Forget David Leadbetter- Golf Instruction has regressed in the last 50 years
Golf instruction, especially that offered by celebrity instructors such as David Leadbetter, is very different than it used to be, and the average weekend hack is suffering as a result. Sadly, he doesn’t even know it.
Every time I open Golf Digest or watch The Golf Channel in the afternoon, I see the newest and latest training aid developed by David Leadbetter. And every time he creates something new, whether it’s the Laser Guide, the Leadbetter Swing Setter, or his new interactive DVD, he is promoting the same fundamentals, and guaranteeing that his new training aid will get everyone who picks up a club into the elusive slot position.
For years I tried to pay attention to Leadbetter’s instruction, and for years I only came up with the same results - a nice early wrist set and a lot of sideways shots. It seems like every piece of instruction he gives in the “Leadbetter’s Lessons” section of Golf Digest is far too complicated and technical to be of any benefit to the average player. What happens when a guy who plays every other Saturday picks up a magazine and goes to the course the next time thinking about the position of his hands? Bad things.
If the average player really wants instruction that will have a positive and lasting effect on his game, he needs to look to the ghosts of golf’s past for simple and effective tips. Before there were interactive CDs, Harvey Penick was telling his students to “Swing the Bucket.” When amateur golfers would have had a stroke at the idea of spending $25, much less $100 on a training aid, Penick called the common weed cutter the best swing-training tool (no pun intended) available.
Another thing that makes Penick and Leadbetter’s instruction so different is that Penick actually gives strategies for playing the game, not just strategies for making the club position look good in the mirror. No one can dispute that the most challenging part of golf is learning to deal with part of the game played, as Bobby Jones said, on the “five-and-a-half inch course” we all deal with on a daily basis, and most of Penick’s lessons take this into account. Dave Marrandette communicates this difference perfectly in a recent response to Chris Baldwin’s blog of the day on Michelle Wie: “First, it’s whine, whine. Then she shows a complete lack of understanding of the game. Michelle, have you ever heard ‘ifs and buts were…(you fill in the rest).’ David Deadheader needs to counsel her on more than the technical aspect of the swing.”
Amen, Mr. Marrandette.
Many of Leadbetter’s students have a very similar swing, and obviously his tutelage is working for several of the world’s top golfers; what he doesn’t seem to understand, or what he certainly doesn’t admit that he understands, is that the same swing doesn’t work for everyone, especially those of us who can’t devote hours to practice. I’m no expert on the golf swing, but this is irrefutable, and it is a fact that Harvey Penick brings up constantly in his writing.
Penick’s books are so full of knowledge and interesting anecdotes that they would be worthwhile for a player of any level to read. While modern technology might have made older courses obsolete, hotshot millionaire instructors will never be able to make Penick’s Little Rainbow of books a thing of the past.
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I used to teach tennis full time, and when I was quite a young man I learned of the perils of burdening students will too much technical information. You see, when you think too much, paralysis by analysis can result.
Leadbetter is as amateurish as instructors come; he knows all about the form but nothing about how people perform. He knows nothing about teaching.
Ledbetter coached her for free after the 2003 Sony Open and she hired him after she turned Pro.
She played at the Sony Open because that is what it says on her bag and she was invited to play again.
Ko Olina allowed her access to their golf course and she turned down a chance to play at the course where she nearly won the SBS at Turtle Bay (and did win her US Open qualifier) to play in the Fields Open for her old friends at Ko Olina.
The Hawaii Golf Association who supported Michelle with grants so she could play in Mainland events recently was presented with a check from her for $50,000.
She will play in the Deere this week out of loyalty to the folks that sponsored her last year. It is a fact she has recieved many invites to other more high profile venues.
She will play at the 84 Lumber out of respect for the Hardy's who opened their golf course to her to practice on over the years. She already donated $250,000 to local hospitals with Maggie Hardy.
She will play the Omega Masters for the folks that she represents at Omega.
She will play in the Casio this year because they invited her last year.
One would have to admit that Michelle has not forgotten those who gave her a hand up along the way Spencer.
Next season Michelle's schedule may look quite different from what it was this year and then again maybe not. She obviously believes in loyalty which is almost a forgotten quality in todays world.
Personally, I don't really like the way Leadbetter presents himself on television, and I"m not sure if I would take free advice from him even if he offered.
One-Putt: The only reason Spencer mentioned Wie was as a reference to a comment I had made on another blog. It had nothing to do with who Leadbelly teaches. Stick to the damn point!
Then when they go off track, they disappear.
When M.W. was 12 I got to see her up close and personal at the PGA Junior Championship in Ohio. Of course, she did not win this, nor did she ever return to try it again. This is one of her "wins in her mind".
Back to M.W.'s swing...it was gorgeous. Now it looks leaned forward at address, and out of balance throughout...to a finish that looks like an Oak about to fall forward.
Bet Leadbetter also teaches read your own putts, forget the fact you are paying someone to help you out...
Remember being out in California a few years ago and I met and played with a gentlemen who had the Leadbetter School come to an outing and do a hands on clinic with the host company. All employees were "urged to participate, regardless of ability". The guy said "they were the most arrogant bastards he had ever been around and they screwed up his swing for about 6 months".... the guy was a 3 handicap.
Tired of Leadbetter and Wie...
Thanks for mentioning Michelle's charitable ways. This is a fact that is rarely mentioned in the news or on these blogs. She has not been a pro golfer one year, yet she has given more money to charities than the entire LPGA touring ladies.
Typically the first thing people do when they start slicing the ball is to aim further left and turn the club face in, this may provide a temporary fix that allows a slice to stay in the fairway. However, this actually exaggerates the slice. We are taught that our aim is based upon the position of our feet and this is true if our swing does not have a slice or draw. Opening the stances actually cranks the shoulders out to the right, which is why this exaggerates the slice.
So how to fix this problem, well the easiest way to fix this problem is actually to close the stance down, aim more to the right. Sounds crazy, perhaps, but what we are seeking to do is bring the shoulders through squared up and aiming down the center of the fairway. Start by lining your feet up aiming straight down the fairway, now move the front foot in two to three inches towards the ball and move both feet back two to three inches. This will square the shoulders up and provide solid square contact as you follow through the ball.
Now it is time to go to the range and try it out, this is probably the easiest way to fix a slice, now if you start drawing the ball at the range it just means that there has been an over adjustment and then just use the same techniques as above except in the opposite directions.
bought the swing setter and it's in my closest,
never to come out again. I can't get it to work
for or against me!
And although I must admit to buying Golf Digest
and watching the Golf Channel, everytime I read
the swing tips, I remember my golf pro telling me
that The Golf Channel is good for her business.
Everytime a student tries something after reading
a golf magazine or watching the golf channel, they
come running back to her to repair the damage - haha.
As for Michelle Wie...one of the saddest stories in
sport if you ask me - such potential being abused,
exploited and wasted by those who should care and
AKA Chix with Stix
1.-12 majors not only with one player faldo price els.never one teachers get this
2.-his students are very good players but not only works with a good swings and mechanic swings bart brian robert allenby are not the examples with the leadbetter swing, but are a good players too
3.- trevor immelman works with leadbetter and is the leaderboard the 3rd day in masters.
4.- david says to his teachers never touch the swing directly if is not necessary he works more time with the dinamic aspects and the adress.
5.-i continue using this sistem and i know a diferents, jacobs golf in machine etc but it is the best thing that i can help to my students.
about michelle wie, his swing is better than 2004 for diferents things but it,s possible she doesn,t feel mentally ready to play and practice but that only knows herself.
Your problem is that you have such a lack of knowledgey you don't know which drills of his to use and which you shuld leave alone. If you were to decline his free advice you are an idiot. I think if Warren Buffet gave me some advice I would take it. Sorry Warren but my buddy gives me all my investing advice.
Why Lead better is such a great teacher because he makes the swing simple and uses a drill for feel. Of course your 25 handicap makes you more of an expert than all of those players on the lpga, pga, seniors and other tours across the world. Penick was great but doesn't 1/10th the majors Leadbetter has. I read every Penick book, watched every video and he was great. But he is no Lead. I've been to his academy several times and my improvement is amazing. After years of trying to figure out why I sucked through lessons magazines, videos etc. They not only showed me why but how to fix myself by looking at my swing. All swings are different and they all have faults that causes misses. He can tell you why you hit the shots you do and tell you what to do to work on it.
I have had many lessons with him, He understands feel and technical players. Oh yeah does he ever mention in any of his books to think about on the course. UH No you assumed You practice your technique and it will carry over to the course. He has also written many articles about why the average hack tends to think so much on the golf course.
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