How to Teach the Golf Swing

By Brian Hill
When teaching golf, be patient and encouraging.
When teaching golf, be patient and encouraging.

Amateur golfers are often asked to teach the golf swing to friends, spouses or youngsters in the family. The basic fundamentals of golf are not difficult to explain to a beginner, but not everyone makes a good teacher. Some highly skilled golfers are "naturals" at the game but may not be able to articulate how they swing so effectively. Just as with any other kind of instruction, teaching golf requires advance preparation on the part of the teacher.

Consider the person you're teaching. You wouldn't approach teaching a 6-year-old the same way you would a 26-year-old. The younger the pupil, the more simplified the lessons must be with less golfing jargon such as "swing arc" or "trajectory."

Rehearse your lessons in advance. Make sure you understand the fundamental elements of the golf swing yourself so you can communicate them to your pupil. Consider writing down an informal lesson plan that starts with the very basics, such as grip and stance, and works up to more advanced concepts such as weight shift and the transition from the top of the swing.

Let the person you're teaching take a number of practice swings until the club feels more comfortable in his hands. When you first put a practice ball down for him to hit, recommend that he takes only a one-quarter swing to start, so he gets the positive reinforcement of hitting the ball. When he begins to make consistent contact with the ball, move up to half then three-quarter swings.

Pick out study guides -- books and videos -- to reinforce the training you're giving your pupil. Although videos allow her to see the actual swing in full speed and slow motion, books such as "Good Golf Made Easy" with clearly written instructions and color pictures of the club and body positions during the swing are valuable as well.

Demonstrate each technique you're teaching. Some aspects of the golf swing are difficult to put into words, but if your pupil sees you execute them -- preferably several times -- he'll learn by emulating you.

Schedule regular teaching and practice sessions. If you go weeks between lessons your pupil may forget what she learned in the prior session. Make sure she goes to the practice range between lessons to work on what she's learned.

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