So I watched one video on YouTube from this guy Shawn Clement. And immediately went "Hmmmm...". And then another. And then another. Hey, they were free so why not? And the things he was saying were starting to make total sense. Let's face it, there's a zillion different methods (stack n' tilt, etc), and just as many famous instructors (McLean, Leadbetter, Haney, etc). Locally, Paul Sliva of Van Cortlandt Park GC is widely considered the best. But whatever works for one person, might not work for the other. I for one, was sick and tired of having to check and remind myself of every position in the golfswing while standing over the ball. Too much technicality going through your head when swinging the club, and it just sucks the joy out of the game.
"Toronto to see that golf teacher I was telling you about" I replied. Cue wifey's eye roll, a smile and "Well then, off ya go". This also gave me an opportunity to visit a buddy who lives in Toronto, drink some proper beer, and return to the country I adore where I spent the majority of my school years.
Upon meeting Shawn at his home course Richmond Hill about 1/2 an hour from downtown, I just had a good feeling immediately. Having faith in what he was speaking of in watching his videos and dvd set (highly recommended) helped matters. I'll admit I was slightly confused that before we even picked up a club, he said "Come with me, before we do a thing, you need to meet Skelly". Skelly as it turns out is a biology type class skeleton he keeps in his indoor teaching area, and it might be the greatest instrument ever in showing what the body is capable of, and more importantly incapable of in a golf swing.
So this is where things get tricky. And by this I mean, I'm the student, and Shawn's the teacher. Therefore me trying to explain his philosophy in a few sentences would be a losing battle. What I will poetically say is this.... "Shawn Clement is the shit."...Haha.
If I was asked to sum up the way he teaches, it would be that he keeps things simple, and shows the way a golf club should be swung, without letting too many other elements get in the way. Those elements namely being your arms not crashing into the body, a smooth rhythm, and mental focus on swinging towards your target. Thinking about hand positions at the top of your swing, massive weight shifts to your right leg (if you're a righty), and all the other things that make your brain into scrambled eggs standing over a ball aren't even considered or allowed. If your set up and grip are proper, your expected rhythm correct, and mind on swinging towards the target, it will blow your mind how well your shot will go towards your intended target. Notice I didn't say "Hit the ball". That might be Shawn's #1 rule of thumb. You never hit the ball, it just gets in the way of your nice rhythmic swing. It's genius....
In closing, many thanks to you Shawn, and to my wife for green lighting an amazing early birthday gift. I'll leave you with a conversation I had with a charming British gent named Steve who had flown in for 24 hours in order to take a 2 hour lesson.
Me: "You really flew all the way from Newcastle for one day and a 2 hour golf lesson?"
Steve: "Absolutely. Mate you'll understand that 2 hours with Shawn is like 2 months with anyone else".
Have a fantastic 2012 golf season!