We will be interviewing Tom Bailey on Thursday November 11th (tomorrow). If you would like to know more about him, here is a short take on my experience being coached by him off and on for the past 9 months (more on than off).
As in all major sports, there are a bazillion factors that go into being a successful golfer. When coaching such a complex skill, it is easy to get lost in the wide open sea of details. The mark of a seasoned professional is one who has zoomed in and out so much that the hierarchy of importance has become apparent. A high level golf coach knows how to prioritize the athletes focus, and not spill random information out of excitement.
At first glance with Tom Bailey's instagram, you will see a few things. Recently he's been flexing on trolls who are claiming that he can't swing as hard as he claims (141 mph CHS), but this is not the norm. When he's not posting a video of him mashing golf balls on the course, he'll display his students' clean, simple, yet powerful actions. Sometimes, he'll indulge his viewers with a simple instructional videos whose immense value is surely lost on most frequenters of his page.
Don't let the "posture at address" videos he makes fool you. His understanding of the swing goes much much deeper. I admire the lack of ego present when Tom makes a "posture at address" video, because chances are the guy scrolling through instagram needs to hear that more than anything. Tom's knowledge of the game is more extensive than he'll ever be able to share on social media, but it's not about him. It's about his audience.
Going into my first lesson, I knew that I would be stuck working on "posture at address" for several sessions if I didn't come in with that nailed down from the get go. I also knew what the correct posture was from watching every George Gankas YouTube video under the sun, is there was no excuse. Tom gave me the appropriate praise in the first lesson for taking that initiative. From there I was ready to get into the nitty gritty of athletic rotation movement, but Tom recognized that was not the low hanging fruit.
For a full swing shot, the only things that matter is what is the club face doing at the bottom of the swing. That includes several variables. Is the club face square? Is there a neutral path? Where is the low point? Is the strike in the middle of the face or more towards the toe or the heel? And lastly, how fast is the club head moving?
Tom quickly recognized that I could tell him exactly what my body was doing but not my club face. I had the order of importance backwards, and created some fictitious ideas about what the body was supposed to do that was not productive towards making the club do what it was supposed to do.
If you read my previous post, Pre-Tom-Baileozoic-Era: Progressing My Golf Game Without a Prolific Coach, you'll see that I got to a point in my game where the only way to progress past the 7-8 handicap mark was to drastically tighten my full swing spray chart. I am proud to say that I am now down to a 3 handicap thanks to the fine cocktail of long hours of hard work and Tom Bailey's guidance.
During the month of October, I had been going 9-12 hole stretches under par, and I am hitting double digit GIRs per 18 holes on a regular basis. These consistent results had never been part of my golf game. The swing Tom has taught me gives me immense confidence that the ball is going to be headed in the direction that I have my club face aimed at address.
I hope everyone enjoys our interview with Tom that should be coming out early next week. He is an electric personality, and also has very provoking takes on all the hot button issues surrounding the PGA Tour.