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Teaching New Golfers and Kids

When a new golfer gets the urge to take up the game of golf, the first and primary obstacle is the "golf swing". We do most golfers a severe injustice by thinking that someone new to the game can learn how to swing a golf club properly while simultaneously striking the golf ball.

Removing the Golf Ball from the Equation

Most new golfers, as well as Juniors, begin the game with a certain amount of athletic ability – some more than others. The central and most important aspect of the golf swing is being fluid, rhythmic and balanced, as well as reproducing the same swing over and over again.

Having a ball in front of a novice golfer when he or she begins instruction adds way too much possibility of negative feedback. This negative feedback begins what I would consider to be a "negative cycle" associated with achieving the proper attitude and interest towards the game.

Taking it Step by Step

It has always been my methodology to teach new golfers how to swing the club in the total absence of having to focus on a ball being struck properly. I have always taught my students to remain balanced and fluid, with due respect paid to the individual's athletic ability.

1. The Proper Stance

Step one begins with the new golfer taking the proper stance. (This is done even without the use of a club.) Typically I take him through the turn, having him focus on which major muscle groups are being utilized during the rotation of the body in a trial swing session.

2. Gripping the Golf Club

When he or she becomes familiar with the major muscle groups, and how the weight of his body transfers during the swing, I incorporate the use of a club. The most important initial point is for the golfer to have a "Proper Grip".

I could speak volumes as to how important a "proper grip" is as it relates to posture during the swing, as well as ball flight.

3. Learning the Golf Swing

Then, after the proper grip has been established, we learn the swing. Only when the basic swing has been ingrained in a fluid method through the process of repetition can we move on. This pattern develops what we call in the world of athletics "muscle memory".

4. Introducing the Golf Ball

When the basic swing has finally been learned, then I introduce a ball, and simply place it in front of an already well designed and fluid golf swing.

I try to teach that the ball is simply placed in front of a swing, and that an actual swing and a practice swing should be and feel exactly the same. The job of the golfer is to keep his mind free of unnecessary swing thoughts that would cause his muscles to tighten and eliminate the fluidity of the swing that has been developed.

So, to repeat:

  1. achieve balance without the use of a club
  2. learn the proper grip
  3. achieve fluidity and timing without the use of a ball
  4. place the ball in front of that well-practiced swing

In this way, ball flights can be altered by simply changing the ball position without tampering with the swing except in a minor fashion.

Keep golfing,

Robert R. LaPorte

"the Golf Nut"

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