2005 has me going into my 15th year teaching golf. From day one, I thought that if I could come up with a technique that was fast and easy to learn I would be a pretty popular guy. Well, I did ... and I am. So what is fast and easy? Does it mean that if you take one lesson with me I can get you to shoot 72? Well ... if I could get you to shoot 72 in 1 lesson I would charge $10,000 per lesson and the line up to see me would be down the street. I do get lucky sometimes but for the most part it usually takes me a little longer.
Typically, I say that I can give you a pretty good swing in 5 lessons, a great swing in 10 and a phenomenal swing in 15. That's 1 lesson per week for that length of time with practice in between lessons. Considering it took me over 10 years to develop a swing I was happy with, it seems like such a small price to pay. Unfortunately, many people won't wait that long. It's not because they don't have time it's just that they want results immediately.
The funny thing, is that people don't bat an eye at the length of time it takes to learn how to play a musical instrument. They know before they even start that it takes years to be able to play a song half decently. How about learning a new job? Training is going to take you up to 6 months. How about other sports? Other sports take a while to get good at but you're OK with it. So what's so different about golf? Well ... there are many reasons. Maybe you want to impress your friends. Maybe you want to take some money off of your friends on the weekend. Maybe you hit that one brilliant shot and you think you should be able to do it all of the time. Maybe you just think golf looks like a simple sport. Whatever the reason, creating a great golf swing takes some time.
If you've played golf for 15 years and you still shoot in the mid to high 80's or 90's the first thing you have to realize that the golf swing you are using doesn't work. If you played a guitar for 15 years wouldn't you be able to give guitar legend, Eddie Van Halen, a run for his money? Now, I'm not saying you should shoot 72 every time you go out but after playing for 15 years shouldn't you be able to shoot in the 70's regularly? Knowing that you have a golf swing that doesn't work is the first step to playing the best golf of your life.
The second step to playing the best golf of your life, is knowing that if you decide to change your swing, it will be like starting all over again (but this time it won't take you that long). Initially, changes to your game will cause you to hit some very poor shots. This is because you're learning a totally different way to swing. You are un-learning years of bad habits. It is this critical moment in time that you must decide to press on. No matter how bad your game gets ... the future is bright.
The third thing you must do is practice. You have to ingrain your new movements until they are second nature. The best way to make changes is to do consecutive repetitions. What I mean is you have to do the same new movement time and time again. If you do consecutive repetitions of the new movement you will master it faster than if you do old swings in between. In the early stages it's all about making the changes. The faster you can change the faster you will get better.
The fourth thing you have to do is work with a qualified instructor. This does not mean taking 1 lesson. You have to find a teacher that teaches a method and stick to it. I, myself, have a vision of what I want the students swing to look like before we even start. There are certain steps that must be followed to get to this end goal so no matter what it takes, see it through. Some people learn faster than others but with a few weeks you will get used to the changes and you will see some amazing shots. This is the sign of things to come in the future. Keep at it and keep practicing and you will soon reach your goal.
The final thing you have to do (if you haven't figured it out yet) is have patience. It takes time to change you swing. Work hard in 2005 and pretty soon you'll be breaking 80.
Director of Instruction
Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate
About The Author
Paul Wilson is a nationally recognized golf instructor with numerous appearances on the Golf Channel and in major golf publications. He is the creator of "Swing Machine Golf" which teaches people the 3 elements of the Iron Byron Swing Machine. Please visit http://www.swingmachinegolf.com to find out more about his teaching method.