Monday, May 11, 2009

5 Questions With a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher

Today's guest received the esteemed title as one of GOLF Magazine's Top 100 Teachers. He has been the Director of Instruction and Education for The Golfing Machine, Director of Schools for the PGA Tour, and is now the Executive Director of Instruction for Medicus Golf Institute. Chuck came off the course for a bit to answer five questions:

1. What was going through your mind when you found out that you were chosen as one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers? Did you see this award coming? How does one get bestowed this great honor?

I had been nominated many times before and it was always a pleasure. But this time it was an honor being recognized by your peers and students as one of best. Without them none of it would happen. Selection of the GOLF Magazine TOP 100 is a 2 year process and includes reviews, questionnaires, thorough research, and input from the teaching community.

2. When did you start playing golf? What motivated you to play at first? What continues to motivate you?

I started when I was about 10 but played a lot of other sports as well.

I went to golf exclusively when, in the same year, the football and baseball teams I was on both went to the state finals. We lost on both counts due to someone not doing their job as part of the team. I realized then that no matter how hard someone plays and how well they do their job you have to rely on someone else to do their part as well. Golf is an individual sport and the outcome is soley based on the players performance. Since I am a "Driver" personality I need to be in control of my game.

3. What is the one thing - if there is one thing - that you see most people doing wrong with their swing? Is there one simple tip that you can pass on that can benefit nearly everyone?

Unfortunately there is never just one thing for the average player! BUT, if a player can have a flat left wrist, right wrist for you lefties, from impact to separation they can at least have some clubface control. Ultimately the player needs to educate their hands to do what they want them to do. We have a saying at Medicus Golf Institute, "Control your hands you control the clubface. Control the clubface you control the golf ball. Control the golf ball you control the golf course."

This flat "lead" wrist is the number alignment in golf! You do not see mechanical devices, such as Iron Byron or the Ping Man, or great players allowing the clubhead to pass the hands in the Impact area. Bending the lead wrist causes every shot you can imagine. Fat, thin, left or right, as well as off plane motions. The key is maintain a "bend" in the right wrist, or left for you Apryl! Maintaining this trailing wrist bend is absolutely critical to keeping the lead wrist flat. You can not have enough trailing wrist bend through impact and separation.

4. Do you have any specific tips or tricks for lefties? [ I notice that instructors enjoy teaching me (a lefty) as if they were in a mirror with me but sometimes get confused on directional advice.] Do you treat lefties any differently or approach them in an alternative way?

No special "tricks" the geometry is the same for right or left handed players, the physics is the same, and the biomechanics are the same. It's actually a little easier for the student because, as you said, they can mirror what the instructor is doing.

5. Which PGA touring pros do you feel have the best example of a swing to emulate? LPGA? Do you prefer to model after touring pros or prefer golfers to find their own natural swing.

Stuart Appleby has the best geometry in the game, Tiger has by far the best short game and mental game. Annika, when she was at her best, had the best move in golf. But before her, many years ago, Mickey Wright had the best move of ANY player on either tour!

I don't use models per se, I do show critical alignments of the hands, plane, and the head movement - or I should say lack of head movement. The average player is never going to swing it like Tiger or any of the other Tour Players. They can however take what they have and build precision alignments into their game. Alignments don't care HOW you do it as long as you do it! So we show our players these alignments, what they are physically capable of doing, and then how to use their personal application of these alignments to create a powerful golf stroke.

** A special thanks to BJ for getting the wheels in motion for today's post.


Lindsay said...

What an honor to be chosen as one of the top golfing teachers! I had to smile when he said that the average player has more than one thing wrong with his or her swing. Um, that would be me!

Apryl DeLancey said...

Totally! I'm right there with you!