Bruce sent me a message yesterday which in a sense sums up some of the worries I have been having:
“I have been thinking about your game and progress. We made some progress this summer, but not enough to meet your goals in my opinion. You need me or someone of my expertise to spend more time with you each week. I think you will get better gradually doing what you have been doing, but it will be tough to make your goals. I am happy to help you on this in the future, but I think you should try to find a sponsor to offset the costs of more teaching and coaching time. I think you need a couple of hours a day, 3 or 4 times a week. I know finding a sponsor for this is not easy and may not be possible, but you should try. Food for thought.”
He has a great point. Bruce has been huge for my golf transformation this summer, but as he points out having one hour of lesson time every, roughly, ten days doesn’t seem to be enough mentor time to make the large changes that I need to make in my game. I have seen some concrete results from working with Bruce, but he has also pointed out how my swing tends to revert to previously instilled old habits when I have not seen him in more than a week.
Also, now that it is winter Bruce is leaving to teach at PGA West for the next 5 or 6 months so it will make it more difficult to have his high-quality eyes on my swing. I definitely plan on visiting that part of the country in December or January for a few weeks to see Bruce and try out desert golf, but in the meantime it’s important that I figure out how to get more coaching time with someone of Bruce’s expertise, or devise an alternative solution.
It’s a bit of a conundrum, but one that would be easily solved with unlimited funds. That’s not nearly the case, though, so something else will most likely have to be figured out.
Coaching is a vital part of progress. Even Bubba Watson, who has notoriously never had a lesson in his life says that he has “been lucky, where it’s all worked out for me, but it’s not going to work out like that for everybody” and suggests that people start getting lessons by high school age. He said, in a WSJ article, that “Kids below 10 or 12, I think they just need to learn by playing at golf. Later on, in high school, when they develop muscles and everything, that’s when they need to see about getting lessons.”
I think that I am definitely beyond the under 10-12 level now and see the benefit every time I have a lesson with Bruce. His knowledge of the golf swing and my golf swing it beyond my proprioception abilities.
There is a chance that without any formal instruction someone can make it to the pinnacle of their endeavor, but the odds seem extremely more likely when practice is paired up with high quality instruction. There is always an outlier such as Bubba, but his story is the exception to the rule. Coaching is important, especially for something as technical as the golf swing.
I have a couple ideas at the moment. One is to shoot my swing a couple of times a week and post it for Bruce to check out and comment on. This could help, but is not the same thing as working with someone in person for a quality hour or two. There are definitely other ways about this, it will just take some time to figure it out.
In the meantime, I have been striking the ball pretty well and my driver is starting to make more sense with everything that Bruce has told me over the summer. I have a good bit of stuff to work on that will keep me busy for the next few weeks and hopefully after that can plan that trip to the desert.
I’m not worried about this, just considering my current coaching routine and pondering ways to improve my practice in general. It’s good to question the “whys” and “hows” along the way.