Bryant Shuford, PGA, is the Northeast Relationship Manager for PGA Magazine Publications & Marketing Group and manager for ToughLie 360 in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, describes how to challenge students with uneven lies, even around the greens.
We’ve heard it all before: “Over half of your shots during a round of golf take place 100 yards and in.” We consistently drill this statistic into our students’ minds to inspire them to practice these crucial shots – but are we really helping? The reality is that the determining factor of practice vs. performance is the way in which we engage our students and inspire proper practice habits.
Rarely do I see coaches working with students on uneven lies in a full-swing scenario, and even less in teaching short-game. As a result, students only feel comfortable on the golf course when faced with a perfectly flat lie (which is next to never!). This leads to self-doubt which is discouraging for the golfer and leads to a lack of trust in their coach.
Engaging my students with uneven lies and on-course scenarios is the backbone of my programming. Not only do these scenarios help my students focus on the objective, they are also a great conduit to helping them learn the setup adjustments and feelings needed when faced with an uphill, downhill or sidehill lie. Providing a challenging scenario gets them to consider the task at hand and the adjustments necessary to hit a quality shot. This often leads to questions from the student and the dialogue following is where true learning takes place!
As an added bonus, when they master the requirements of uneven lies, the flatter shots are a piece of cake! Don’t be afraid to get creative to challenge your students – they will thank you for it in the long-run.