A piece of my history
After being involved in playing and teaching and learning golf over the last 26 years I can conclude it is not an easy game; actually the toughest most infuriating game on the planet. But at the same time when played well it is the most exciting rewarding game.
When I was 15 years old I started playing golf, for a British man that was very late, all my new golfing friends had handicaps of 2 or 3 already. I was hooked by the game and loved every second of it. There was nothing else I wanted to do but practice from morning till night, before school, during school and after school. On school holidays I managed to play 54 holes a day and practiced as well and quickly I managed to catch up with my golfing friends standard of play.
Golf became my passion and I soon knew I wanted to be a tour player and win the British Open. That was my dream.
In 1992 I decided to go to Golf University in Kingston London. A 3-year degree programme, thinking this would help me leap into golf stardom.
Very excited I went to the interview. We were about 60 candidates applying for a place at university and had to play one of the toughest courses in England for our interview test round. The Coach tester said if we get through the first 11 holes 3 over par we are on tour player standards, as tour players who play there are very happy with that score. On my first test being very nervous I was 2 under par much to the coach testers surprise. My two players with me were 13 and 12 over at that point.
Fortunately I was successfully taken into the university programme and was very excited and enthusiastic to improve. To my great surprise my new coach said my swing was incorrect and needed much working on. Believing that what he told me was right I did just that. To my alarm my game deteriorated so badly I never got through the first 11 holes less than 10 over ever again.
To achieve what the coach was teaching me I practiced furiously but I only got worse, still believing that he was correct. I was doing things in my swing I had never done before. After one year of practising very hard I began to lose all confidence in playing the game.
For my second year I worked with the famous British Open winner, Vivien Saunders OBE. She was very alarmed at the mass of instruction I was trying to learn and would every morning say to me, "Dylan, if Mark James or Eamon Darcy (two extremely unorthodox swingers of the golf club) came to you for a golf lesson what would you say?“ This got me thinking but unfortunately did not stop me from carrying on what I was doing. I went back to University for the 3rd year. At this point my golf game had deteriorated to the point I did not want to play from the nerves of what I would shoot.
This devastating experience led me to ask the question: „Why is this happening?“ - and very soon answers started to come. I studied books explaining this phenomena and tour players that have experienced the same downfall. This led to an extensive research of everything I could get my hands on. I interviewed renowned coaches on the subject, which led me to write my dissertation solely on this subject.
The conclusion is that we can suffer paralysis through analysis. We can bog our own performance down by analysing body movements and positions that the brain does not need to do to perform an act such as play golf.
Let me give you an example. “The ice cream eating instruction”: hold your head still, open your mouth, now slowly lift forearm upwards, keeping grasp of ice cream cone, keep elbow in locked position so forearm can rotate upwards in a smooth manner towards your mouth, keep your mouth open and eyes on ice cream, if an adjustment is needed in the direction your forearm is moving then move upper arm upwards keeping shoulder joint static until the ice cream is directly in front of your mouth, now carefully so not to make a mess around your mouth with lower arm guide the ice cream into your mouth, ……
I think you will agree this is ludicrous instruction to learn to eat ice cream, but I can assure you this is how the golf swing is being taught to play golf worldwide.
My dissertation was widely acclaimed in the golfing world and eventually awarded me Advanced Status by the PGA of England. I also met up with AJ Bonar, a famous golf teacher in San Diego, who has been arguing this case since the 1970`s.
So if there is anything good that has come from this experience it is that I love to teach golf. I eat and breathe it. What I do as a teacher is guide my students what to do with the golf club and feel it, so the golf swing becomes a natural movement. I do not paralyze them with scientific golf jargon. I have now been teaching full time all over Europe and a stint in Asia for the last 15 years and have experienced a wealth of successful golf learning stories.
Golf is my life and I am looking forward to sharing it with you!