If only one person could fix what ails your golf game, then whose instructional wisdom — past or present — would you seek?
We have all needed help with our respective golf games at one time or another. If you could seek the advice of just one player or instructor — past or present — to help you, then who would it be and why?
Please email your response to editor Stuart Hall. In order to publish, please include your first and last name, along with your city and state of residence.
After teaching golf for 16 years, I read my first golf instruction book in 1985. I discovered that the author and myself shared the same approach. This great teacher has also influenced the teaching of many other outstanding teachers.
That book was written by Bob Toski. He inspired me to write my book.
I would choose the legendary hall of famer Harvey Penick. He kept things simple and the emphasis was on the student.
Jack Nicklaus. If you physically could swing like him, why wouldn't you? The best major championship record ever — won 18, finished second 19 times and third nine times. At four majors a year, that's 11 1/2 years in the top three. Copy that.
Green Bay, Wisc.
My vote is for Harvey Pennick. He kept it simple. Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Mickey Wright and Kathy Whitworth stand up as a pretty good resume to me. Most of his magic was being done pre video, let alone before a launch monitor. I figure he'd watch me hit about a dozen balls, make a simple comment, walk away and I'd start hitting them out of the middle of the clubface.
Unfortunately he is gone, but I would want Pete Cooper to help me with my game. Pete was a longtime Florida professional, having won the Florida Open eight times. I was fortunate to work with Pete during my time as a member of the Florida State University golf team. Pete had a very effective way of communicating that made learning easy and was a great help with my game. On top of his teaching ability, Pete was one heck of a fine person. Glad to have had him in both my golfing and personal life.
Mike Malaska, instructor at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Canyon, Ariz. Highly effective communicator with excellent teaching skills and experience coaching golfers.
Steve Treadway, local PGA Pro. He starts from the putting green and works back. Emphasis is always on key skills essential to the specific individual. Posture, ball position, always have a target are mandatory.
I would select the late Tommy Armour. When Ben Hogan practiced, other tour professionals would stop to watch him. While Hogan had a great swing, it really only worked for him. I think his famous book Five Lessons damaged more games than it helped.
In Armour’s day, he was the pro the other pros watched. He was a wonderful ball striker and an excellent teacher. After Lawson Little won the 1934 British and U.S. Amateur championships fighting a hook, he went to Armour, who changed his stance and ball position. Little successfully defended both titles in 1935. Little credited Armour with his success in golf. Little would turn pro, and won eight tour events and the 1940 U.S. Open.
Armour won the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA. He retired from competitive golf in 1935 and continued to teach in Boca Raton and at Winged Foot Golf Club, where he was also a member. He was known to teach while sitting under an umbrella with a drink in his hand. His book, How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time (1953) was a best seller and still one of the best instructional books around.
My choice would be Chuck Cook, a teacher who did an hour-long presentation in front of MetPGA pros one spring about five to seven years ago. His insights and tips for covering the ball with your irons were very helpful to me at the time, and I wish my notes from the session were less cryptic, because I could really use a refresher. I have been attending that meeting each spring for many years. It always features such a presentation, often from bigger names — Jim McLean, Butch Harmon, Sean Foley, Michael Breed, David Leadbetter, etc. — but Cook's thoughts have been far and away the most useful.
Butch Harmon because he has been very successful, but, even more importantly, he does not seem to try to reinvent the swing each time. Instead tries to make only the adjustments needed to improve the swing.
San Francisco, Calif.
There is no doubt that Todd Anderson is the best instructor. Elite professional players seek him out. Former tour commissioners, among others, do as well. And he is great with average players like me. I am a 9-handicap. Todd, in one lesson, was able to diagnosis my issues by watching me hit several 7-irons and drives. His combination of instruction and video review is comprehensive and easy to take in and understand.
Todd runs The Performance Institute at TPC Sawgrass.
Instructor: Sandra Post.
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