Its not a new observation that kids are spending more time on iPads, PlayStations or even their phones either gaming or on social networks.
It’s inevitable that their futures will differ from ours in terms of the amount of technology that they will have access to and need to use on a daily basis.
Despite this, most would agree that it’s still important to get them off their phones and outside playing.
But rather than deny them all access to technology, golf is one sport where technology and playing works well together.
We’ll record almost every lesson, as showing players ‘before and after’ is usually very powerful and aids the learning process. It’s a great tool when teaching juniors, although how we provide the feedback will vary from lessons with adults.
Above: Olly showing us a better turn behind the ball in the backswing by ‘moving away from the monster.’ To help him remember this in the lesson or on the course, a simple reminder of “watch out for the monster!” is all he needs.
Newer technology such as launch monitors are now common in golf lessons. The amount of detailed information that can be gathered is mind blowing and if not delivered carefully can be overwhelming for the player. Keeping the information simple is not only important for the juniors but also for adults.
An important requirement for the modern game is distance and we’ll encourage juniors to swing fast and hit drivers as far as possible. Keeping a record of their performance allows us to monitor improvement (and can add an element of competition).
GPS and Distance Measuring
Yardage books are almost extinct as a number course planners with GPS are available as apps. Wearable tech (watches and GPS tag systems) has seen the biggest increase in the market with new products popping up each month.
A lot of our elite juniors are also using Bushnell range finders (other brands available) to get accurate distances to targets.
Trackman is also great for distance measuring and its test centre is superb for making practices more realistic. However, this distance control practice can be done very simply with something as basic as a free random number generator app.
The excitement when juniors hit the generate button to see what distance they need to go for still surprises me and often seems more exciting than hitting the shot!
Even using Google maps as a course planner can be done (for free) and is great for game planning and learning where best to aim for certain shots. Juniors of younger ages are becoming more adept at using technology so drawing zones around a green (below) is a simple task and means the player can spend more time focusing on the shot.
For the older juniors or those that play events, an interval timer is a great way to keep pre shot routines consistent. The alarms can be used as a cue for each part of their routine. Also great for speeding up play!
Shot tracer (similar to pro tracer that you may see on Sky Sports), is a fun app that we use to help players learn and understand why the ball curves as well as how to hit different trajectories. This is also a feature on trackman (a more advanced version).
Below: Luke showing us a low fade. Questioning the juniors as to how they hit shots in the images is a great way for checking their understanding.
Other features on the shot tracer app are also great teaching tools.
Below: Skyla learning how the club moves faster as it approaches the ball.
So rather than remove the phones and games from them completely, let the kids embrace the technology that will be part of their lives and use it to help them learn on and off the course.