On the January 19th episode of the Stick and Hack Show, the guys are joined by world-class golf instructor and best selling writer, Adam Young. Adam is the author of the book The Practice Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Golfers and he runs the website AdamYoungGolf.com. Listen in as they discuss golf “from philosophical to technical.” 

The following excerpt has been edited for space. Check out the full interview here.

S/H: Well, Adam, your last year was probably crazy because you live in a world where you’ve got to have one-on-one instruction. You live in a spot where you need to be hands-on and you weren’t able to do that last year. You moved your entire operation to Las Vegas where you’re at now but you moved a lot of your instruction online and you were one of the first that we know that did that early. How did, how did you feel moving your instruction online? It helps those guys that don’t want to or don’t have time to spend an hour on a range getting instruction. Have you stumbled upon by accident and by sheer survival instincts, an instruction method that could work for more people?

Adam Young: Yeah, definitely. I came to Vegas with the intention of just setting up a facility here or going into the golf clubs to do an event and then COVID hit right as I’m setting everything up so that kind of derailed everything. But luckily since 2012, I’ve been blogging, writing books, and creating some online content. So I kind of had that backing me up and you know, I use this as an opportunity. What are you going to do if you can’t work? So I’ve had to head into online instruction, but it’s going quite well. I do miss working with people one-on-one definitely but it has me thinking more about how I can reach a broader audience. 

S/H: Adam, you are the best-selling author of The Practice Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Golfers. It’s an international best-selling book in five countries, and you’ve been featured on the Golf Channel. You are a holistic golf coach. You’re seeing the game as more than the sum of its parts and your blog reaches over a million golfers each year.

Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson who were on the show a couple of episodes ago from Vision 54 said, “Adam Young is definitely one who commits to continuous learning and making a difference. He believes that the coaching of the future of golf will include much more than just technical knowledge.” What do you mean by that? What do you mean by the future of golf will be more than just technical knowledge?

Adam: I think instruction is 99% based on ‘let’s pick a player, any player and try to copy their swing. That can certainly work because anybody who takes the time to go and try to copy a swing is going to be practicing, right? So by default, if they’re practicing, they’re going to get better. If you pick up any golf magazine, 99% of the instruction articles are going to be based around movement. Well, I always wondered, why is Jim? Furyk such a good player? Yet he looks like an octopus falling out of a tree. You have all these different players with different swings.

S/H: How do you see instruction today and what has changed over the years? 

Adam: I think more people are coming to realize that it’s the little things that matter a lot in golf. Rather than just looking at positions and the overall look of the swing. That’s important too, but it’s the little things that matter. I think the invention of Trackman has just highlighted to people what actually changes in the shot. So as an example of that, we know that the difference between a shot that goes straight down the middle and one that hooks into the rough is two degrees of clubface. It’s such a small change and I think that’s highlighted now in the industry so more instructors are looking at that.

S/H: So let’s talk about practice and the difference between just hitting balls and truly getting better. A practice session doesn’t need to be 90 minutes in a bunker. It can be a range session, it can be a warm-up session. Anytime you’re hitting a ball, could be practice for whatever is happening next. So what is the difference and what are some of the things that you tell your students and anybody you played golf with on how to put in a practice session?

Adam: I would say, get rid of the myth of perfect practice makes perfect. I would say at least add an element of variability. So what I mean by that is try to hit some shots to the right, try to hit some shots to the left, try to hit it off the toe, try to hit it off the heel, and try to nip it a little bit. I believe most of my biggest learning experiences came from that. It’s just active play. Right? And you look at, even in the animal kingdom, what is play? I’ve got a new puppy and he’s playing all the time. They’re just exploring boundaries. And that’s what we lose as adults. Right? We get locked into, this is just the only way to do it. There are so many things you can learn from it. 

I will take lifelong slicers and I’ll just ask them close to face 80 degrees, make a point at your body. Now grip it and hit a few shots and see what happens. And then I say, now do it 60 degrees now, 40 degrees now, 20 degrees closed. And they start to get to the point where it feels awesome. Now you can use that to fix your slice when you’re on the course. So just doing that for 20 minutes to half an hour can have a lifelong effect on that person because they now know what it takes to fix their slice.

S/H: You made the statement, someone can go out on the course and then fix their slice while they’re on the course. And my question is, why is it that anytime someone gives a tip mid-round, that it’s the worst thing in the world? It seems to me like something like that would help people.

Adam: It’s because we’re actually very consistent as humans, even though the result isn’t consistent, we are incredibly consistent with what we do. Like a shanker isn’t going center, center, center, random shank. That doesn’t happen for 95% of the cases. The shanker is hitting heel, heel, heel, slightly more to the heel and that’s a disaster. And they say, I’m so inconsistent.

We are very consistent until we try to consciously change something. When someone gives us a tip and we are then thinking about our swing, that does open up a bigger spread of inconsistency. And because golf is so precise, it only takes a very tiny change to make a huge outcome. 

Listen to the full episode to hear more tips and tactics from Adam Young and start your year off on the right foot. Also, listen in to hear who would be In or Out as the guys draft a fourth golf group member out of famous Music Frontmen. Does Mike even know what music is?

Key Takeaway: Where are you hitting the ball and what changes can you make to improve your ball striking?