You find yourself in a dark, enclosed space with a golf club in your hand. A huge screen fills the far wall. Hidden cameras record your every twitch. A computer is ready to help your teacher analyse your faults.
Yes, it sounds like a nightmare. And it would be if the whole box of tricks wasn’t being controlled by an affable British pro whose motto is simple: Good Golf is Easy.
In a lifetime of coaching, John Norsworthy has discovered that the simple approach is best, whether it be for someone who has never before picked up a club, or a low-handicapper wanting to shave a couple of shots from a round.
John Norsworthy, right, uses technology to deliver a simple message.
Although John, based at Golf Plus in Cannes, is proud to be using state-of-the art technology to help golfers improve their game, he loves to quote the wisdom of some of the game’s past greats. Sam Snead, for instance: “I play golf in the most simple way I know”.
John believes that much of golf is instinctive, and it is by working on this that he achieves great results, stressing the importance of using the skills that lie within – co-ordination, sense of feel, natural rhythm, plus “a good dose of common sense”.
“Easy is an attitude that enables us to tackle even the toughest of challenges,” says John. “And I have found that it applies particularly well to golf.”
I put John and his technology to the test on my less-than-perfect swing. A couple of hits and the video reveals the appearance of what he calls the “chicken wing” effect – coming back to the striking area with the hands in the wrong position leads to a horrible-looking bent left arm and a topped shot. Clearly my instincts need some work.
An exercise. Stand upright. Club out in front, butt in belly button. Turn club to right. Turn club to left. Back to hitting the ball and my arm is straight at impact. Like, the man said – easy! “Practice the belly-button drill for just a minute every day and see the results,” says the coach.
John reckons his golfing gizmo cuts the time to teach a new golfer or correct faults by two-thirds compared with standing out on the range with just the pro’s eyes and not your own on the faults.
“The problem with the ‘old’ way of teaching is that the ‘pupil’ can’t readily feel or realise what faults the pro is trying to iron out.”
Yes John, I’ve been there. “I’m not doing that am I?” is often the incredulous response in that situation. With the evidence of the computer image of the swing, plus on-screen pointers from John, the way forward is much clearer.
I had begun to understand why John is so attached to this quote from the “wonderful player and great teacher” Ernest Jones.
“Good golf is easy and easy golf is enjoyable. It is tragic that so many make of it such a labor …”
At Home On The Range
To get the most from practice sessions, remember these points:
Always do some stretching before starting the session.
Start with small shots from a low tee before moving up to a longer club and longer shots.
Hit ten balls with your feet together.
For more advanced players, practice the 3-shape drill: try to hit 5 slices, 5 hooks and 5 straight shots.
John Norsworthy’s book Good Golf Made Easy can be found at the English Book Centre in Valbonne, ISBN 9781908848000. Contact John on 06 80 74 42 86.