Improving Your Game
Advice on how to improve your game.
By David Bown
David Bown is a golf professional, who teaches golfers of all levels and abilities, from complete beginner to full professionals.
David has been a member of the PGA for over 30 years and over that time has studied the best players in the game and has picked the brains of some of the very best coaches in the world – usually on his trips to the USA, attending seminars and coaching summits. David is a PGA Advanced golf professional and Authorised Golfing Machine Instructor – one of only 25 in the UK.
In David’s own words, he teaches to the individual’s requirements. His approach is quite straightforward; he takes note of the golfer’s skill level and then provides a blueprint for them to improve.
There is no guessing or opinion. He deals in facts, not myths. For example, he uses the latest hi-speed digital analysis system to film a student’s swing at super slow motion. He can then provide the correct diagnosis. This saves time in that students are not continuing to practice their faults.
Golf is a game for life and all golfers want to improve their game, to play better. They also want to enjoy their game. If their game is not improving, they need to change what they are doing, because, as we all know:
“if you keep on doing the same things …. you’ll keep on getting the same results !”
How to get the most out of your next golf lesson.
If you want to get the most out of your next golf lesson you need to make sure you are ready to maximise your time with your coach.
If my students have played golf before I always like them to arrive at least twenty minutes early, so they can calm down from their journey and start thinking about their golf game.
It’s a good idea to check in at the pro shop first, just to let the staff know you have arrived and also to make sure there are no delays for your lesson due to unforseen circumstances.
Make sure you do a few gentle stretches and generally loosen up, before you swing. Make a few swings on the range if possible, start with some chip shots, then a few pitch shots with a wedge or sand iron, hit around ten to fifteen balls if you have time.
Before your professional arrives, make sure you really know what you want out of your lesson. Is it a particular part of your game that needs attention; is it your short game, or your long game?
Also, think back to your last round or the last time you hit some balls on the range. Where did the ball go; was there any pattern to your shots ?
Bring a notebook …. just to make sure you have key points written down … reminders because, next time you visit the range, you may have forgotten or mistaken what was said during your lesson.
Questions are good:
A selection of questions I often ask my students:
What are you doing at the moment to improve your golf ?
How long have you played ?
Have you had golf lessons before?
How often do you practice and play ?
Do you have a handicap?
Where is the ball going ?
How is your physical condition, any back problems etc?
What do you want to achieve with your golf, short term / long term ?
A key point to getting the most out of your lessons is:
ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND SOMETHING.
I love my pupils asking me questions, it shows me they want to learn.
If you spend a little time preparing before your lesson, you will gain great benefit during and after your lesson.
A personal experience from David Bown …. problems inn trying too hard.
Last week I met a new student , Derek Shao, a young man who has worked in London and now is going back to work in Hong Kong. He told me he had played golf for about a year and had had a few golf lessons. His average scores were around the one hundred mark.
I asked him what he wanted out of his golf lesson and he told me he wanted to fix his slice and hit the ball further. Not an unusual request down on the driving range!
He hit a few golf shots and yes, they all sliced a long way, very high, losing a lot of distance.
The Cause ?
Derek had put so much effort into moving, to try and get more clubhead speed, he moved his whole upper body way too much, both going back and through.
The reason this was happening was because he thought incorrectly that he had to use the strength from his arms and shoulders, to generate more distance. He therefore gripped the club much too tightly and made his upper body dominate his downswing, making the club wipe across the ball from out to in.
Derek was so keen to work with me and improve that we scheduled six sessions in five days working on full swing, chipping, putting, and bunker shots.
He was very focused and asked many questions. He was a great student to work with, and he got great results.
The Correction ?
I worked on getting him to hold the club in a more relaxed way, getting the tension out of his shoulders, forearms and wrists. He was so tight!
A key thought for Derek to work on, was for him to feel softer in his wrists.
This took some getting used too as, before, he had no wrist hinge to speak of …. because he was so tight. Just a massive turn of his upper body on his backswing and a corresponding twist on his downswing.
We also worked on him having a feeling of letting his arms just fall down at the start of his downswing. This helped him keep the club on the desired plane, into the impact zone, and helped him resist pushing with his upper body, creating that twist.
During our last session, Derek was hitting his eight iron, six iron and his 17 deg hybrid either straight or with a slight draw. His ball flight was lower. He had increased his distance considerably and was not exhausted after hitting sixty balls!
I was very impressed with his results, his striking of the ball was much crisper, and a good twenty five yards longer … and there was more to come.
As Derek left, I congratulated him on what he had achieved and asked him when he was going to play next and try his new swing? He replied that he was playing tomorrow at St Georges Hill and playing Walton Heath a few days later!
Great stuff Derek. Enjoy your golf!
In summary, a misconception about technique and how to get power in the swing, had ruined all of Derek’s efforts in trying to improve !
He was simply trying too hard … and using incorrect thoughts and ideas, which just left him frustrated with his golf.
I explained where he was going wrong and showed him how he could really improve and start to enjoy his golf.