By SwingFix.com staff
Take a passion for teaching, combine it with great knowledge of the not only the golf swing but also the game of golf, and what you end up with is an elite instructor.
And that is exactly what Tim Cooke has become over the course of the last several years, and the golf world has taken notice.
Cooke is the Director of Instruction at Long Cove Club, co-founder of GolfPrep Golf Academy and a SwingFix instructor.
He has recorded video segments for Golf Channel and written numerous articles for golf publications, including an extensive spread in the August 2011 edition of Golf Digest.
Additionally, Cooke has been named by Golf Digest as one of the top 40 teachers under 40 in the nation.
In short, if you’re an avid follower of golf instruction and this is the first time you’ve heard the name Tim Cooke, don’t expect it to be the last time.
We sat down with Cooke recently to find out more about his teaching philosophy and various other subjects.
1. How would you describe your teaching philosophy to a potential student?
COOKE: In a lesson setting, I like to find out what the student wants to achieve and then build a plan to help them reach their goals. I want to know what they can or can't physically do and what their past experiences are in golf or other sports. I believe in a "coaching" philosophy that helps the student grow and learn the game through improvements in mechanics, their physical attributes and mental toughness.
2. What would you consider to be a common myth about golf instruction, meaning something that most average players believe to be true but in actuality is not?
COOKE: The most common myth in golf instruction is that if you hit a thin or topped shot it was caused by "looking up." Thin shots are caused by a swing plane that is either too steep or too shallow. There could be a body-position error that causes the swing plane error but it’s not "looking up!" I have thousands of swings from lessons saved on my computers and not once does a person look up at impact.
3. What is one of the most common swing issues you see from the higher handicap players you work with?
COOKE: The "flip" of the hands at impact is a very common swing issue in higher handicap players. This is almost always a compensation for another flaw in the backswing or downswing, most frequently poor sequence on the downswing. Consistency in ball-striking occurs when a golfer has the correct sequence of movement in the swing: lower body first, then upper body, then the arms and club follow. With great sequence a golfer has great potential.
4. In your opinion, what are a couple of physical and mental traits that a golfer needs to have to become a truly great player?
COOKE: A golfer must have the ability to accept his shot no matter where it goes. Good and bad results will happen in a round and acceptance is the final stage of any effective shot routine on the course. How you mentally approach the next shot is dictated by how well or how poorly you accept the prior shot. The one physical trait that all good ball strikers have that I work with is great balance. This is a skill that can be worked upon and improved but to have good balance makes it easier to turn the body at great speeds while swinging the club around the body … and to hit that little ball down the middle of the fairway!
5. You work with a lot of talented juniors. Is there a different approach that you take when you work with a junior as opposed to adults and if so what would the major differences be?
COOKE: My approach with an elite junior is very similar to the approach I take with a Tour player. I am using all my resources to help them attain their goals; however, with an elite junior, I will see them much more frequently than the professional, as generally the junior lives within driving distance. I may work with the junior multiple times a week for a few months in a row and then structure their practice; whereas, the professional may come in for two or three straight days and then I communicate with them via video or the phone while they are on the road.
Take a lesson with Tim Cooke.