How To Find A Golf Coach

The strategies of a successful Psychoanalyst and a golf coach are very much the same. The following has be excerpted from Dr. Lawrence Dugan’s book Towards a Unified Theory of Mind.  I’ve numbered a few key points to share with you in the summary.

Psychoanalysis requires that the analyst achieve the emotional power of a parent – though not power in the manner of classical Freudianism – in order for the patient to attach to the therapist. Even though the patient is not an infant or child, he lives with unresolved issues (1) and needs to attach and identify (2) with the therapist in order to achieve genuine enduring change. The analyst must adopt in every manner the role of a healthy parent – being genuine and open and listening and setting the patient’s needs as primary (3) – rather than adhering to a slavish preconceived notion of the root cause and operating in a power mode that more meets the analyst’s needs than the patient’s needs.

For example, from a psychoanalytic perspective, letting it pass when a patient makes the statement to the analyst, “You’re right” constitutes a therapeutic error. Reflecting to the patient that a healthier response – one that empowers him and renders him equal to analyst – is “I agree.” For both the analyst and the patient, ‘being right’ constitutes a trap in the form of an ego trip (4). Research conducted on psychotherapy provides valuable lessons and reflections. Robert Lang’s classic definitive text, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, gives what I consider to be a crucial observation regarding the process of psychoanalysis: When a patient is not making progress, ninety percent of the time the therapist will assert that it is the patient’s resistances, whereas actual studies reveal that ninety percent of the time it is therapist error (5) or blockage causing the stalemate in therapeutic progress.

Dr. Lawrence Dugan, Cascade, MI.  Publisher’s website:

Let’s break this down into finding a golf coach perspective

1. All golfers have unresolved issues.

2. It is important that the golfer can identify with the instructor. (An out of shape 50 year old engineer may not be able to identify with a hot-shot instructor that talks about himself the entire lesson)

3. Your golf coach should not teach a specific theory (i.e. Stack & Tilt, 8 Step Swing, etc) – find a golf coach that is adaptable to all styles of the golf swing.

4. You’ve all experienced the golf pro who just wants to hit balls and “show” you how it’s done.

5. It’s always the golf coaches fault if you don’t improve. Accept nothing less than a golf coach who guarantees your improvement.

More Characteristics to look for when finding a golf coach provided by the PGA of America-

Good instructors create safe environments for students to learn and play in.

They create “safe havens” for students and involve the entire facility staff to make it happen.

Good instructors find ways to put their students at ease.

Good instructors are good leaders.

Good instructors demonstrate patience and show empathy toward their students.

They seek to understand the range of emotions that students go through during the learning process.

Good instructors are good communicators, finding ways of connecting with the student. They listen more than talk, finding out their student’s needs, challenges and capabilities.

Good instructors seek feedback by asking, probing and observing.

Good instructors are good interviewers.

Good instructors are creative and find ways to make the learning experience FUN! According to research, the “Number 1 Reason” people signed up to take lessons through “Play Golf America” was to have fun!

Good instructors show a high level of enthusiasm, are encouraging, and laugh with the students.

Good instructors are not only good teachers, but students as well.

Good instructors have a “good eye” and a comprehensive understanding of the golf swing and its components.

Good instructors understand cause and effect and are able to remedy problems in students’ swing mechanics.

Good instructors are able to identify their students’ learning styles. They adapt their teaching style to the students’ learning styles versus trying to get students to adapt to their teaching style.

Good instructors DON’T: Teach from the latest golf magazine Experiment on their students (I.e., “Hmmm, that didn’t work, let’s try this….)

Jump around from one area in the lesson to the next Use words with double meanings prior to explaining them (I.e.., “fore, plane, skinny, throwing the club, shank, etc….)

Teach their students what they are personally working on at the time

Overload students with more than they can handle


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