Tuesday, 23 March 2010


PERCEPTION. . .Something To Think About. . .
Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007.
The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again..

10 minutes:A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly

.45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.

The man collected a total of $32.1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.

He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised:
*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*Do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made. How many other things are we missing?

How many special persons pass us by and we do
not MAKE ANY EFFORT TO get to know them?


I was invited along to Bowker BMW in Blackburn to the launch of the new 5 series BMW. Well not so much to see the car as to attract customers in to have a putting lesson.
I borrowed a SAM PUTT LAB from my good friend Nick Middleton (Break 30 and Zen) and off I went. A number of things amazed me over the course of the weekend I was there. Firstly just how quickly people learn after being given accurate feedback as to what it is they are doing. EVERYONE who used the PUTT LAB were able to change the outcome of their next attempts by seeing and understanding what they had just done! Not one person had to be told WHAT TO DO. Once they understood that the ball travelled in the direction the putter face was pointing at impact they all were able to evoke a change and direct the next putt where they wished.
There were not two stroke alike that I measured,
ALL I may add where successful in holing putts from 12'.
The majority of those measured applied the putter face closed,while swinging the putter left. Never a good option. 95% change their next outcomes by applying the face more open to the same path to get the ball to the target. No intervention from me other to explain the importance of the face at impact.
The variety of swing paths was amazing particularly the number of downward motions!! There were also a number of players, lower handicaps, who delofted the putter at impact allied to a Sharp upward path.
The most annoying thing was the interference of parents thinking they were helping their children when the kids were putting. Telling them how to stand, how to hold the putter, how far to swing back, how they MUST keep their eye on the ball. Much tongue biting done on my part as I kindly asked the parents to let the children HAVE A GO and see what we ALL may learn.
Although I only used the basic training mode and the "sweetspot challenge" functions on SAM I found it to be a fantastic bit of kit to give quick and accurate feedback. I didn't use SAM as a tool to find out what the golfers were doing WRONG only to tell them what they were DOING.
Having spent time with Nick Middleton at Break 30 I saw the science of what it is we do when putting. Absolutely fascinating.

Monday, 15 March 2010

What now?

Well thats the end of the Lancashire Womens Coaching Programme for the winter. I'm not sure how much influence a County, Regional or National Coach can have in such a short amount of time spent in these sessions.

Groups of 12 to 24 golfers on a Sunday morning just about gives you time to say hello. It takes time with individuals just to find out how much they understand about what they are doing

For most the answers are lots of buzz words like too quick, layed off, across the line, trapped, spin out, head still, maintain posture, follow through etc you know the stuff. All nice stories but how much is reallity and what is actually critical in producing desired outcomes?

I asked the girls last Sunday, in groups, to play some skills challenges and write down at least 3 things they thought they needed to do, that was critical, to hit the shot required.

During the review the most common answer from all the challenges was CLUB FACE CONTROL.

Wow, after a five sessions of doubting that I was getting the message across the answer was clear that I had. Now the challenge is for them to take this on through the summer and to not get bogged down with misinformation about what they may be doing wrong.

Of course they will go back to their own coach or parents who will have their own ideas about what they should be doing, so the cycle of sabotage starts again and real learning stops.

The Lob net

North West AASE students at Formby Hall. The lob net skill game proved to be a big challenge. After intervention the students were able to flop 6 irons over when previously lob wedges proved a bridge too far.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Junior Coaching

Sunday will bring to a close the winter training programme for the Lancashire Womens Golf Association. What has been the most outstanding fact for me has been the lack of awareness as to the importance of what the golf club does in the golf shot.
I hear too often girls talking about the position of their feet, their alignment, grip,posture, leg action, hip turn,shoulder turn, follow through and so on.
Extremely frustrating as these girls believe all this will lead to better golf shots.
No one appears to have been giving the most important fact that the critical issue is what the club face does at impact.
The golf ball does not lie. It will go where its told. This information is passed on through the club face,FACT.
The rest is down to the individual to commit to exploring and discovering the most appropriate way for themselves to control the application of the club face.
Guidance is needed in this exploration of course,but its amazing what we all learn by not restricting young talent to templates of the "right" swing.
Too much inappropriate information is being given too soon to people starting to play.
We need to let learning take place.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Check out this video on World Class Teaching http://golfcoachingdevelopment.blogspot.com/2010/03/world-class-teaching.html Inspiring stuff!

Friday, 5 March 2010

AASE Formby Hall

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence for Golf
Formby Hall GC 7th March 2010


10-11am Introduction and welcome

11-12pm Long game challenge on driving range

12-12.45 Lunch

1300 –1400 Short game challenge

1400 –1500 9 hole par 3 challenge

1500-1600 Putting challenge

16.15 –1700 Review and close the day.