Model Golf Setting the Standard
As a golf teacher I have always endeavored to provide my students with the best learning experience. I have striven to understand the proper mechanics of the game, and use the tools that help me get this information across to my students.
Since most people learn best visually, I began using video when it was first introduced. When video became available on computers, I immediately switched, since it added the ability to include line drawing, video comparisons, and numerous other enhanced options.
As helpful as computerized video is, my experience has shown that there are significant limitations for the serious teacher. Most importantly, when I show a new student a recording of his or her swing for the first time, I have to contend with several difficult tasks. First, I must take all of my golf knowledge, adjust it to account for the student’s size and gender, and then provide an analysis on a swing that I have just seen for the first time.
In addition, although the image of their swing is right in front of us, I must verbally describe what is wrong with their swing. I can tell them that their swing is above the proper “swing plane” in their backswing, but I am never sure that they understand my terminology. Add to this the fact that the definition of golf terms such as “swing plane” differs from teacher to teacher, so even if the student knows the term they may not have the same concept as mine.
The ability to use swing images of good players is also helpful, but with its own problems. I often found myself telling the student to ignore the fact that the player I choose to compare them with is six inches taller and four inches narrower than they are. Add to this the fact that, regardless of the quality of the player I use for comparison, they all do things that I don’t want my students to do.
As teachers, what is the most common request from our students? Is it more distance? Better control of direction? Or is it more consistency? Without question the overwhelming desire of most developing golfers is to have more consistency in their game. How many times do we hear, “Man, when I make a good swing I hit it a mile and it goes as straight as an arrow, but that only happens once in a while. I want it to happen all the time.” As teachers of the game, what can we do to satisfy this customer?
For the past three years I have been using a unique teaching tool, called ModelGolf, that has solved all of these problems. Developed by Dr. Ralph Mann, a biomechanics expert, it has provided me with the ability to be a much more effective teacher. Dr. Mann has performed research on the swings of over 120 of the best PGA and LPGA tour players over the past 25 years, from Arnold Palmer through Tiger Woods. Using computer modeling, he has identified the best swing mechanics, and allows these mechanics to be transferred into any body type.
So now, I can build a swing Model for any student, and have it fit their body exactly. Even more importantly, I can overlay the skeleton on top of the student’s swing, or show them a 3D image side-by-side.
Teaching with this tool is something you have to experience to appreciate. Since the student’s Model is based on the best in the game, and customized to the student, you cannot get a better analysis tool. And, since their Model is sitting right on top of them on the screen, I don’t have to verbally describe to them what I think is wrong – they can see it. In addition, since their Model actually swings with them as they swing, the difficult concept of swing tempo can easily be described.
The ModelGolf system is even more impressive with better players. Since the problems in a proficient player are usually small in nature, comparing them to a Model that is not only better, but also fit to their body, is a major advantage. As seen in the figure, although the low handicap student is in a good position, the improvements that should be made become apparent when their Model is available for comparison.
Imagine trying to convince Tiger Woods that a side-by-side image of any other golfer in the world is better than him. Only with his Model do you have a swing that is technically better than his.
Having taught with the Model for years, I can provide hands-on experience on not only how it works, but how the students respond. My students, whether developing golfers with high handicaps or professionals with no handicaps, men or women, all convey the same message after a ModelGolf session: “I have learned more in the past hour about my swing and how to improve it than any other golf lesson I have ever taken.” I might add that some of these students have taken lessons from some of the “Top Twenty-five” instructors in the U.S.
Beyond the lesson tee, ModelGolf helps me unlike any other teaching tool. At the end of the lesson, a record of the student’s swing (with their Model) is sent to the ModelGolf website, along with a list of the student’s swing errors. With this information, an improvement program is built (or updated) for the student. They can then logon to their password-protected site and review their lesson and use the site to help them improve between lessons.
One of the most useful features of the ModelGolf system is when a student returns for a lesson. When their Model is downloaded from the Internet, a summary of the student’s golfing profile (handicap, swing tendencies, lesson history, etc.) and swing errors from the last lesson are displayed, as well.
For a teacher who has hundreds of students and gives over a thousand lessons a year, this information is invaluable. I no longer have to spend the first 10 minutes of the lesson trying to remember what we worked on during the last lesson. For the dedicated teacher, ModelGolf is more than just a tool. Since the company focus is on teaching, Dr. Mann has a teaching division that helps to make you a better teacher. The ModelGolf instruction staff is in contact with each instructor several times a month to provide feedback from your students, obtain your suggestions to improve the teaching program, answer any questions, or offer suggestions on your current lessons. In addition, since he has been in the golf instruction business for twenty years, Dr. Mann knows the importance of not only a quality program, but one that is always available. Last year my teaching system stopped working. The next day I had a replacement and was back on the teaching tee. With my old system purchased from a hardware company, my downtime was measured in weeks. As a full-time teacher, I cannot afford to be without my teaching tools – a reality that ModelGolf recognizes.
Needless to say, I believe that the ModelGolf system provides the serious golf instructor with abilities that are available nowhere else in the golf industry. In the past two years it has added over twenty locations worldwide. Dr. Mann continues to do his research, and has added short game and putting models to the system. Currently, he is integrating launch monitor technology into the teaching system. As a ModelGolf instructor, you can rely on a continuous flow of new and better ideas.
USGTF Level III and Level IV full-time instructors can be selected to host a ModelGolf Teaching Center. For more information on ModelGolf, please visit www.modelgolf.com and take the Guest Tour. To contact the ModelGolf teaching group, please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.