I think there are different ways of looking at things. Personally, if I were following the tour around and traveling, I would rather be playing on the tour than hanging around the driving range. I don’t even like driving ranges actually because they don’t represent golf as I like to play it across sidehill lies and actually shaping shots into fairways and greens where my actual round is on the line. When I am on the course, I take my game pretty seriously, in that I actually try to post a score. I played today with the goal of shooting my 4rth straight round in the 60’s, but bogeyed 2 of the last four holes for a 71. I have to live with that now! I enjoy golf a lot these days, and I still enjoy being a student of the game.
As far as tour players, I have worked with quite a few… some more extensively than others. I’m not sure what constitutes an official player - swing coach relationship these days, if it’s a hand shake or a written contract. With the kind of money out there these days, I’m sure everything is done with attorneys and other legal council. Some of the guys I work with or have worked with are more participatory in the private side of this forum. There is an entire other parallel universe going on here at ABS that students are aware of. Some of the pros I have worked with are very open, others prefer more anonymity as they may likely have some kind of contractual arrangements with another instructor or organization. I’m here to help if needed, and not really concerned about what else is going on or who else they are working with.
Teachers taking credit for the success of tour players is another debatable topic. Who’s to say it was the swing coach that led to a recent victory? Probably he just started putting well. Sam Randolph made the point in the last installment that nowadays players have 4 or 5 specialists, so each one wants the credit when the player does well… or blames the player for the breakdown… such as the nutritionalist blaming the player for not eating his fruit bar on the right hole. The swing coach, the putting coach, the mental coach, the trainer, nutritionist, the clubfitter, even the wife or girlfriend often claim some responsibility.
The internet allows me the ability to teach a wide variety of students across the entire planet which is really wonderful.
I don’t really see it as being that limiting, because I can see what is going on in a video. Sometimes I might ask the student to re shoot a sequence or take from a different angle. Most of the time, if a player is taking a lesson, they end up in the video room looking at the screen anyway. I really don’t feel I need to watch a player grind through a 100 golf balls on the range so that they think they got their money’s worth. I can usually see something in about 5 seconds, so it’s more productive actually to just send them on their way with this weeks new direction or instruction. Then we catch up the next week. I really don’t like being held hostage on a driving range with a student asking me after every shank, skull, push, hook, block, pull, slice, fat or thin shot, then demanding a detailed answer for each misfortune.
I do teach occasionally here out back on my deck, with fresh air and a great view, and I can work closely with a student on their module work in person which is certainly beneficial… and we can hit drivers or any club into the meadow below down the canyon. It’s like a very private driving range free of the usual distractions which I find really wonderful. I like to play a round of golf with the student, and I can see and learn where their game is at, and they can learn a lot by watching me play and ask questions. I don’t really like giving playing lessons, because I like to play myself, and I really do think they can learn just by being out on the course with me. I mean obviously things do come up… but I don’t believe in teaching the golf swing on the golf course.
As far as working with big name tour pros… I don’t rule it out… nor do I expect it. I could teach some of them a few things, as I know for a fact I can strike the ball better than a lot of them… even playing just once a week. I find the proficiency of the typical tour player not all that impressive. I’d like to see a lot of them play a round of golf with persimmon and blades on a real golf course, not the treeless wide open polo fields with velvet greens they are all accustomed to… but a course where they actually have to shape shots and play a strategic game. Proper golf.
Who knows what the future brings… if Steve Elkington found Sevam1 on youtube, anything is possible!