What Makes A Good Teacher

By Tim Graves, PGA

Have you tried to teach yourself?

Have you tried to teach someone else golf – like your child, your wife, your husband?

Have you ever taken a lesson from a professional?

Have you ever attended a golf clinic/school/camp?

Golf Teacher’s Motto:

“If you’re going to teach golf, accept the responsibility of having an impact on people’s lives and work every day to be help your student obtain their goals.”

Last Year, I (Tim) was honored to be awarded the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) South Central Section’s Teacher of the Year.

Part of the selection process (which lead to the award) includes answering questions about my teaching philosophy, discussing what I have done in the past year and finally, what I consider a good teacher. This and reading a few recent blogs got me thinking….

What Makes a Good Teacher?

Whether teaching yourself, working with others, or being the student, what should you look for in a good teacher?

What does the Graves Golf Academy strive to attain with every one of our students?

Here is my “Top Ten” points I think everyone should look for in a good teacher.

1. There is a program for improvement, not just a single lesson. A single lesson is like putting a “bandage” on the swing/golf issue. It doesn’t “cure” the problem, only covers it up until it “falls off”. When working with a student, the teacher MUST teach the student how to “self-teach” or become their own best teacher. 99% of a golfers practice occurs by him/herself – to improve, the student must be able to “self-teach”.

2. Goals for improvement should be discussed along with a “realistic” time frame. Nothing in golf is an “overnight” fix – NOTHING!  Every golfer can improve – the pace of improvement depends on his/her practice time and quality of practice. Practice DOES NOT have to be “range time” – in fact, the most effective practice can be done inside, without hitting golf balls, etc…

3. There should be an equal emphasis on short game and long game. Never forget:  70% + of the scoring occurs in the short game.

4. The entire game of golf should be taught – NOT just the golf swing. Meaning, a good instructor will teach short game, long game, course management, mental game, rules of golf, club fitting, flexibility/fitness, etc…

5. Concepts should be explained, demonstrated and shown in an UNDERSTANDABLE manner in “bite-size” pieces. Too many look at the golf swing as an “elephant” ….  What is the saying…  “When eating an elephant take one bit at a time.” If the student understands WHY a change is needed, there is a much better chance the change will occur. In other words, a good teacher will explain WHY changes are being taught.

6. Information “overload” must be avoided.

7. The student should be given drills and or training aids that will turn new concepts into habits. It is impossible to break old habits, the key is to create new habits. Making the new habits “stronger” than the old habits. Drills and training aids will greatly enhanced learning these new habits.

8. The instructor should use VIDEO ANALYSIS as a feedback tool. Video is the BEST way to bridge the gap between perception and reality and fact and feel. If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, a video is worth a million????

9. The instructor must understand everyone “learns” a little different, and he/she should be able to teach the student in a way the student “learns” the best. Some learn by feel, some learn by what they see, some learn by what they hear, many learn by combinations of the three. A great instructor will quickly figure out how their student learns and will teach in that manner.

10. The instructor should have a “passion” for the game of golf and for the student’s improvement.

My recommendation for you, whether teaching yourself, working with others, or taking a lesson, is to follow these 10 points.

Use them as a guide, and you won’t go wrong.

This is our philosophy at the Graves Golf Academy which is set up to aid you in playing your BEST GOLF EVER!!!!

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