Why is Golf Instruction so Confusing? | Joe Ditzel

Golf is a difficult game to master. Fortunately, all golf instruction is consistent so you can easily learn the skills you need.


What I meant to say was, there is so much conflicting advice and different ways to do things I don’t know who to trust. One instructor told me, “You should hit a fade.” Another said, “You need to learn to draw the ball.” Huh?

I consulted my library of 40,000 golf books. It didn’t help:


“You’ll never play good golf if you don’t hit the ball hard.”
Tom Watson – Getting Back to Basics

“Appreciate the sensation of swinging the clubhead through the ball as opposed to hitting at it.”
David Leadbetter – Faults and Fixes

“The pursuit of power is one of the most dangerous things in golf.”
Jim Flick – On Golf


“Trigger your downswing by rolling your left ankle toward the target.”
Golf Magazine – Private Lessons

“Initiate the downswing by shifting the hips toward the target.”
Golf Magazine – Private Lessons

“The downswing begins by turning your left shoulder down and to the left.”
Corey Pavin – Shotmaking


“Load up the power in your backswing. Now is the time to coil your upper body as much as possible.”
Ernie Els – How to Build A Classic Golf Swing

“Never swing the club past the horizontal position at the top of your backswing.”
David Leadbetter – Faults and Fixes

“As long as the left side is in control, you can get away with dipping below parallel. Ben Hogan did in the early part of his career.”
Tom Watson – Getting Back to Basics

Ball Position

“Some great golf minds like Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan advocate one standard ball position, just inside or opposite the left heel.”
Tom Watson – Getting Back to Basics

“The driver and a teed-up 3-wood are the only clubs you want to play off your left heel.”
Harvey Penick – Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book


“Many players associate a wide stance with greater stability and power. That’s a mistake.”
David Leadbetter – Faults and Fixes

“Use a wide stance. The best drivers played from a wide base.”
Jim McLean – The Eight Step Swing

Head Position

“If you’re trying to keep your head down during the swing, you may want to re-think that advice after looking at David’s impact position. He looks past the ball and more down the target line through the hitting area.”
Mike McGetrick analyzing David Duval – PGATour.com

“’Head Down’ is one of golf’s oldest mandates and it still makes good sense for the majority.”
John Jacobs – Practical Golf


“You only have to look at the wide variety of putting styles on Tour to realise that there are no set rules when it comes to putting. Jack Nicklaus, for example, crouches low over the ball with an open stance, while Greg Norman stands very upright and closed. Fred Couples putts with his left hand below right on the club, Ben Crenshaw grips the club conventionally right hand below left, while Bernhard Langer separates his hands on the grip completely. Mike Hulbert, an American player on the USPGA Tour, even putts one-handed!”
Tony Johnstowne – Master Your Short Game

It is all crystal clear once you see it on paper.

Joe Ditzel is a humorist, author and keynote speaker.

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