NBC’s Johnny Miller says taking on a new swing coach can become a risky journey.
Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee said today’s swing coaches can be like “helicopter” parents.
Miller and Chamblee weighed in on the nature of today’s high-profile swing coaches in an NBC/Golf Channel FedEx Cup teleconference on Tuesday. The topic’s relevant with Monday’s news that Woods may be seeking a new coach after announcing he has parted ways with Sean Foley, his swing coach over the last four years.
Miller said there’s always a danger in trying to improve too much.
“I call it the North Rim of the Grand Canyon,” Miller said. “Once you go down in that hole, the middle of the Grand Canyon, most guys, a lot of them, never get back up the other side.”
Miller said Nick Faldo is among the few who successfully made the most daunting journeys.
“Tom Watson didn't ever change his swing,” Miller said. “Nicklaus never changed his swing. He had a once‑a‑year Jack Grout lesson in December.”
Chamblee sees a danger when a player relies too much on a teacher.
“It's interesting for all of us to talk about,” Chamblee said. “It's fun for us to sit down and talk to these instructors and listen to their ideas, but I don't know that this helicoptering, this helicopter teacher, this constant hovering, well‑intentioned, well‑informed constant teaching, is doing the player a great service.”
Chamblee believes a player can become too reliant on a teacher.
“I think the very nature of the way golf is taught now has led to a timidity in players, and it's certainly upped the profile of the teacher . . . A lot of theory is being put forth, and golf is in sort of a revolutionary stage, of lots of number, lots of ideas, lots of geometry, lots of science being thrown at these players,” Chamblee said. “It's intriguing, it's interesting, and I think a lot of these teachers have done a great job of promoting themselves. But, unfortunately, I think that there's discovery and there's confidence that's found in solitude.
“Tiger Woods came to his golf swing in 2000, alone, watching the video of the 1997 Masters. He was watching that in a room alone, and he figured out that there were at least 10 things he needed to change. And those 10 things, he called up Butch Harmon and loaded them on him. And Butch said: `I agree with all of them.’ And they went to work. And within a year, he had the swing that produced the greatest golf that anybody had ever seen. That was a swing of Tiger's origin, of his own making. He visualized it, and I think that sort of discovery process is absent from the Tour right now.”