Do you know it all?

By Anthony Barkley
NZPGA Professional

Strange question I know but I can absolutely say that I have met so many players over the 15 years in the golf industry that think they know it all about golf. Golf attracts this attitude as it’s a very technical and complex game with loads of online and written information for people to reference. 

I have had lessons at times where I felt like the students were trying to coach me as I couldn’t get a word in. Don’t get me wrong as I loved all lessons I did and I have a strong confidence that if anyone did what I told them, they would improve, but it made me laugh to myself sometimes.

I hate to say it but 90% of those that thought they knew everything were men. I’m not sure if it was an ego thing but often men were not open to change. It may be due to men researching more but very rarely did females have the same attitude. It was similar in beginner classes where it was very easy to get ladies to attend but next to no men applied. I guess guys just want to do things themselves or maybe I should have added FREE beer to the classes (did think about this at one stage).

I think most don’t realise they are doing this but here is one sign:

Your friend gets a lesson from a PGA professional but you decide it’s not what they should be working on. If this is you, you need to keep quiet and let them work on the aspects the coach has prescribed otherwise the player will get totally confused.

I see this example often from club members when they play with someone who has recently had a golf lesson or desperately needs one. I actually think its human nature to try and help someone so most do. The issue is that people prescribe something they have seen on utube or something that has worked for them. They see an over the top move so they say to swing out rather than across. Makes sense right but the issue is that for every golf action there is usually a fundamental at fault. 

Inconsistent strike and grip moves in hand=Grip issue

Over the top move=a number of issues could be in play here. Bad posture, strong grip, no lower body rotation (Pivot) and inefficient weight transfer are a few.

Fat shots= ball position, irregular  maintenance of posture through the swing motion, swaying off the ball etc

Ball goes right= alignment (sometimes it’s just that simple)

I had one lesson once that kept hitting these massive right shots. Not a slice but a straight right shot. I used video for every lesson then and I videoed him. I checked with him our desired target and again a straight right shot. I showed him the video and he was aiming almost 45 degrees right of target and had no idea. Hence what we worked on that day and future lessons.

Some club golfers understand the process involved in making a change but many don’t. A PGA professional should be able to trace the issue back to the main fault. Fix the big issues first to fix it proper is always how I approached it.

So the pro will have a plan of attack which they may or may not talk to the client about. The issue is when someone else knows more and undermines the professional’s plans. The client then potentially loses confidence in what was taught and a downward spiral begins. 

Always remember that a NZPGA professional has spent years learning the golf swing. They understand the faults and the fixes. You must also understand we have general to high knowledge of the body and the issues affecting the golf swing. 

So try not to coach too much. Leave it to the experts and support anyone getting lessons. If you are concerned talk to the pro who is coaching your friend to understand what they are trying to achieve. Don’t be a heckler, be a supporter.