best in a student.  The actual swing is but one part of learning to play the game successfully, so viewing the motion as being intricate is not a comprehensive indicator of an instructor’s talent.

But this post focuses on the swing instruction aspect of playing the game.  Sadly, as in most other career fields, for every excellent golf swing teacher or advisor found there are several that are pretty awful.  Using members of particular organizations or associations promoted as being specially trained in the field of golf provides no guarantee whatsoever of individualized, or even generalized competency.  I believe most of these entities are honorable in their intent to advance the game of golf, but be aware that certain knowledge about this game regarding the golf swing (and the associated fitting of its equipment) is still in its infancy.  Consider the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA), arguably the most well known of organizations that touts its membership as being able to (among other things) expertly help people with their golf swings and related equipment fitting.  As of this date, I can find no evidence that the PGA has been able to accurately explain the 1930’s golf specification of swingweight to its members, necessitating them to fend for themselves with respect to comprehending that element.  Thus, a crucial factor toward understanding the golf swing and its fitting of equipment is still severely lacking.  While some golf concepts have advanced markedly in recent times, others remain firmly entrenched in the dark ages.  The fact remains that learning how to swing at and hit an object that is standing still while you are swinging at it is substantially easier than if the object were moving.  Thusly, compared to so many other activities, there is considerably more, not less, room for variations between gripping styles, postures, swing planes, tempos, physical strengths, etc., while still allowing one to excel at playing the game.

Like instructors, some players, even very good players, will always believe a golf swing is quite complex and would presumably be better off working with an instructor who feels likewise.  A wide range of teacher methods and beliefs can be frustrating and confusing to players (with no level of talent exempt), but it also maximizes the choices for golfers.  I assure you that the alternative of having too few possibilities from which to choose is far more devastating, as will become painfully evident when I get into talking about golf equipment.  This discussion is meant as an additional perspective to keep in mind when considering potential teachers.  If what he or she is trying to tell you about your swing, or any golf swing, arouses suspicion, follow your intuition.  It should guide you very well.