I‘ve been a fan of Dave Pelz for years now. He probably has forgotten more about the short-game than most people know. A smart thinker, he has made those little shots popular for serious golfers and shown the importance of having a better short game.

Having been taught his system and read all of his books, I always thought there was something missing. And that something was better instruction on how to learn to apply his technique.

In particular, how I could apply his methods without getting bogged down on positions and swing theory?

If I’m honest, my first attempt at learning his pitching and putting stuff put my head into a spin. Not sure if this was me going too far (I tend to do this) or the lack of clear rules to follow but I certainly lost the plot.

At the worst, I developed the putting and pitching yips – unable to take the putter away and so concerned about my swing positions, my pitching skill went out the window.

I think Pelz has experienced the same thing with his pupils. His latest book, Golf Without Fear, makes it very clear that automatic (being able to perform the motion in a free flowing and carefree manner) is incredibly important. Here is a passage on learning to hit pitch shots:

“…I want to show you exactly what constitutes a perfect reference swing. You need to understand the details of this swing motion so that you can internalize its feel and commit it to muscle memory. Please don’t misinterpret what we’re doing here:

I want you to understand what your perfect pitch swing looks and feels like so you can learn it, feel it, own it and then forget about it. I’m not going to teach you to think your way through your pitch swing. That’s not what you want to do.

Instead, I’m going to have you first understand it, and then learn it well enough so that it automatically comes out of memory as a habit, without thinking about it, when you use it.”

Please read that statement a few times. What Pelz is highlighting here is the automatic process perfectly. I’m not sure if his earlier works touch upon the importance of natural learning so explicitly – maybe if it did I wouldn’t have gotten myself in such a mess.

He is stressing the importance of learning the skill well enough so you can forget about it and then play with it. And you do this not by having to think your way through the swing. He gives you some basic reference points and that’s it. Later he mentions about finding your natural swing, not trying to copy him or someone else. All up

This golf instruction is as good as it gets. You can check out his latest golf book here – I strongly recommend it.