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The best golf lesson we have ever had

 

Arveen, a young lawyer, has just had the best golf lesson he has ever had.

Arveen and I over the last few months have been experiencing the honeymoon period. Everything we have done together has worked. Arveen has been hitting the ball longer, straighter & scores have lowered.

However after a two week holiday with no golf we have hit a speed bump.

Arveen has developed the shanks!

Arveen started the lesson shanking the ball and spent most of the hour shanking it (a particularly nasty golf shot that hits the hosel of the golf club and goes sideways right!).

 

Shank

 

To me golf is a game, with puzzles and we had a puzzle to solve in our hour together.

If you are not already aware I like you the golfer to be able to solve the puzzles by yourself.

So my first question in this session was:

Me - Where are you hitting it on the club face?

Arveen - No idea

I promptly hand Arveen Athletes foot powder, ask him to spray the face and then figure out where he is hitting it on the clubface.

After a few shots.

Arveen - Out the hosel.

Me - Ok how are you going to solve this problem?

So for duration of the lesson I let Arveen struggle to solve the problem in front of him.

I asked him 5 minutes in.

Me - Why I am I not telling you how to solve this problem

Arveen - I'm not sure

Me - If I tell you what to do if this happens say when you are playing golf will you have the skill set to solve this problem?

Arveen - Probably not no.

Me – Therefore we need to develop your skill set so you can?

Arveen – Absolutely

 

“In sterquiliniis invenitur”—in filth it will be found.

What you need most is always to be found where you least wish to look.

 

Occassionaly throughout the lesson I would probe Arveen with questions, such as:

  1. In the last three months what feels in your swing have worked for you and why?
  1. Let’s experiment. I want to you to play about with these swing feels…
  1. Exaggerate that feel. Ok where did you hit that one on the club face?

 

Near the end of the lesson Arveen figured out how to hit the middle of the club face again pretty much by himself. Arveen now has the beginnings of a skill set to coach himself.

Arveen then asked an interesting question at the end of the lesson.

Arveen - Is this normal?

Me – Is what normal?

Arveen – hitting the ball so poorly after a period of success. I feel like I have gone backwards.

Me – Ha ha, yes completely normal and everyone experiences regression when trying to improve, this is the best lesson we have ever had!

Arveen – Really….How come? (Looking rather perplexed)

Me – Think about your career as a Lawyer, have you learnt more from your successes or failures? I bet you have walked away from some day’s/weeks feeling like you are the worst lawyer in the world? Learn much from those days/weeks?

Arveen – Sure loads.

Me – Well today one was of those days. Improvement in performance is not a straight line up wards. It’s full of peaks and troughs. Today we hit a trough, and you figured out how to deal with that trough. Well done.

 nonlinear performance graphCourtesy of Oliver Morton

 

Here’s the dilemma, I could have told Arveen exactly what to do and his shank would have been cleared in 5 minutes.

If I had what would have Arveen learnt?

 

 

Here’s what Arveen had to say:

 ‘Even after a terrible performance for 90% of my lesson with Pete, in a strange way I feel more comfortable going onto the course after the lesson. Not on the basis that I will necessarily play well every time, but that I will be able to make the necessary adjustments on my own to help and get me round if it does all go wrong again. Indeed the first game after we had a lesson, I started the first few holes off poorly, however managed to sort my game out and played great for the rest of the round’

Arveen

 

Arveen

 

I'm interested to hear your thoughts, do you think I should of told Arveen what to do straight away?

If so why?

 

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Craigmillar Park Golf Club, 1 Observatory Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3HG

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