golferBy Jeff Gilder

On behalf of The Golf Director as a “semi-official” amateur voice, and speaking for other amateurs, I’d like to broach a subject that has been bugging me for a while. I’ve noticed that most teaching pros (that I have met) attempt to teach amateurs as if they already posses many of the skills, habits, and “swing memory” of the pros. I’m going to address one example in this blog. I mean absolutely no disrespect to our teaching pros, merely a tip for you to consider.

First let me set the stage with letting you know about my game. I’m 58 years old and I am currently playing at a 26 handicap. Yea, I know, you’re really impressed…right? You’re probably thinking that whatever I’m doing is apparently not working. I think one thing that is causing some of my issues is that I’ve somehow managed to put a belly in the middle of my swing…not too sure how to fix that since I love food…and beer. I’ll address how to use a belly to your advantage in future articles. When I was playing at least once weekly I played pretty consistently at a 15. I did have one brief period when I played at a 10 and have had a few rounds in the mid 70’s. So, when I can play regularly, I have a decent golf game. My biggest golfing problem has been finding the time to play on a regular basis. I sometimes go through long lay-offs when I do not play for a year or more.

When I have been away for a long period, it will take me several trips to the range to regain the muscle memory and loosen up the joints and muscles. It seems to be taking longer with each layoff. The joint thing is relatively new. Something I have learned (on my own) that is helpful to me, is to begin my “comeback” on the mats instead of going straight to the grass. Yet, I have been advised (in the past month) by teaching pros to NEVER hit off the mats. We don’t play the game on mats, we don’t practice on mats. We practice on grass. We play on grass. Well, I have some experience that most teaching pros do not. I am an amateur! And I experience long lay-offs from time to time. I’ve tried both methods and taking out the variables of the the uneven surfaces, and adding the consistency of the mats, helps me develop my “swing memory” and consequently speed up my comeback. Once I begin feeling some regularity and tone in my swing, I then move to the grass. After I’m in some sort of groove and playing regularly I rarely use the mats.

So, the purpose of this blog has been merely to pass along my tip. I have the utmost respect for our teaching pros and highly recommend beginners find a pro from which to learn and that veterans find a pro for the often needed refresher. There is no substitute for getting lessons and advice from a pro, but I do believe some may have forgotten some of the challenges we amateurs face.

Remember, you’re never too old to begin the game or to make a come back. Be sure to come back to Myrtle Beach! But while you’re away visit our community at Check out our 24/7 golf talk radio. FORE!