These are lessons that I witnessed personally, or saw the video that was made during said lesson. All of these definitely contributed to me wanting to go into teaching.
1. A well know top 20 rated pro gave a friend of mine a lesson. My friend was in his early 60’s and a solid 10 handicap. Over time, his stance got more and more open and he liked to whip in straight inside and hit a big push draw. He kept opening his stance because one day he saw on the Golf Channel that if you had the hooks, to open your stance more. Every time he got the hooks, his stance got more and more open. It got to the point where he was aiming 50 yards left, starting the ball 30 yards right and trying to hit a draw…and when it got bad enough, he couldn’t draw it anymore. A block was all he could hit. So he goes for a lesson to this big name pro and what he got was this. Use a 10 finger grip and that will help you get your right hand more involved so you can get the club to roll faster.
The result was a duck hook or a shank. That was 8 years ago and the shanks appear every so often. He is so screwed up, me trying to tell him to square his stance fell on deaf ears.
2. I was standing on the range several years ago and was listening to a top 10 rated pro give a lesson to a fellow club member as I was hitting balls about 10 feet away. This fellow member had a very long arm swing, very little shoulder turn and created what I have now dubbed a “passive cast.” This big name pro tells the guy to try and stab himself in the left hip with the butt of the club after impact.
The result was a torn rotator cuff on the very first swing.
3. I saw a top 100 pro tell a guy who was coming over the top…”Try and drive your right elbow into your right hip to start your downswing. The entire lesson consisted of the guy trying to do that and the pro saying, “more.”
The result was the guy got the shanks and quit golf within 3 months.
4. The pièce de résistance. I saw a video of my best friend getting a lesson. I was involved in getting myself to the Tour and my friend lived over 100 miles away, so there was no ability for me to teach him. My friend had a great natural swing and started the ball left and hit a fade. A well known Southern California teaching pro told my friend that a fade was over the top, a flawed shot and he needed to hit a draw. I will not embellish, I will be absolutely accurate and tell you what ended up being the final swing sequence after an hour of inserting several swing keys…and I am going to be literal and say the exact words the pro used.
Swing as inside as you can, even try and hit your right foot with the club head as you take it away.
At the top of your swing, you want your right palm facing directly behind you at the camera (that was placed in the down the line position). The pro then made a backswing for the camera, put the club perfectly on plane and the club perfectly square and said, “you can’t hit the ball from here.”
To start the downswing, try and drive the inside bone of your right ankle into the ground.
Drive your left knee at the golf ball (yes, the left knee…and yes, my friend is right handed).
As the club is starting the downswing while driving your right ankle into the ground and left knee at the ball, hold that right hand, so your palm continues to point behind you as you are coming into the ball.
The pro then put a bucket (like the kind you get balls in at the range) outside of the target line and said to swing the club out and around the bucket after impact while holding the lag and release.
The theory:Hitting a draw is the longest and the best way to so it is to minimize face rotation throughout the swing.
I watched my friend, who was a 12 before this, do the following till he realized this method was bad…and it took me 6 months to convince him.
He would top more than 50% of his drives less than 10 yards. The kind where you almost whiff and barely graze the ball…also known as a cold top. The problem was, he was a great athlete and once a round he would hit a low screamer into the wind and drive it as far as me and say, “see, if I just do that every time.”
His iron shots would range from a low smother hook that barley got airborne, to a low screamer that would go 40 yards over the green (when he would then again say, “if I could just do that every time”), to what can only be described as shanks that would actually be so bad, they would go more than 90* to the right…yes, they went backwards, as they were so far from the inside, so far off the hozel with so much side spin, they would start 90* to the right and slice.
Chipping and pitching was great. This pro said you don’t need shipping and pitching or putting lessons. If you hit the ball well enough, you don’t need to do those things. I promise this is the literal truth. The good news is, i was able to fix my friend’s short game very quickly as there was no garbage to wade through. It took me two years of a lesson a week to rid him of this nonsense. He got all the way down to a 2, before his two girls were born, now he only plays a few times a year and still is a single digit with a great short game.
For all of you who love clubs and setups and fitting. This pro said that no one needs upright clubs. You need to change your swing to fit a standard lie…and having a flater lie and adapting to that is even better.
The irony is this pro has a filled lesson calender and is one of the most respected pros in Southern California.
I have the video still and my friend and I watch it every so often just to punish him from being dumb. I showed this video to 2 older friends who knew Nelson and Snead and Hogan and were great players in their own right. They cowered like small girls at a scary movie whole covering their eyes to hide from the horror.
The moral to the story: Quick fix tips and new age theories…proceed with caution.