Help for a Bad Golf Teacher
There is a young assistant golf professional at our club who plays extremely well, but could use some help as a teacher. He tries hard, but ties his students in knots with what he says about the golf swing. My question is do you know of a book on teaching the game that might help him? I realize he is still an apprentice, but he charges $70 per lesson, and I just don’t know how long people will continue to seek his help.
Jitterbug Gang Fan
I have a friend in southern California who recently won the Teacher of the Year Award. He often says, “I should look up the first five hundred people I gave lessons to and give them their money back. They taught me more about teaching golf than I taught them about the golf swing.”
This is more often the rule than the exception. Simply put, beginner teachers over-teach. As if to justify their fee they try to share every thing they know. Instead of saying one thing and letting the student take ten swings, the beginner teacher says ten things and lets the student take one swing. And the beat goes on.
Unfortunately, I don’t know of a book a starting teacher can read so as to skip this part of the process.
I might compare teaching golf to cleaning your house. Let’s say you throw a big party in your home tonight, and tomorrow morning every room is a mess. You hire a housekeeper.
The more experienced housekeeper, with the hope of giving you the most for your money, will likely clean one room entirely before moving on to the next. Then, the next room, and so on.
This is how the expert teacher teaches golf. Rather than taking one piece of trash out of this room, and then jumping over to another room, the expert teacher works on one thing at a time. After polishing the grip to perfection, he/she moves on to posture. Then alignment, and so on.
Following a well-organized lesson, the student should clearly understand one or two things, not partially understand a hundred other things.
Teaching and playing are two different skills. Just like the advanced player worked tirelessly to become proficient at the game, so must he to become regarded as a good teacher.
Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner
About the Author
The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.
You can reach Bobby at: www.bobbysteiner.com or firstname.lastname@example.org