Learn to Play Golf. First Target, 

Break 100!

Meet Roy

He’s in his mid 50’s, and is married with two grown up children. He works as a management consultant in a large global company. He played football at semi pro level, but hasn’t done any sport for a while. He misses the banter with his teammates and he loves to compete, so he has been looking for a sport he can play for the next 20 years or more. He has a lot of mates who play golf and he gets regular invitations to play in corporate golf days through work. He’d like to be able to join in as he knows he’s missing out on some business networking opportunities through not playing. He had a golfing trip to Las Vegas booked less than two months after our initial conversation, so there was a need to get him up to speed as quickly as possible so he could enjoy the trip.

Friendly advice can be very confusing!

Roy borrowed a set of clubs from a friend and played in his local pub society a couple of times. He had fun but but found it very difficult. His playing partners were kind and tried to help by offering advice, but everyone seemed to say something different, and after a while his head was full of so many thoughts he could hardly start the club back away from the ball.

Watching other people just confused him even more as everyone seemed to hold the club in a slightly different way, or address the ball in a different position. By the end of the round Roy was a bit demoralised and was beginning to think that maybe golf wasn’t the sport for him after all. But he really enjoyed the few good shots he hit, he liked the company and being outside in the countryside and the fresh air.

He felt if he could get to a level where he could go out and play with his friends, not feel embarrassed and slow everyone down, he would really enjoy the challenges that the game offered.

It’s very hard to learn the fundamentals of golf from online videos and eBooks

So, what to do. One of the few pieces of good advice got from his friends was that he should take some lessons. Roy went online to look for information about learning to play golf and was amazed at the amount of information and different types of learning opportunities. A local Google search for ‘learn to play golf’ brought up over 45,000 search results! Clearly the problem wasn’t going to be a lack of information!

But Roy knew that it wasn’t information he was looking for, but understanding. A scroll through the first few results brought up a lot of quick fixes and tips for curing various bad shots, most of which he had hit at some point in his short golfing life. There were eBooks, online learning, video lessons, group lessons, individual coaching, so many options to choose from, it was hard to know where to start.

>Roy knew from his experience of playing football to a high standard, and from his experiences in learning new skills at work, that quick fixes and one off lessons don’t get you very far. What he was looking for was a mid to long term program of steady ongoing improvement. He wanted to learn the basic fundamentals of the game, so he wouldn't get into bad habits which would be much harder to fix at a later date.  He was looking for someone to help him develop a structured plan of what to practice, how to practice it and how often. Someone to keep him focused on the basics and to help him stay on track when things got difficult. Someone who could take all the information that was clearly out there, and filter it down and show him which parts applied to him, and which bits didn't, so he didn't waste his time and money practicing the wrong things in the wrong way.

Not a one off quick fix. Continuous learning and improvement


Roy found my website through one of his searches. During our initial conversation he was kind enough to tell me that it was one of the articles on my blog about how we learn new movement patterns which prompted him to get in touch.

He remembered reading a piece in the newspaper telling him about the hours and hours one of his heroes, Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp spent practicing one single piece of technique, long after everyone else had left the training field, and how he had used a similar approach in his own training to good effect. He understood that quick fixes and sporadic, haphazard practice didn’t make him a better footballer, so why would it make him a better golfer?

Step 1

All of my coaching relationships start with a conversation. One of the first questions I asked Roy was about his golfing dreams, his aspirations. What sort of golfer did he see himself being in 6 months from now, a year from now, two years, five years hence?

Roy said his first goal was to be able to play with his mates without feeling like he was holding the game up, or embarrassing himself. Then he thought it might be good if he could play in some corporate golf days with work and maybe start to compete for the prizes in his pub society. After that he could see himself joining a golf club. His kids would be at the age where they could start learning to play, and it would be a great thing for the whole family to do together.

These dreams and aspirations, these thoughts about what might be possible, are crucial to developing the motivation to take the lessons, to do the practice, to persevere if things get difficult and progress is slow. Sharing that vision of future successes and achievements is one of the key bonds in every coach / athlete relationship, and this one is no different.

Step 2

The second step in Roy’s golfing journey was to introduce him to the understanding which underpins all of our learning and playing experiences. Most people think they need to get the physical and technical side of the game sorted out, before they even begin to think about the mental side of the game. In my experience this is a mistake. Once you learn how your mind works it make the whole process of learning so much easier and simpler. You don’t tie yourself in knots with your thinking as so many golfers seem to do.

Step 3

Once we had clarity in terms of Roy’s ambitions, and he started to see how his mind and body needed to work together to help him learn the game, we were able to start to put together a step by step plan to get him from where he was, to where he wanted to be. For a golfer who has been playing a while, this will involve a series of shot making tests using the GC2 Launch Monitor at the Swing Studio. In Roy’s case, as a beginner he was pretty much starting from ground zero. This is seen as a ‘problem’ by many people. I see it as a great opportunity as there are no existing bad habits or ingrained movement patterns to overcome, so progress will generally be quicker than with a golfer who has started playing the game with poor fundamentals, and has then incorporated some swing faults as a result.

Step 4

We began by helping Roy get a really good understanding of the fundamentals of grip, stance, posture and ball position. Depending on the student, this can take some time, and it can seem boring to some people as there aren’t many golf balls hit in these early lessons.
I try to make them as interesting as possible, not only explaining how to take the grip on the golf club, but also explaining why the hands are placed on the golf club in the way they are. For many people this seems to be the piece that they find is missing from other golf lessons they may have had.

They get told what to do, but not how to do it, and crucially, why it needs to be done that way. They get given information, but not real understanding. Not surprisingly, they forget the things they have been told because they don’t understand the reasons why they need to do them. Most human beings are inquisitive and curious. We learn much better when we know why, rather than just being told “Do this.”

Step 5

Once Roy was setting up to the ball in a correct and consistent manner, we started work on the actual movement of the swing. All movement starts with a thought. An instruction from the brain which tells the muscles and the body what to do. In order for the body to get a clear instruction, the intent of the movement must be very clear. This is where so many golfers get off on the wrong foot when they learn. They start off swinging with the ball as the target, rather than swinging at the place where they want to hit it to. Although this seems very logical, this leads to all sorts of problems later on.

Once Roy had a clear intention for the movement, it was time to put in the hard yards of repeating the movement over and over again until it started to become natural. Think of any complex movement sequence you use on a daily basis, from walking, to brushing your teeth, to driving your car. You are probably very competent at all of these skills. Now have a think about how you learned them, and about the numbers of hours that it took to get as good at them as you are now. Were there quick fixes, or shortcuts? Or did you just take it step by step, repeating the movements over and over again until you got them right, and then continuing to practice them until you can’t get them wrong.

This is Roy’s account of the first 3 months of his golf learning experience.

"Choosing someone to help me with my golf wasn't easy. There were lots of different options available. I made some phone calls and Sam one was one of the few people who was happy to chat about my golf and what I was hoping to achieve. I called into the studio one night and he showed me around and made me feel very welcome.

"As a beginner the idea of having lessons in private, rather than at a busy driving range with people wandering past and watching really appealed to me. The studio is a great environment for learning to play golf. I get a cup of coffee when I arrive, I don't need to worry about the weather, the parking is right outside and it is fully equipped with mirrors, cameras, an Explanar and everything I could want for an interesting and enjoyable learning experience."

"Once we started with the lessons, I was really surprised at the level of detail we went into in learning each element of the grip and setup. For example we spent the first hour of the second lesson just learning how to get my hands on the golf club correctly. By the end of each lesson really felt like I understood what I was supposed to be doing, why I needed to do it that way, and how I needed to practice it in order to make it stay in my brain and allow me to get the correct feelings in my hands and body."


"My friends can’t believe the progress I’ve made in the past 3 months. I really enjoyed my trip to Vegas. I hit some really good shots and got round the golf course OK. I broke 100 for the first time last week and I feel that my putting and short game can still get a lot better. I’m really enjoying my golf and I’m looking forward to breaking 90 soon.”

"I spoke to a couple of friends and colleagues who had had some lessons, and it quickly became apparent that I knew far more about the basics of the golf swing than they did, and they had been playing for a few years. This gave me lots of confidence that I was doing the right things, and I was already starting to see the results on the driving range and on the golf course.

“To be honest, I didn’t spend much time or money hitting balls at the range. I did my drills at home in front of the mirror, and then played at the weekend. When I was on the golf course Sam suggested I just focus on my target and swing freely, trusting that what I was doing off the golf course would turn up in my golf swing. It was so much more relaxing than worrying about my swing and trying something different on every swing.”

“Even when I hit a bad shot, I just went back to basics and believed that my swing would come back. It always did within a couple of shots."



Four Reasons why this approach works, and intermittent lessons don’t.

You don't understand the golf swing

Golf is a simple game, but not an easy game. If you are like the majority of golfers out there you are probably a bit frustrated. You have probably had some golf lessons which helped for a while, but you still hit bad shots, usually at the time when you really need to hit a good one. You play some excellent golf sometimes but are inconsistent. You don't really understand your golf swing, and when it goes wrong you have little or no idea why, or how to put it right. You look at the movement of the golf swing, rather than the thinking which is causing that movement to take place. You listen to the endless stream of free, but not always relevant advice. You know you want to improve, but are confused by the seemingly endless stream of golf tips, hints, advice and new techniques that are freely available from TV commentators, websites, magazines, golf pro's and your playing partners. You seem to be going round in circles. Your long game gets better, but your putting goes off. You are putting well but you keep duffing your chips. You hit the difficult shots well, but then mess up the easy ones. You know there has to be a better way of improving, but you don't really know where to start. There is just so much to think about!

You Don’t Trust the Natural Learning Process

Learning to move is a completely natural and normal occurrence for everyone. We are learning from the moment we are born, hopefully until the day we die. Walking, talking, running, eating, brushing our teeth, driving a car, these are all examples of complex movement patterns we learn over a lifetime. We perform these tasks flawlessly with little conscious thought, day in day out.

Young children and young animals are voracious learners. Watch a child playing with a new toy for the first time, or two puppies play fighting, and you have the best possible role models for the learning experience. They aren't working at it, or trying to learn. They're having an exciting, interesting and stimulating experience. Learning is happening as a by product, without conscious thought or trying to 'do it right'.

Trusting the natural learning process is the key. If you become attached to this thought or that thought, or even worse, believe you’ve found 'the secret', only to find it doesn't feel the same the next time you practice, you find yourself in a never ending loop of searching for the right intellectual answer. Instead, you should turn off the intellect, get quiet for a few minutes, allow your awareness levels to rise and get back to the way children learn: by trying and failing, trying and failing better, until you get a different result.

You Don’t Have Good Awareness of How You Move

It is crucial that we are aware of what we are thinking about when we are swinging. All our movements are initiated with a thought, a signal from the brain to the muscles. If we aren't aware of our true intentions when we swing, changing a movement pattern becomes extremely difficult.

We need to be aware of what we know, but also of what we don’t know. We all have blind spots. We have parts of our golf swing where, to be honest, we don’t really know what’s happening. Why don’t we know? We are the ones gripping the club, swinging it, yet we often don’t have a clue where the club head is in relation to our bodies, the ball or the ground. How can that be? There is a well known saying in golf coaching, which is that there is often a huge difference between 'Feel', what the golfer thinks they are doing, and 'Real', what they are actually doing. The first step to improving is to close this gap between feel and real.
Raising awareness levels of our golf swings, eliminating the blind spots, is the first step in changing and improving our swings. We can’t expect to make changes in the way we move if we don’t have sufficient awareness to feel, in real time, what our body is actually doing during the swing.

Sam Jarman Golf Improvement Packages

I offer the following types of continuous golf improvement packages. Which one you choose will depend on the level of golfer you are now, and the golfer you want to become.

Package Details Price
Initial Assessment 60 minutes £60.00
Six Lesson Package 6 x 45 mins £295.00
Half Day Coaching 3 hours £225.00
Full Day Coaching 6 hours £399.00
Bronze Package 2 lessons / Month  £1500.00
Silver Package 4 lessons / Month £2999.00
Gold Package 8 lessons / Month £4999.00


 

Unsure ? Contact Sam


The first comment I always get when I offer this coaching package to people is:

Wow!!  Why So Much Money ?

It is a big commitment.  Probably more than you've invested in your golf game in one go in the past. But that's kind of the point.  I want you to feel that you’ve committed to the goal of becoming the golfer see in your dreams, and that you’ve committed to the process of making it happen.  Unfortunately I see it so often, where a golfer with talent and ambition comes for a few lessons, and then stops coming because they lose that initial enthusiasm, and other things get in the way.  

They end up back in the same old rut of frustration and mediocrity, not enjoying their golf and wasting their time and their expensive golf club membership. If the 'book the odd lesson and hit a few balls' approach worked, you wouldn't be where you are now.  

Continuous Development works. One off lessons don't

By investing in yourself and in your golf game up front, you are providing some additional motivation for when things get difficult and that initial flush of enthusiasm has waned.  Part of my job is helping to maintain that desire to improve, but I can only do that if a student has shown some commitment in the first place.  

If you decide to take on this programme, and start missing lessons or not practicing, I will be on the phone to find out why, and to find out how we can get you back on track.

Why not cut out your Sky Sports subscription ?

If golf is your main hobby, you spend a considerable amount of time and money on it.  Membership fees, green fees, equipment, maybe a golfing holiday every year? None of this is cheap.  While playing well isn’t the be all and end all, it certainly makes the valuable leisure time, money and effort spent seem so much more enjoyable if you are playing well and hitting great shots and being competitive.  We’ve all been on golfing trips where one or more of the players is having a nightmare.  They aren't enjoying it, and it detracts from the fun everyone else is having as well.  Against this, the investment of one year spent getting your game to a state where you can rely on it, and know you can compete and have fun for maybe the next 10 or 20 years, doesn’t seem like such a big decision.  Maybe cancel Sky Sports for a year, save yourself £500 and spend your time doing drills to improve your golf rather than sitting on the sofa?


Happy Golfers who have improved

  • Well today was breakthrough moment. I have just got back from the Bedfordshire and although playing from the yellow tees I had a gross 80. I am very pleased. Whilst I have done better this year in terms of fairways hit I was only just off for a number today. 10 over par with 5 green hits in regulation. All my shots were significantly stronger.
    - Chris
  • It’s had a pretty immediate impact on my game and got me round the Oxfordshire in -4 net yesterday. I’m obviously nowhere near drilling the sequence in yet but it’s very reassuring to have the sequence checkpoints we worked through to go back to.
    - Rob
  • Well today was breakthrough moment. I have just got back from the Bedfordshire and although playing from the yellow tees I had a gross 80. I am very pleased. Whilst I have done better this year in terms of fairways hit I was only just off for a number today. 10 over par with 5 green hits in regulation. All shot were significantly stronger.
    Chris


Work on Your Game Like a Tour Player, not like a Club Golfer.

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got"

The best players on the world work hard on their golf, but more importantly, they work smart.  They surround themselves with the best people to advise and assist them in their improvement.  The coach is the hub of this improvement process. He works with the player on a regular basis on a plan they have agreed together.  The coach brings in specialists to assist him in areas where additional knowledge is required.  This is how I work with all my players.  I know the golf swing, I know how to learn it, and I know how to think and to play the game.  These are my areas of expertise.  But there are areas where I know my knowledge needs supplementing, and I have a tried and trusted team of people who know how I work, and who I bring in to help me when required.

As I gained more experience as a coach, and worked with golfers of all ages and abilities the same question kept coming up. “Why should this type of coaching and support be limited to Tournament Professionals?”  The golfers I work with love their golf, and are as enthusiastic and as keen to improve as many of the tour players I have met. They may not be as talented, or as athletic, are have as much time available, but they should have access to the same knowledge and expertise and opportunity to find out how good they can be?

I began to share my ideas with some of my longer term students, and we began to put in place some of the systems and processes described here.  The results convinced me to begin to offer this programme more widely.

Don’t do this if you aren’t serious about getting better.

I get asked a lot why I don’t do one off lessons.  The answer is “ I do”. I have a number of golfers who have been working with me over an extended period, who have spent time on the fundamentals, who know their own games inside and out, and who now just like a quick check up now and again.

I also have people who are infrequent, less serious golfers, who just want to fix a bad shot, or sort out their golf before a holiday or a company day etc. But I don’t enjoy ‘quick fix lessons as much as I enjoy working with people over an extended period, looking at all aspects of their game, clarifying their dreams and aspirations and then helping them achieve them.  That is what motivates me as a coach and is the main reason I do what I do.  The buzz I get from sharing in their successes is as strong as me winning tournaments myself.


It’s frustrating to see a golfer with talent and ability, lose interest and stop enjoying in the game because they aren’t getting better, because they have been told that they can improve by hitting balls at the driving range once a week, or by using a particular training aid.  I see it all the time.  The golfer sees a little improvement, but before long the quick fix wears off and he or she is back where they started.  Most adult golfers get to a handicap within the first three years of playing, and then stay at that handicap for the rest of their golfing life.

I know the satisfaction and enjoyment that comes from the journey towards excellence in any endeavour, especially one as challenging and frustrating as the game of golf. It takes time, and effort, and yes, money!  If you are serious about finding out how good you can be, this program will get you there.  If you are looking for a shortcut or a quick fix or think that a few buckets of balls at the range will turn you into the next Rory McIlroy, then I’m actually surprised you are still reading this!

The level of commitment required on both sides to make this program work is not insignificant.  I can only work in this way with a very limited number of students.  Once I have a set number of students enrolled to fill my time, I won't take any more on for that year.  I don't employ assistants, so if you book a lesson, it will be with me.


Sam Jarman Golf Improvement Packages

I offer the following types of continuous golf improvement packages, depending on the level of golfer you are

Package Details Price
Initial Assessment 60 minutes £60.00
Six Lesson Package 6 x 45 mins £295.00
Half Day Coaching 3 hours £225.00
Full Day Coaching 6 hours £399.00
Bronze Package 2 lessons / Month  £1500.00
Silver Package 4 lessons / Month £2999.00
Gold Package 8 lessons / Month £4999.00


 

Unsure ? Contact Sam