The ever fascinating Fred Shoemaker shakes things up


I posted this clip on my Facebook page Wednesday and it sparked some debate among a couple of high profile instructors about the difference between ‘what’s correct’ and what makes a student—in this case, Golf Channel’s Damon Hack—just feel good.

Check out the video of Fred Shoemaker on The Golf Channel. To me, it demonstrates why I believe Fred is arguably the greatest coach in golf who operates under the radar. Fred’s approach is that you already have what you need to play great golf—a body and brain capable of amazing things.

The challenge is to become fully aware of what you are doing. This runs counter to most of the instructional content that rushes at golfers like a tsunami in our plugged-in world.

What makes Fred so compelling is that he makes people aware of what they are paying attention to. Most of us don’t even know what our bodies are doing or how we’re feeling. Many of us are conditioned to think about a concept or possibly an instructional tip. We’re trying to direct our bodies to move in a particular way.

I believe it’s important to understand correct fundamentals. But during my experience in Shoemaker’s workshops, I learned that a piece of instructional information doesn’t help me unless I can experience it in my own way. Make it internal, completely my own. Otherwise, it’s another of thousands of external concepts or tips that I—like other golfers–will come across in my lifetime.

To hit a golf shot, I agree with Fred that you must be (a) present to what you are doing in the moment (b) be aware of what you are experiencing. When you are thinking, you are removed from what your body is doing, and how you are relating to a target.

Fred’s approach is challenging for many people—and instructors—because it goes against the current that everything worth doing and knowing must come from experts, when in fact we’ve already got most of what we need to succeed at whatever we want to do.