“Let’s just put your swing on video and then have a look”.

These were the first words spoken to an older golfer when he went for a golf lesson recently. After the video was taken the golf pro pulled up some footage of Tiger Woods to make some comparison.

“You’re an imbecile”, said the golfer. “I’m 76 years of age and how on earth can I swing like Tiger Woods?”.

It’s not a bad question. Video coaching can be entertaining and at times useful, but it’s a bit of a cop out. Coaches hiding behind technology is a worry. Although it seems like a good idea, having all your so called swing issues pointed out doesn’t make the improvement process any easier. I can remember when I first starting taking lessons with a prominent coach – each session started with video and markings drawn on a screen. Yes, it’s interesting and kills some time, but did it help?

I’ve gotta say no. The hard part is taking what you see on the screen and doing something useful with it. Knowing that your back swing is too long is one thing, learning to do something about it is another. But it goes deeper than this.

Why is a long back swing bad for you? Should you change it? Video instruction is an outdated “fixing” mindset – the pro’s always looking for something to fix. Yuck. The fixing mindset forces you to always be thinking about your technique and swing. Double yuck. There’s very little room for exploration and enjoyment. And you are certainly not encouraged to buck the system and just go play. Triple yuck.

My playing partner yesterday was the 76 year old lesson taking golfer. He hasn’t had another lesson because he said he didn’t enjoy it and was made to feel inadequate. I don’t blame him. What in the world does Tiger have in common with him? I bet this coach teachers everyone the same way. Boring. Imbecile is not too far off the mark.

Where’s the fun?
Where’s the learning?
And what on earth can be taken away from a lesson like this?

He was interested in my thoughts about coaching. I told him that I make golf learning a bit similar to riding a bike and driving a car. There’s not so much emphasis on technique and more focus on learning, performance and fun.

“I’ve been saying this for ages! Golf should be made simpler, not harder. This sounds like something I’d be interested in”.

Perfect. Another client. I really hope the coaching industry works this stuff out eventually – but not too quickly, because they’re good for business.