frequently asked questions
To complete our assessment process, the golf professional will take you through a general summary of our findings while connecting the dots of what you do, why you do it, and the results of swinging the way you do. While doing so, we will create a screencast (recording) of everything being said along with the play through of your swing videos, Trackman, and biomechanical data, which you will receive via email. At this time you will be shown your personalized game plan (your “Play Book.”) in our custom SMARTGOLF app, which is what we use to keep you connected with your Golf Professional and Fitness Instructor. You will also receive an Individualized TPI Findings Report from your physical screen, along with an online TPI Home Program one to three days after your assessment.
The Membership was designed with one question in mind; in order to provide us the best opportunity to create 100% satisfaction, or in other words, truly help 100% of our clients achieve their specific goals, what’s the minimum amount of time commitment with our coaches, and facility access needed, to give themselves the best opportunity to accomplish what they have sought out to? The Membership encompasses the commitment needed to truly partake in the SMART Golf & Fitness Instruction experience, and maintain our 100% satisfaction rate.
Membership allows an unlimited amount of practice. We stress how important it is to avoid long absences between sessions and our membership prevents that from happening.
- We strongly encourage our clients to practice at our facilities understanding the importance of continuous feedback. When you join a program, you are paying for the privilege to practice here. Take advantage!
- All memberships allow practice on our launch monitors and simulation, chipping and putting green, and access to our gym.
- Our launch monitors will automatically capture all club and ball data, along with high-speed video.
- You will be instructed on how to appropriately utilize the technology for YOUR individual game to ensure how to properly interpret the feedback you are receiving to ensure constant progress.
- Practice bays are available for booking 3 days in advance.
- ALL practice must be scheduled.
We want to give our students, as well as our staff, the best opportunity for success and satisfaction–our staff working together on all facets of your golf game, will give you the highest potential rate of success and return on your investment. Our fitness sessions are an extension of your golf lesson, further engraining quality athletic movements and skills, in a less outcome biased environment.
Our fitness staff has an in-depth knowledge of the golf swing, and the physical capabilities necessary to improve the efficiency of each players’ movements.
Our golf staff has an in-depth knowledge of the human body, and the role that it plays, when introducing new motor patterns and skills necessary to improving one’s golf game.
Our golf “lessons” can be physically demanding.
An effective golf coaching program incorporates both technical and physical skill acquisition to ensure quicker, more long-lasting results, speaking specifically to making swing changes/ improvements.
Most struggles you may have experienced during previous lesson environments, were most likely linked to a physical limitation of some sort, or lack of understanding from your instructor on what is truly needed for as an individual to successfully make a swing change.
Better athletes have a greater potential to become better golfers.
Most golfers will experience pain and/or injury at some point in their golf career–our fitness programs focus on determining (and eliminating) the underlying cause of pain and attempt to minimize risk of future pain and injury.
We firmly believe that the combination of golf and fitness is the best way to see results, which is why we require all of our members to go through a 3 month program that includes both 12 hour of golf instruction and 12 hours of fitness training. The fitness training sessions are a direct extension of the golf lessons. Combining both golf instruction with fitness training allows us to put our best foot forward, and gives the student the very best chance to achieve maximum results.
If you are a non-golfer, we do offer up fitness only training on a limited basis. Please feel free to contact us to learn more.
To provide us the best opportunity to create 100% satisfaction. In other words, truly help 100% of our clients achieve their specific goals.
Without looking into the exact number of three months, it’s more important, to look at a time frame in general. In our membership, there is a certain number of sessions you will have along with your practice privileges. By placing a time frame to fulfill those sessions we can ensure constant contact, and avoid long periods of time in between visits and practice sessions. Three months is just what we settled on to be the minimum time commitment needed with our coaches and access to our facility, to give you the best opportunity to accomplish what you have sought out to achieve.
The fact of the matter, is that the golf industry has played a major role in conditioning a large percentage of the golf population into believing that reading tips in a magazine, and taking the occasional one hour lesson can consistently result in long term improvement. Think about it, if the tips can’t help, why are experts sharing them? If one, one-hour lesson can’t ensure improvement, why are they offered? Although, these two options can occasionally result in a temporary sense of improvement for some people, they are way too general, short-term, and will 100% not help everyone. We at SMART, are not comfortable offering a service that couldn’t help 100% of the people walking through our door.
Reverse Handle Bars Story.
To give more insight in why we enforce a minimum time commitment of three months, we would like to share a story of a very relevant experiment conducted by an expert engineer.
“It’s like a riding a bike. You never forget how to ride a bike.” This was the statement this gentleman decided to put to the test. This was the statement that sparked the creation of a very unique bike allowing this very relevant experiment to come to fruition. This very unique bike had one major distinct difference from the bike we have all learned to ride. It had a special gear welded into the handle bars, so if you attempted to turn the handle bars to the right, the tire would turn to the left, and if you turned the handle bars to the left, the tire would move to the right; the exact opposite of what our brain had been trained to do.
The individual decided he was going to learn how to ride this bike. He decided he would practice every day, but for only 5 minutes at a time. Well, to make a long story short, after eight months he was finally able to ride this bike. I would imagine if you had to guess how long it took him, you would have said a lot less than 8 months! It must be mentioned that after he had learned to ride this bike, he challenged hundreds of individuals, all whom knew how to ride a bike, to ride this altered bike. He was an educational speaker for several very large groups specifically tying in his experience with this bike into his presentation. He would challenge any person who was brave enough to attempt to ride this bike. Not one person was able to accomplish the task in their first introduction to the bike. This forty-four year old man decided to take the test to another level. He decided to build a smaller version of the bike for his six year old son who had been riding a bike for less than three years. How long did it take is son? 2 weeks!
Knowing his experiment was not over; after-all, he was testing the theory “you never forget how to right a bike.” He decided to hop on a regular bike. He very quickly discovered he was unable to ride it! Finally, after only twenty minutes of attempting to ride the regular bike, his brain was able to rediscover the original ‘algorithm,’ and he could, once again, ride a bike.
So, what in the heck does this have to do with golf instruction, and how can this help us answer why we enforce three month commitments?
- Like students of golf, he had sought out to learn something he was unable to perform immediately.
- He needed to practice and fail constantly to gain the new ability.
- Like most golfers who have a full time job and family, he was unable to practice hours on end, but only five minutes a day, which obviously proved to be enough.
- Age and years of performing a particular task clearly play a role in the rate in which the brain can learn a new task; (his six year old son proved this.)
- He was able to create a new motor pattern, but expecting to do so in an hour would have created a failure out of him.
- Although it took eight months to learn the task, it only took twenty minutes to find the original hardwiring of the brain. Clearly illustrating that if you spend too much time away from the motor pattern that is not the original hard wire, and actually go back to performing what you learned to do prior, you can fall back in your old habits almost immediately.
This is only one example of learning a new motor pattern. Some may argue that the golf swing has a lot more moving parts and complexity than what this man had sought out to accomplish or even vice versa. Either way, learning how to perform an unfamiliar motion, under pressure, with no conscious thought of the task takes time. It takes time to learn how to be a good student, learn how to practice appropriately, and obviously time for the actual tangible aspect of practice. This becomes an almost impossible job to accomplish in one hour, but not just only in one hour, but not consistently working to improve whatever the certain objective is on hand.
We would all hope and like to think, that we are all great students, and can take everything that was taught in the hour, go on our way, and have the discipline and the necessary detail oriented practice habits to ensure constant progress towards our goal. However, there are several characteristics that play a major role in in the pace someone will be able to learn and create a new swing characteristic without severe conscious thought. It’s our job to make sure our students reach their goal, in this case, the majority of time, that goal is to get better at golf in one way or the other. That said, we have discovered the less time in between visits and practice, the better ability we can ensure constant progress and truly expedite the learning process.
If you are unable to use all of your sessions prior to the end of your membership, then you have the option to have your sessions roll over into your next month of membership. If you do not plan on continuing your membership, then you have the option to add an extra month for $500. This provides you with full access to the facility and extends the end date of your membership by one month, but does not offer any additional sessions on top of the ones that you already purchased.
Realistically, there is no such thing as ‘golf-specific fitness.’ We believe that the better the athlete, the greater potential they have to be a better golfer. This means that your program will focus on what will help make you a better athlete, so while for some people that may be more flexibility or stability training, for others there may be a greater focus on strength and power production. There are certain physical characteristics that will specifically help your golf game and we will do exercises in different positions and postures, but they will all ultimately make you a better overall athlete, not just a golfer!
We are not currently offering practice-only memberships at our Lincoln Park clubhouse.
We do offer practice-only memberships on a limited basis at our Lombard clubhouse. In order to ensure that there is enough availability for our full members to take advantage of the practice that is included in their membership, we only offer a limited number of practice-only memberships. In addition, we require that anyone interested in a practice membership first complete our Initial Assessment ($400). As a reminder, full members (those also participating in golf lessons and fitness sessions) have priority over practice-only members when scheduling practice time.
8 Characteristics that determine the rate you can make a swing change, or change/create a new motor pattern.
These characteristics are important to consider when developing and solidifying our goals with our clients. Expectations must match reality, for when they do not, it can create the scenario where an individuals patience can ware thin way too soon, ultimately stopping them short of their true potential.
The younger you are, the more plastic/ moldable your brain is. It’s easier to break old habits, and create new ones when you are 18 vs. 60.
The more years you have played with your swing, the more engrained it is. An individual new to the game relative to the one who has played for 30 years will make changes easier.
This category is a little broad, however students who have played sports from a very young age to include baseball, hockey, tennis, basketball, soccer, football or any organized sports involving a hitting, throwing, or kicking motion, have shown an extremely expedited rate of learning vs. the individual who did not play any sports of that nature growing up.
PHYSICAL SCREEN RESULTS
If your body is functioning the way it was designed to, the faster we will be able to make swing changes. If we have to improve stability, mobility, flexibility, strength etc. to support a change, the more time it will take.
This category is a little broad, but depending on what the injuries were, when the injuries happened, if there is any lingering pain, and if the intended function of the body has been hindered, this will definitely have an impact on achieving a desired position in the golf swing. If there is pain, there will be no way a new motor pattern can be created, and if the issue can be corrected, the necessary measures must be taken prior to working on the change.
Simple: the more you are able to put into something, the more you will get out of it.
This category is the wild card. This is for you to answer for yourself. Students who can say yes to all 5 questions below, will ALWAYS expedite the learning process.
- Do you have complete trust in our team and our process? Students with complete trust in our team and in our process are the most patient. They do not get discouraged when success isn’t immediate. Students with great patience always break through eventually.
- Do you have a sense of Responsibility? A strong sense of responsibility affects how a student works and the amount of work the student does. When the student feels personally responsible for their performance, they show up and put in their best effort and complete practice to the best of their ability.
- Do you have emphasis on Quality? Some students do only the bare minimum. Students with a strong work ethic care about the quality of their practice. They do their best to produce great work, and are extremely detail oriented. They don’t “hope” they practice correctly, the make sure of it.
- Do you have Discipline and are you Detail Oriented? It takes a certain level of commitment to finish your practice every day. Students with good discipline stay focused on their goals and are determined to complete what has been prescribed. These students show a high level of dedication to getting better.
- Do you understand that success will come from Teamwork? This isn’t completely on any individual to help you reach your goals. Success will come from a collected effort from everyone involved in helping you getting better! YOU are the biggest part of the collected effort.
This category is a little broad, but depending on the lifestyle that a person is living, this will definitely play a role in the process of making a motor pattern change. It’s how someone lives physically, psychologically, socially, and economically.
This category can be broad where family history can play role in how an individual creates/changes a motor pattern. Certain genes passed down can either help or hurt a person from trying to make a swing change.
IS YOUR PRACTICE DELIBERATE?
This category has 5 characteristics which are explained on our Q&A page under: What is a key factor that separates Top Performers from the rest?
These five characteristics define deliberate practice.
It is an activity specifically designed to improve performance.
(SMART EXAMPLE- Your Play Book)
The key word in this attribute is designed. Designed practice is meant to stretch the individual beyond his or her current abilities. Deliberate practice requires that one identify certain sharply defined elements of performance that need to be improved, and then work intently on them (Almost always, it is necessary for a teacher to design the activity). The greatest performers isolate remarkably specific aspects of what they do and focus on just those things until they are improved, then it’s on to the next aspect.
Note: Going to the driving range, getting two buckets of balls, starting with a club of your choice, picking a target, occasionally thinking about why a shot is bad, eventually picking one of the thousand things that could be going wrong, until you hit another bad one, while deciding to work on another one of the thousand things to work on, convincing yourself you can sense improvement is not practice.
You can never make progress if practice is easy or comfortable, because if it is, you are ‘practicing’ activities you can already do easily.
It can be repeated a lot.
(SMART EXAMPLE- Drills that can be performed virtually anywhere.)
High repetition is the most important difference between deliberate practice of a task, and performing the task for real, when it counts. Repeating a specific activity over and over is what most of us mean by practice, yet for most, it really isn’t effective. After all, hitting ball after ball on the driving range is repeating something. This brings up two points which distinguish deliberate practice from what most of us actually do.
- Choosing a properly demanding activity just out of your comfort zone. (DRILLS.)
- The actual amount of repetition. The most effective deliberate practice activities are those that can be repeated at very high volume. There is an undeniable trend in the world’s best performers and the astronomically large amount of time and effort spent ‘practicing.’
Feedback on results is continuously available.
(SMART EXAMPLE- Our facility, your instructor, automatic video capture, trackman, a mirror.)
You can work on your technique all you like, but if you cannot see what you are actually executing and the effects from the execution, two things will happen: You won’t get any better, and you’ll stop caring.
A teacher/ coach is crucial for improving technique and changing motor patterns. Our facility and technology are also great for providing the necessary feedback to improve.
Note: In the early stages of practice for most individuals, the lease effective place to be getting better is at the driving range by yourself. If you can not accomplish a change based on thought and feel alone, the last feedback you need is ball flight.
It’s highly demanding mentally.
(SMART EXAMPLE- Exhaustion during/after sessions is not uncommon.)
Deliberate practice, is above all, an effort of focus and concentration. That is what makes it “deliberate,” as opposed to the mindless hitting of golf balls that most people engage in.
Continually seeking exactly those elements of performance that are unsatisfactory and then trying one’s hardest to make them better, places enormous strain on anyone’s mental abilities.
The work is so great, that no one can sustain it for very long.
Findings which are remarkably consistent across disciplines is that sessions lasting 60-90 minutes seems to be the upper limit of deliberate practice at one time.
“Practice with your body, and you will need all day. Practice with your mind and you will do as much in one and half hours.” – Leopold Auer
Note: We are not saying that you need to practice 60-90 minutes at a time, every day to get better. We are saying more sessions and less time at once is most productive. We will add, like most disciplines in life, the more you put into something, the more you will get out of it.
It isn’t much fun.
(SMART EXAMPLE: We identify the ‘painful,’ difficult activities that will make you better and do those things over and over.)
Doing things we know how to do is enjoyable, and that’s exactly the opposite of what deliberate practice demands. Instead of doing things we are good at, we insistently seek out what we’re not good at. After each rep, we force ourselves to see or get your coach to tell you exactly what still isn’t right so we can repeat the most difficult parts of what we have just done. We continue the process until we are mentally exhausted.
Note: If it seems a bit depressing that the most important thing you can do to improve performance is no fun, take consolation in this fact: It must be so. If the activities that lead to greatness were easy and fun, then everyone would do them, and there would be no distinguishing the best from the rest. The reality that deliberate practice is hard can even be seen as good news. It means most people won’t do it. So your willingness to do it will distinguish you all the more.
We have all experienced that three or four-hole stretch, of hitting the ball exactly where you want, only to be followed by the worst shot you could ever imagine on the subsequent tee-box. How about being on the range and striking the ball exactly where you want to for five shots in a row, only to be followed by a really bad hook, slice, or any other awful miss, having no clue where that shot came from. You could even just be that player that hits only one or two good shots in a row always to be followed by another that is absolutely depressing when you hit it, again wondering why it is so hard to swing the “same” every time.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many golfers I see, that inform me that their biggest issue is that they have 3-5 different swings, and that’s why they are so inconsistent; that they do not understand why they swing different every time.
Does your swing really change every time you hit the ball?
My extremely broad answer to that, is No. You are probably thinking that makes absolutely no sense. If I hit a great shot, and then I hit an awful shot, there was obviously a difference! I would respond with telling you, you are correct. There is a difference, but what is it? Did your swing really change mechanically from one shot to the next? What was actually different?
What’s wonderful about today’s world of golf instruction is the advancement in technology which, not only removes a lot of the guess work in our job as golf instructors, but also removes room for opinions. So, when I tell you that you do not swing differently every time; it’s not what I think, it’s what I can prove. Here is why; one very powerful piece of technology that we use, known as Advanced Motion Measurement 3D, allows us to measure, to the nearest degree, hundreds of different parameters in ones biomechanics informing us exactly how you move. The fascinating fact, is the data that we are able to attain from each individual looks practically identical from one swing to the next, no matter how good or bad you strike the ball. I will always get the individual that comes in for his assessment, and while he is on 3D, he is very adamant about making sure that we collect his data on a good shot, especially if he has only been hitting “poor” shots, but the fact of the matter is, I am not going to see much of a difference on the “well struck” shot.
That said, we still have not shed much light on to what in the world is different from the good shot, and the bad shot. The answer is very simple–Timing. At the end of the day, timing is a big part, if not the biggest part of the answer to what separates consistent, and inconsistent ball strikers.
Let me explain further. Here is an analogy I like to communicate to most of my clients in our first visit together. I like to imagine the golf swing (in its mechanical state) as an equation consisting of variables which equal timing.
For example; if we were to look at an extremely consistent ball striker, say even a tour player, their equation may look like something as simple as A+B= Timing. There are few variables in the equation making it very easy to solve consistently.
While, a higher handicappers’ equation may look like A+B+C+D+E+Z etc = Timing. That said, it is still an equation, and it still can be solved, hence the good shots, but is a lot more difficult.
Let me take another step farther and give you an example of how this “equation” can play out in the actual motion. Let’s look at the first move off the ball; the take away. Let’s say there are 5 total variables in the first move off the ball.
A= Club, B= Hands, C= Arms, D = Torso, and E= Hips.
If you were to observe several great ball strikers, for the most part, you should start to notice a commonality in their first move off the ball. Ideally, you would see very little movement (rotation) of the hands or clubface, the arms would be moving with the torso, and the lower body would be relatively quiet thus far. Just as you can read in several golf instruction books, you would see what has been coined as the “one-piece” takeaway. Now, before the assumption is made, that this is most efficient for all golfers, let me conclude quickly that, that is not necessarily the case. Someone’s physical capability, age, years playing, and sports played growing up etc…, has a huge impact on what is most efficient for them as an individual, but keep in mind, what is most efficient for the individual, is not always the most efficient in general.
Anyhow, what I would like you to take-note of, is that when observing a very efficient take-way, you see five separate variables working as one variable, in turn starting the process of making the timing equation easier to solve. One very common error I see (excluding reasons at this time) in a poorer ball strikers takeaway, is not rotating their torso, which gets their arms doing most of the work, hands rotating the clubface wide open, and the hips rotating way too much, in-turn starting the golf swing with five separate variables vs. one, which then leads to several other compensations (variables). This then leads to (most commonly) a clubface which is not square or on plane in the delivery position, resulting in subconscious, last second manipulation of the hands at impact.
What I have come to realize is, that when a player has a lot of manipulation with the hands, and is not in control with the bigger body parts at impact, they are not nearly as consistent as the player with little to no manipulation with the hands through impact. What todays’ technology has been able to prove is that, even the players with all of the extra variables in their golf swing, they repeat them very consistently from one swing to the next. The problem is that, at the end of the day, we are human, and when a player has extremely active hands through the impact zone swinging an object moving as fast as the club does, it is just way too hard to repeat.
In conclusion, when a player realizes that their swing heavily relies on over-all timing, and they actually don’t swing differently every time, they know that it is inevitable they are going to hit that shot that drives them crazy. It’s a small piece of mind that allows players to either accept their fate, not getting nearly as frustrated when it happens, or they begin the process of taking the necessary steps to start removing unnecessary variables in their swing, and making their equation easier to solve.
No, we work with athletes in all sports, as well as ‘corporate athletes’ who just want to feel and move better in their daily lives.