- How does your teaching method and philosophy differ from the typical golf school?
- Why do your call your schools Balance Point?
- Why do your schools last an entire day?
- Will I get tired or sore from this kind of intensive program?
- Do you accept junior golfers? How about seniors? Couples?
- What level of improvement can I reasonably expect to attain?
- What methods do you use in your schools to enhance learning?
- What is the student/teacher ratio at your golf schools?
- Do you design an individualized game improvement plan for each graduating student?
- Do you include video swing analysis in your golf schools and how effective is video for learning swing fundamentals?
- Do you include lodging for out of town students?
- What do you do in case of bad weather?
- Will your Total Immersion Training method overwhelm me with too much information?
- My friend took your golf school and achieved remarkable improvement in both his shotmaking and scoring almost immediately. Can I expect the same kind of rapid improvement to my game?
- Do you include written materials, tapes, etc as part of your golf school package?
- What kinds of follow up support and instruction do you offer students after graduation?
- I see that you offer several different types of golf schools. How do I know which one is best for me?
- I don't have time to practice very much and I really would rather play golf than practice. Can I still improve my swing and short game?
- Do you offer women-only schools?
- I am torn between attending one of your golf schools versus taking your private lesson program. Which do you recommend?
- Do you include mental training of the sport psychology kind in your golf schools?
- Why do you not include an afternoon round of golf in every one of your schools, like most golf schools do?
This is not your father's golf school! Our golf schools are based on a completely different philosophy than the two traditional golf instruction models. Most golf instruction is of the fast food variety - quick, cheap, widely available, designed for mass market consumption and matched to the consumer's desire for instant satisfaction. The problem is - just like a steady diet of fast food, it lacks substance, isn't good for you and does not lead to long term permanent improvement. Balance Point Golf Training is gourmet golf instruction designed especially for the passionate golfer, of all skill levels, who is truly serious about playing better golf!
The first and most dominant of the traditional instruction models is the mechanistic, conscious mind make your body do this and don't do that model. This is an outdated, 19th century viewpoint completely lacking in scientific validity. This is conscious mind golf - we call it flog (backwards golf) and it is not a an effective or fun way to play the game. The second approach is the so-called Inner Game or New Age model that believes that a good golf swing is natural and only needs to be uncovered by removing various types of self-interference. The New Age model also uses lots of positive thinking and self esteem building to help golfers weather the storm of trying to figure out how to play this most difficult game well. Both models are seriously flawed in their basic premises about the game and how humans learn.
The mechanistic model is fatally flawed in believing that conscious mind, will power, thinking and effort are the means to better stroke mechanics. Although there does exist a tiny minority of progressive mechanistic instructors who have good information about what the body and club must do to play well, these same methods usually lack any sort of a how to learn it model. Lots of shoulds but very little how to that you can use to form a dominant habit that will work on the golf course.
The Inner Game proponents make their mistake in insisting that the golf swing is natural, something innate that only needs to be uncovered. No one is born with a good golf swing already imprinted in their neural networks! Just as no one is born with a natural piano playing skill. Talent is indeed innate but skill is not. It is acquired from the outside via lessons, books, etc. and then through lots of practice. Ben Hogan said ...the more I practice, the luckier I get!. Belief in the notion of a natural swing is New Age nonsense.
Most of the Inner Game approaches (and even a lot of the mechanistic methods) are really clever ways to help temporarily boost the despairing golfer's fragile sense of golfing self esteem. We don't agree with that approach and we never try to artificially inflate our student's egos. We think it's not only ineffective but dishonest. You know the kind of golf instruction we are talking about here, you may have experienced this yourself. ...Oh, Mrs. Smith! That shot is so much better than the last one. Sure, you topped the ball again but this time it went 5 yards farther!
We assume that you want to stop topping the ball - permanently - and learn how to hit it solid consistently and could care less about having your ego stroked. In a word, we believe in being totally honest with our students. If your golf swing is bad, we're not going to sugarcoat our analysis of it. We assume that you already have plenty of self esteem in general and are ready and eager to learn new golf skills. If you are successful in life but fail on the golf course it isn't because you lack self esteem.
The real problem is lack of clarity about how to learn and improve, poor mechanics and a kind of neurotic attachment of one's self esteem to the shot outcome and score result. We teach our student's how to keep their self esteem totally separate from score. When they can do that, they don't need a golf teacher acting as a cheerleader for them anymore. Bottom line? You don't need more golfing self esteem - you need much better physical technique and a better understanding of the mental game.
Those two things will enable you to really enjoy the game more. Positive thinking and similar ideas are really just the mental game equivalent of the mechanistic model's tips, swing band-aids and magic moves. These kind of methods have never led to permanent game improvement. We have created an entirely new model that incorporates the best elements of the two traditional schools while rejecting those parts that are scientifically invalid and ineffective at achieving true game improvement. Our approach uses the mind/body connection model, which incorporates proven research results in both the hard sciences that explain golf stroke mechanics and the psychology of how humans learn.
We use two different coaching methods in our golf schools: Total Immersion and Structured Deep Practice. Total Immersion is based on the mind/body connection principle, and is designed for as rapid learning of the material as possible. That means having Deep Insights about the particular golfing skill that you are working on - by "Deep" we mean at the subconscious mind level, ie having a "light bulb" moment. That kind of radical new understanding about some aspect of the golf swing - power, for example - allows the student's body to then begin to move in a new and better way, closer to our Pro swing model. Structured Deep Practice is about directly training the body, primarily though slow motion mirror practice, working on the Six Swing Segments, both the static positions and the motion aspects. It also includes training the Feel sense with eyes closed Body Awareness training. Normally we start the golf school with some Total Immersion training and then move on to Structured Deep Practice training once the student has acquired a basic conceptual understanding of the Fundamentals.
We are also big advocates of using humor as an effective teaching/learning tool. While we are very serious about helping you to improve, a typical Balance Point Golf School often erupts in mass group laughter. You need to be able to laugh at yourself to take the edge off the serious pursuit of golfing perfection. Golf can sometimes be a very humbling game and your ego will certainly take a hit now and then. Laughter is the best medicine. We feel we have achieved that wise balance between intense mental/physical focus and self deprecating humor. Several of our instructors are natural comedians and many of our graduates tell us that their golf school experience was the most fun they've had in years!
The Balance Point golf school curriculum is designed for one specific purpose - to enable our students to master the basic physical fundamentals of the full swing,, short game and mental game to the level of automatic habit, what psychologists call long term memory. When you engage in any kind of habitual, automatic pilot behavior, driving your car for example or returning a serve in tennis, you are acting effortlessly from your long term memory. There is nothing mystical about this ability. Your brain functions very much like a computer. At a Balance Point school, you learn how to program your own computer with the proper mechanics through a series of very powerful drills and accelerated learning exercises. We want our students to learn great technique, then forget about their swing mechanics and go play great golf!
Most traditional golf schools attempt to teach their students a list of mechanical things to remember to do while executing a golf shot, that is, to the level of conscious mind knowledge. This creates an inner conflict between the student's conscious mind and their body, which somehow is supposed to execute this long list of swing tips in the less than two seconds it takes to swing a golf club. Learning proceeds very slowly and often stops altogether with this kind of approach. Frustration, confusion, discouragement and failure are the usual result.
This is also not a fun way to play the game. Golf was meant to be enjoyed as recreation, just like other sports. We believe golf is an athletic game that is best played from a state of physical, mental and emotional freedom. Tying yourself up into a knot of tension with this huge list of mechanical shoulds and should nots is just not very satisfying, And it is certainly not effective. You score better when you play with a sense of freedom.
The other main difference is that we employ a clear, precise, step by step approach to learning the fundamentals (no tips at our schools!) where each new fundamental is learned until it is ingrained into your computer and then becomes the foundation for the next fundamental. There is no backsliding with the Balance Point approach, nor is there any possibility of failure. Finally, no other golf school on the planet offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee like we do. We can stand behind our system unconditionally because it works - period.
Why do your call your schools Balance Point? (back to top)
Several reasons. Balance has more influence over the outcome of your golf shot than any other factor. We teach our students how to swing in rock solid balance. We created a balanced mind/body approach to learning golf. Avoiding extremes and finding the middle ground is key to mastery of the physical fundamentals. Emotional balance is also very important to playing your best. Balancing the three modes: physical, mental and emotional is an important aspect of good shotmaking. As we stated above, our model is a synthesis of the best of the two traditional models, a balanced blending if you will.
Why do your schools last an entire day? (back to top)
We use what is known as the Total Immersion and Structured Deep Practice learning methods, which are specifically designed to make new golf skill learning fast and, most importantly, permanent. An all day format allows for a kind of saturation learning. We want your basic concept of the golf swing and understanding of the mental game to change at a very deep level of your mind. That requires an intensive approach. Three to four hours per day, like in most schools, just isn't enough time. With traditional golf schools, you're just getting started and then it's time to quit...not very effective.
This program requires more mental energy than physical energy. You will be so completely engaged in learning new skills that feeling tired just never becomes an issue. Students tell us this is the most fun they had in years and the time passes very quickly. Many stay after school to continue hitting balls, receiving instruction and practicing their drills. Classroom sessions alternate with practice range segments so you are not standing around in the hot sun all day beating balls. We also take frequent breaks for rest and refreshment throughout the day. There are chairs on the range as well as tables with food, water, juices and beverages to help keep your energy levels up. You do need to be in reasonably fit condition to achieve maximum learning breakthroughs and enjoy the school. If you are suffering from a bad back, wrist or shoulder injury for example, you had better wait until you are completely healed before attending any golf school.
Yes, we do welcome junior golfers age 12 or older to participate. Seniors are most definitely encouraged to attend. Many of our most successful students are senior golfers. Married couples love our schools since the training program works well in a partner format. Golfing "buddies" also do well at our school since they can help coach each other after graduation. Being in the same training program really helps make the practice more effective and more fun.
That depends on your athletic ability, willingness to learn new skills, current skill level and especially how much time you can devote to quality practice. If you now shoot an average score of 95, you can expect to score around 85-90 within three to six months of completing your school or lesson program, possibly much better. If you now shoot 85, expect to bring that down to 77-80 within the same time frame. Your overall shotmaking consistency will improve dramatically with fewer really bad mis-hits. When you do hit a bad shot you will know why and how to correct it. It really all depends on how much time you devote to practice and to playing. The more time you devote to practice, the faster you will improve.
Putting an exact timetable on your own individual improvement is impossible to predict since there are so many contributing factors. It also depends on which school you choose. An 85 shooter will most likely experience more rapid score improvement from our Short Game school than he will from our Great Shot! swing mechanics school. For a 110 shooter, the opposite is usually the case. We don't define improvement solely in terms of score however. How much and how well one learns is in itself immensely satisfying. Enjoying playing the game is also an often underrated aspect of improvement that is not always totally dependent on how well one scores.
We use lots of drills as the primary method of learning the swing and short game fundamentals. We also employ training aids, video, visual aids, photos of tour pros, lectures, question and answer sessions and demonstrations of swing concepts and shotmaking by our coaches. Many of the mechanical drills in our Great Shot!, Putting and Short Game schools are done without a golf ball, often in slow motion in front of a mirror. This is the fastest, easiest and most effective way to learn new body motion. Students hit a lot of golf balls in our mental game schools, short game schools and Advanced Player and Art of Scoring golf schools.
On course 9 hole playing lessons are included in our mental game schools, Advanced Player schools, scoring schools and some short game schools. We also train our students how to feel their body motion so real learning can occur. Students sometimes do partner drills, one coach and one student. The coach provides feedback to the student. When you can effectively teach it to another student, we know that you really got it. We are the only golf school in the world to include a program that covers the essentials of how to learn and how to practice effectively.
What is the student/teacher ratio at your golf schools? (back to top)
Our maximum ratio is 4 students to 1 teacher although our average ratio is actually 3 to 1. We believe that our students need and deserve lots of personal attention! This is one reason why our maximum school size is limited to just six students (in Hawaii and Palm Springs) and ten students in Portland, unlike many other golf schools where you may find a group of twenty or even larger. Our Portland golf schools average just 4-7 students. Hawaii golf schools and our other winter season locations average just 3-5 students per school.
Yes, and we believe wholeheartedly that this customized game improvement plan is vital to our students' success. Mr. Waldron consults with every student individually within two weeks of graduation for a free 30 minute practice program consultation by telephone to review the practice program in detail.
Yes, we do use video in our golf schools but moderately and carefully. We don't usually tape during school hours since it is very time consuming and there are much better ways to help our students learn the important golf swing fundamentals. Videotaping of an individual's golf swing is normally done in the morning before school session begins or late afternoon at the completion of that day's session.
We usually recommend that a video swing analysis lesson be done about 60-90 days after the completion of your golf school. Our professional feedback is invaluable at that time so that you can gauge your progress, and better understand both your strong and weak areas.
Having said that, video is certainly not a magic pill to better golf. This is another controversial area where we differ radically from most other golf schools. We believe that video is an extremely valuable tool from a golf swing research perspective. It has advanced our understanding of the swing to a remarkable degree. But it has been oversold to a gullible golfing public as a kind of high tech instant cure-all by many instructors. This is mostly just more marketing hype. Seeing yourself perform six different swing flaws in living color on a $10,000 computerized video system may sound impressive - but the bottom line? It doesn't really result in significant learning and improvement if you are a mid to high handicap golfer. As the great player and teacher Jackie Burke, Jr. said recently "Video isn't going to show me what's going on in the student's mind" ! Meaning - it is your brain/mind that creates the body motion you see on the video monitor. The root cause of all that body motion are mostly unconscious beliefs and concepts about the golf swing.
If the golf swing motion was indeed the result of conscious choice, then simply seeing your flaws would result in instant improvement. As every teacher and every golfer who has been videotaped knows - that is simply not the case. Knowing intellectually what you should be doing and making the shift to actually doing it physically are two very different things.
We see students everyday who know what they are doing wrong, have seen it on video many times, yet cannot stop doing it! That is because your subconscious mind creates your swing mechanics - good or bad - never your conscious mind. If the conscious mind was truly in charge, then the best teachers would also be the best players! Swing changes are never the end result of conscious choice.
There far more effective ways to learn the golf swing - drills and training aids for example. A mirror is more useful for mid to high handicaps than video since you can do your drill and watch yourself do it in real time and make corrections in real time. We do use video extensively in private lessons with advanced players where the primary goal of the lesson is the tweaking or refinement of existing fundamentals. Video is not so useful for learning how to acquire those fundamentals but is really effective for refining them.
A purely visual understanding of the swing is an important first step - but it is still just that, a first step. You need to feel the correct moves and feel the dynamic forces in your body motion before you can really learn how to make them a habit that will execute automatically on the golf course. We believe it is much more effective for you to watch a slow motion video of Tiger executing the fundamentals correctly than it is to watch a video of yourself doing it incorrectly! We reject the dominant find a swing flaw and then 'fix it' mentality of the traditional instruction model. A swing flaw is just the absence of a positive fundamental. And your brain cannot learn how to not do something. It can only learn how to do!
Do you include lodging for out of town students? (back to top)
We don't normally include lodging costs in the school tuition but we do have special discounted rates for our students at nearby hotels that range in price from $79 per night( in Portland) to $300 per night (Hawaii five star hotel), depending on the property. Just ask us when you register and we will provide details for you. Or click on the Accommodations page of our Home page.
What do you do in case of bad weather? (back to top)
We have had to cancel a golf school due to bad weather only four times since 1995. Our main school location is in Portland, OR and from June 15 until September 15 there is very little chance of rain or bad weather. It is usually sunny with temps in the low 70's to mid 80's. We have never had to cancel a school during that time period. During May and October there is a slight chance of light intermittent rain. We have a small building right on our private end of the range for sun, rain and wind shelter. We use it for Q and A sessions, lectures and mental game instruction. We also have a covered hitting area on the range that we can use in case of severe rain, as well as a covered area for doing non-ballstriking drills and mirror work.In the very rare case of a bad rainstorm in the forecast, we will cancel and then re-schedule that canceled school as soon as possible on an open date. Winter satellite schools are held in sunny and warm locations so weather is never an issue.
This is really a non-issue at a Balance Point Golf School. Traditional golf schools, yes, it is a very real problem. If we were employing the traditional instruction model's conscious mind "make the body do something" from a long mental checklist of swing thoughts approach, then yes, any golf school using that method would create information overload in their student's minds. Our approach is the exact opposite. We don't ever want you to use conscious swing thoughts. We know with 100% certainty that your conscious thinking mind cannot learn even a single golf swing or short game fundamental. All of our information is designed for your subconscious mind's consumption - never your conscious mind. In a nutshell, we teach your mind how to deeply understand the fundamentals and then we coach your body how to feel and execute those fundamentals. Your subconscious loves to learn and soaks up new information like a sponge. It is impossible to "overload" the subconscious.
We get this question all the time. Invariably the friend who is mentioned has been so successful for one or more of the following three reasons. 1. He came to the golf school with an open, inquiring mind and willingness to make changes to his mechanics and mental game strategies. In other words, he was very coachable. A good learner. 2. He practiced a lot after graduation, especially in the crucial first 90 days. Because he practiced daily at home, doing his drills, and once or twice a week at the range for ball striking drills, he was able to form new swing habits. 3. He had at least average athletic ability and thus could internalize the school's information and make the swing concepts physical habits faster than someone of less than average athletic ability. Good athletes can feel their bodies very easily. They aren't trapped in their head thinking about mechanics. They feel their body make the motion!
These are the causes of your friend's rapid improvement. We tend to overlook the practice part especially and focus on the result of that practice, the better shotmaking and scoring. If you fit one or more of these three criteria, then there is a strong chance that you too will experience rapid improvement. If not, then obviously you will require more patience and let the learning proceed at it's own pace. No one can determine in advance what that pace will be. We strongly advise not putting a timetable on it! Just keep practicing, honor your commitment to yourself and to your teacher, and "walk the walk"! There is no shortcut to better golf. There are many instructors, training aid companies, and equipment companies claiming to have a shortcut but this is just marketing hype. We all know that you cannot really buy a game. But you can certainly learn and train your way to a better game!
Yes, every multi-day and most of our one day golf schools has it's own training manual. Great Shot!, our most popular school, has a 170 page comprehensive manual including photos and drawings. We offer an optional 15 hour video/DVD series on the Great Shot! swing training program as well.
Several types. Our graduate Follow Up Support Program is the best in the business! Multi-day golf school graduates receive a free 30 minute practice program consultation by telephone. Other golf schools, private lesson plans, video swing analysis by mail, and phone lessons are just a few examples.Remote Lessons are starting to become very popular with our graduates: they simply upload their own video of their golf swing to their private YouTube account, send us the link, we review it and then call the student on the phone to review our conclusions.
Most graduates take a few private one hour lessons in the six to twelve months following graduation from their golf school. This helps reinforce the learning that took place during the school and allows us to give the student vital feedback so that they can be certain that they are practicing correctly. Three to five day Golf School graduates can call us for a phone lesson and the first 15 minutes is free of charge. We also provide free email support lessons.
We offer a free 15 to 30 minute game evaluation consultation to every prospective new Balance Point student who calls our toll free number requesting golf school information. We need to place you into the program that best fits your needs. You need to clearly define your strengths and weaknesses and your improvement goals. Basically, using score improvement as the main criteria, the following guidelines apply. If you shoot an average score of 95 or higher, take full swing instruction or Great Shot! If you shoot 83 to 94, it is a toss up between Great Shot! swing instruction and Short Game or Putting Game. Short and Putting Games will probably result in a bit faster score improvement than full swing instruction, with less practice time required, for most golfers in this scoring range.
However, our experience tells us that these very same golfers will usually find improving their ball striking skills to be more fun and satisfying than working on their Short and Putting Game skills. So most golfers in this group start by taking Great Shot! If you are shooting 76 to 84, Short and Putting Game tie with Mental Game for lowering scores. If you shoot 75 or lower, Mental Game is the way to go.
The short answer is - it depends. If your swing mechanics are poor to really bad, the clear answer is no. Practice is essential. And most golfers fall into this category. You simply cannot form a new physical habit by just playing golf. Habits are formed by many quality repetitions of the correct motion with a quiet, attentive, focused mind. That just cannot happen on the golf course, for obvious reasons.
The good news however is that we have developed a revolutionary new method of practicing physical fundamentals that is done almost entirely at home or office. All you need is a mirror and space to swing a club in slow motion. If you have low ceilings, a sawed-off club will do! As little as 15 minutes a day of this kind of body motion practice will work wonders for your golf swing.
If this sounds strange to you at first, think logically. Golf is a stationary ball game. The ball never moves. Good ball striking does not require any hand-eye coordination. It does require fundamentally correct body mechanics! In a good golf swing, the ball just gets in the way of your sweeping clubhead motion that is produced by your body motion. The real trick in golf is not in just contacting the ball squarely. That is important obviously but is the result of a prior cause, how your body motion moves the golf club. This is why slow motion body mechanics training in a mirror works so well. The tour pros all know and practice this. Ben Hogan practiced this way daily! Our golf school graduates attribute much of their success to their home practice.
However, if you are an intermediate or low handicap player with decent to great swing mechanics, we have developed a method for improved ball striking that works by indirectly improving one's mechanics. This is done by 1. Learning how to eliminate the mental/emotional natural impulses like ball boundedness, hit impulse, "help it" at impact impulse and others. 2. Eliminating all forms of conscious mind mental interference so that your mind/body connection is clear and strong. 3. Eliminating all forms of flinching and excessive tension. 4.Eliminating subconscious mind generated negative emotions like fear, doubt and anxiety. 5. Learning how to access positive emotional states at will like courage, confidence and trust. 6. Developing a powerfully effective preshot routine. 7.Improving one's ability to concentrate on the target and to stay "awake" (no brain glitches!) during the swing. 8. Improving your balance, rhythm and tempo - which for very little time invested in range practice result in much improved ball striking. All of the above absolutely result in much better ballstriking for low to mid handicap players and do not require any swing changes or mechanical practice whatsoever. We have two schools covering these topics. Breakthrough and Rip It to the Target!
Do you offer women only schools? (back to top)
Women make up about 40% of our new students. We did offer a women only school a few years back but it did not generate enough interest to repeat it. We may try again in the near future. We realize that there is a sexist element inherent in traditional golf culture which is commonly expressed by high handicap men handing out unsolicited advice to women golfers - many of whom are already far better players than the men giving out the advice! This never happens at our schools because we have one iron clad rule: only our coaches are allowed to offer advice to students. We don't want the blind leading the blind - we want the sighted leading the blind! Our golf schools are very women friendly.
It depends on your goals, current skill and personality. If you are a low handicap player with good basic fundamentals, a few lessons working on just a few weak areas in your technique would probably be best. Those same players would benefit greatly from a mental game school however. If you lack good fundamentals, our swing and short game schools are the fastest and most cost effective way to learn great technique. We normally recommend the golf schools as the first step for most mid to high handicap new students since the Rapid Learning method really creates the desired conceptual and feel changes very effectively. Graduates then need to take occasional follow up lessons as needed. Personality plays an important role. The only type we don't recommend take our schools is the Type A negative personality. Type A negatives hate making changes and are poor learners as a result. They need a much slower pace of learning and so do better in a private lesson format.
Yes, absolutely, in fact we have made our reputation in the golf instruction industry in part because of our innovative use of mental training in every one of our golf schools. Our mental side philosophy is a mixture of NLP (neurolinguistic patterning), cognitive therapy and other forms of brief therapy, Asian martial arts philosophy, meditation and concentration practices from both East and West, yoga, the Stanislavsky acting Method, and the mental game practice and performance principles espoused by great coaches and athletes such as: coach John Wooden, Michael Jordan, coach Phil Jackson, Dr. Bob Rotella, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. The last three professional golfers are universally acknowledged to be the best practitioners of the mental game in golf history.
Our lead instructor and first assistant instructor both have an extensive background in psychotherapy, psychology and related fields. Mr. Waldron is a lifelong student and teacher of the Asian martial arts, meditation instructor, and certified in NLP, a powerful performance enhancement system used by many of the world's top athletes. Both have studied methods for rapid behavioral change for most of their adult lives and are experts in the fields of learning and interpersonal communication. Jim Waldron is widely recognized as one of the game's foremost experts in curing the dreaded yips or flinches in the putting stroke, short game strokes and full golf swing.
We also offer golf schools devoted exclusively to the mental game, Breakthrough and Rip It to the Target! - a mental game school but with a twist - it's all about controlling your mental focus during the two second duration of your golf swing!
We do include an afternoon round of golf in some of our golf schools (see below) but the majority of our golf schools include seven to eight hours per day of professional instruction in the mechanical and mental fundamentals of the swing, short game and putting. The practice range and short game practice areas are the ideal places to learn these kinds of skills - never the golf course. There are five specific reasons for this. One, the only skills you can learn on the golf course while actually playing are course management concepts and how to adjust your setup and ball position for unusual lies, trouble shots, etc. These are mostly skills for better players. Why? If you have a lousy golf swing and can't hit it consistently long and straight on the practice range from a perfect lie how could you possibly expect to do so from a bad lie on the golf course?
Course management rules and how to score strategies are covered in a basic way in every Balance Point Golf School but it simply isn't necessary for a student to spend four hours on the golf course in order to understand and apply these rules. Doing so would be a complete waste of valuable time better spent on quality instruction in the really tough parts of the game - mastering the mechanics of the swing and short game and building an effective shotmaking routine and mental focus skills. For that you need a coach by your side giving you constant feedback and you need to do a lot of drills and hit a lot of balls. You simply cannot do that on the golf course - for obvious practical reasons. The practice range is the ideal environment for that kind of learning.
Learning more advanced course management skills requires the teaching pro to walk alongside you while coaching for at least nine holes in order to see some real improvement. (Most golf schools only give you this kind of on course professional feedback for a hole or two before moving on to the next student.) This kind of coaching is obviously done best in a private playing lesson format rather than in a golf school and we do in fact do a lot of private lessons of this type.
Two, the scientific research on motor skills learning and our own coaching experience tell us that golfers learn best when they have more time for intensive instruction and practice in just one key area - full swing, short game or mental game - for a full day. Taking the afternoon off to play golf - especially without constant professional supervision while you play (the norm in most golf schools) - seems rather silly to us. You can play recreational golf at home on your own time and for a lot less money than you will spend at a golf school! These schools are not being honest when they advertise a full day of instruction when in reality it is just a half day or so of coaching on the range and a few minutes of supervision during the afternoon while you are out playing the course.
Most of our schools are about learning the basic fundamentals of the game and just as in every other sport, you cannot learn good fundamentals when you only spend your time on the playing field. It is the time you spend not playing the game where real breakthroughs in learning occur. A time when you and your coach can work together to face your problem areas head on. You simply cannot do that while playing the game - in any sport, golf is not the exception. This total separation of learning mechanics from the art of playing the game is one of the keys to our students' remarkable success. In every other amateur sport, relatively little practice time is spent scrimmaging. Most of it is spent doing various forms of drills to ingrain correct fundamentals. This is why our golf school format uses the all day, intensive Total Immersion method of rapid learning.
Three, you best learn golf - like every other sport or challenging activity - in stages. You learn to crawl before you walk, walk before you run, and run before you run marathons. If you cannot hit a golf ball consistently well on the practice range how on earth are you going to do it on the golf course, a much more difficult environment?
Four, besides playing on the golf course being a waste of time and not conducive to learning all the physical and most mental skills, it is also a waste of your money. It artificially inflates the cost of golf school tuition since in spite of what so-called all inclusive rates would lead you to believe, the green fees are not free. They are an expensive add-on that can sometimes amount to almost half the cost of a golf school. We are committed to providing our students with the most cost effective tuition possible. Any unnecessary extra expense is eliminated at a Balance Point golf school. We think you will agree that your money is better spent on an extra four hours of instruction per day instead of on green fees.
Having said that, we do include a nine hole playing lesson in the late afternoon (4:00 to 6:30 PM) in our Advanced Players and in our Mental Game golf schools where we are working with intermediate to low handicap players on more advanced course management principles. We also include a nine hole playing lesson in our Art of Scoring golf schools.
Five, the golf school industry evolved early in it's infancy into a format that was based on the golfer who was on vacation to play golf but who desired some basic instruction. In other words, the primary reason the golfer was there to begin with was for the vacation experience and the golf learning was a secondary aspect to it. This still is the norm in the golf school industry today. At Balance Point, we have taken the exact opposite approach. We assume that our students seek us out to help them learn how to play better golf. The vacation aspect is always secondary to the primary purpose of the golf school - real learning. This means we designed our program for the passionate, committed player who is truly serious about improving his or her game. Every Balance Point Golf School features a uniquely effective program centered around one basic purpose - rapid and high quality learning of golf skills.