Last week, I gave my first official lesson on the TTW principles at the driving range. (Ben was still in New York watching the early rounds of the U.S. Open, so I was on my own.)
The clients were a couple of friends, both women in their mid-to-late 50’s who had quit golfing a couple of years ago because “the game quit being fun.” They couldn’t play well enough to be comfortable and lessons didn’t help. They approached me last week after going to the driving range and having an awful time. Apparently, the layoff did nothing to help their swings - neither of them could hit the ball at all and simply swinging the club “felt bad.”
One of them has been a client of mine for the last couple of years and understands centering in the context of the gym, while the other was completely new to the idea of centering and conscious movement.
As we started, I asked each about their long-term goals, as well as what they hoped to accomplish today. The long-term goals were to have more fun playing, while connecting to themselves, the course, and the game. The short-term goal was to be able to swing without feeling discomfort or pain.
As with everything that I do, I started by teaching them to center and find an open flowing breath. Even though one of the ladies had been a client for a couple years, the idea of centering in this environment was new and helped her expand her concept of centering.
From there, we worked from centered stance, to centered grip, into a centered swing, and even covered a centered pre-shot ritual. Essentially, we worked on most of the things Ben and I have been exploring and writing about for the last 18 months.
By the end of the lesson, both were hitting the ball better, and with more confidence. Most importantly, they were smiling. My client raved about her ability to turn her shoulders and use her core in order to create pain-free swings. When I asked her friend how she was doing, she smiled and replied with, “I cannot believe how good I feel!” With that I gave them some homework and ended the lesson.
Over the last year I have watched many people receive lessons. The response ranged from blatant frustration to grimly focused determination to get better. Until today, I have never seen a lesson end with smiles and a declaration like the one I heard today.
Two women who had all but given up on playing golf, due to the frustration of one-size-fits-all instruction and less-than-fun playing experiences, found hope and inspiration that they once again could enjoy a game they both love. I would call that a complete and totally successful debut for the program that Ben and I have created.