My Golf Instructor

Permission To Swing Your Swing
Golf Instruction The LPGA Way

Learn how understanding the mind - body connection and understanding learning vs perfroming can help you speed up your success on the course. Learn Your Mind - Body Connection

Golf Swings do not win tournaments. People do. Furthermore there is no "perfect" swing for everyone. Whew, hoping that will be a relief to everyone who reads this column.

LPGA Instruction = Focus on the Whole Person

As an LPGA trained instructor, I am pleased to offer instruction that is very much student-centered. Our LPGA curriculum for teaching, learning, and playing golf is based on a framework of considerations for golf skill acquisition and improved performance. This whole-person, integrated approach is designed to blend motor learning and performance concepts with the biomechanics of the golf skills. In other words, ALL MECHANICS IT IS NOT! What do I mean by this comment? Clearly, functional technique is imperative, but "perfect" technique is not the means to the end for "success" in golf. My role as a teacher? To assist each golfer at every ability level to create effective, efficient, and compatible swing motion and skills. This means, in a nutshell, that you have PERMISSION to do "differently" if these three things are happening!

Of course it is critical for me to understand how your body is and can move, what your equipment is and if it is correct for you, and what your goals are relating to this wonderful game we all love. It really is about you and what you want. Together, we can discover a process for creating desirable outcomes and you will be encouraged and coached to create golf skills that are congruent with who you are and what you want. Following the observation and exploration stage, it up to me to suggest a plan or a strategy for improvement. I then assist the student to choose and assess thoughts and actions to increase kinesthetic awareness that will allow the student to learn and make choices regarding their motion in all skills. The result? Improved performance.

Understanding the Relationship Between Learning and Performing

The brain/body system will be in a better place to perform when the relationship between learning and performance is understood and applied. My responsibility as a teacher is to guide you to learn the skill, learn to perform the skill, learn the game, and learn to perform the game. It is both physical and psychological according to what we know about creating motion and we want to merge the learning environment with the playing environment. Intention and attention are thus also significant as thoughts precede motion.

What I am growing to understand is that when all is "well" (physical, technical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual), performance is GREAT! This mind/body/spirit harmony is related to optimal golf and in life. There is more than one way to swing a golf club and the "draw" you seek may not be in your body! The good news? You can still perform well if you match your motion to who you are and what you can do.

An Amazing Journey

The learning of golf is such a wonderful journey for teacher and student. I especially love that it is both art and science. I embrace the science (enough technology to be dangerous!) yet do not forget for one second that there is a human being attached to that golf club they are swinging. A human being with unlimited potential and possibilities. Do I teach a particular method? Since methods are said to be effective for just 1/3 of the population, the answer is no. With that being said, I have a responsibility to be a continuous learner and study all I can from folks who share their findings and insight about the golf swing motion (it is fascinating, without a doubt) so that I can help each and every student who comes for instruction. The word "model" seems to be a better word choice as a model likely allows for greater individuality. And we are all different and unique individuals!

What a great life I have! I am fortunate to get to do what I do every day: assisting with the improvement in and enjoyment of this wonderful game we all love. I don't teach golf; I teach people to play golf. There is a difference. It is all about relationships. As Harvey Penick stated; "and if you play golf, you are my friend". How true.

See you soon on the "learning tee" at beautiful Riverbend Country Club! Namaste.

Deb Vangellow
Deb Vangellow

Deb Vangellow is a LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Riverbend Country Club in Houston, Texas. She is the 2012 LPGA National Teacher Of The Year, an LPGA and Golf Digest Woman Top 50 Teacher and a Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine Top Regional Teacher. Deb serves as the National Vice President of the LPGA Teaching And Club Professionals. Learn more about Deb Vangellow at

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