For most South Dakotans, the winter is a time for watching golf on television and waiting for those first few days of spring. Generally improving the golf game is not something that is at the forefront of our minds.
In 1988, I was a freshman on the golf team at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At the time, I certainly believed I knew a few things about the game of golf. As a high school player I had moderate successes in tournament golf and by my senior year had received a few scholarship offers. There was no reason for me not to believe I had the game figured out.
At one of the first team practices, our golf coach, Duane Knight, asked me a simple but life-changing question. He asked, “What are you trying to accomplish in your golf swing?” The blank look on my face must have said it all. I had no idea. Coach Knight knew immediately and began to explain what I now know as The Ball Flight Laws.
That day I learned something about the game of golf. But best of all, coach Knight made me write it down. By writing it down, I was able to go back and relive the lesson over and over. It became part of my knowledge and understanding to the game. Almost twenty years later, I still have those notes and refer to them almost daily.
At my golf academy, students are encouraged to bring a small notebook and take a few notes after our time together. This basic but effective practice is a place for students to begin to create their own personal golf history book.
This golf season, take the time to write a few things down. A swing thought that seemed to produce positive results. Is there a pattern to your shots? How about a new chipping or putting technique you picked up? Keep track of anything that comes to mind about your game. These ideas and notes become a roadmap of where you have been and where you want to go. Golf is an individual game with many ways to be successful. To improve as a golfer, you must know your history or what we call your golf fingerprint.
Twenty years later it’s hard to imagine that one question and a simple suggestion changed the way I teach the game of golf. So I ask you, “What are you trying to accomplish with your golf swing?”