I want to share an experience that I keep having. Different situations each but it’s still the same thing.
I like to encourage students to be creative with their short game, I enjoy watching players use their sense of adventure, I enjoy watching players not fear failure because they embrace it as part of developing. As long as no windows, cars or people are damaged through that failure it’s all good with me but I keep hitting a roadblock. Maybe it’s the last stand of the old guard, maybe it’s fear on their part for their students mental state, maybe it’s just stubbornness. Who knows?
What I do know is that many golf teachers are stifling creativity, they are forcing solutions upon players that are the lowest risk approach every time… get the ball on the ground as soon as possible, use the least lofted club you can, chip it away from the pin. I used the term golf teachers as that approach is more in line with the common rigid structure of the education establishment who restrict the artistic and force feed the logical. They are teachers.
I want my players to have understanding of how a club works in different ways to produce different outcomes, if they can differentiate they can also adjust. The stifled player who has one motion cannot.
When it comes to decision making I am 100% looking for the choice that provides the greatest chance of success, to assume it will always be to get the ball on the ground as soon as possible is ridiculous and shows to me that the teacher doesn’t understand the variables that the situation will always contain. I like low risk, the connection between that and low flight however is weak at best.
One example of this comes from national squad training in Denmark. All of the groups of players come together for a week of training in the spring, boys, girls, mens, ladies and professionals all descend on the camp and work in a team environment. When assessing these groups around the greens two of them stood out as being way behind. They had the least options when it came to meeting the challenges I set, they selected shots which were viewed as low risk but were also low in getting good proximity for the following putt. They were not risk takers. They were also the girls/ladies. I decided the main issue they had is that they listened. Yes, I did say that. They actually listened to what they have been told, they are good students. The most adventurous group was the boys, this may come as no surprise. The practice session was like a kids birthday party, except I enjoyed it much more than a kids birthday party. It was productive chaos.
This is merely one example of the problem but it’s an attitude that must be prevalent amongst the world of golf teachers.
I enjoy watching skills develop, I feel compelled to allow it, to encourage it and to enjoy it.
So I’ll ask again.
Are you going to take the blue pill or the red pill?