The Golf Lesson -
“Band-Aid or stop the bleeding”
Mike “Spike” Collier
A middle-aged man walks up, introduces himself, smiles and says that
he is my 9 o’clock lesson. Right away, it’s clear that that he’s a no
nonsense kind of guy.
“Why do you want a golf lesson?” I ask.
The reply comes fast. “I have this terrible slice, but I don’t want you to
change my swing!”
The alternatives also come fast. “What would you like to do, make the slice
bigger, higher, or lower? We do everything here, it’s your choice.”
Or, having told him to hit the ball, and watched it slice off the planet,
“Mate, you don’t have a slice problem, it’s an aim problem. Aim in the right
direction and you’ll hit the middle of the fairway.” He then aims left, his
ball lands in the middle of the fairway and bingo, problem solved, money
paid, he thinks I’m a genius!
He goes out to the first tee, aims left, hits the middle of the fairway and
tells everyone I’m the best teacher he’s ever had. Round about the 3rd hole,
his confidence high, he releases and hits a straight one right into the
drink. Shock, horror! Tees another, same result- by now he’s freaking out.
Decides to aim straight and slices it off the planet! “Arggghhh!!!” he says,
“I paid that pro $100 dollars and all he did was screw up my swing!”
What to do? Band-Aid or stop the bleeding? To avoid the above scenario I ask
him if he ever hits the ball straight? He says, “Yeah, once in a while.”
“How?” I ask. He says, “Well, first I take my grip, then I aim, take my
stance, then I make a backswing and then, geez, I don’t know. It just
happens, I guess.”
I’m here to tell ya our man is not the Lone Ranger. I’ve heard this story
thousands of times and I truly understand. Most people get the set up, the
aiming and the backswing, but…. a ton of folks don’t really have a clue
about the rest of it. I tell him that all he is missing is a delivery and
release system. One that he can learn to call his own, AND, guess what…he
has five to choose from depending on his flexibility! Less flexible, fewer
options ... simple as that.
Some teachers would have you go straight into the full swing mode, which is
fine for some folks (like Tour Pros), but not many. This way does not allow
the student to build up to the full swing perception of the mechanics and
the “feel.” Mechanics simply means the geometry and physics of the swing.
OK, slow down, don’t get nervous … this is high school stuff, not rocket
science. If I can understand it, so can you. The “fixed” structure of
geometry is the relationships of lines and shapes, not the theorems…. whew!
The “fixed” structure of physics is simply the work/energy we apply to those
lines and shapes. Simple and explainable. Feeling is the body’s way of
structuring how this is done through the hands and best realized through
Here is how it works…THE MECHANICS PRODUCE FEEL AND FEEL REPRODUCES THE
MECHANICS. This, put simply, means that once the mechanics are ingrained you
no longer have to think about them because you own them. How good is that??
The problem with golf lessons is that there are NO Band-Aids that really
work reliably to give a long-term solution. One pro says this; one pro says
that; the students don’t know what to believe and end up thoroughly confused
and continually guessing. This is one of the main reasons that handicaps are
not going down.
The other big problem is management. Students don’t manage their own skill
development, they become impatient, skip steps and end up wondering why they
can’t “get it”. Instincts and egos are the normal pattern here, rather than
using the mind.
The golf pro’s job is to give you accurate information that is easily
understandable, to show you drills that will help you to process the
information and to monitor your progress. There is no quick fix! But, I’m
happy to say, there is a path to follow that will allow you to become a more
intelligent golfer. Golf is an amazing game - the trouble with using
Band-Aids is… they tend to slip off when you’re sweating.
Mike “Spike” Collier is the Director of Golf at The Prem Golf Academy in
Chiang Mai. See www.premcenter.org
Chiang Mai HHH Corner - “On On!”
CH3, the oldest hash club (males) in Chiang Mai runs on
Mondays every 2 weeks. If you need a lift from the HHH Pub on Moon Muang
Road (corner of Soi 2) at 4 p.m. please Call 09 99 358 27 before 3 p.m.
CUMH3 is now the most popular Male hash in Chiang Mai and pick up is every
week on Tuesdays from the Fish n Chips Shop on Ratchawithee Road (tel.
053-418210). Website: http://www.geocities.com/chiangmaih3/cumh3.html
CSH3 is a mixed hash. Runs every Saturday. Pick up from HHH Pub on Moon
Muang Road (corner of Soi 2) at 3.15 pm. Website:
Chiang Mai’s Happy H3 is a mixture of traditional values and progressive
thinking. Very democratic, good runs and “on on’s” guaranteed. Pick-up from
Fish ‘n Chip Shop, Ratchawitti Road, 4 p.m. every Saturday. Website:
BH3 female hash (Harriettes) runs once a month on the last Sunday of the
month. Pickup from HHH Pub on the corner of Soi 2 at Moon Muang Rd. is at
3.30 p.m. during the winter and 4 p.m. during the summer.
It’s great fun and you surely get value for your money plus you get to meet
all the long-time expats here!