Acquiring a good golf swing or short game technique is a lot like learning to play a musical instrument. Solid grounding in proven fundamentals, dedication, practice and lessons from a competent instructor are the keys to continued improvement and success. Yet many golfers spend years searching for the "secret" and wonder why they never improve. Traditional instruction has sometimes supported this futile search for a short cut to mastering the golf swing by offering infrequent half-hour lessons consisting primarily of "swing tips" unrelated to the core fundamentals of the game.
Fellow golfers - the "try this, try that" approach, quick-fixes, swing "tips", and a half-hour "band-aid" type of lesson once a year just won't get the job done. Most golfers experience little or no permanent improvement from this approach. Motor skills learning research and our teaching experience confirm that a systematic, step-by-step approach to learning golf swing fundamentals is the easiest, fastest and most effective way to achieve permanent improvement. This requires a commitment on the part of the student to a program of ongoing instruction and to a personal practice program. Both are necessary in order to achieve your goals of better shotmaking and lower scores.
This does not mean you must practice five hours a day for years before you finally master the swing! It does mean following a consistent model for your learning, practice and play. Consistency breeds positive results. Inconsistency and continuing an endless pursuit of new swing tips breeds inconsistent results, confusion and frustration. Practicing at home without a ball (primarily doing slow motion drills in front of a mirror) for as little as twenty minutes a day will produce steady and permanent improvement in your golf swing. Of course, you will still need to visit the practice range at least once a week as well.
We use two very different learning strategies in our private lesson programs. First, Fundamental based instruction, which is by far the most effective way to achieve long term permanent improvement. This means knowing what to do - a law of the golf swing for example - as opposed to "what am I doing wrong?" approach. This approach works especially well for mid to high handicap golfers with poor full swing mechanics. It does however require a strong commitment on the part of the student to the changes agreed upon and especially to the practice plan that will enable the student to achieve permanent mastery of that skill over time.
Swing Corrective instruction is the opposite approach. It is based on the notion that you first remove that one really destructive swing flaw that is sabotaging your golf swing. It usually results in faster improvement, at least in the short term, but can when used alone as most traditional golf teachers do, may fail to result in long-term permanent improvement, especially for mid to high handicap players. Which method we use will depend primarily on the student's current skill level.
Swing Corrective instruction is almost always our starting point when working with advanced players (single digit handicaps). This is more a matter of "tweaking" a fundamentally sound golf swing and is very effective in a short amount of time. For mid to high handicap golfers, we usually start with the Fundamental approach but almost always include some time devoted to Fatal Flaw elimination as well - more of a blended approach. We have found that this blended approach is the most effective way for our students to start to see some degree of immediate improvement while also laying the foundation for long term, permanent improvement. Most traditional golf teachers use the Swing approach almost exclusively, which sometimes can result in little or no long term improvement for the student.