From the Shop – Golf Instruction 2.0

One of the highlights of my job is getting to help people get better at golf. The joy on a golfer’s face when they find out that “they can do it, really do it” is indescribable. Helping an avid golfer’s who’s been playing a long time is the most rewarding. These golf nuts have tried countless training aids, read several golf instruction books, subscribe to all golf magazines (including ones from overseas), and have spent untold amounts of money (and maybe a wife or two) just to shave a couple more strokes off their handicap.

Helping these lost souls who’ve done everything but quit is equivalent to saving the life of their first born. They are forever grateful to say the least. The way in which a golfer gets help is changing. The days of walking out with the old pro and having him watch you whack a few on the driving range are almost over. The technology boom of the 21st Century and golf instruction have collided and it’s benefiting everyone who’s ever uttered word or phrases like waggle, swing plane, angle of attack, over the top, wrist cock, or shoulder turn.

July 13-18, 2004 Mark McGwire gets a quick lesson on the 17th hole during his round at The American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course Lake Tahoe, NV Photo via Newscom

In the old days, well not that old, golf lessons consisted of 3 things: a golfer, golf instructor, and a golf club. The instructor would go out and fiddle with things like your posture, grip, and alignment and the student would usually start hitting it a little better and then they’d gladly shovel out money. The jabbing phrase “bend your knees, fifty dollars please” was born.  Not everyone found that a golf lesson was the holy grail of getting better and consistencies of the level of advice being dispensed were, let’s say, less than equal.

Enter the 21st Century. A golf lesson has now become less about passing down golf’s oldest secrets and has become more like a full blow scientific affair. Today we’re measuring data and putting it into computers which spit out results in nanoseconds that lead to quick and specific diagnosis of that thing you call a golf swing. By using high-speed cameras, comprehensive computer software, launch monitors, and something called a K-Vest, instructors today are armed with more gadget’s than Batman. All to show you that you really are still coming over the top.

The benefit of all these advancements is that even less experienced pros have tools to make for a better golf game. All golf lessons are still not created equal but by having aids that help prescription, swing doctors as a whole are better than ever before. So, if you haven’t had a golf lesson lately, try one! You might be surprised that “bend your knees fifty dollars please” isn’t what it use to be.

Brannon Watson is the Head Golf Professional and Owner of the Arkansas Golf Center in Conway, Arkansas.

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