Was thinking about this the other day...what path will the future of golf instruction go into?
Here's some of my thoughts:
1. Trackman and Trackman like devices will be the norm.
It seems like the logical step to me. At the 2011 PGA Merchandise show there was an abundance of these type of launch monitors that not only measure the ball, but measure (or calculate) the club dimensions thru impact. Trackman will likely be the ‘top dog’ in the launch monitor industry with FlightScope right on its tail. Hopefully when we get some people like John Graham (www.johngrahamgolf.com) doing side by side comparisons of Trackman vs. the new FlightScope product we’ll see how accurate it is. But the ‘mini-Trackman’ devices were in full force at the PGA Show, much like the Pocket Pro.
I remember getting a lesson with a PGA professional back in 1995 who used a video camera and drew plane lines on the camera. Back then, that was considered RADICAL and many eschewed the idea of using video at all, regardless if you were using line drawing. I had people saying ‘looking at your swing on video will only screw up your game.’ By 2000, everybody and their mother was using video and drawing lines. So my guess is that Trackman, which has been eschewed by many in the golf instruction community, will eventually become all of the rage by 2015.
2. Casio cameras will be more or less mandatory
The main reason for this is today’s Casio line of cameras are not much more expensive than a decent camcorder, plus you can use the Casio for regular picture taking as well. And the technology for Casio keeps getting better and better. My Casio EX-FH20 cost me $240 which included everything (tax and shipping as well) and I will probably purchase another one of the newer models in the next year or 18 months.
3. D-Plane will be readily accepted and teachers will act like they always knew about it, when they didn’t.
I actually didn’t think this would happen until last month when Dr. Gary Wiren (the main dude that directs the PGA with regards to teaching) was supposedly at the PGA Teaching Summit with the Trackman guys saying how great D-Plane was. Then to top it off, Wiren supposedly (I wasn’t there) claimed that his ball flight laws he outlined in the PGA Manuals were not wrong.
But you get the idea here, it’s going to be accepted and put into teaching and 9 out of 10 instructors will act like that’s how they always teached the ball flight laws. Still though, I’ve seen plenty of instructors memorize the correct laws of ball flight, but putting them into practice is a different story.
4. Putting Instruction Will Revolve More Around AimPoint Green Reading and Putter Fitting
AimPoint Golf is expanding it’s instruction around the nation and now internationally. I don’t think it will be something that is at every instructional facility or known by every instructor, but it will likely become very popular throughout the US and something that every section will have somebody who has heard of it or has learned it.
The problem they face is probably the golfer’s unwillingness to go against their instincts and most golf instruction revolves around the swing while putting is an afterthought.
Since AimPoint Golf and Edel Golf have formed a partnership, I expect that more instructors and more putter companies will focus harder on proper aim. However, learning touch/speed will still fall way behind.
5. Some Stack and Tilt, Then Some Old School
I think for the next 5-10 years more instruction will favor a Stack and Tilt style swing. I think S&T sorta had a ‘hiccup’ as far as popularity goes as golfers seemed to be willing to try it when the first Golf Digest article came out and then it sunk in popularity a bit and now it seems to be making a rise again, particularly with the noticeable similarities of S&T and what Tiger Woods has done with his golf swing. But, golf instruction is a lot like fashion, a trend takes over and then it goes away only to come back years later. My guess is that the S&T popularity will subside eventually and then the trend will be more like a Jimmy Ballard swing with a big move off the ball and then a big move back to the ball. Throw that in with some D-Plane knowledge and more instructors having Trackman and some getting into the 6* 3D machines.
6. Sadly An Old Friend Fades Away
Sadly I believe that TGM will start to fade away. Not because it’s invalid or won’t help golfers, but there’s been a lot of former AI’s that I’ve talked with that are very unhappy with the company’s direction and other instructors who would typically become an AI, but don’t like what they see either.
The rumor now going around is that they do not give the GSED designation out anymore. If true, it reminds me of going to get a job evaluation at your work and them telling you that on a scale of 1 to 5 ‘nobody is allowed to receive a 5.’ Well, what are we trying to achieve then…sub-excellence?
7. The PGA Loses Membership As Well
I don’t hate the PGA by any means, but I often think they do a poor job by its members. Years ago a friend of mine finally got the Head Pro job at a club and was fired for what was a ridiculous reason. I can’t even say he ‘made an offense’ because he didn’t. But where was the PGA to help mediate this matter? Where they usually are…nowhere. And my friend faced the choice of ‘being sent down to the minors’ going back as an Assistant and seeing his pay cut by 2/3rds or finding a new job. He eventually decided to go back to school and get his law degree and passed the bar. But too many pros don’t have those options.
More and more golf clubs do not care if you are a member of the PGA and very few instruction facilities care at all. I think more and more pros seem to realize this and the costs associated with being a PGA Member and have deemed it a waste of time and money.