I got this idea from watching great teachers. Some had different pieces of the concept. In talking to some very smart tour players and playing myself in tournament golf at the amateur/professional level I saw many ways to practice. I also saw how coaches in other sports broke down their coaching into smaller and easily performed drills. I went to see some great coaches in other sports and I read a ton of biographies too. What they did in other sports was so obvious. It hit me after I had been teaching for 3 years in New York, 1978. I had been teaching 7 months of the year at Westchester CC beginning in 1975. Combining the playing, the teaching, and the studying I processed the information into what I called “the elimination theory”. I even trademarked that concept because I knew it was groundbreaking in golf instruction. I started using it in my teaching at that time. My great friend and great teacher Carl Welty used indoor instruction very differently than anyone I had ever heard of or read. Carl was always a huge influence with my teaching. I always considered him to be so far ahead of the teaching field. I expanded on the indoor techniques Carl used into indoor/outdoor instruction and then by taking away things that my students did on the golf course.
I thought to myself that eliminating targets and even taking the golf club away would free up the student and that I could use this new “progression system” to the benefit of my students. There was no ball flight result as soon as I went off the range and took them into my first teaching nets. You couldn’t see where the ball went. I realized this was a huge mental benefit to teaching because it eliminated the idea of “if my shot went good I swung good”. It also eliminated “if my shot went bad, I swung bad”. I could win either way in changing swing problems.
When teachers or golfers instruct solely on ball flight they can have a huge detriment to long term improvement. Too much focus on where the balls goes vs getting your swing mechanics in order usually means a quick fix and often does not get to the heart of the problem. I could see that obviously impeding success in many instances.
I wondered what else could I eliminate?
The progression took place this way:
TAKE AWAY THE GOLF COURSE, GO TO THE RANGE
TAKE AWAY THE RANGE, GO TO AN INDOOR NET ROOM
TAKE AWAY THE BALL, JUST MAKE YOUR BEST PRACTICE SWING (it’s often not as good as the student thinks.). FILM IT
TAKE AWAY THE GOLF CLUB AND MAKE GOLF SWINGS ON VIDEO.
TAKE AWAY THE ARMS, FOLD THEM ON THE CHEST.
My friend David Glenz (1987) and I introduced body drills in our first VHS tape (THE 10 FUNDAMENTALS OF THE MODERN GOLF SWING). I’m pretty sure it was the first time anything like this progression had ever been shown. Body drills and better body movements have been a staple of my teaching since that time.
Once I get my students using better body technique I know they will swing the golf club better and we can progress much faster from that point forward. I don’t get ahead of my students, or their current golf swing situation. My teachers at JMGS do not over complicate the process and by eliminating we get great results.
I wrote about THE ELIMINATION THEORY in “The Eight Step Swing book” and I have had many teachers comment on the help it has given them ever since. I’ve spoken on this subject worldwide. It’s sure worked for me and my staff of instructors. Indoor/outdoor instruction is a combination that we use at all of my teaching facilities.
I’ve used my elimination theory for decades. It’s certainly one of the best teaching ideas I’ve ever had in this game.