What I Personally Learned From Butch Harmon and Jim McLean

It's not often that a golf coach is privileged to learn from multiple World Golf Hall of Fame Teachers at the same time and place, but that is exactly what happened at the 2015 PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit. This summit occurs every other year and is located in Orlando, FL. It gives a chance for golf instructors from around the world to learn from the best teachers in the history of the game, and find insights to bring back to their own clientele.

The best part about the summit this year was being able to watch live lessons from these legendary instructors. The PGA of America did a great job creating a learning environment that made it possible  for the audience to clearly see how the lessons were given. Each teacher started by sharing pertinent information about the student they were working with, had the student hit balls, then their golf swing was recorded and displayed on large screens while being able to see the ball flight from a simulator.

Here are 4 "Pearls of Wisdom" from Butch Harmon and Jim McLean:

1) Find the cancer of the golf swing: Butch said this statement several times, and it means find the one element of the golf swing that is the root cause of many faults. Once this element is fixed, a golfer will see several other improvements as a result. If the "cancer" of the golf swing is not addressed, then a golfer will be working on several compensations and have a mind filled with clutter, rather than one precise thought that leads to quality contact.

2) It takes no athletic ability to stand to the ball correctly: Another tip Butch said several times emphasizing the importance of pre-swing fundamentals (grip, aim, stance, posture). Most poor golf shots can be avoided if a golfer can address the ball properly, but these basic need to be practiced and perfected on a regular basis. Often times a golfer is focused on technical parts of the swing and gets poor results because of overlooking pre-swing essentials.

3) Rhythm and balance can mask poor technique: A great tip emphasized by Jim McLean that should bring hope to all golfers. Even if a golf swing has technical flaws, if the player can be free of tension and make a balanced and rhythmic motion- good shots can happen! The opposite can be true of a technically sound swing that lacks grace and composure. Tension kills the golf swing. Make sure to incorporate rhythm and balance into practice at the range, but especially to shots on the course.

4) Always prioritize ball flight over how the golf swing looks: In the live lesson conducted by Jim and Butch, they were able to get their student to hit the driver solid in straight after about 5 minutes! The student went from a low hooking shot, to a high trajectory with little curve by making small changes in the grip and stance. Quite honestly, the new swing didn't look as appealing on video, but the quality of the contact and ball flight had drastically improved. Even though we all want our swing to look like the tour players on TV, there is no better feeling than hitting great shots on the course and watching your golf ball fly straight toward your target.

Quality golf coaches understand the importance of continuous education. At MY CHICAGO GOLF, we are proud to keep expanding our knowledge about golf instruction and look forward to sharing more insights from the brilliant minds in the golf industry.