February 26, 2013 - Golf GameBook

The Future of Teaching Golf

The younger you learn the alphabets of good golf swing, the easier it is “swing like Tiger” in the future. Sad but true 🙂 Photo: Jim Darby Golf

Six meters of snow on the ground at least here in Finland but the golf season is here! What?! How, you might ask? Well, no matter if there’s -7 degrees outside nor the masses of snow – local golf course called Peuramaa Golf Hjortlandet will open its driving range today.

Finally, after dark and dusty winter we’ve been able to enjoy the sunny weather last days so definitely feels like spring is coming. And at the same time the energy level has increased immediately to new levels!

I took couple of swings indoors even though not a big fan to hit golf balls inside the rubber bubble. Filmed those swings as well – only to find out that I still got same problems there. Good thing is that when you’re not imporve your sving, it stays in pretty same position as it was when I took my clubs in storage last autumn. I can easily hit those swings and after ten first balls even got some sweetspot contacts. But the fact is there’s lots of space to improve and that’s why I decide to go to meet a golf pro this spring. Honestly, that’s my first time… (I would not have to use word “honestly there” if you had seen my swing J )

Technolgy to Help

Maybe I’m a little squeamish but I like the data we are able to get out of our swings today – thanks to the use of computers. Wasn’t too long ago when teaching golf consisted of having a teacher telling you to “swing like this”, and then demonstrating a move himself or showed it from some book he was holding. If the ball flight was satisfactory, the mission was considered accomplished.

The use of computers, videos and training aids is common things nowadays, especially who are full-time practitioners of teaching golf. A lot can be done already with your mobile phone and just by yourself too. The change has been quite slow, but sure: The advent of the portable video camera in 1981 changed forever the face of golf instruction. Teachers were able to take moving pictures of their students’ swings and then show them immediately what their swings looked like. It was helpful for both sides: now he or she could see things that weren’t apparent with the naked eye.


Technology helps nowadays, but…..yeah, I’m sure you got the point 🙂

The future of teaching golf will continue to evolve for sure and has already. Watch Golf Channel and you see every month a new product, some new training aids or something that promises to lead you to find better golf swing.

But I know one thing and going to invest my time to train that maybe the more than anything else: motor learning. There is three senses that people use to learn golf: sight, sound and feel. I don’t want to take teaching hours from an old school pro who is sitting under an umbrella yelling out verbal instructions. I want to focus to sight and feel with different drills etc.

Also, I’m not going to spend 4 hours at driving range anymore. Been there, done that and got a t-shirt when I tried to play amateur golf at competitive level ten years ago. My brains needs time to process what it just learned.

If we just keep going on and on with hitting or chipping balls, let’s say, after a few repetitions our brains somewhat tune out, and true learning ceases. The current thinking in golf training is “the more balls hit, the better,” but this simply isn’t true. My simple advice for amateur golfers is “don’t hit any balls without thinking and without target. Focus on every shot and every swing on driving range like you focus on the course. “

When we are trying to hit our driver better, instead of hitting ball after ball after ball after ball (…) with the driver, it might be better to hit only one shot or two shots with it, go another club for one or two shots and then come back to driver. Golf lessions of the future are likely to incorporate much more random practice than what we now currently see. And that’s what I’m looking for when I start to search, who would be my teacher this spring.


– Olli

@OlliLehtonen on Twitter

One response to “The Future of Teaching Golf”

  1. Petteri says:

    Differential training has been out there at least in German studies for some time.

    Separating and not actually hitting full shot after another will prepare your muscles and body better to control the action, you are to produce.

    While control of muscles become better, you will find it easier to vary your shots in different conditions and situations, if you have practiced in differentiating manner.

    However old school, also in different skills sports does not see beyond the drills, but go on grinding the same over and over again till they’re fatique. Then after they start to compensate with different muscles and produce something you really did not want to.

    Everyone should try some differential training. It’s huge amusement to hit shanks and duck hooks after another, if you do it deliberately for instance warming up for your round. 😉 And even more fun to see the stunned faces of your fellow players after you start your game with a perfectly straight drive splitting the first fairway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *