By Kiel Christianson
Alison Curdt is a PGA Master Professional in Instruction and LPGA Class A Member who calls the prestigious Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., home.
Sherwood is one of SoCal's most exclusive and high-profile private clubs, and plays host to the Tiger Woods Foundation World Challenge Tournament.
Alison's duties include overseeing all individual and group instruction and organizing clinics for adults and juniors. She's one of the newest additions to the SwingFix stable of world-class instructors and was kind enough to sit down with us for an interview to cover a variety of topics.
1. First off, talk briefly about your golf instruction philosophy and how you preach it at your facility.
CURDT: Everyone has the ability to create a successful and repeatable golf swing, and it’s my job to help the student find that swing. No matter what limitations a student might incur, I truly believe everyone is physically capable of enjoying the game. There are a number of variables in the golf swing, but the basic fundamentals of the grip, alignment and posture must be set in a correct fashion that allows the student to create a repeatable swing that makes the ball go where the student wants it to. All my students know at my facility that those three fundamentals must be satisfactory in order to progress their golf swing.
2. What attracted you to the SwingFix platform and how effective can this method be for golfers?
CURDT: I like how SwingFix allows the general public to have access to the best golf instructors around the country at an affordable price. The student doesn’t have to carve a lot of time out of their day to 'take a golf lesson.' By uploading two swing views online the student is on their way to getting the help they need to accomplish their goals. With our society technologically advancing, SwingFix is the next best way to get personalized golf information quickly and effectively between teacher and student. This method can be quite effective in conjunction with 'live' lessons, and I think it creates a great opportunity for golfers to learn more about their swing from certified golf professionals.
3. In your opinion, what is the secret to taking the "range game" to the first tee?
CURDT: The only way to take the ‘range game' to the first tee is to create the first tee on the range. Too often players will hit balls mindlessly on the range: not picking targets, not aligning to a target, not be cognizant of their body motions, and racing through practice balls. Twenty minutes of effective practice can be more beneficial than mindlessly beating balls for two hours. On the range, I stress getting into the mindset of the 'first tee.' Go through the motions and create a little pressure to hit the ball in your designated fairway on the range. The more one practices course situations on the range, the easier those situations will be on the course.
4. Is there a particular training aid that you tend to use most regularly and with the most effectiveness?
CURDT: I have a wide assortment of training aids I use throughout lessons, and I strive to ensure that the training aid can be purchased at a low cost or made out of household items. Above all, I think the use of video accelerates the learning process for most students. A golf swing analysis application for a smartphone can be purchased for under $5 these days, and it's helpful for students to be able to view their swing. Plus it's more portable than havIng a swing mirror in a house or at a practice facility. Having the ability to 'see' what a motion 'feels' like allows the student to conceptually grasp the 'bigger picture' of what they are doing in their swing.
5. Is there a way students who have worked with you most often dramatically improve and achieve that coveted five-shot drop in scores? Power, consistency, short game, management, playing more golf, etc.?
CURDT: The best way for students to lower their scores is to set attainable goals in a specific time frame and to have a plan for how to achieve those goals. Students typically won’t get better without practicing, so making sure to teach a student how to practice and what to practice is beneficial. When students know the roadmap they are supposed to follow, they are clearer on the steps they must accomplish in order to drop strokes. I do like to focus on short game as a quick way to drop a few strokes; however, there are no short cuts from hard work and practice.
Take a lesson with Alison Curdt.