By Peter Hudson, president of the
World Golf Teaching Federation of Great Britain and Ireland
So you want to teach your wife to play golf without ending up in the divorce court? First, don't teach, coach. Most husbands have learnt the hard way the perils of telling their partner what to do. With a 7-iron in her hands the injuries could be worse. Coaching is altogether more subtle than teaching and less likely to lead to you retreating to the clubhouse under a shower of clubs.
Second, you will need to know how golf is going to satisfy her wants and needs. What's your wife's motivation for wanting to learn? If she wants to play sport, get fit or make new friends, these are the sort of reasons that will keep her sticking at it. But if her only reason for playing is to keep you happy, you might as well give up now.
Having established that she's serious and (potentially) keen, start by watching videos of women making great swings. After a while invite your partner to copy what she's seeing on the video. Encourage her by giving feedback on how she could swing even more like the image on the screen.
Don't tell her how far away she is from achieving that swing. If you have a good swing yourself (and you need to be honest here), stand in front of your wife, making swings and allowing her to mirror your smooth rhythm. Give positive feedback about the swing, not about the person making the swing.
Only allow your wife to hit a ball when she can successfully hit a tee peg time after time as she keeps in mind a specific target for the ball to hit. It is very important for any beginner that their goal is not to hit the ball but to hit the ball to a specific place. It is also important not to have too high an expectation of achieving that goal. Allow your wife to enjoy her first strike of the ball as a memorable one so that she keeps coming back for more.
Throughout your coaching, give accurate information that helps. Do say: 'You will have much more control if you hold the club this way.' Don't say: 'You mustn't hold the club that way.' Be encouraging, without being patronising. Do say: 'You showed me you have a real talent for hitting good shots today.' Don't say: 'Everyone eventually hits the ball.'
Definitely don't get technical. Golf has its own jargon that to beginners can be meaningless or, worse, boring. Don't say: 'You're decelerating through the ball.' Do say: 'Listen for the swish the club makes through the air and notice how you make it happen as you hit the ball.'
Generally concentrate on the positive - let the negative wither away. Women get different things out of golf to men. Have you ever seen two women on a driving range get out their drivers and see who can hit the ball the furthest? I doubt it.
Women are more mutually supportive than competitive. So get the coaching right and you could find you've trained your number one fan to share your love of the sport.
Feedback accurate information that helps;
Be encouraging without being patronising;
Practice on warm pleasant days with as much privacy as possible;
Only give feedback about the swing, not the person making the swing.
Tell your wife what to do;
Tell her what she's done wrong;
Get technical or use jargon;
Raise your voice other than with enthusiasm and excitement.
More information about Peter Hudson's approach to coaching can be found on his websites
Alternatively, you can call him on: 08700 114 292.
Peter Hudson biography
Thirty years of golfing experience and successful coaching;
Has reduced over 1,000 shots in handicaps since starting as a coach;
Responsible for training golfers to certification level as coaches;
Introduced contract coaching to the amateur game;
First to develop an indoor golf school, unique in Europe;
Helped re-design and patent the latest Denis Durnian swing frames;
Inspired Denis Durnian to his first tournament victory;
Trained over 100 golfers to become professional golf coaches.
President of the World Golf Teaching Federation of Great Britain;
Coach to the Essex County Team.
Europe's leading authority on the Denis Durnian Swing Frames;
Europe's leading authority on the Dynamic Balance System.
Peter is a fully qualified master golf coach with a BSc in sports psychology, NLP Master Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner, member of
the International Association of Hypno-Analysts, member of the National Coaching Foundation, associate member of the British Association of Sports Science and president of the World Golf Teachers Federation of Great Britain.
|| 17 - JANUARY 2005