In the first of a new series, I am interviewing the influencers of the game of golf. Whether they play for a living or coach for a living, I go out to pick the brains of the games best to see how they can help you and your game.
This week is the turn of the bestselling author of 'The Practice Manual', Adam Young, who shares his expertise in years of research in lowering scores of all levels of player:
‘What would be your ideal practice routine you share with golfers’?
Concept….are they aware of what’s happening.
1, Ground strike – Ability to strike a divot in the correct place with an iron and controlling height with the driver
2, Face strike – Whether it is off the toe, heel, centre, bottom, top, very important to recognise where the ball is struck.
3, Controlling clubface aim at impact
We can all recognise when we’ve hit a poor shot but rarely can a higher handicap golfer recognise exactly where it’s come out from. I’ve had golfers shank the ball during sessions and I’ve asked them what they think they did with the shot and they believed they’ve topped it as it didn’t get airbourne.
A lower handicap golfer needs to focus on face and path relationship.
I recently had a good player who was pulling it but I noticed the path was anywhere between 5 and 10 degrees right as he was shutting the face down substantially. His answer to the ball going left was to swing even more to the right. This is an example of concept where his correction was to swing to the right but made the ball curve more left and also affected the low point of the club and fatted and thinned more. Identifying what has happened can help fix them without even making a change.
‘Skill v Technique – Whats the difference and why are they important to distinguish between’?
Throwing a ball into bucket. The skill is throwing.
Technique would be bending arm, when did you release the ball
A skilled person can get the ball in the hoop with numerous technique.
Too much stock is put in swing motion and not enough in the skill. Very commonly when I ask an amateur what they are doing to hit the ball better they mention things such as turning shoulders to 90 degrees or following through. They can still miss the ball with gross motor patterns (big movements) which look pro-like. Working on skills, such as ground contact, centeredness of strike and clubface control will always improve results
I change technique when it correlates to inhibiting skills. For example, if someone is moving their head around all over the place and struggling to strike the ground correctly, we may look at changing this directly - although a better head movement can often be reverse engineered from improvements in the skill of ground contact
When working on face I would tend to favour more external factors in helping achieve better face position at impact such as constraints such as a gateway which shows the starting direction of the golf ball
Higher handicaps and beginners need coordination. Take the example of a beginner who tops it all the time. Something as simple as identifying if they are able to strike the tee and watch that fly in the air, that will enable the ball to also fly in the air. Guiding their concepts is massive.
Better players know this. But now lets develop skills or awareness. Good players don’t always known they are
To the coaches out there…..never over estimate what a pupil knows. Always test them to gain insight into where they are striking. Always question to gauge their thoughts.
‘What 2 or 3 things do you feel are the magic formula to break 80’?
Completely depends on the individual. I've seen some great swings but their strategy is terrible. Often not knowing how far they hit the ball when
Play as safe as you can. Doesn’t mean not using driver, aim to different parts of fairway, aim away from trouble. Miss in the right place. Play to the heart of the green.
For example, hit a shot into green away from hole, possible 3 putt 20% of the time, that will cost you 0.2 of a shot. Whereas if you hit into water, drop, average player will get up and down 20% of the time that will cost you 1.8 shots everytime they go in the water, therefore costing you 9 times the value going in the water compared to going for the heart of the green with the risk of a 3 putt. Even if I hit it close to the hole, say 10 foot away, the average amateur is holing 10% of those.
Let your mistakes work for you and not cost you. Avoid the bad, don’t necessarily go for the hero shot.
‘If someone said to you what level could I get to what would you say’?
I would look at coordination.
The ‘Dan plan’ is a good example (http://thedanplan.com/about/), if you develop technique, skills etc to be a pro there are still many ingredients to get to an elite level.
My Trackman scores are as good as Poulter’s and Rose but I would crumble on the course as I wouldn’t deal with pressure very well.