Introduction to the Problem:
It’s a very exciting time to be teaching the game of golf. With the growing popularity of technology, machines like Flightscope, Trackman, K-vest, and SAM PuttLab have taken the place of video as the tools of choice for the PGA Professional. The teaching pro is spending hours learning every detail of these intricate machines so they are best able to help their students learn and improve. They are fantastic training tools and provide the instructor with previously imperceptible data. As someone who helps athletes simplify the game, I have struggled with clients at times who get too caught up in the numbers these machines spit out, yet I know how valuable the information can be. It got me thinking. What if there was some collaboration between teacher, sport psychology consultant, and student to help the athlete assimilate only the necessary information to help them improve?
For the past year I have been working alongside PGA Professional Graham Cunningham at his Hawk Golf Academy in Framingham, MA. Graham has totally immersed himself in the world of technology, and is very well informed on the use of tools like Flightscope, K-Vest, and others. As part of our efforts to help people improve and get more enjoyment from their golf games, we began to collaborate on a teaching/counseling program that would better enable Graham to take all of the information and data he has at his disposal and then translate that into usable chunks to his students. In essence, Graham provides the “how”, and together, along with the student, we provide the “why”. Most successful coaches of any sport would agree that their players are more likely to improve their skills, and improve more quickly, if they understand “why” the new skill will be important to their success. One of Graham’s main goals, as a teaching professional, is to grow the game. This is helped by developing positive teaching relationships with students to the point where they will return for more lessons, an in turn will improve and hopefully get more enjoyment from the game. Too much data will lead to confusion and frustration, and will most likely impede both improvement and overall enjoyment. So together, through our collaborative “lessons” with the student, we set out to bridge this gap of simplifying the process of applying the data. Our mutual goal is to help the student simplify and employ only the relevant, valuable information provided to them from a skilled teaching professional, by helping them understand “why” the information matters in enabling them to improve and enjoy their golf games.