Young at Heart

For me this summer has been all about children and more specifically golf summer camps.

I am writing this whilst half way through the summers final class with 14 kids of varying skills and experience. This is our 5th week and I thought I would share some discoveries we have learned coaching the kids with a hope that this may spark a change in your own game.

Golf missions, speed golf, impossible putting and golf rounders are a few of the challenges and games we set up for the kids over the term. Our hope was that by playing games and having fun we would turn them into golfers and start them on their golfing journeys.

It may come as no surprise to you with around 40 hours of golf and the perfect ability to learn the kids did indeed improve, with many making massive breakthroughs.  What was really amazing was how little information we had to give them to do so.

There was no need to give the kids a lot of technical detail about how to swing or to inform where to stand,   how to hold or indeed where to look.

Day after day what we witnessed was their technique and skills developing and reacting to the missions and games they played.

What became really apparent is their amazing ability to learn from their own experiences.

The new way of approaching golf coaching is about drawing out and not filling up, about creating an environment where true learning can take place and taking charge of our own development.

Now the good news is studies have shown we all can learn just as fast as kids if not quicker, but here is what we must do.
1.    Become more child-like, play games, have fun and judge less.
2.    Deal with the reality of what is going on. The ball does what it is told, the club face tells it what to do and keeping your head down does not improve your golf game.
3.    Every shot must have a purpose. Task does lead technique and golf is not a game of swings but a game of shots.

The things in life we learn that stay with us forever are never taught, we didn’t get told how to walk, ride a bike, catch a ball or throw anything.

We learned them by falling, dropping, by playing games and having fun.

Golf is no different.

I wish you well.

Scott

Mike Hebron

I have just returned from London and a golf coaching seminar held by a well renowned golf coach called Mike Hebron. Mr Hebron was voted number 1 coach in the USA in 1991 and had long list of top touring players as clients. What happened next was what was truly remarkable. Despite all his success he felt he was no longer making a difference to people golf games and he completely changed his coaching style. He went from a very technical fault finding approach to learning through self discovery style.
Over the last 20 years he has studied how humans learn, what is happening in the brain when we learn and how can we apply this to golf.

I would like to share some of his top tips and let’s see how they can be applied to your game.

Understand the equipment.

First of all he talked at length on how the equipment works as well as how it interacts with the ball. He showed many pictures of the equipment as well as impact pictures. Please take a look at the web site below.

Click here and take a look how golf clubs interact with golf balls.

First of all you will notice how the ball spins and also which part of the club face strikes the ball.
It is imperative that you have clarity on how the club works and realise that the angle on the face provides the lift. Your job is to simply provide the force and the direction and let the loft do the work that it is designed for.

Find your way

He also showed many extraordinary clips of golfers with limbs missing. A one armed golfer , a one legged golf and one man who had no forearms who still teed his ball up and hit it over 200 yards.
His point being that none of these players were taught how to play, there were no books available to them on technique and maybe this game is not as difficult as it looks!

The conclusions I took from The Mike Hebron seminar were that golf is a journey and for you to improve you have to get on the path of self learning.
This requires commitment, exploration and some time. Gain clarity on how the clubs work, understand how you should apply the club and then learn from you experiences.
Good Luck and I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S Please check out www.mikehebron.com

A Merry Golfing Christmas

Looking back at 2010, what has golf meant to you and what have you learned?

Have you managed to get your handicap lowered to that magical number you always dreamed of?! Maybe you took your first steps in the game after a lot of convincing and now you’re hooked.
Whatever it has been for you, golf is definitely the game and the vehicle that can let us experience and feel many emotions.
One of my golfing highlights this year was playing golf for the first time with my son Ben and my wife Claire. The golf course was the perfect place to spend time together playing a game that I hope they will grow to love as much as I do.
The round gifted us with many fun times from my wife’s near hole in one to my son not wanting to get out of ‘the sand pits’.
The culture gets us so wrapped up in score and handicap that often playing the game and enjoying good company is lost.
You will often find that when you are not so into your score, or keeping track of your shots, is when you start to perform better.

Here are my 2010 top golfing tips.

1.    Control the controllable – there is no way to fully control the ball and therefore your score, so take time to take charge of your decisions as well as your state.
2.    Deal with reality – when you hit the top of the ball it is not down to you lifting your head! The club came in too high.  Can you make the decision to lower the clubface at impact?
3.    Develop shots, not a swing – you do not have one golf swing in golf you have many shots. It is important to practice with purpose and develop a whole repertoire of golf shots.

The Perfect Gift

What will be in your Christmas stocking this year?  What would be the ultimate golfing gift?
How about some consistency to your game? What about taking 10 less putts per round or having the ability to hit those dreaded fairway wood shots?
There are no real secrets or short cuts to all your desires but can I recommend some books and golfing gifts to get you on track;

Extraordinary Golf – Fred Shoemaker: This book is really my coaching bible, the book has been around for a while but really is a must read.
Mastery – George Leonard: This book gives a fantastic understanding of learning and what it takes to get better.

Every shot must have a purpose – Lynn Marriott, Pia Nilsson: The title gives it away, but really a fascinating read from 2 of the worlds leading golf coaches.

Side Spin: Take a look at www.side-spin.com and order this game. It was developed by my colleague here at Dalmahoy and is a fun and challenging version of golf.

Nick Faldo or Jack Nicklaus?

Belt Buckle or Club Head?! Stories or Reality – what’s important?

This is a transcript of a conversation between Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo discussing Tiger Woods during the first round of the 2010 Memorial Tournament on the Golf Channel.

Nick and Jack were in the commentary both watching Tiger’s first round, when Nick asks Jack how long it would take to “fix” Tiger’s swing?
(I didn’t know it was broken)

Jack: Tiger is such a good athlete it would take ten minutes.

Nick: I agree, if you just put him in the right plane position on the backswing ,the club, we all feel, pointing a little more on line at the top and you know, work out how to unwind it coming down, maintain your level, get your belt buckle through, cover the ball and learn how to release it.

Jack: Well in my opinion Nick, I believe the golf game is played, and everybody’s swing is different, I think the golf game is played with club head and you got to think in terms of what the clubhead does throughout the golf swing. And if you think in terms of the clubhead does you can make your body do what you want.

Nick: Yeah Exactly

Jack: And he’s not doing that right now he’s trying to do his body and make his clubhead follow.

Nick: If you understand the arc of the golf swing then put and let the body help get out the way

Jack: The amazing part of it is that he is going to shoot 68/69.

How many golfers would go to the range and try put into practice the words of the six time major winner Nick Faldo. Or would there be some out there discerning enough to take Jack’s words for it.

I’m not sure Nick understands how difficult he’s making the game sound.
Why do we need to know all this stuff?
Listen to Jack!

Written By Paul Eales