The Art and Science of Teaching

Golf is part science and part art. The same can be said of coaching. Until recently, coaching really was an artistic pursuit, with those able to paint the most imaginative pictures and give the best ‘feels’, being the most sought after teachers.

In recent times, the landscape has changed for coaches and players. Technology has entered the arena. This has had a great effect on what we know, but it could also be suggested that it has had a detrimental affect too.

As I mentioned, golf and golf coaching is part art and part science. The mixture of the two is dynamic and varies on a case by case and every changing basis. Technology like launch monitors, 3D machines and putting devices have allowed the coach and player to have a more informed choice. Indeed, I embrace all of those things in my teaching as many modern coaches do. But there is a danger with being lead by technology. It is very easy to only be able to ‘teach by numbers’ and just like ‘painting by numbers’ it can lead to a very narrow and uncreative product. It is also easy to get carried away and obsessed with one degree here or one degree there. The most important thing to remember is that golf is not played in laboratory conditions in a flat and perfect environment. It is the elements, the changing of the lie and all the intangibles of the golf course that make golf such fun and require a player to craft their ball round.

It is easy to lose site of this. At IJGA, the coaching team and myself are versed in modern technology. But we are also trained in the emotional intelligence, people reading and human interaction. The coach is the filter for information, and as I have said before, “A great coach doesn’t show all they know, they use all they know without showing it”. So it is vital that a coach can base their advice on facts but keep the language, vocabulary and information simple enough for a player to digest and use.

IJGA coaches embrace modern training methods which do not require technical perfection at the expense of skill mastery and art. Moreover, they morph the two aspects of art and science to create a player with a great technique, great practice habits and one who’s golf IQ is high too!

By Jonathan Yarwood

IJGA Director of Golf

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