“There are two things you can learn by stopping your backswing at the top and checking the position of your hands. How many hands you have and which one is wearing the glove.” – Thomas Mulligan
By Ian Hardie
Many golfers I have played with over the years have expected me to give them tips on the golf course while playing.
In fact, they generally expect more than that.
They expect me to be able to completely stop them slicing, hooking or whatever their problem is – while we are in the middle of the game.
They will say things like;
‘I’m playing with a pro today, he’ll fix my game!’
And they generally end up disappointed
As a golf professional with many years of experience – I know that in general – most golfers’ problems need a little more than just a tip or two on the course to sort them out.
And they need to be sorted in an environment away from playing
So that specific parts of their actions can be isolated and worked on
Then integrated back into their actions to improve their game.
I even go as far as explaining why this is necessary to golfers with the analogy I used as the title of this post
Most golfers look at me kind of funny when I ask that
But if your car is running badly
Do you find a mechanic that will hang out the window of your car while driving it at normal speed down the highway and fix it?
Or do you take it off the road to the mechanics garage?
Where the mechanic can isolate and diagnose the problem
Then fix any issues before taking the car back out of the garage and back onto the highway.
Makes sense doesn’t it?
And thinking back I have even seen the result of someone trying to change a golfer while in the middle of a game.
It wasn’t pretty.
It was during one of the first Pro-am events that I played in as a young golf pro.
One of the three amateurs I was playing with hadn’t played a lot of golf (not unusual for a pro-am) and wasn’t going so well over the first few holes.
Another of the players was a former teaching professional who had gone back to amateur status but still fancied himself as a golf teacher.
He was keen to display his golf knowledge – not only to the amateur who was playing poorly – but to me as a young professional I expect.
So it transpired that on the next tee – a short par 3
He confidently said to the amateur
‘I can see what you are doing wrong – you need to adjust this thing, that thing and the other thing’
The amateur who wasn’t in the best frame of mind due to his embarrassment from playing poorly to that point
Adjusted all the things he was told – expecting great things.
The former golf teacher looked on with great expectations that he was about to be crowned as the greatest teacher of all time.
A flurry of club, hands, arms and legs took place.
The ball sailed away……..
Over the out of bounds fence.
A shank was the result.
‘You need to adjust this other thing as well’
Was the former golf teachers advice
Another ball shanked over the out of bounds fence.
By this point – even though we were out in the middle of a golf course – you could have cut the air with a knife.
The amateur was not looking too impressed
A final key piece of advice.
‘Do this other thing and it will work great’
Another shank sailed over the fence.
‘You nearly have it! – was offered by the former teacher’
The amateur though had had enough.
Instead of getting a fourth ball out of his bag
He simply put his club back in, grabbed his bag and without a word
Walked off the golf course.
I have no idea whether he ever played golf again
But I would hesitate to say that he probably hasn’t.
So, will the simple act of playing with a pro – mean you will be able to have your game fixed while you are on the golf course?
Not by me.
I’ll see you on the practice fairway afterwards.
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