“That number there is your attack angle”

So, in my article last week I made a call to action of taking someone who doesn’t play to the driving range or course and introducing them to our great sport. Less than 24-hours after publishing it I was horrified to overhear the very reason that many who take up golf then don’t stay with it.

I was practicing beside a beginner’s clinic and the pro announced, “I’m going to go and get my FlightScope, I think you’re good enough now. Let’s see who can hit the longest six-iron.”


I couldn’t believe my ears! Firstly, it was great to see six girls taking up golf. They looked as though they had had three or four lessons and they were all enjoying themselves. However, when was the last time you challenged yourself to hit a six-iron as far as you can? How is this relevant?

It got much worse

Anyone who has seen a FlightScope or a Trackman will know that they give you a mind-pickling array of numbers about your swing. They’re a fantastic aid to golfers who know what they are doing. When you’ve only been playing for three weeks though? Really?

Our guru then started talking about attack angle. He talked these girls through a mind-boggling array of movements and the detailed sequence of the downswing. He even went on to say, “You look like you’re hating this tonight”, of course they were! I audibly said, “So would I be”.

Not the first time

As a militant member of the church of golf and a foot-soldier who spreads the word of Old Tom Morris, I’m always trying to get people into golf. One time I took a friend to the driving range as she was looking for a new sport. We went a few times and she was really getting into it.


I was sure that golf had won her over, her addiction was bedded-in and we had another member of the flock. Then it all changed. She signed up for free group beginner lessons.

Being the morally supportive fellow-addict that I am, I went with her to her first session and just practiced while she was taught. Everything was going well, then I saw the coach that would be working with her and her cohort. I knew it was going to be bad.

This was a coach I had seen working with people before and his lessons were more like a “here’s what I know and here’s how good a golfer I am.” She came out of the clinic looking drained. As I had feared, she hated it!

Just stop it!

I’ve been lucky that I’ve worked with one coach almost my whole golfing life and he is all about making the game fun. Even when working with elite players he works to make everything manageable and never sets-out to confuse. I’m not saying that every coach tries to bamboozle students, of course I’m not, I’m just saying that these coaches are damaging our game.


I was lucky that from a young age I was around coaches that worked to make learning golf fun, and it can be just that. Even when I practice now I’m trying to make it as fun as possible! When people learn to play football (soccer to my huge American audience members), they’re not told the inch by inch process of swinging your foot at a ball. Why does it have to be this way when you’re learning golf for the first time?

If I ask you to throw me a ball you just will. We have an innate ability to aim, we’ve evolved this over millions of years. Just try to get people swinging the club and making contact with the ball, then build it up from there. Let’s drop the egos and make learning golf more fun for everyone!