Recently I was lucky enough to interview a best selling author and one of the most knowledgeable coaches in the golf industry, Adam Young.
I have learnt a lot from Adam’s content for a few years now so this was a pleasure for me to ask him these questions and I think it will be for you too.
The interview is filled with tips to help your game, some personal stuff to get to know Adam and also lots of references to further reading/learning which is all aimed at making you a better and happier golfer. Enjoy 🙂
Why did Adam Young become a golf coach?
I started pretty late in the game (15 years old). As a result, I was old enough, and analytical enough, to want to study the swing mechanics.
I got every book out of the library on the swing, and was studying Leadbetter/Faldo swings, and drawing plane lines on my TV screen very early.
I loved the idea that you could figure out this complex, seemingly voodoo sport by looking at mechanics.
While, many years later, I realise that this was ultimately a flawed approach, it led me to have a love for solving golf problems.
I wish I knew then what I know now – improvement would have been much quicker and I would have reached a better level earlier.
However, the search for answers essentially led me to my life as a coach now – which I love.
Number ONE Mistake you see Amateurs making when they practice?
This is simple – not making the mental connection between what the ball is doing and what they did at impact (with the club).
Most amateurs hit a bad shot and immediately try to change something in the movement pattern without any regard for how impact needs to change.
Ultimately, if you aren’t improving impact, you are not improving your shots – that’s a fact!
Who do you want to win The Master’s & why?
Tiger just started dominating as I was starting the game. He’s my golfing hero, and I think it would be great for the industry as a whole for him to do it.
Number ONE tip for helping a golfer with the shanks?
I’ve had so many golfers come to me after spending thousands on lessons elsewhere, only to still have their shanks.
Many of those, I can fix for life with just a couple of sentences.
If you shot a gun at a target and you kept missing it high, you wouldn’t keep aiming at the middle – you would aim somewhere else. Golf should be the same.
By aiming at either the red spot on the ground, or the green one (and intentionally trying to hit that spot), you can immediately hit anywhere you want on the face.
A green target will produce more of a toe strike, and vice versa.
This works immediately, and is something you can call upon on the course, should bad strikes occur.
Golfers who have bought into the idea that you “need to fix your swing mechanics” have been sold a bunch of lies, so they probably won’t accept the above advice.
But I have fixed thousands of golfers around the world FOR LIFE with the above.
There’s even more info here
Best round of golf you have ever played?
I once went out for a playing lesson with 3 beginner golfers. I shot 8 under par for 9 holes (before it got dark). They didn’t even bat an eye – thinking that’s what pros always do.
In a quick Summary, how did you gain 55 yards without increasing any swing speed?
This is a perfect example of how learning about the simple physics of impact allowed me to make huge leaps in performance in record time.
I simply learned that, to optimize distance, a higher launch and lower spin rate achieves this.
I then worked on Trackman to change my angle of attack from 5 down to 5 up (hitting up on the ball), which increased the launch angle and lowered the spin rate.
The ball carried and average of 56 yards longer – and I showed the Trackman results to prove it.
It’s essentially the same technique at impact that the long-drive pros use.
The only difference is, they use it with much more speed than I can create, so they can carry it over 400 yards!
You can read more about how I did that here
Did you expect your best-selling book ‘The Practice Manual’ to do so well?
No not at all.
When I wrote it, I didn’t write it for mass-appeal. I wanted to show some really deep topics that most golfers and instructors never hear about, so I wrote it with the golf junkie/coach in mind.
The fact it was adopted and liked by so many amateurs baffles me.
I guess they are sick of hearing the same old swing advice over and over and never improving – so this is a welcome break.
The book isn’t for everyone – people looking for a quick “secret” might not appreciate the depth of the book.
Although, there are still things in the book that can give people lightbulb moments that last for life.
Your best course management tip for amateurs?
Set out with the intention to hit the green, not the flag.
Amateurs (and pros) are not rewarded for hitting it close as much as they are penalised for missing a green, statistically speaking.
For this reason, I’ve had close to a thousand emails from people who loved my “no flag golf” article.
The main premise of the article is to ignore the flag and aim for the back-middle of the green (wind adjusted).
This will increase greens in regulation hit, which has a large correlation with score.
Favourite Major and why?
The Masters – it’s beautiful and inspires me to play. Plus, it’s the start of the golf season for most people.
What is your favourite golf account you follow on Instagram?
I only really follow your account closely 🙂
You have recently released your ‘Next Level Golf’ subscription site – what type of golfer would this really benefit in your opinion?
Like the book, I aimed it at the golf-geek. It’s like The Practice Manual on steroids.
It discusses everything from how to train, impact physics, swing technique, psychology, motor learning, strategy and more.
There really is nothing else out there like it.
The golf geek will get more out of it than they can possibly imagine. While it might be a bit of overload for a higher handicap, they will still get a lot out of it.
If I had to summarise, I would say it is for the info-seeking golfer.
How important do you consider technique in the golf swing?
Technique, technically, is everything.
The problem is, most golfers (and even instructors) put way too much stock into things that are less relevant to performance.
For example, much of golf instruction focuses on what I would call “swing style”.
While style does correlate with function, ultimately it is not enough.
How the club moves through impact is the most important part of the golf swing – literally EVERYTHING the ball does is a result of this.
Therefore, any technical changes need to influence this, or it wont improve you.
I think that all amateurs, and many coaches, fail to make changes with this in mind.
They are simply blindly changing movement with the off-chance that it will randomly affect impact positively.
In my programs, I show golfers exactly what impact parameters they need to change in order to improve their results, as well as what swing factors affect the impact directly.
What do you think makes a great golf coach?
Critical thinking, and experience.
Nothing is a substitute for thousands of hours on the battlefield, but critical thinking and self-analysis infinitely increases what you get out of your experiences.
Top 3 golf books you have read?
I don’t read many golf books anymore, but when I do I like to read ones with fresher ideas.
Mark Broadie’s book on strokes gained, I loved. I came to a similar conclusion independently on how to use stats to influence strategy, but I like how his approach differs to mine. And I love numbers.
Apart from that, I think Leadbetter’s “The Golf Swing” book is timeless.
Third one – maybe Faldo’s book, because I learned most of my swing mechanics from that book as a kid.
What is your most viral blog post and why do you think it resonated/helped so much with golfers?
This article on impact.
It highlights what I have discussed in this interview, in a way which you can’t ignore.
What was your handicap when you turned pro?
I was a scratch golfer, with the UK handicap system (so around a plus 2/3 with the US system). Since I turned pro, I learned a lot more.
As a result, I can play to about a plus 5 with very little practice now.
My trackman combine scores are equivalent to a top tour pro – I just don’t deal with pressure like they do 🙂
Do you use any training aids in your coaching? If so, which ones?
After spending thousands on training aids, and ending up throwing them all away or letting them gather dust, I don’t use many anymore.
However, my main things I use on the lesson-tee are Dr Scholls footspray, and some tees and towels.
I know you are not a big fan of copying the pros swings unless it is beneficial for the golfer to do so in some way, but which pro’s action would you love to have aesthetically or functionally?
I used to love the swings that looked clean (like Adam Scott). But the more I learned, the more I love to look at stranger actions and ask why they work.
As a result, I love Bubba, Furyk, Matthew Wolff etc. Functionally – I think Rory has a great athletic look, and has one of the highest strokes gained stats, tee-to-green.
Matthew Wolff is -3 thru 14 in his PGA TOUR debut.
🔸19 years old
🔸1st-team All-American as a freshman last year
🔸 Won three straight collegiate events in the fall
And a swing you have never seen before. 😯 pic.twitter.com/rdoMo4NwS7
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) 31 January 2019
Where can people go and find all of your great content?
If you like books? Get The Practice Manual.
Like videos? Get The Strike Plan.
Want the most in-depth info? Get Next Level Golf.
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Currently a low handicap golfer who is striving to become a scratch player. I have a very keen passion for the mental side of the game as I feel this is holding lots of golfers back from fulfilling their potential (as it did me) and also stopping them from enjoying this awesome game it as much as they should.