Questions to ask when looking for a Golf Coach
Question One: What gives the ball its initial direction: club face angle or path?
Answer: Club face angle is the primary determinant for starting direction, upwards of 85 to 90%. Data from Doppler radar-based launch monitors such as Trackman and Flightscope has confirmed this. A surprising number of pros will tell you that the swing path determines the starting line, but as is often the case in golf instruction, what the pros tell you and what they actually do in reality are two very different things.
Question Two: If a golfer wants to hit the biggest draw - would he move the weight the furthest forward or the furthest back?
Answer: Forward. Players whose weight is the furthest back are the biggest slicers of the ball. This simply has to do with the arc of the swing, a semi-circle transcribed on the ground. Players who hit a push-draw hit the ball on the back side of the circle when the club is still swinging outward and downward to the golf ball. Players who hit deflected slices hit the ball on the forward side of the circle while the club is moving more out to in. Moving the weight forward moves the center of the circle forward.
Question Three: Does the spine's actual angle taken at address (flexion from the hips) stay that way throughout the backswing? Or does the spine extend/straighten as the hips come out of their anterior tilt?
Answer: The spine goes from flexion to extension as the hips come out of their anterior tilt. The spine tilts to the left at the same time the extension is happening. This is how the golfer stays in their inclination to the ground.
If you've ever been told to "maintain your spine angle" then your instructor is committing perhaps the most serious sin in golf instruction. Nobody on the PGA Tour truly "maintains their spine angle."
Question Four: The correct hand path is more a) circular or b) straight back and then down the target line in order to keep the clubhead online longer?
Answer: a) circular. Golf is not croquet - we play to the side of the ball on a tilted angle. The circular arc is a byproduct of that. Moving the hands in too much of a linear manner is the slowest way to swing the club and predisposes the golfer to lifting the arms an excessive amount.
Question Five: Which is a true commonality of all the game's greatest players: a) grip b) posture c) hitting the ground in front of the ball?
Answer: c) hitting the ground in front of the ball. The game's greatest players have played with grips and postures completely across the board, from strong to weak and hunched to erect, but they all hit the ground in front of the golf ball.
By contrast the poorest players hit the ground in a wide area of dispersion behind the ball. It is also worth noting that many average or poor players have better grips and setups than some touring professionals.
Question Six: To square the club face at impact a golfer should a) feel a conscious release of the club through a rolling and rotation of the wrists and forearms b) feel passive wrists and forearms to hold the club square to the arc the club is swinging on?
Answer: b) feel passive wrists and forearms to hold the club square to the arc - a conscious release is something that, in itself, tips the club shaft out and over the top causing the golfer to hit too much out to in or across the ball.
Question Seven: During the backswing the right handed golfer's right knee should straighten (not lock but become straighter) to allow the hips to turn completely and on a tilted angle? True or false?
Answer: True. If the golfer's right knee stays flexed the hips cannot turn to the proper extent and they do not maintain their tilted angle. It is at this point that the arms lift excessively and the beginnings of an over-the-top motion are in place.
Question Eight: The center of the golfer's hips must be in front of the golf ball (assuming a baseline ball position) at impact. True or false?
Answer: True. Don't take my word for it. Simply watch video of the game's greatest players.
Question Nine: Do you make use of video? Yes or No?
Answer: Yes! Don't buy into the fact that an instructor "has a great eye." Video is a must! Anyone relying on their eye when humanity has invented something better than "your eye" - high speed video - is wasting your time and money.