A Lesson Learned: The goal of golf instruction

By Kirk Oguri, PGA
Published on

There were so many great storylines and lessons that all golfers could take from this past week's Northern Trust Open at Riviera. I could have written about how ageless good golf can be, as it was great to see Corey Pavin and in particular, Fred Couples, up near the top of the leaderboard all week. I could have written about how Riviera is a shotmakers course, and that distance is not as important as the ability to work the ball - something all of us could probably work on a little more. And I could have written about how difficult it can be, for even the world's best players, to maintain focus when weather and pace of play means lots of downtime between shots.

But to me, the most intriguing part of the week and most applicable lesson for amateur golfers was the resurgence of Mr. Aaron Baddeley. Many golf fans and teachers have long recognized the talent Baddeley has had, and it was just a matter of him finding his own personal comfort zone in order to flourish on the PGA Tour.

Aaron went through a well-publicized break from his long-time swing coach a few years ago and had mixed results with a couple of different philosophies. However, he struggled on the final day of the 2007 U.S. Open when he entered the final round with a lead and he ultimately went back to his childhood coach, Dale Lynch.

This week's "A Lesson Learned" is not about what swing philosophy is better than another, it's about the fact that there are multiple swing philosophies because there are multiple ways to play good golf. One of the things that we all - teachers and students - need to remember is that the purpose of golf instruction isn't to make a perfect swing, it's to lower scores.

It's important that you find a teacher that you feel comfortable with, whose philosophy makes sense to you, and that you can remain patient and committed as you two work through several elements of golf that will make you a better player.

Baddeley's success this week is not a testament for or against a particular type of instruction. It's an example of what commitment, dedication and patience can do for a golfer who is willing to put in the work with a teacher they believe in.

Kirk Oguri is a PGA Professional at Spring Rock Golf Center in New Hyde Park, NY. He is also the Equipment Expert/Specialist/Tester at Pete's Golf Pro Shop, Mineola, NY. Oguri has played on professional golf tours around the world and is President and owner of A-Balance Inc., a golf product company. You can follow Kirk on twitter at @kirkoguri.In fact, I don't like the term "swing instructor" so much as I do "golf coach." I'll help you swing better, but that's a means to the real goal, making you play better golf, lower your scores and enjoy your time on the course more.  

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