Dennis Wells, PGA

  • Golf is actually NOT a difficult game.

The ball is not moving. Nobody is trying to block, tackle, or defend you. There are no time clocks, shot limits or failing grade. You are not in serious danger of being injured. You simply keep hitting the ball until you complete the course. The thing that makes golf seem difficult is YOUR expectations. If you expect to play like a Tour player, then the game can be really difficult. And if you expect to hit every shot well, then you are in for a lot of frustration! We must learn to enjoy the process and challenge of always trying to improve.

  • My first objective is to establish the student’s goals.

We then work together to determine a plan to help him or her achieve those goals. When working on this plan, I try to make as few changes as necessary to accomplish the student’s goals. Most students are not trying to be a Tour player. While there are some students that want “the works”, most just want to stop slicing, shanking, hooking, or hitting it fat. Some just want to get the ball into the air. The more changes we try to make, the more difficult it is for the average student. If it takes some Tour players two years to make a swing change and they hit a thousand balls a day, how difficult will it be for someone who practices only once per week?

  • All we’re trying to do to improve our game is make our bad shots better.

You are ALWAYS going to hit some bad shots. If you can’t handle hitting some bad shots, then golf is not going to be a good game for you. The trick is to make the bad shots better. If you and I go out to play, I may hit as many bad shots as you do on a percentage basis. However, my “bad” shot might be 10 feet from the hole in some cases. Your “bad” shot may end up 10 feet away from you!

  • Competitive golfers should spend at least twice as much time practicing their short games as they do their full swings.

For middle school players, if they can take no more than three strokes any time they are within 20 yards of the green (that means getting the first chip onto the green and taking two putts), then they will probably beat everyone they play against.

  • For practice, if you have a choice between playing and hitting balls, then play.

You have to learn how to get the ball into the hole and make a score even when you are not hitting the ball well. There are a lot of players that are good “driving range” players. Some of those players end up getting smoked on the course by the guy with the bad grip and swing that has learned how to score. There are no trophies awarded for pretty swings. Mechanics and technique matter but the ability to get the ball into the hole is most important.