Golf Magazine Innovators 2013: Old dogs learning new teaching tricks

Photo: Erik Isakson

Left to right: Tattersall, Rowles, Blackburn

The Triumvirate
Jon Tattersall, 48
Terry Rowles, 41
Mark Blackburn, 38

Combined, the three of us have been teaching golf for more than 50 years. And over time, Mark, Terry and I have been frustrated by the same problem — traditional instruction was full of theories that were either misunderstood or just incorrect.

For example, a lot of people think you swing down slightly into the ball with a driver, but Trackman technology proves that the longest drives result from a swing that travels up to the ball. We decided to work together, share information, and share thoughts on data and technology. We also fully embrace the use of new technologies — including 3D imaging, launch monitors, and Titleist's TPI program — to better understand and more quickly pinpoint students' technical problems.

We've learned some neat, counterintuitive things. People think fast hips mean more yards, but now technology shows us that the hips actually decelerate as the club nears impact, which maximizes the transfer of energy. I was able to help a student with fast hips almost immediately.

Three heads are definitely better than one. As a team we analyze data and share the results to better understand the swing and pinpoint a student's flaws fast. Now, instead of looking at 50 things a player might be doing wrong, we can determine with certainty what needs improvement and what should be left alone.

The main benefit of the technologies we use? They give us more time to teach. Instead of expending a lot of effort trying to figure out the faults, we can now go straight to the fixes. That means we can immediately take strokes off just about anyone's score, regardless of their level. And helping people play better is a great feeling.


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