Mike Bender was honored as the PGA Teacher of the Year in 2009 and is one of Golf Digest’s Top 5 teachers. His book “Build the Swing of a Lifetime” was released last year. I highly recommend it to everyone, and it is especially useful as a tool in developing young teachers for instructional programs you run at your facility.
Early in the book Mike quotes Mac O’Grady, who has influenced his teaching, with “A bad swing gives you minimum time to make maximum compensations, and a good swing gives you maximum time to make minimum compensations.” And from there he works to build a swing that requires minimum compensations.
We all know how poorly most amateurs aim. Mike gives a great chapter on how to aim, but follows it with a chapter on how to Practice Good Aim. Unprecedented in all the books I have read, and very valuable to help your students get it right.
Chapter 4 is The Correct Way to Turn, followed by How to Practice the Correct Body Turn.
Chapter 6 is The Four Essentials of Plane, followed by How to Establish an on-Plane Swing.
Chapter 8 is Proper Sequencing of the Arms and Body, followed up by How to Practice the Correct Sequencing.
Obviously there is a theme here, explain the correct moves and then give extensive drills and practice programs to accomplish results. As a teacher the number of drills Mike gives you to train students is invaluable.
Let me highlight two things Mike talks about, to give you a sample and hopefully pique your interest. 1- “Weight transfer is a by-product of the proper body turn and address position. The weight movement, good or bad, is an effect, not a cause.”
2- “What starts the downswing? It has to be the arms and hands, because the hands have to travel a much greater distance than the hips and shoulders do in the same period of time. The first move down should be an acceleration of the arms and hands straight toward the ball.”
Again, this book is a must read, especially for those on your staff who are teaching the player development classes and Get Golf Ready programs. It literally can be used as a training manual for full swing instruction.
As always if you have comments or would like to submit an article of your own for the Section’s e-blast you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Hulbert is the Director of Instruction at Green River GC and Chairman of the Section Teaching committee.