First and foremost, I believe that taking lessons from a pro like Andy Fisher (The Kansas City Country Club head pro) is the best way to either learn the game, improve your game or save your game. I need someone to put my feet in the right position or say “turn your shirt buttons back toward me” or remind me to tilt my left shoulder upwards when I have a driver in my hands. I need the give-and-take and the immediate feedback that you get in a real live lesson.
Lessons are physical events – grips are adjusted; stances manipulated; backswings modified; downswings altered; head position secured … You have to do a lot of things right if you want the clubhead to be square at impact. A pro can tell when you are holding the club too tight or if you are getting greedy and swinging a touch too hard in order to get an extra 10 yards off the tee.
If there is one thing that taking lessons from Andy has taught me, it is: I will need another one sooner rather later.
While I KNOW that taking lessons from a pro is the best way to learn, I do enjoy “reading lessons.” Not surprisingly, many of the BEST-EVER GOLFERS agree with Andy.
“There are a lot of ways to play good golf, but they all have one thing in common: a steady head.” -- Jack Nicklaus (b. 1940), winner of 18 Majors
THE HIPS -- “I should say that the most important movement of the swing would be to start the downswing by beginning the unwinding of the hips. … There can be no power, and very little accuracy or reliability, in a swing in which the left hip does not lead the downstroke.” -- Bobby Jones (1902 – 1971), winner of 13 Majors, including the Grand Slam in 1930. At that time, the four Majors were: The British Amateur, The (British) Open, U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur.
“More than anything, I focus on getting my left shoulder stretched behind the ball as I complete my coil. You don’t want too many specific thoughts on backswing positions. If you just get your hands nicely on the club at the set-up, keep a soft grip pressure, and then think about getting the left shoulder behind the ball as you turn, you will achieve a good coil and plenty of power.” – Ernie Els (b. 1969) won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The (British) Open Championship in 2001 and 2012.
“Whether you are playing a full driver or a 5-iron or a wedge, you make no conscious variation in the way you perform your swing. Without knowing it, your swing will change slightly as the length of the shaft of the club changes.” – Ben Hogan (1912 to 1997) won nine Majors: Masters 1951 & ’53; U.S. Open, 1948, ’50, ’51 & ’53; The British Open 1953, and the PGA, 1946 & ’48.
“Different people have different swing tempos. Myself, I have a fast rhythm. So does Nick Price. Then look at Ernie Els and Fred Couples. They have slow rhythms. You should swing with your natural rhythm, one that reflects your temperament. The key to a consistent swing is learning to repeat the same rhythm, be it slow or fast, with each swing.” -- Tom Watson (born 1949), winner of eight Majors.
ON CHIPPING: “I keep my eyes focused on the back of the ball. After impact, my eyes stay focused on that same point.” – 15-time Major winner Tiger Woods (b. 1975), from his book, How I Play Golf.
“It is hard to judge the strength or thickness of the sand – a very important matter – because you are not allowed to touch the sand with your club. However, you can plant your feet firmly in the sand when addressing the ball, and after a little experience you will be able to estimate the strength of the sand by means of a pair of well-trained feet. – New Yorker Jerome “Jerry” Travers (1887 – 1951), winner of the U.S. Amateur in 1907, ’08, ’12 & ’13 and the 1915 U.S. Open
“Solid contact is as important with your putter as it is with your 5-iron.” -- South African-born Nick Price (b. 1957), winner of 3 Majors – 1994 U.S. Open and the 1992 & ’94 PGA.
Down The Fairway!