By Tim Dietrich, PGA

The short answer is: Yes! I have heard a story that I often repeat (and believe is true), about Albert Einstein taking a golf lesson. It goes like this. Albert Einstein was taking his first golf lesson and about 15 minutes into the lesson the instructor noticed that Dr. Einstein was no longer putting all his energies into trying to do what the instructor was saying. Noticing this, the instructor asked him if there was something wrong. Einstein replied by bending over and picking up 6 golf balls and gently tossing all of them to the instructor telling him “Here, catch!” The instructor managed to catch one and watched as the other 5 balls hit the ground. Einstein then said, “Now you know how I feel.” I tell this story to beginners for two reasons: First, I want them to know that I empathize with their situation and second, to remind myself to keep my teaching simple. As everyone knows teaching and learning golf can be a daunting task. But we can make it easier if we approach learning the game the way Dr. Einstein so clearly pointed out.

Here is my simple 5 step progression for keeping it simple.

1. Understand what it is you are trying to do. Without a true understanding of what you want to do and why you want to do it, you will never commit the process. Every day will be a new search for the “secret”. There are many ways to swing a golf club. Find one you can understand and do, and then stick to it. Books, videos, on line lessons and actual lessons are great providers of information.

2. Feel the difference between what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. Golf is a game that requires a very high level of kinesthetic awareness. If you can’t feel it – you don’t own it. Become aware of your body and feel how it moves during the swing. Find and read the classic book by Bob Toski and Davis Love Jr.’s – “How to Feel a Real Golf Swing” and you’ll know what I mean.

3. Give your body enough repetitions to groove the move. This is also known as practice. You can understand the golf swing relatively quickly, but “owning” it takes time and effort. There is no other way.

4. Get reliable feedback that you can trust. This is critical because one of the things that really hurts the learning process is the mind’s tendency to doubt and question. A second set of eyes; mirror or video work; studying your ball flight; and working with practice aids are all examples of feedback that will greatly accelerate the learning process.

5. Reward yourself. Practice can be tedious at times. You have to make sure that you spend enough time and effort on maintaining your motivation to avoid burnout and frustration. Celebrate effort sometimes and forget about the results. If you keep practicing the right things in the right way, your day will come. By the way, goals can be powerful motivators but they don’t work for everyone. Find your own individual “Go button”.

I hope this progression helps you in your search for you own swing.

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