What if you had been hired to be Tiger Woods Golf Swing Coach, how would you handle that? What would you do to make sure that you are giving Tiger the best information possible?
Let’s tee it up!
Welcome, Data Axis Golf, your home for rapid golf improvement and now from the thin air of Rocky Mountains, next on the number one tee, your host Aaron Stewart.
Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Data Axis Golf Podcast. My name is Aaron Stewart. Happy to have you with us here today. I guess “excited” isn’t the best word for this show. I’m definitely feeling quite passionate about the topic of today’s show. It’s not one that I had expected on making. I’ve got some other ideas that have been bouncing around inside my hollow head that I wanted to talk about. But I went to a nice dinner last night with my wife. I love to be with her and we had a nice chat. And then I have a little church group I work with and so I was off to a youth group. So I was off to help them a little bit.
I don’t normally have PGA Tour Golf radio on at night. I’m typically home and not listening to the radio but because I had this other thing to do, I just happen to have the radio on. And I was listening. Nearest I can tell, I was listening to Golf View. I believe that’s the time it just looked up online and tried to figure out what shows were on at that time. But it was last night. I think it was Golf View and they had Hank Haney on as a guest. And the question that was asked of Hank Haney was what he thought of technology and what he thought of these college players use technology and kind of what he thought of technology in general. And I listened to his reply as I tried to keep all parts of my head intact because it was blowing up. I could not believe what I was hearing and so that’s kind of the topic of today’s show. I literally almost drove off the road. I was incredulous when I heard what he was saying.
So the first thing that jumped out at me as he mentioned that when he was coaching Tiger Woods (he was with Tiger Woods for a period of six years), he actually videotaped Tiger Woods swing four times in six years. That’s where my head started to explode because when Hank was coaching Tiger Woods when we were getting into sort of high-speed video and HD video. The video was pretty much the cutting edge at that time, it was the best of technology at that time. And that was what we had. And that’s what we used. Now the video isn’t the end all be all of the technology in the golf swing in today’s game, but back then it was pretty much as good as you could get. To hear that a coach, who had been hired by the number one player in the world to coach him was not leveraging technology just shocked me. I guess more than anything I was completely shocked. And then Hank went on to share an interesting story that Tiger Woods at the Masters had gone out, I believe in the opening round, and had hit 17 out of 18 green. He’s played pretty well. But then the next day when Tiger was warming up, Stevie his caddy at the time and Hank kind of realized that Tiger was trying something out a little differently on the range was messing with the swing a little bit. I guess Hank explained it. They kind of looked at each other, like, okay, what’s he doing, right? He just hit 17 at 18 greens yesterday. What’s he messing with? They’re all sort of worried that he’s going to mess things up. And so Hank kind of went, hey, Tiger, what’s the deal? What are you doing? What are you working on? And Tiger proceeds to set tell him that he had watched the replay and saw something in his swing that he wasn’t comfortable with. And he was trying to work on it. Okay. And then Hank went on to sort of say, What’s he doing? Why would you change anything when you just hit 17 out of 18 greens the day before? And I get it. I get the argument, right? I understand from the old school way that we used to learn and preach golf. We literally believe that you could groove a swing. That swing, would once you got it into a good place, it would just stay there. We now know through technology that that’s complete and total garbage. It doesn’t just stay there. Our bodies are changing daily. And so Tiger brilliantly sat there watching his golf swing and thought you know what, I don’t like that. Now Tiger is probably looking at it going if that continues on, now that he’s seen it, right? Let’s look at now that he’s seen it. He knows what’s going on in his swing. He doesn’t like it. And he probably knows that that move or whatever he saw is not going to bode well. Right? When his game was put under stress that’s not going to work out well for him. It also means that Tiger was swinging improperly, right? He found something that was out of place and somehow or another with his brilliant I hand coordination and with the amount that he’s been able to practice and how well he knows his game, he was able to compensate with that bad whatever it was and hit 17 out of 18 greens. It was a brilliant play but Tiger wisely understood that that wasn’t going to hold up forever. That his timing wasn’t going to be the same today as it had been yesterday and that move whatever it was, was not going to end well for him. And so he tried to fix it. To hear Hank Haney talk about like Tiger was somehow and other crazy to consider trying to fix something that he saw and obviously thought was wrong was ridiculous.
Where I would argue it’s brilliant. It’s exactly what Tiger Woods needed to do. One he’d seen it and he didn’t like it. So he wanted to fix it because he understood the cost of having that go wrong and his swing. He knows his swing. He knows that’s not part of his swing and somehow another with that being part of his swing, he was able to perform the day before but he also knows today is not yesterday and it may not work for me today so I don’t want it. And he tried to fix it on the range. Brilliant! Bravo Tiger! I think that is brilliant.
I was just completely floored at that response to not use technology, the best technology available at that time for the person you’re coaching and always the student but the person that you’re working with is unfathomable. It’s a flat out golfing sin. You cannot coach somebody properly without utilizing everything that’s available to you. All these technologies are brilliant. And I, whoo. I could not believe that. And then Hank went on to say something about he had been talking to David Leadbetter. Apparently, they had some kind of discussion. The back and forth was can any of the new era coaches, right? The young coaches now, a coach without TrackMan. And they kind of laughed and said, No, they can’t coach without TrackMan. And I say thank heavens that they can’t coach without TrackMan. That they are reliant on technology, that they are committed to providing the folks they’re working with, with the best possible information to help them get better. You have to know where you’re coming from.
That reminded me of an experience that we had with a good friend of ours, who had a very unique golf swing. And so we played for years and years and years together, and then he went off to the Extraordinary Golf School and they filmed his swing for him. And he came back and he was really upset with us. He was so upset because the first time he saw his golf swing on video. Again, we didn’t have a lot of videos. There wasn’t we had to, you know, drag out big cameras and stuff. I don’t know if you remember that the big huge Sony yellow thing that used to will out in a big cart and set up the camera and do all that. Those weren’t readily available there like track man is now right. You had to have a get to know our pro and the club had to be pretty high end in order to have a piece of equipment like that. So we didn’t really videotape our golf swings. We just kind of tried to make it work. So he had seen his golf swing now for the first time on video, and it freaked him out because it wasn’t anything he thought it was. And it was to his eye and too many of ours not the prettiest of swings, okay, and so he was like, Guys, why don’t you tell me that’s what my swing look like? And we’re like, dude, we thought you knew. You know, we thought you knew your swinging like that. But that’s the point. He didn’t know. And we didn’t know he didn’t know. And there’s a lot of us out there who probably don’t know what our golf swings look like. And that’s a problem. And that’s a mistake. Because in order for us to get better, we need to know where we’re starting from.
So whether that’s video or whether it’s the use of all these really cool technologies that we have out there, right? Blast, SwingBite, Voice Caddies got some cool stuff. I mean there are so many cool technologies available to us now that are reasonably priced. That provides instant and accurate information that we should be utilizing. All of those things to make ourselves better.
So to go back to David Leadbetter and Hank Haney. Wow! I just could not believe that these two premiere, right? Can we say premier golf coaches who have produced gobs and gobs of content and millions and millions of opinions to hear them bag on technology really set me back? Where I was like, okay. Then all of this golf knowledge that they are sharing with us, how accurate is it? How helpful is it? And I mean, Hank was bagging on the ball, fight laws and bagging on you know, that he could kind of tell where the ball was going based on where the ball is going. And you know what, no, no, you couldn’t. Look, all you guys were teaching us wrong. All these years you used to tell us to hit a cut. We would open up our stance and point the club where we wanted the ball to end at the target. That is not the right way to hit that shot. It’s absolutely the wrong way to hit that shot. The club should be pointed down the tow line so the ball starts there with an over the top swing. So you put a little shape on the ball to move it left to right. But that’s not how we were taught.
We were taught exactly the wrong way. So don’t tell me that somehow or another, you guys figured it all out. And we’re teaching us accurately all this time. Because it’s a flat out lie. You weren’t. You didn’t know. Your eyes weren’t good enough to pick it all up. And technology now shows just how wrong we all have been, and just how poor all of this information has been. All these years, technology has shone a light on golf coaching and has blown it up. So thank heavens for all these young golf coaches for embracing technology and utilizing everything at their fingertips to help their students, to help those their coaching. Thank heavens that that’s the new generation because golf coaching and golf instruction from this point forward is going to leap by leaps and bounds as long as we continue to utilize technology to help us understand. And again, I know that I’m kind of a data guy and love the numbers, but it’s just because the truth is just truth. Science is just an ugly private investigator trying to figure out what truth is, but it doesn’t change the truth. But when we get technology that does a better job of identifying the truth and we start utilizing that technology and that information, then we can improve because truth doesn’t change. Truth is the truth. It’s immovable. So when we understand the truth of our golf swings, what’s really happening, and we get accurate feedback on what’s really happening, then we can really work on stuff that’s really happening and then we can really get better. Buhh! Mercy. I have not felt well. I appreciate everybody. I am not laying on a couch but I probably should be. I appreciate the opportunity to just sort of vent this out there and get it off my chest because it’s unbelievable to me that this would go on.
Please. If you are looking for a golf coach and they take you out to the range and they put their hands in their pockets with no video, no technology, nothing strapped to your club, no TrackMan, no nothing and they asked you to swing? And they say anything more than you look like, you’re a little over the top or it looks like you’ve come on a little bit from the inside. If they say anything more than that just walk away because that’s literally all they can see. The swing is over so quickly and forgets them being able to figure out if your weight shifting. I mean there are very few things that you can pick up with the naked eye that are accurate. And we’ve got hundreds of years of data to back that up because golf instruction has been off for a long time. And now, this really really helps us understand that phrase digging it out of the dirt, right? That Lee Trevino and some of the old pros always talked about. Because these magnificent players, wonderfully skilled players who have great command of the golf ball and their game playing with what we know now to be unbelievably inferior technology as far as clubs and balls and everything goes. To become just masterful at their craft by practicing to literally overcome bad coaching, right? They were hitting cuts and draws and hooks and slices and working the ball towards targets when they were being taught how to set up to hit those shots improperly, which means what? It means they did it so often that they learned what their body had to feel like where they had to position their body to hit certain shots. And all of that experience had to overcome the bad coaching and advice they were getting from people that didn’t know any better because they didn’t have the technology to show what the truth was.
That’s the bottom line. So brilliant. The Lee Trevino, the Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary players that all these guys that were so magnificent that Billy Caspers. I mean the Johnny Mellors. I mean even Tiger Woods became magnificent. Phil Mickelson. All these guys. They were trained without the benefit of really accurate feedback and became magnificent, masterful, giants in their sport. And credit to them for overcoming the bad information we were all being fed. Not because the coaches are bad people, just because we didn’t have the ability to look at something that that lasted a second and accurately diagnose what was going on. So I am so grateful. Again, I know Thanksgiving was a few days ago, but I am so grateful for technology. Please, please embrace technology in your golf game. Whether you’re being fitted for new clubs, embrace the technology, it just will fit your clubs too far better and then when your swing gets better, go back and get them adjusted. Don’t change your swing, your good swing to come to make it work with equipment that doesn’t fit anymore because your golf swings better, Go get it refit, adjust it. Use technology in your golf game. The Swingby is a wonderful piece of equipment for full swing training. The Blast is awesome for putting and I know that they’ve got a version for full swing trading. There are so many great technologies out there that are affordable and wonderful. Kind of difficult to get to learn how to use and we’re going to go over all of these in review and kind of talk about how to utilize them in your golf game. I’m a big fan of SwingBy to use it all the time. Please embrace technology. Don’t be fearful of it. If your golf coach doesn’t use it, find a better golf coach. I mean, video, pieces of technology, whatever it is, there are much better ways to gather information and then provide you with advice based on what’s actually going on in your golf swing. Right? Not what they think is going on, not based on ball flight, not based on whether they think your swing path is over the top or underneath the plane or whatever. Real data to help you get better. That’s the point that’s the purpose embrace it, just embrace it. And anybody who knocks on technology doesn’t get it and I’ll bet if we brought in the CEO and The Board of Blockbuster and ask them if they had that meeting all over again with Netflix. If maybe wouldn’t go a little bit differently this time, right? Instead of saying hey, Netflix, yes streaming Good luck to you. There’s the door where the big blue and gold box stores all over the country. I believe they now have one, right? Where next Netflix is, you know, the behemoth.
In fact, in California last week, we got off the airplane and there was a yellow cab, right. A whole line of yellow cabs. I’m great, you know, there’s a minivan. So we took the minivan to the hotel, and I asked him, I said, Hey, how are things going, you know, with Uber and the whole thing and he’s like, things are terrible. You are my first ride and four hours he sat there for four hours. So the yellow cab is a blockbuster. And Uber is Netflix and watch that disaster go on. Yellow cabs in big trouble. We used Uber for the rest of the trip. It’s just a freakin convenient, right? With the app. Oh, they’re two minutes away. There’s this picture. That’s what this car looks like. Oh, and by the way, I’ve already paid for it. Quick button for a tip. Done. Mike. Five stars. Thank you. Sit down. Have your meal. So easy. Yellow Cab, not so much. How do you get a yellow cab to come you go talk to the concierge figure out call somebody sits around, wait for 10 minutes till somebody shows up. None of them right around the hotel anymore. That’s what we’re talking about. It’s the same processes going on in the golf swing. If you’re not embracing technology. If coaches are not embracing technology, they are yellow cabs. They are blockbuster and let them be. You don’t have to rent from them anymore. You’d have to hire them anymore. Go get somebody who is the Uber and the Netflix of golf coaching. Go get somebody who understands the technology understands how to communicate it to you understands how to educate you so you can understand it for yourself when you go back home and start practicing on your own time. Let them show you exactly what’s going on your golf swing the truth of your golf swing. And then you can work on the truth that’s really going wrong in your golf swing, right? The things that are actually happening and truly get better. And then the technology will show you, will prove to you that you are getting better. You can really track your improvement now. It’s not based on your score, your scores will come down as your swing gets better. And now we have technology that can tell you that your swing is better. And when you know your swing is better and you step on the first tee, it’s night and day whether you think you can split the fairway or not. Confidence is a big part of this game. And to know your swing is in a good place, bring such confidence that you will play better. That I can promise you.
So there’s my rant I don’t know if we’re going to call this but I literally had exploded I pieced it back. Together, Humpty Dumpty is fine. I will live on to talk golf another day, but I appreciate you listening. I hope that this is not meant to offend or upset other coaches. It’s just meant as a warning. Technology is coming. There’s nothing you can do about it and there is no point in pretending that it isn’t better than the way we used to do it. So please stop it. Please join us if you will in the modern world of golf coaching. Anyway. Aaron Stewart has done for the day. Remember better data always means more confidence in your golf swing and better golf. Thanks