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The Plane Truth (part 5) - Leading Plane Truth certified pros in the UK give their verdict

Unlike many big name international golf coaches, Jim Hardy does not insist that his accredited teaching pros operate exclusively from an academy dedicated solely to that system.

His Plane Truth certification programme is purely designed to pass on his knowledge and experience to pros in a practical way, while ensuring they can navigate The Matrix swiftly and efficiently for the benefit of their students.

Duncan Woolger, George Porter and Tom Godwin represent the first generation of Plane Truth pros in the UK, while the rapidly growing popularity of the concept should see a further 40 certified pros across the UK and Europe by the end of this year, and possibly as many as 100 by 2012.

Part 1 - Plane Talk - Interview with golf swing coach Jim Hardy
Part 2 - The Matrix & My Profile - A revolutionary vision for online golf instruction
Part 3 - One & Two Plane Golf Swings - A rough guide
Part 4 - Matt Kuchar - Natural Born One Plane Golf Swing
Part 5 - Leading Plane Truth certified pros in the UK give their verdict
Part 6 - In three balls you could cure your slice

Duncan Woolger Head Pro,
Braintree Golf Club, Essex.
The Plane Truth Certified Instructor (Level 2)

Duncan Woolger (pictured below with George Porter) had been an assistant pro at Moor Park and Wentworth for many years and an authority on various golf instruction systems by the time he first attended a seminar by Jim Hardy at the PGA of America coaching summit in 2004.

“I had been to dozens of seminars over the years and would try and teach several of the latest methods. But I'd became frustrated – both as a player and a teacher – by the fact that so many coaches seemed to offer conflicting advice, and that there wasn't one system that helped everybody.

I didn't know much about Jim Hardy but he was immediately engaging in the way he put across his ideas so intuitively and so clearly. He also demonstrated his methods by standing up and hitting golf balls in front of 900 pros – which, in my experience, most coaches don't do.

As I knew John Jacobs from my Wentworth days, Jim invited me to a more detailed seminar on The Plane Truth, in Scottsdale. Jim and John are actually very similar in their relaxed manner, their patience and their determination to make golf instruction simpler for everyone. I have been privileged to have seen many of the world's top instructors teaching close up. But I've found that The Plane Truth is the only methodology that can teach anybody at any level to improve – very often within just three swings. It could be a five handicapper whose been struggling to break 80, or a raw beginner who you can get to break 100 within six weeks.

As for The Matrix, it has transformed the way I teach golf. It must be the single most powerful and comprehensive golf instruction resource on the planet. It is an unbelievable piece of kit. The insight into the golf swing and the speed of the result are incredibly rewarding for both pupil and teacher.”

George Porter Head Pro,
North Hants Golf Club
The Plane Truth Certified Instructor (Level 2)

The son of a golf professional, George has been immersed in golf instruction methods from a young age. Since 1993 he has been teaching at North Hants where his good friend Justin Rose is a member.

“I found myself in the unusual situation that, as a teacher, all the information I'd acquired over the years was based on what I would come to understand as the Two Plane swing. For example, the Harmon, Leadbetter and Faldo principles such as 'cock the wrists early', 'keep the club in front of you', 'maintain width on the backswing', 'get behind the ball', etc.

And yet, as a player, I found I couldn't use that information effectively in my own game which was based on a One Plane rotary action, getting the arms behind me, etc.

It was probably because of the trend for Two Plane teaching at the time that I never found anyone who really helped me with my own game and had to figure it out for myself. But when I went to Jim Hardy's 2004 seminar I immediately understood the crucial distinctions between swing planes and could now justify the One Plane approach which I had always favoured for my own game. I also related immediately to Jim's approach of developing a repeatable impact position rather than focusing on the finer details of swing shape.

I was soon playing the best golf I'd ever played, while also incorporating Jim's principles into my teaching. I read his books and realised that I should do The Plane Truth Certification so that I could benefit more effectively from his knowledge.

To me the guy is a genius. He's head and shoulders above others in the game and I think the golfing world will owe him a huge debt when you look at the depth and logic of his approach.”

Tom Godwin Head Pro,
Rockliffe Hall, Co. Durham.
The Plane Truth Certified Instructor (Level 1)

Previously a teaching pro at Gleneagles and Queenwood, the exclusive private members' club in Surrey, Tom (right) is currently setting up a new teaching academy at this impressive development.

“I initially got into Jim Hardy's approach to help my own game. I was getting advice from many areas and it wasn't working. I was encouraged to read The Plane Truth book by two different people in the UK and the US, and after reading it from cover to cover I was playing good golf again. I could see that there was something in this and decided to go on his courses to learn more.

Jim sorts out all the information so clearly and puts it into two piles, for One Plane and Two Plane swings, while his system of 'pluses and minuses' [relating to steeper and shallower moves] has also transformed the way I coach the game. I know exactly how to assess each golfer and which bits of information I can recommend and which I should avoid.

Yes, it takes some time for the coach to get familiar with all the various aspects of The Matrix – and that's why the Certification programme is in place. But, ultimately, each element is so logical and makes immediate sense. When I explain a principle to my pupils I see the 'light bulb' go on straight away in their head and can usually get them to improve in just a few shots. They rapidly learn to understand the nature of their golf swing, and that of other golfers, too.”

The Moment of Truth

Our equipment editor, Dominic Pedler, got a first-hand taste of The Plane Truth when he volunteered to have his swing assessed by Jim Hardy and, later, Chris O’Connell during a series of seminars and International Coaching Programmes for European club professionals.

“I've had many lessons in my time, including interminable video analysis and intricate overlays of ideal swings. But Jim's approach was far more intuitive, immediate and insightful. He clearly identified my key faults within two swings. Like many 12- handicappers I had been fighting a permanent push which I'd been managing with varying success with ugly toe'din drivers and some random wrist action.

I didn't realise that the source of the problem was what Jim colourfully referred to as 'Thrusting Hip Syndrome': turning my right hip too early in the downswing causing my hands to push out to the right thereby presenting an open clubface at impact. Jim gave me two drills, starting with sliding the hips 'along the wall' to promote a more lateral hip move in the downswing (as perfected by another One-Planer, Ben Hogan). He even has a special Hip Rail training device that he plants in the ground so pupils can feel the correct lateral motion.

The second drill involved guiding my hands into an imaginary 'ski gate' positioned left of my body immediately after impact.

The clarity of Jim's approach was itself a revelation and I saw an immediate improvement in my ball striking, with some of my shots flying on a pure, powerful trajectory – as the many teaching pros gathered dauntingly around my lesson will confirm.

I later scored a second session, this time with Jim Hardy's most famous disciple, Chris O'Connell, during his trip over for the Ryder Cup with his star pupil, Matt Kuchar.

Chris confirmed the nature of my One-Plane swing and reinforced my need for a more bent over spine angle for a steeper descent and an additional drill to close the clubface earlier in the impact zone. Two 'plus' moves within the Plane Truth system.

What also resonated was Chris' explanation of his favoured 'In-to-In' swing-path with a stable clubface, which tied-in neatly with Jim's drill to drive the grip of the club to the left at impact , rather than 'steering' it down the target line (apparently a common instruction fault) which I had always thought was correct.

I have since set up a My Profile page on the website, with access to The Matrix videos of Jim demonstrating those same drills. At a stroke, I have a far greater understanding of my swing and a concise plan for rehabilitating 'the rights' and grooving that previously elusive draw.

I'd certainly recommend checking out The Plane Truth both for its pragmatic rather than idealistic philosophy, its instantly applicable swing fixes, and the Matrix' intuitive approach in conveying the most relevant information in the most user-friendly way.”

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine





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