On Instruction, Part 4

Jerry and I started this project with the hypothesis that by using the energy techniques he's developed over the past twenty years, we could work together to radically improve our golf games. I've spent the past three weeks writing about the possible value of outside instruction, but what I haven't done is really measure our success in terms of that initial hypothesis. Once I began to use that yardstick, the question about the need for instruction got much more clear.

We've been working on this project for less than a year, and the improvements we're already seeing strongly suggest that our hypothesis was accurate. We've both improved markedly. Our short games are far stronger than they were. Jerry has seen improvement throughout his bag on full swings, and while the long irons are still proving to be a challenge to hit consistently, the distance he gets from his hybrids, coupled with how well he hits his 7-iron, 9-iron and wedges, should already be enough to get him close to his initial goal, which was breaking 90 regularly. I'm still working on the more basic goals of hitting my shots straight and with some power, but things are clearly getting better. Over the past couple of weeks, on a couple of occasions I have hit my driver straight to about 180 yards. That may not seem like much, but I literally cannot remember the last time I hit a truly straight drive. Sometimes I even hit a hook now, and though that's "bad," it shows very clearly that my swing is changing. I used to push-slice horribly almost one-hundred percent of the time. And about a week ago, I went to the range and hit a three-quarter 7-iron about 110 yards. Again, that may not sound especially impressive, but until recently I've been unable to hit an iron longer than a nine at all.

My initial goal when we began the project was to break 100, and I gave myself five years to get there. Based on what I'm seeing, I think there's a good chance I'll manage my goal before the end of 2016.

So back to the question that has occupied me for the past few weeks: what defines good instruction? A good measure would be the student's consistent improvement, don't you think? Based on that metric, the instruction Jerry and I are currently receiving is quite good indeed.

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