Many times I have heard this statement. In the past I thought they knew what they were
talking about, so I would find a range I could take them to. Then they would say that they
could not learn hitting off of a mat. I would then find a grass area only to have them say, the
grass is not the same as it is on the golf course. This has happened to me several times. So, I
am not writing this article to them. I am writing to people who really want to know the truth
about the learning process.
I am writing from my own personal learning experience of developing my golf swing and my
many years of teaching others. In my own learning process, I have hit many thousands of
balls on the range and shagging in fields. I also have hit thirteen hundred balls a day into a
net. I have given professional golf lessons at ranges for eleven years and I have now been
teaching indoors for over nine years.
People don’t come to me to show how great they are hitting. They come because they want to
become better strikers of the ball. Some do have the attitude that they want me to teach them
without changing their swing. This is not reality. The truth is whether you are a beginner,
want to break eighty or go from a three handicap to scratch, there has to be changes made.
When changes are made in the swing, one can expect to hit some very bad shots. Why would
a player want to be at the range watching the ball going all over the place? This negative feed
back will at the least hinder the learning process and in some cases make it impossible to
learn. In a net one can concentrate fully on the swing changes rather than the ball flight.
Many medicines may have a bad taste but if endured one will get better. When teaching out
doors, I have found many students not progressing. So I started asking them what they were
thinking about on their last shot and to my surprise it had nothing to do with what I told them
to work on. You see it is just human nature to try to make the ball look better in the air
whether conscious or subconscious than to hit bad shots while going through the learning
process. When I ask the same question to a student hitting into a net I find that they are
concentrating on the swing thought I gave them.
At the range I have had many students say that it was too hot in the summer and cold in the
winter. Too windy, chilly, and rainy in the spring and in the fall they put there clubs away
because the golf year was almost over. Hitting into a net in my golf facility is comfortable in
the summer due to air conditioning, there is heat in the winter, no wind or rain, and the fall is
a great time to take lessons because the golf season never ends at Dave’s Custom Golf Place.
You can take lessons year round.
When one cannot see the flight of the ball, one starts developing other senses which may
never have been developed in any other way. It does not take long to develop the feel of an
open or closed blade, fat, thin, toed or heeled, compressed, fluffed, over the top or inside out
swing path. Even the learning process of not looking up until the ball is well on its way is
more quickly attained. Once one has developed this ability, it won’t be long until one can
practice hitting fades, draws, hooks, slices, high and low shots at will.
I have taught many students to fade, draw, slice, hook, hit it high or low in a net. By all
means you should take it to a range for conformation before using it on the course. Don’t get
me wrong. I am not against going to a range. In fact you need to go and watch the ball flight
to help supplement your learning and practicing in a net.
I have had people tell me that there swing or golf ability is past the point of using a net. And I
say to them that even if they shoot five under par on a consistent basis, they still will not out
grow learning in a net. I know scratch players that love hitting into their net, developing and
keeping their rhythm, timing, and balance. Making the ball dance at will, just by picturing the
shot they want to make in their mind and reacting to it, rather than thinking of how to do it.
In my opinion, one will develop a sound consistent swing much faster hitting into a net with
the correct instruction.