The Information Age

Joe Michaelis
Director of Instruction
John Jacob’s Academy Instruction at Red Mountain Country Club and Painted Mountain Country Club
Phoenix, AZ

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Caution must be exercised in insuring that you are getting a correct golf lesson or “tip” for if implemented there will be consequences, good, bad, and indifferent depending on the advice.

So much golf instruction comes on the market by someone who has never really taught golf. This is not their fault, it is just the way of the world. But you, the new or avid golfer are gullible.

I can admit that these Tour Players are much better players than me but I am quite confident that I can teach better. I have always said that I would have liked to apologize to the people I taught the first 6 years of my teaching career. So many methods, theories, gimmicks, to decipher through quagmire of info. I see people every day relentlessly practicing their mistakes.

In teaching people to play golf you come to realize the things that work and that communication and understanding are the keys to improvement. If you get a golf lesson that is loaded with cliches (head down, left arm straight, swing slow it might go, reverse weight shift) etc…RUN AWAY! The golf ball is only influenced by 4 factors. The face of the club, the direction the club head moves, the angle the club swings to the ball relative to the ground and club head speed.

If you are suspicious that you are getting vague or incorrect advice, simply ask the instructor how the changing thoughts or elements will affect your club face, path of swing, or angle of approach. When the answer is, “I don’t know” or “It doesn’t matter”, the instructor is probably asking everyone to do the same thing or just incompetent. The important elements are minimal. A reasonable grip, aim of club face, alignment of body, and posture insures a good starting point to be able to swing the club on the correct plane and direction while keeping the club face square to the path as the body rotates back and through. If you are not working on one or some of these critical elements of a good swing, you are probably practicing the wrong thing.

Remember, practice makes permanent not perfect unless you know how to practice correctly.

Joe Michaelis is Director of  John Jacob’s Academy Instruction at Red Mountain Country Club and Painted Mountain Country Club. He has been a PGA Member A-6 since 1989. You can reach Joe by calling, 480.991.8587 or 480.282.7572 or email

Note: This is the sixth of a series of instructional columns that will be presented each month by a different John Jacobs’ Golf Schools and Academies’ Instructor.