World-class golf instruction at Grand Cypress and ChampionsGate
Part of my assignment this week in Orlando included a couple of lessons from two of the best golf schools in the world – the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf, followed the very next day by a session at the David Leadbetter Academy of Golf at ChampionsGate.
There are many times I realize what a cool job I have. This was one of those times.
Nothing against the club pro who gives lessons as part of his or her many duties, but top-notch golf schools basically do one thing and one thing only ? teach golf.
They use every technology available. They incorporate fitness training and mental techniques. They educate themselves constantly on the golf swing. And they really do know how to make you better.
Perhaps that’s why so many golfers are sour on golf instruction. They may have taken a lesson or two locally without much, if any, improvement, figuring it’s just wasted money.
But what if you could see improvement right away? Or how many times have you heard this one: “In order to get better, you’re going to get worse first.”
I don’t think the latter statement has to be true, and a lot of instructors would agree with me. Two that come to mind are the Orlando’s area’s Fred Griffin, director of the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf, and Ron Grotjan, a certified instructor at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at ChampionsGate. Both managed to get improvement from me in just an hour or so after diagnosing my flaws and prescribing fixes. I only wish I could have had a week at either facility.
Griffin, a Top 50 instructor who has been at Grand Cypress for more than a quarter of a century, put me on the ModelGolf technology, which really makes instruction into an almost exact science. If you’re a visual learner like me, there’s nothing better.
He fed all my embarrassing physical attributes into a computer ? height, weight, waist size, jacket size, IQ (just kidding about that one) ? and it spit out a stick-figure swing of the average tour swing based on my build. Then the computer overlaid a video of my swing over the model to make comparisons. No guess work, some opinion, but mostly science showed where my flaws were, starting with address. I won’t bore you with the details, but after a few simple adjustments (which seemed drastic to me), my consistency, swing path, ball trajectory and “smash factor” improved dramatically. It didn’t take long.
The very next day, I improved my score by 11 shots over the previous day. And yes, the lesson had everything to do with it. I never got in trouble on the course ? not once ? en route to a 78 (37 on the back nine) from the blue tees on the International Course at ChampionsGate.
So knowing I had made these gains, I was almost reluctant to ask Grotjan at the Leadbetter Golf Academy to work with me on the full swing, but in the end I decided to let him try to build on what Griffin had helped me accomplish. That was a good decision.
Grotjan, who used to work for Griffin at Grand Cypress, gave me three more fairly simple cues, and amazingly, those concepts also improved my short game. He compared my swing motions to those of Ernie Els and Fred Funk, a couple of tour players who work with Leadbetter, in side-by-side video. It was easy to see where we differed, and how I could get closer to what they do. Seeing that and Grotjan explaining how I could get closer made all the difference in the world.
For the price of a new set of pro line golf clubs you could spend two or three days at either of these two great golf academies. I’m pretty sure that the benefits of top-notch instruction would surely produce more gains than a new set of sticks.
If I win the lottery, I may return for a month.
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However, not fair to golf pros... and in my situation... an independent PGA Teaching Professional. I may not have the facilities... or the most current (Translated: expensive) technology... However... I give a great product and service to my students... and they do see results. I have testimonials upon testimonials to verify that statement.
I study the game because I want to offer my students the best... and while I am all in favor of technology... how much of it is used once the student leaves the lesson tee? I've taken many lessons from top instructors... I have handouts of bio-mechanical references to my swing, DVDs with lines showing me my plane and where I should be (26 degree launch angle while the ideal is 27 degree... hmmm), and stats that compare me to Tour players. However, when I get to the practice tee... I don't bring my DVD player with me to watch while I'm practicing and the stats, charts, and handouts rarely give me feedback when I'm practicing (I think that was 27 degrees?).
I do use video and minimal training aids... because in the real world, I don't see many students using the many training aids that they purchase on the practice tee... I mean who wants to look silly hitting balls with straps, contraptions, and various equipment strapped on them? I offer golf drills to my students that enable them to see and feel the results.
I would be more than happy to offer you a complimentary lesson at the facility I teach at in the west Orlando area. My motto is: "Good instructors don't create students... they create golfers." Perhaps I may convince you that even without all of the latest technology there are those of us that offer a great product without the student having to "win the lottery" to experience improvement and enjoyment from this great game.
Sorry... I think my comment might have more words than your article! :)
Thank you for the great article and good golfing to you!