Imagine the scenario…you really fancy that trip to a luxurious golf resort but the only way you’re going to get your wife or partner to agree is for her to learn to play the game, too.
So now you need to teach/coach your wife (or partner) how to swing a golf club without ending up in the divorce court
(And so as not to appear chauvinist, it’s a similar story for golf widowers – though they're rarer than hen’s teeth. Imagine being the female in the relationship who loves golf but her husband/partner isn't playing ball.)
For the purposes of this article, let's imagine it's the wife who wants to learn to play golf.
My first rule is don’t teach…coach. Most men have learnt the hard way about the perils of telling their partner what to do. And with a 7-iron in her hand potential injuries could be terminal.
Coaching, in my experience, is more subtle than teaching and less likely to lead to one half of the relationship retreating to the clubhouse under a shower of heavy metal.
The golfer needs to know how this game we enjoy with such passion is going to satisfy his spouse's needs. What is their motivation to learn?
For example, if your partner wants to play sport, get fit or make new friends, these reasons will keep her sticking at it. But if she’s merely playing to keep you happy, your plan is most likely doomed.
If, for instance, you want to teach/coach your wife to drive a golf club, make your initial introductions by watching a video or DVD together of women making great swings.
Encourage her to imitate what she has seen and give positive feedback on her early attempts. Stand face-to face and swing a club with her, encourage her to swing at an identical smooth, rhythmical tempo - as if in a mirror.
Never tell her how far away her swing is from perfection or the image on the video.
Once she has successfully clipped a tee peg consistently, allow her to make attempt to make contact with a teed up ball.
Encourage her to keep a specific target in mind. It’s important for a beginner that their goal is not to hit the ball perfectly but to hit it to a specific place.
It’s also important not to have too high an expectancy level of achieving that goal. Allow her to enjoy that first strike of the ball as a memorable one so she maintains her appetite for the game and will keep coming back for more.
I have found through coaching hundreds of new golfers that accurate and positive information must be given.
It’s better to say: "You’ll have more control if you hold the club like this," rather than "don’t hold the club like that!"
Encourage without being patronising.
Telling your pupil: "You showed me you have a real talent for hitting good shots today," rather than: "Don’t worry. Everyone hits the ball eventually."
And never get technical. Golf is crammed with jargon, which to a beginner is meaningless and at worst boring.
Telling your pupil, "listen for the swish the club makes through the air," is far better than advising them: "You’re decelerating through the ball."
Accentuate the positive.
It also helps to remember that women get different a different buzz out of golf compared to the male of the species.
Have you ever see two women on a driving range pull out their drivers and see who can hit the ball the furthest?
Women are more mutually supportive than competitive. And is you get the early coaching correct you could find you’ve trained your No.1 fan to share your love of the sport and be much more sympathetic and understanding to its highs and lows.
|In a nutshell|
Give accurate positive feedback
Encouraging without being patronising
Practice on warm, pleasant days with as much privacy as possible
Tell your pupil what to do
Tell her what she’s done wrong
Get technical or use jargon
Never raise your voice other than with enthusiasm and excitement
Next time: How a lesson for yourself should be constructed to guarantee improvement while maximising your enjoyment and sense of achievement.