Golf Instruction: Is Technology Helping?


The Impact of Technology on Golf Instruction

There is no denying the technology has had an impact on golf instruction. When I first started teaching, the state of the art was a Polaroid Graph-Check Sequence Camera that was advertised as, “All the photographer has to do is aim and shoot. The camera clicks off eight pictures in sequence of 1/1000 of a second. It makes possible photographic analysis of high-speed motion within seconds after the event”. It sold for $395.00 in 1963 which, in today’s dollars, is $3050.00. You can do much better today with your cell phone. If you do want state of the art today you can shell out $25,000.00 for Trackman which measures more than anyone needs to know.

Now you can attend places like the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance. They describe themselves this way, “We utilize such technology as Foresight Performance Simulator, SAM Puttlab, V1 Pro 2010 Motion Analysis and others to assist players in learning new swinging motion and lower golf scores. In addition, golf technology employ digital memory systems which store golf game data for future review”.  That excites me to no end.

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We now have Biomechanics which produce terms like “Linear Kinematic Sequence” which describes the proximal-to-distal sequencing of the rotation speeds of the body segments. We also have the inverse dynamics approach, generalized motor program theory, equilibrium point hypothesis and the optimal control approach.  Aren’t you feeling better already?

The following video is a fairly accurate description of a modern golf lesson:

If that is not enough information we have Trackman which can provide you with this type of wonderful insight:

For an explanation of what ever these freakin’ numbers mean you can go here: Trackman

With all of this wonderful technology available to instructors today it brings up a question that has been bothering me for some time – “Why aren’t we getting any better and why are people leaving the game”?

Part of the problem is that too many golf instructors are focusing on too few players. Everybody wants to teach potential tour players and what they need and how they learn is totally different from what the average golfer needs. Taking lessons from someone that specializes in teaching tour caliber players is frequently a complete waste of time and money for most people.

Of the players that keep an official handicap, the data shows that there has been no significant change in the last twenty-five years and we have a record number of people dropping out of the game citing that it is just too difficult to learn.

If we really want to grow the game of golf maybe golf instructors should question how they are teaching people. I wonder what a simple return to the “KISS” principal would do. Maybe actually watching someone hit a golf ball and watching the flight of the ball with your own eyes and then simply saying “Here is the one thing that you need to work on” is what we need more of.  Just keep one thought in mind, “Anyone that can’t explain the golf swing in a simple, easy to understand fashion is not an “expert”. They are just knowledgeable.”

Here is a group of videos from a Top 100 Instructor that I promise you can understand and benefit from: Simple golf instruction.

Good luck and keep working on it. Please leave comments if you need additional information and remember that anyone that

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