Lower Handicap Golf – Coaching Case Study
Simon is a low handicap golfer. In his late 40’s and married with two grown up children, he owns and manages a successful financial services business.
During the summer he plays 3 to 4 times a week and hits balls most days he isn’t playing.
He competes in Regional and National Amateur events and has represented the County for a number of years. He takes regular golfing trips with friends and loves to compete.
He rarely plays ‘social’ golf, much preferring a game where there is something at stake.
His handicap is currently 1, but has been lower. His ball striking is good. His golf swing is a little unorthodox but effective when he has time to practice and his rhythm is good.
Short game and putting are strong areas of his game.
When he puts it all together, and particularly when he hits his irons well, Simon can shoot some low scores. He has won the Club Championship a couple of times and qualified for the match play stages of the English Amateur Championship.
His main goal is consistency. The gap between what he feels is his best golf, and his worst golf is quite large.
He has taken lessons from a number of well known coaches in the hope that someone can help him narrow that gap and help him play to his potential more regularly.
“To be honest, I was starting to question why I was putting so much time and effort into the game. I love golf, but the amount of time and effort I felt I needed to put in to maintain my handicap, let alone to get back down to scratch just didn’t seem to be realistic with my work and family commitments.
I wasn’t keen on going through another round of swing changes, so I was searching for another option.
I know the metal side of the game is important. I’ve read the Bob Rotella books and The Inner Game of Golf. I’ve looked at mindfulness and tried meditation to help me relax both on and off the course. I have quite a busy mind and I just can’t seem to settle down when I want to.
I met Sam through a friend and we got chatting about my golf. The moment he explained that in trying to control my thinking and state of mind, I was trying to do something impossible, I started to get interested.
This was my experience! My thinking seemed completely random, and trying to control it just made things worse. But every book I’ve read on the subject was telling me I should be thinking positively and eliminating negative thoughts. I thought it was just me not being mentally strong enough.
It was a relief when Sam explained that my experience was valid, and the books I had read weren’t necessarily describing what was actually going on.
Just not having to worry about my thinking any more has made golf more enjoyable.”
Practice Smart to Play Lower Handicap Golf
Like many good players, Simon loves hitting golf balls.
So like most low handicap amateurs he spends most of his time practising his long game either at the driving range or on the golf course.
There are a couple of problems with this approach. The first is that your body and mind are conditioned by your experiences.
Hitting balls on the driving range is a very different experience than playing golf.
Many of the lower handicap golfers that get in touch for help with their golf are good ball strikers, especially on the driving range. Their main difficulty is taking their driving range game to the golf course.
Time is obviously a factor in this. It’s easier to grab an hour or so at the range, than it is to play on the course, especially in the winter.
When you go to the driving range or practice ground, what are you actually practising?
Are you ‘working on your swing’, as most people seem to be doing? Or are you practising hitting golf shots – different clubs to varying targets in the same way as if you were hitting shots on the golf course?
I’m not saying you should never hit balls one after the other.
If you are working on relating a particular feeling to impact factors, ideally using a launch monitor, then making a number of repetitions can be beneficial.
But in general terms, working on your golf swing by hitting ball after ball on the range, is at best, a very inefficient way of trying to lower your handicap, and at worst, can actually move you further away from your goals the more balls you hit.
If like Simon, you have a busy work and family life, you need to make sure that you have a good idea what you are looking to achieve, exactly how you are going to achieve it, and that you maximise every minute you have available in terms of practice time.
Lower Handicap Golf Coaching
One of the observations I have made when lower handicap golfers try to change their golf swings, is that there is a fair chance that your scores will get worse before they get better, even if your swing and your ball striking improves.
Anyone who tells you otherwise either hasn’t worked on their own game very much, or isn’t being honest with you. As a professional who also plays to a good level and who has spent a few thousand hours rebuilding my own golf swing several times over the past 20 years, I know what is involved, and the pitfalls that are just waiting to trap you if you aren’t prepared for them.
There are a number of steps you can take to make sure that any changes you make are done in a way that will cause as little frustration and disruption to your enjoyment of the game as possible.
– Pick your timing carefully. The ideal time to embark on swing changes is during the winter when there are less important competitions to play in.
– Allocate your practice time carefully. Work on your short game, or play golf at weekends when you have daylight. Work on your swing at home in front of the mirror or in a studio in the evenings when it’s dark.
– Have a very clear picture of what you are looking to improve and why. Seeing your swing on video and panicking that it doesn’t look like Adam Scott isn’t a great reason for making dramatic changes.
– Know what it is about your ball flight or shot making that makes you want to change your swing.
– Find a golf professional who can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. If you are a lower handicap, single figure or scratch golfer, why would you want to take lessons from someone who isn’t at least as good as you?
Find someone who can actually play golf like you want to.
If you want help with your short game, find someone who can get it up and down out of a ball washer. If you are struggling on the greens, find a pro who holes everything he looks at! If you want to hit it 300 yards off the tee, find a coach who bombs it!
Golf is about feelings. If the person you are taking instruction from has never had the feeling of what you want to do, how are they going to be able to communicate that feeling to you? If you want to learn a technically correct, effortlessly powerful golf swing, the best person to learn if from is someone who has built one for themselves.
Have a clearly different approach when you are playing, from when you are working on your swing. Too many people go out to play with the same thought process of how to swing the club, rather than where they want to hit the ball. In my experience, people play better when they think about where, rather than how.
Understand that changing your golf swing will take time, and it will take much longer and be much harder to do than you probably expect. Most lower handicap golfers just haven’t got the time to make the 20 odd thousand repetitions it can take to rebuild a golf swing. If you do it by hitting balls on the range, it gets expensive at £5 for 50 balls. (It’s £2,000 to save you from doing the maths).
Understanding Your Golf Swing Could Be Better Than Changing It.
When we first started working together, Simon’s grip was strong and his posture was poor for someone of his ability, possibly due to spending long hours behind a desk and in the car.
Once he became aware of his tendencies to move his right hand too far under the club, and to get his weight too far onto the balls of his feet, it happened much less often.
This sounds like a physical change, but actually it was mental.
In becoming more aware of his tendencies he checks his grip and posture more frequently and therefore maintains a good setup for longer. (If you want to learn how to set up like a Tour Player, follow this link.)
This makes him more consistent
Increasing awareness of his ideal address position and monitoring it on video regularly means he can see when things are starting to slide.
Linked to his grip, Simon’s other tendency is to get the club face shut at the top of his back swing, so the release of the club can be inconsistent.
This leads to accuracy problems with the driver when his rhythm is off, and difficulties controlling distance with his short irons, because the club is coming in with varying amounts of shaft lean and therefore loft.
Along with becoming more aware of his tendency to get his grip too strong, Simon now pays much more attention to the rhythm and timing of his swing, and is less focused on trying to achieve particular positions.
Timing is perhaps the most overlooked element of the golf swing, but one of the most critical. Small variations in the angle of the clubface at impact can mean big variations in where the ball ends up.
Like most lower handicap golfers, Simon feels that when his rhythm is good, he will play well even if his swing isn’t technically quite as he would like.
His really bad shots, the ones which lead to double bogies or worse, were typically when he lost the timing of his swing, often when he was trying to hit the ball too hard.
Despite this knowledge, it was apparent that he spent almost all his practice time focusing on positions and how his swing looked, and very little on maintaining his rhythm and timing and understanding how his swing felt when it was good and how it was different when it wasn’t.
Again, it wasn’t a technical change which led to improvement in consistency, it was improved awareness and a different understanding about what was really important in his golf swing.
This is a good example of how exploring your beliefs is often the key to improving. Simon had a belief that getting his swing technically correct, namely fixing the shut clubface at the top of the backswing was the main thing he needed to improve, having been told this by a number of golf coaches.
However, once we had a conversation about the number of good players who play very well with less than text-book swings – Dustin Johnson and John Rahm are both examples of excellent ball strikers who don’t have the classic top of the backswing position – his beliefs changed.
This led to less thinking about what should be happening in his swing, and an increase in awareness in what was actually going on in terms of his rhythm and timing.
Is Goal Setting Important for Lower Handicap Golfers?
During our initial conversation, the subject of goals and targets was a strong theme. As with many successful people, Simon was used to setting expectations for himself, then pushing hard to achieve them.
His golf was no different. When we began working together at the end of 2010, he had three main goals for the following season. To get his handicap down from 3 to scratch, to win the Club Championship at his golf club, something which had eluded him for 25 years of membership, and to qualify for the match play stages of the English Amateur Championships.
These were tough targets, and I was interested to find out how he would cope with the pressure he was putting on himself, and why he felt it was necessary.
It’s great to have dreams and aspirations. These thoughts of what might be possible are what give us the feelings of excitement and motivation. The desire to get up and train hard, to practice diligently and to persevere when things go against us.
But the belief that achieving those goals will give us lasting satisfaction, or will make us happy, is something I’ve often questioned. As numerous major winners have found themselves asking the morning after their greatest triumph.
At the end of the day, a goal is just a thought. And our thoughts and therefore our feelings are liable to change from moment to moment and from day to day. We’ve all experienced situations where something that seemed really important to us at a certain point in time, seemed much less so a while later, to the extent we can’t even remember why we were so motivated by it.
During one of our initial conversations, I suggested to Simon that instead of judging himself by what he achieved, a more constructive approach might be to focus on the process of getting a little better every day, rather than looking outside himself at results for confirmation of his success.
Doing something well for its own sake, rather than for what you think it can get you, is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling feelings a human being can experience.
And do you perform better when your mind is clear and insights are flowing, or when you are bound up with thoughts of what may or may not happen in the future, and what that might mean?
By all means allow the thoughts and dreams of success to keep you moving forwards, but be aware when goals just create unnecessary pressure. Feelings that blunt your performance, rather than sharpening it.
Lower Handicap Golf is a Mind and Body Game
Simon kept himself in good shape, and was already working with a personal trainer to improve his golf fitness. He was aware that he wasn’t getting any younger, and that golf is a mind and body game. Even the clearest mind in the world is going to be hampered by a body that can’t move in the way you want it to.
There were other issues which we needed to address straight away. As mentioned previously, for a player of his standard, Simon’s grip and his posture weren’t great. I used to be surprised at how often a lower handicap golfer would show up to their first lesson with a poor grasp of the fundamentals.
But it happens so often I’m not surprised any more. When asked about it, many of them are surprised, believing that their grip is where it should be. Again, a lack of awareness is the issue, rather than a lack of knowledge or understanding.
Good posture and balance at address are really important. If you aren’t in a good position to start the swing, you will be making compensations somewhere later on. You see a range of different golf swings on the European and PGA Tours. But what you hardly ever see, is a tour pro with bad posture, balance, alignment or ball position.
It doesn’t take skill or athletic ability to setup to the ball like a tour pro. It just takes knowledge and understanding, and the awareness to do it. If your setup is good, you have a much better chance of striking the ball consistently.
Simon had been for a club fitting with one of the big manufacturers, and come away with a set of irons which were great clubs, but not necessarily for him. Poor posture when he went for the fitting, meant he came away with a set of clubs that were fitted for how he was swinging on that particular day.
Unfortunately, his set up was now built around ill fitting clubs, so his posture didn’t feel right when we changed it. Once we had him standing to the ball in a good position, we needed to flatten the lie angle on his irons to make sure he didn’t slip back into old habits.
The Key to Efficient Improvement
Once Simon’s fundamentals were sound, and he was setting up to the ball in a correct and consistent manner, we could get to work on helping him understand what was happening in his golf swing. The main aims were to help his consistency and to reduce the number of times he arrived on the first tee worrying about the positions in his golf swing, rather than thinking about where he wanted the ball to go.
In terms of making technical swing changes, for someone like Simon, the hardest thing is stopping him doing what he’s always done. Hitting hundreds of golf balls to try to get better. It might have worked in the past up to a point, but unless he decides to retire and spend his whole life at the driving range, it probably isn’t going to offer the improvement he is hoping for.
So how can Simon improve his consistency, without grinding away on the driving range? The first stage is simple. Get better feedback on what is actually happening at impact, and become more aware of what ‘good’ feels like in his golf swing.
Simon had a pretty good understanding of the ball flight laws and what a functional relationship between his clubface and his swing path should be for his preferred ball flight. In my experience, most lower handicap golfers do. But if not, there is a wealth of information to be found online, such as this article on Golf WRX.
Simon is local to me so it was easy for him to come into the swing studio and hit shots on the launch monitor. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a Trackman, Flightscope or GC2 near you that you can rent for a couple of hours. If you have a golf coach that you trust, it’s worth booking a lesson and stating when you do so that you are just looking for information about your numbers, and what that means for your ball flight, rather than an opinion on your golf swing.
The depth of information that you can get off the technology these days is amazing. I wish these machines had been available when I was starting out. It would have saved a lot of guesswork and trial and error.
You can see instantly exactly what is happening at impact to cause the shots that you are seeing. Once you have this information, you can relate it directly to what you are feeling in your swing. You can make a change and see the effect of that change. You aren’t relying on someone else’s interpretation or opinion about what is happening.
If you understand the ball flight laws and have access to the numbers, a golfer with a reasonable feel for their swing can become their own swing coach pretty easily.
Get Your Priorities Right
We scheduled the work on Simon’s golf swing over the winter when he has few serious events to play in. That way he can focus on making any changes he wants to make, and not worry about his score too much when he plays.
One of the main benefits of working in this way, is that you can still go and play and have fun while you are making adjustments to your swing. I told Simon that he should just go play as normal, not worry about ‘doing it right’. Just be curious about your grip and posture, and then allow yourself to swing freely and send the ball to the target.
With good feedback, a new feeling for the swing can become a habit pretty quickly. Think about how you learned to drive a car or use a new mobile phone. The body and mind are conditioned by experience. The richer the experience in terms of the feedback, the quicker the learning takes place.
It will start to show up in your golf swing when you play without you having to work on it or trying to do something different. You can just focus on the target and swing the club, trusting that your work away from the course will take care of your golf swing.
Simon’s Journey So Far.
“I’m the first to admit I’m not exactly the ideal student. I’m impatient. I find it hard to stick at something if it doesn’t seem to be working, and I listen to too many people. Which is probably why I was in a bit of a rut when I started working with Sam.
I felt like I was going round in circles. The coaches I saw told me what was wrong with my swing. A couple of them told me what they thought I needed to do to fix it. But none of them could tell me how to go about the process of making the changes. I just ended up hitting loads of balls on the range, doing the same things and getting the same results.
I checked out Sam’s playing record, and found out he had won the Club Championship 5 times, played for England and reached the final of the English Amateur Championship before he turned professional. I looked at the scores in local Pro Ams and regional events and saw he often shoots under par and wins prize money. This was important to me. I was getting a bit disillusioned taking lessons from people who have good theories about the golf swing, but would need me to give them shots if we played a match.
I wanted someone who had been there and done it and who knew what it felt like to hit the ball in the way that I wanted to hit it. We played a couple of times before I signed up for the program and his ball striking is impressive. I felt like I was in safe hands.
During our initial conversation, I was surprised at how much we talked about the mental side of the game. I had always thought of myself as pretty good mentally, and that it was my golf swing that was holding me back. We discussed how much golf is a mind and body game, and how it’s impossible to separate the two aspects. What you believe about yourself, about golf and about life affects your thoughts when you are on the golf course. How you think affects how you feel, and how you feel affects how you perform.
I realised I had picked up a few bad mental habits which were affecting my game regardless of my golf swing, and also getting in the way of the changes I wanted to make. It was a bonus to find out I was working with someone who could help me with this aspect of my golf as well as helping me change my swing.
Once we started working on my swing I was amazed at the attention to detail regarding the simple things such as my grip and posture. I had always thought my fundamentals were OK, but Sam quickly pointed out how I had been neglecting them. And more importantly, he explained exactly what I was doing wrong, and how these errors were affecting my ball flight and my consistency.
I was annoyed on the one hand that my previous coaches had let me get away with such basic errors, but I knew that it was partly my own fault for getting sloppy and careless. I was thinking so much about my golf swing and worrying about where the ball was going. My mind wasn’t on the basics when I was setting up to the ball.
I never realised how much time the best players in the world spend working on the simple things like, grip, posture, alignment and ball position. We went into each of these areas in fine detail.
I now have a much better understanding of how small variations at setup can have a big effect later in the movement. I also started to get a much better understanding of my own swing. Why it is the way it is, what happens when it goes wrong, and crucially, what I need to do to improve it.
I have always believed that working on my golf swing meant hitting golf balls. The idea that this might actually be detrimental was a bit of a shock. But when Sam explained that learning is a simple and natural consequence of the experiences we have, I began to see that I had been making it much more complicated than necessary, and actually had been getting in my own way.
I saw how my lack of understanding about the true nature of awareness meant I had slipped back into my old habits after a period of time.
I had been finding it harder and harder to get motivated to go down the driving range and hit yet another bucket of balls. So once I got into the process and felt how the changes in my swing related to the club path, the angle of attack and the face angle, I began to believe fully in what we were doing, and from that point I was on my way.
I still enjoy going to the driving range after work as I would normally have done, but rather than just beating balls and working on my swing, I am much more creative with my practice in terms of hitting different shots to different targets.
Typically a range session would last 45 minutes rather than the 2 hours I was doing before. It’s nice to see more of the family, and practising my putting in my office at home is much more enjoyable than braving the cold, wet, winter evenings.
When I have time to practice in daylight, I focus on my short game and putting, or just go and play a few holes. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t enjoy my golf as much while I was making the changes, but Sam advised me to just go and hit the ball, and trust that the attention to detail in my setup would show up in the shots I was hitting. I’m pleased to say I’m playing as well as I’ve ever done, and I’m really enjoying my golf regardless of my score”
4 Reasons Why Your Golf Handicap Isn’t Lower
There might be a number of reasons why you aren’t reaching your potential as a golfer. Here are a few of the more common ones I encounter.
You Don’t Understand Your Golf Swing.
Lots of people who want to play lower handicap golf fall into this trap. You think you need to learn and understand ‘the golf swing’. You don’t, you need to learn and understand your golf swing.
There’s a huge difference.
There is probably more information available about how to swing a golf club than any other sporting endeavour.
It’s very easy to get confused by the seemingly endless stream of golf tips, hints, advice and new techniques that are freely available from books, TV commentators, websites, magazines, golf pro’s and your playing partners.
A small amount might be relevant to you, but most of it won’t be. The rest is just filling your head up with thinking, when you probably perform at your best when your mind is clear.
You Have the Wrong Priorities
You spend most of your time trying to improve your golf swing by hitting golf balls, and you tend to do this during the summer months when you are playing your most important tournaments.
All this does is reinforce your existing movement pattern, and increase your thinking around your golf swing. When do you play your best golf? With a clear mind, or when you have 4 different swing thoughts? You might be better spending most of your practice time in the summer months playing, or hitting lots of shots around the green and practising your putting.
The time to change your golf swing is during the off season. The way to make lasting change as efficiently as possible is to work on matching the feel of your swing with accurate feedback about your impact factors using a launch monitor.
You Try to Change a Bad Habit by Doing the Same Thing that Created it
Every time we have an experience, the body and the mind are conditioned by that experience. Habits are formed. Unfortunately, the brain and nervous system don’t necessarily know the difference between a good movement and a bad movement. Each repetition just makes that movement more efficient.
This is why you can make any golf swing work to a certain extent, if you practice it enough. Where the human system for learning a movement really excels and improves is when these natural capabilities are coupled with a really efficient feedback mechanism such as a launch monitor.
By relating the fundamental feelings in the golf swing to what the club is actually doing at impact, learning happens efficiently and naturally.
You only work on the Physical and Technical side of your Game
As anyone who has played golf for more than a few weeks will tell you, golf is at least as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Often a technical issue becomes a mental one due to the fear and anxiety that thinking about the bad shots that the technical flaw causes.
It’s a vicious circle which is hard to break, as anyone who has experienced the ‘yips’ when they are chipping or putting will testify. Simon is a very good player, but his beliefs about himself and his swing and the way he was thinking about his golf was causing him to sometimes get anxious and doubtful on the golf course.
As is the case with a lot of very successful people, he is used to putting pressure on himself and driving himself hard to achieve a predetermined result. An outcome that “if I achieve it, it will make me happy.” This approach can work in business and in other areas for some people, but usually for a short time.
But it nearly always ends in disappointment in one way or the other. Either due to stress, in the price paid in terms of relationships or other collateral damage, or a lack of fulfilment when the goal is achieved,
Unfortunately, this way of thinking and the way life actually works are incompatible. Simon’s feelings, whether positive or negative, aren’t down to an outside circumstance, such as the state of his golf game, the size of his bank balance or his relationship with another person.
That’s a misunderstanding about how his mind, and how the world itself really works. If you have ever experienced a situation where you were deeply anxious or frustrated about a situation for a while, but then hours or days later, struggled to understand quite how you got so emotional about it, then you will begin to see what I’m talking about.
Similarly, have you have ever had a significant success in your life, maybe a big promotion at work, or a victory in a sports event, but then the next day felt a bit empty, or unfulfilled? If it didn’t make you as happy as you thought it was going to, or you felt under pressure to prove yourself again, then you will have an understanding of how life really works, rather than how we are often told it works.
Golf Mentoring Packages
Based on my experiences of playing at a high level and of working with lower handicap golfers like Simon, I offer bespoke long term mentoring programs.
A program allows us to explore in some depth all aspects of your game, including the mental, physical and technical
A comment I sometimes get when I offer this coaching package to people is:
Why So Much Money ?
It is a big commitment. Perhaps more than you’ve invested in your golf game in one go in the past. But many of the golfers I have worked with said it helped them stay on track when the initial burst of enthusiasm started to wane.
They felt that they had finally committed to the goal of uncovering their potential as a golfer, and invested in the process of making it happen.
Unfortunately I saw it a lot when I was giving ‘regular’ golf lessons. A golfer with talent and ambition would come for an initial conversation and a couple of sessions. They then stop coming because they lose that initial enthusiasm. Or other things get in the way.
They end up back in the same old rut of frustration and mediocrity, not enjoying their golf and wasting their time and their expensive golf club membership.
If the ‘book the odd lesson and hit a few balls’ approach worked, would you be where you are now?
Continuous Development – The Key to Lower Handicap Golf
The exploration we undertake in a program is a simple one, but it goes deep. We will investigate the beliefs you have about yourself, your golf and about how life works.
The society we live in, our western culture, emphasises and promotes the quick win and easy answer.
Just have a look at how many websites and YouTube channels are offering golf tips and quick fixes. I’m not saying these resources cannot be useful. There are some really good instructors out there. But do you think there would be so many to choose from if they actually worked?
The long term, incremental approach offered in this program isn’t for everyone. But if you have tried everything else and your handicap isn’t lower, maybe it’s time to look in a different direction?
Benefits Both on and Off The Golf Course
If golf is your main hobby, you spend a considerable amount of time and money on it. Membership fees, green fees, equipment, clothing, maybe a golfing holiday every year. None of this is cheap. It’s amazing to me that golfers will happily spend a couple of grand on a new set of clubs every couple of years, but are reluctant to spend money learning something that could help them every time they play for the rest of their golfing lives.
While playing well isn’t the be all and end all, it certainly makes the valuable leisure time, money and effort spent seem so much more enjoyable. We’ve all been on golfing trips where one or more of the players is having a nightmare. They aren’t enjoying it, and it can detract from the fun everyone else is having as well.
Against this, the investment of 12 months spent getting your game to a state where you can rely on it doesn’t seem like such a big decision. Imagine one year from now having confidence you will always be competitive in the medium and long term,
Maybe cancel Sky Sports for a year, save yourself £500 and put the money towards something which will help you both on and off the golf course?
Understanding how your mind works will not only benefit your game. I have a number of students who report dramatic improvements in their working lives and relationships now they see more clearly the true nature of how their awareness, thoughts and feelings are connected.
Approach the Game Like a Tour Player
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got”
I’m slightly different from many teaching professionals, in that I played full time for 10 years before I got into coaching. I have walked the path that my students want to go down, in that I have always wanted to improve, and I’m still curious to find out how good I can be.
I grew up playing with the likes of Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. I still play in pro ams and professional tournaments and I make a proportion of my living from the prize money I win. I have full respect for my colleagues who stand on a driving range day in day out helping golfers to fix their swings, but it isn’t what I enjoy doing.
The best players on the world work hard on their golf, but more importantly, they work smart. They surround themselves with the best people to advise and assist them in their improvement. The coach is the hub of this improvement process, working with the player on a regular basis on a plan they have agreed together.
The coach brings in specialists to assist in areas where additional knowledge is required. This is how I work with all my players. I know the golf swing, I know how to learn it. I know how to think and to play the game. These are my areas of expertise. But there are areas where I know my knowledge needs supplementing, and I have a tried and trusted team of people who know how I work, and who I bring in to help me when required.
As I gained more experience as a coach, and worked with golfers of all ages and abilities the same question kept coming up.
“Why should this type of coaching and support be limited to Tournament Professionals?”
The golfers I work with love their golf, and are as enthusiastic and as keen to improve as many of the tour players I have met.
They may not be as talented, or as athletic or have as much time available, but they should have access to the same knowledge and expertise and opportunity to find out how good they can be.
I began to share my ideas with some of my longer term students, and we began to put in place some of the systems and processes described here. The results convinced me to begin to offer this programme more widely.
Are You Serious About Playing Lower Handicap Golf?
I get asked a lot why I don’t do one off lessons. The answer is “ I do”. I have a number of golfers who have been working with me over an extended period, who have spent time on the fundamentals, who know their own games inside and out, and who now just come in for a chat and a quick check up now and again.
I also have friends who are infrequent, less serious golfers, who just want to fix a bad shot, or sort out their golf before a holiday or a company day etc. But I don’t get the satisfaction from ‘quick fix lessons’ that comes from working with people over an extended period, looking at all aspects of their game, clarifying their dreams and aspirations and then helping them achieve them.
That is what motivates me as a coach and is the main reason I do what I do. The buzz I get from sharing in their success is as strong as me winning tournaments myself.
It’s frustrating to see a golfer with talent and ability, lose interest and stop enjoying in the game because they aren’t getting better, because they have been told that they can improve by hitting balls at the driving range once a week, or by using a particular training aid.
I see it all the time. The golfer sees a little improvement, but before long the quick fix wears off and he or she is back where they started. Most adult golfers get to a handicap within the first three years of playing, and then stay at that handicap for the rest of their golfing life.
I know the satisfaction and enjoyment that comes from the journey towards excellence in any endeavour, especially one as challenging and frustrating as the game of golf. It takes time, and effort, and yes, money.
If you are serious about finding out how good you can be, this program will get you there. If you are looking for a shortcut or a quick fix, or think that a few buckets of balls at the range will turn you into the next Rory McIlroy, then perhaps think about it for a while.
The level of commitment required on both sides to make this program work is not insignificant. I can only work in this way with a very limited number of students.
Once I have a certain number of students enrolled, I won’t take any more on for that year. I don’t employ assistants, so if you book a Golf Mentoring Program, it will be with me.
If you would like to learn more about how this program could help you play lower handicap golf, please use the diary below to set up a time for a chat, or give me a call on the number at the top of the page.