Dennis Sales Golf

Informative Golf Information

What makes a teaching professional a teaching professional?

As golf professionals, we are considered experts.  So what makes a teaching professional an expert?  Let’s start with the word “professional.”

A professional is: a member of a vocation founded upon specialized educational training, according to Wikipedia.

Now let’s look at “profession.”  A profession, according to Merriam-Webster, is a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation.

With that being said, what makes your instructor qualified to teach you?  What credentials does he or she have?  What about his or her specialized training?  Does he or she have any of that, or is he or she a self-proclaimed expert?

Think about this: would you go to any other profession that employs experts such as a doctor or lawyer that is self proclaimed? Absolutely not. So why would you see any other self-proclaimed expert?

Being a true professional was one of the reasons I did what I did.  There’s so much misinformation out there and I wanted facts versus opinions.  I desired the information that was being taught to touring professionals and wanted to offer the technology the best of the best seek.  For this, I needed to find programs that the top teachers were affiliated with or studied.  It’s like going to Harvard or Yale, a top academic institution.   I wanted to study like this for specific instructional education and I believe that I have done exactly that.

First was to understand the importance of efficient body movement and learning how to better understand kinematic sequence.  I purchased my K-Vest 3D TPI version and proceeded to go through their two levels of manufacture training. I wanted their understanding what those graphs meant and what to do about it. I wasn’t about to figure out what it all meant on my own.  I think that defeats the purpose of using the technology to its full benefit.  We all know that no two tour professionals swing the club the same, but understanding what they share is very important in being able to create player specific programs.  What they share is a good kinematic sequence and that is key in hitting consistent shots.

Golf has become such a fitness sport that gaining a more thorough understanding of how the body actually works in the golf swing was required.  The best program in the world for that is the Titleist Performance Institute, considering they are the leaders in golf fitness.  I started with their Level 1 class and quickly became amazed at how much valuable information they have obtained through their research.  Because of this class, I continued with their advanced tracks.  Now I have been certified as a Level 2 Golf Professional, and a Level 3 Junior Coach.  The information learned from these tracks has proven to be invaluable.

Now on to a subject that I’m sure will cause some debate — swing methods.  With so many methods out there, this decision was somewhat difficult at first.  Once I started looking deeper into them, I didn’t think it was so difficult.

The first one I choose to study was The Golfing Machine.  I don’t think anyone out there fully understands how smart and how far ahead of his time Homer Kelley was.  His yellow book is comprised of so much valuable insights in how each body part works and how it can be interchanged that it doesn’t get enough credit.  Especially if you just try to read the book on your own.  Now if you also know that the 2008 and 2009 National Teachers of the Year both utilize this book’s information, the decision, in my opinion, becomes a simple one.

The second swing theory was Hank Haney’s training program. After all, he was Tiger Woods’ swing coach for years and that, in itself, should speak volumes — particularly after enjoying the seasons Tiger did with Butch Harmon.  I’m sure this theory may not be well liked by most since. Haney doesn’t get enough credit for his work and is more criticized than anything else.  I’m really not sure why Haney doesn’t get more credit, especially since he is a former teacher of the year and one of the greatest teachers ever.

Now that you have read about the programs I’ve studied and have become certified under, here’s a look at a special piece of technology that I have to offer.

My most prized possession is TrackMan.  We all know and have read how TrackMan has revolutionized the ball flight laws.  How it has changed the fitting experience and how touring professionals rave about its data.  This is the one piece of equipment that I will not teach without.

Once you have learned how to use it, and use it during lessons, you’ll never find yourself teaching without it.  Oh, and I learned how to use it from a one-on-one training session with a TrackMan representative, as well as by attending two TrackMan seminars.

Now I’ve got two questions:

  1. Do you think I’m qualified to give a golf lesson?
  2. Would you take a golf lesson from me?

2 responses to “What makes a teaching professional a teaching professional?

  1. Pinehurst Golfer January 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    There are a lot of things I like with your instructional method. Starting with golf fitness and a TPI evaluation will show the student and the Pro areas of the body that need strength and flexibility. I’ve always wondered if my number one swing fault, picking up the club too early, is because of my lack of flexibility in the upper back. I’ve had a TPI evaluation and taken many golf lessons – but not from someone like you who is an expert in both.

    Your use of technology to show the student what they are doing is also a great part of your program. The only time I’ve been on a TrackMan is when I was fitted for a set of clubs – not a lesson. V1 is also a great tool to use on the lesson tee. So many people learn visually that seeing what you are doing with a club in your hand is the way to go.

    I just wish I was back in New England so I could take advantage of your overall coaching approach.

    • Dennis Sales Golf January 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      I believe instructors need to make a more thorough analysis before making any type of plan. How can a plan be prescribed if it’s incomplete?

      If you ever are back up in the area you will need to stop by so we can talk. I’m sure you will find it to be very interesting.


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