Is Watching YouTube and Online Golf Videos Actually Any Good for Your Swing?
Instructional golf videos on YouTube and Online can be useful as long as the content you’re watching is accurate and easy to understand. Yet the old adage of “seeing is believing”, can easily lead us to watch content that has no truth to it. This can harm your golf and make playing the game harder than it needs to be.
Be honest, we’ve all done it. We had a lesson with our local golf coach followed by an hour on the driving range. Yet barely a day later, we’re already watching golf swing tip videos online.
So what is the attraction of these YouTube and Instagram videos, and why should you be cautious of them?
When golf coaches were coaches and not video hosts
I started playing golf back in 1991. This was some 15 years before the birth of YouTube. So the only way to learn to play golf, was to read books, take lessons or hack around the local course.
Today however, things are different. With a simple search online you can be watching a ‘How to..” video on any subject, including “How to stop your slice”.
But whereas the books I read were written by greats such as Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Travino, Greg Norman and many more.
The video you’re paying attention to nowadays, is more than likely filmed by the coach at your local golf club.
Videos filmed by golf coaches are always great. Aren’t they?
Ever heard of the saying, “Those that can do, those that can’t teach”? It’s a little cruel but holds sense for those of us looking to learn a new skill.
The top 25 golf channels on YouTube, have a total of nearly 2.5m subscribers between them. So you would expect they’re all either ex professional players, or coaches that have gained years of experience teaching at the highest level of golf.
Yet you would be wrong. The majority are quite simply, golf club coaches that spend their time with juniors or the everyday average golfer like you or I.
Yet as a PGA Coach, we would expect to find the content they post really useful, and to some extent it is. But you need to ask yourself, “is it there for you to learn from, or for you to click on and earn them money?”.
The one thing that annoys me more than videos which lazily rehash the same old content. Are golf videos that are nothing more than lazy click bait.
Take this one here for example. We all know that 1 drill can never address every possible cause for poor ball striking. Yet within a day, this video reached nearly 8,ooo views. What’s worse is that the drill had nothing of substance to offer. It was simply hitting 3 balls off 3 tees at varied heights.
Trawl around the internet and you can waste hours of your life, watching the same trash before finding a really good golf video.
Why should you stop wasting your time watching rubbish golf videos?
I used to spend hours watching golf videos on YouTube, trying to fix problems I had. Yet more often than not, with each video I watched, I became more confused.
So I then watched more videos by different people. Guess what? That’s right, I became even more confused. This vicious merry-go-round is ridden by all of us at some point. It’s time to get off.
This is the issue with online videos. They contradict each other on the cause, and remedy of swing flaws. After all they are just interpretations as to the best way to achieve results, voiced by different people.
Then by using flashy imagery and cool video editing techniques, we get fooled into thinking that they must be sharing great content with us. When in reality, they are just trying to keep us watching for as long as possible.
Content creators get paid depending on minutes watched, or ads clicked. By encouraging us to watch longer with that fancy drone footage, an ad can be inserted into the video by YouTube in the hope you click it.
I’m not saying stop following your favourite online content creator, well actually I am. At least if they haven’t really given you anything that changed your game for the better.
I’m saying choose the content creator wisely. Once I stopped falling the same rehashed, click bait titled golf video. My understanding grew and my golf game became better.
I lost 10 strokes off my handicap in just over a year and I’m knocking on the door of playing regular rounds of golf in the 70’s.
This is how I did it.
How to find golf videos and online information that’s useful
To improve your ability to play golf you need just a couple of things;
- A solid understanding of the fundamentals of the golf swing.
- If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, then you have no hope of actually achieving it. It’s like putting a jigsaw together with all the pieces turned over, and no picture to work from. Not that a picture would help you whilst all the pieces are turned over, but you, well, get the picture.
- My article ‘here’ is a great start if you want to learn why the golf ball does what it does when you hit it.
- You need to know where you are now. What are your swing faults and why are they happening?
- This is the most difficult phase. But you can easily film your golf swing and send it to a top coach. This way you can get access to the best coaches in the world and they will help you with point 3.
- A practice plan to help you address your swing flaws and get better.
- Using your newly learnt understanding of the golf swing and advice from the best coaches. You should be able to work on a practice plan that specifically addresses your unique swing faults.
- Once on the range, you can use my tips from my article ‘here’, to build a practice station to make your time as effective as possible.
The first thing I did was search out the most successful golf coaches of modern day. It didn’t care who they had taught, but I wanted only the coaches that had taught the top dozen professional players. You can find players rankings at the Official Golf World Rankings website.
To find the coaches, I searched the top 100 golf teachers in america. I then narrowed the list down to the few that had been consistently on that list since its inception.
Below is the list of golf coaches that have been on the top 100 list of golf coaches, since 1996.
- Mike Bender – mikebender.com
- Rick Grayson – rickgraysongolf.com
- Martin Hall – martinhallgolf.com
- Mike LaBauvre – labauvegolf.com
- Mike Malaska – malaskagolf.com
- Lynn Marriott – vision54.com
- Mike McGetrick – mikemcgetrickgolf.com
- Gale Patterson – galepeterson.com
- Laird Small – pebblebeach.com
- Rick Smith – ricksmith.com
- Todd Sones – toddsones.com
Whilst there are over 100 top coaches in america, the few that remain on the list are simply the best around. All I had to do know is research each one.
The right golf coach for you is more than them just having the knowledge you need
I admit, I had a few relationships before I married my wife. And whilst some were shorter, taller, funnier and possibly sexier. It was my wife that had everything that I wanted and with whom I felt complete.
Obviously you’re not looking for marriage with your golf coach, but the relationship needs to be the right fit.
Like my first serious girlfriend, the relationship with the first coach I chose, didn’t last long.
I knew a really good golfer at my local club. He played golf at a very high level, and indeed once hoped he could play professionally. One day I was speaking to him about my search for an online coach and he suggested Mike Malaska.
Funnily enough he was on my short list and I liked the way I could easily get a hold of his content.
Initially I made some great improvements. His methodology was easy to grasp and a lot of what he said made sense. And as I worked on a few drills, I could see I was making headway.
However, I hit a wall pretty quickly and struggled to progress further. I found that my body just couldn’t move how I wanted it to to follow his methods.
It was OK for my friend. He was taught along the same lines as Mike Malaska and could easily shoot level par most days. But for me, progressing through the learning curve. I found it tough.
Knowing what you don’t want is equally important
The one thing I had discovered though, was what didn’t work for me. I had learnt that I needed to find a coach that thought like I did and could break things down in simple steps. So armed with this knowledge, I moved on.
For over a year now I have been an avid follower of Mike Bender. He has helped me improve my game more than I could ever hope for. And all from more than 6500 miles away.
The way he has done this is because I can easily relate to his methodology.
Sure, it’s nice that he has coached so many professional golfers, including Zach Johnson. Or that he has developed his own teaching station equipment. Or that he has run a very successful residential golf academy since 1992.
But what is great about his approach to learning golf, is that i understand it. I get the reason behind each movement in the swing. I understand the positions I am aiming to be in during the swing. And I can easily search through thousands of online pictures, videos and posts, to find what I need on any given aspect of the golf swing.
In addition to content on social media, he also provides online lessons too. Each one comes with a substantial practice plan which he goes through in a personal video. Sure it’s not cheap but it is excellent value for money considering the results.
Through following a methodology I understand, from a coach that I trust with a proven track record. I have become competent in how to practice better and how to use the right practice aids to get the results I want.
It still requires effort and for me to apply myself correctly and in a determined way. But at least I am not wasting my time watching a video by my local driving range pro on how his 1 drill will fix all my swing flaws for good.
So if you want to really improve your game. Don’t try and short cut the learning process and apply yourself to searching for a real coach that can give you real results.