Monday, January 19, 2009

5 Questions With A Golf Instructor

Atlanta native B.J. Hathaway is a true golf professional that you can find at Augusta Golf Instruction in Augusta, GA. With a B.S. in Business Management, he has since added certifications such as Golfing Machine Authorized Instructor and Medicus Certified Instructor. The AGI site says that B.J. is one of only 98 teachers worldwide designated to hold a "Bachelors in Golf Stroke Engineering." Go to the AGI site and you'll see other glowing recommendations about his expertise. In addition, he has recently started a blog in which he will share his knowledge. I roped B.J. in from the range to be my guest for 5 Questions today.

1. How long have you been involved in golf? Did you play as a child or pick up the game as an adult? What other sports have you played competitively or otherwise?

30 years! I did not know golf existed until age 10. My parents took me to a practice round at The Masters and I have been hooked since. I played high school football, soccer, and basketball and played on two college golf teams.

2. What are the most challenging parts of your job as a teaching professional? Most rewarding?

The most challenging part of teaching golf is changing a person's perspective on what it takes to have a good golf swing. Some people expect a golf lesson to be a fix-all, but don't understand the work and commitment it takes to build a solid golf swing. The most rewarding part is the look on a student's face when they hit a ball further and straighter than ever before with less effort and understand it's about proper mechanics: effortless power and not powerful effort!

3. Is there one thing that you see nearly everyone doing that ruins their swing? In other words, what is the most common error you see golfers making?

Most people try to scoop the ball into the air and don't maintain a flat left wrist. This disturbs the geometry of the swing and is the cause of many poor shots. The first Imperative of The Golfing Machine is having a flat left wrist at impact!

4. In your opinion, what PGA/LPGA tour pros have the best swings? Why or why not should the average golfer try to emulate their swing?

Stuart Appleby probably has the most technically correct swing on Tour with solid fundamentals, balance, posture, and impact alignments. On the LPGA, I would watch Paula Creamer, but all of those ladies have good rhythm- one of the essentials to good golf. The average golfer should certainly watch the Tour pros and try to understand the fundamentals of any good golf swing. But..... every golfer is a hitter or swinger and unless you are physically built like a certain player in regards to size, natural rhythm, strength, etc.- you should not try to exactly duplicate a swing. Learn the fundamentals and make your own swing! Trevino didn't swing like Nicklaus and neither would have made it to the top if they tried to copy each other, but they both had correct alignments and fundamentals and they made the best use of their own style.

5. Okay, out with it - what is your handicap and what is in the bag?

Well, with a constantly sore back and left shoulder I've been able to maintain a 4 handicap. If I could get more time to practice and play at least once a week that would help! In my bag: Tom Wishon woods & irons, Miura & Epon wedges, Positive putter.


Lindsay said...

It's crazy how much skill is involved in a swing when the pros make it look so easy. I guess it's like anything - free throws, swinging a bat, etc. I should make a point to take a golf lesson this summer. I need the help!

Apryl DeLancey said...

I would highly recommend a lesson or more if you can. I was amazed at what proper instruction did for my game!