How to Stop Giving Bad Golf Advice According to Top 100 Golf Teachers

Be careful with the advice you give on range.

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Welcome to Play Smart, the game improvement column and podcast from editor Luke Kerr-Dinan to help you play smarter and better golf.

I was at the local driving range the other day trying to mind my own business when I heard a couple of golfers talking across several bays. One of the golfers was hitting the ball and it looked like he was in trouble. His friend, a more experienced golfer, tried to help him.

The advice was not unsolicited—indeed, the first golfer turned to his friend for help—and it was all well-intentioned. But at least from my place in the house, I felt confused. There was talk of wrist pivot, club release, pace, and feet. Words flew everywhere, as did the first golfer’s shots.

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I didn’t mean to be what man and waltz there, but watching the exchange really inspired me to reach out to a small group of GOLF Top 100 teachers to ask a simple question. How not to give your friends bad advice when they ask for it and ruin their game even more?

Their first sentence was the most important: Refer them to a qualified PGA coach for a lesson. In fact, one cannot underestimate how important this is to any golfer who is serious about getting better. But apparently they also know that this is not always possible. When you’re in the middle of a round or halfway to a bucket on the driving range, you can’t drop everything and go to class. You are trying to get better right now.

That’s what they say to do in those moments.

1. What do they WANT to do?

Ed Ibargen, Duke University Golf Course says the best thing you can do for your friend is to change his mindset. Instead of hearing them panic about what they don’t want to do, let them be more positive. Ask them to think about what they really want to do.

“Most people have too many swinging thoughts in their heads; they get confused thinking about what NOT to do,” he says. “Ask your friend to mentally confirm what he wants to do before the swing, and then just step in and DO IT. They will be surprised how this positive clarification of the “pre-shot” will help them make much more accurate shots throughout the round.”

Joe Plecker of Landings Club says that maintaining positivity is key.

“Voicing complex swinging thoughts when someone is struggling is the opposite of what should be happening. To really help someone, start by asking them what they are working on and how they feel. This gives insight into the player’s mindset and physical cues. Once you’ve done that, only make suggestions for setup (handling, alignment, posture, ball position) adjusting their ball flight results – and always stay positive in your feedback.

2. Get back to basics

After that, help your friend check boring things like where they are in line, says Travel Coach Tony Ruggiero, and make sure it matches what you see.

“Ask where they are aiming,” he says. “It’s amazing how many golfers do other things to make up for a bad goal. Ask where your teammate is trying to hit the ball, what is his or her goal. Then confirm that they are aimed there. Give them feedback. Help ensure that the face and feet are pointing correctly and that their shoulders, hips and forearms are at right angles to the target line.”

Often something that can help your friend with this is practice before the shot, says Carol Preisinger of the Landing Club.

“Preparing for every practice shot is very helpful as it helps someone with grip, posture and target alignment,” she says. Whatever you do, DO NOT say “lower your head,” “keep your left arm straight,” or “slow your swing.”

3. Clubface is king

Now that they are in good spirits and in better posture, focus their attention on the baton. If they miss correctly, the mace is open to their target on impact. If they are missing on the left, the clubface closes. Clubface is the king of golf, so focus on him.

“The best thing they can do is ask their friend what face, trajectory, and contact collision conditions created that shot.” Brady Riggs of Hualalai Golf Hale says:. “No ridiculous theories about why it happened, just facts about why the ball does what it does.

John Dunigan of Applebrook Golf ClubI agree.

“Let’s be honest, you don’t really know what you’re talking about, so stick to the advice on how your friend pitches a golf club with an open or closed face,” he says. “That way you won’t lose your friends and you can actually help them.”

Sometimes like Kelly Stenzel of The Boca Raton Club says:it means helping them learn to play with the shot they have instead of fixing it completely.

“Offering them to act out a slip might be the least disruptive,” she says. “If the golfer is cutting, let him aim for the cut, or for the purpose of reducing the curve from left to right.”

And if nothing helps…

“Offer to buy them a beer.”

Luke Kerr-Dinin

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Luke Kerr-Dinin is Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and In his role, he oversees the brand’s game improvement content, including how-to, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumnus of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina Beaufort golf team, where he helped lead them to a national NAIA ranking, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to complete his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. . His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

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