By Kiel Christianson
Bernard Sheridan oversees operations at the impressively equipped and cavernous facilities at Par Breakers Golf Academy in Limerick, Pa. As CEO and Director of Golf at Par Breakers, Sheridan offers instruction in all facets of the game, utilizing golf simulators, FlightScope TrackMan launch monitors, club-fitting, and an expansive indoor short game practice area.
Voted one of the Top 50 Kids' instructors in the nation, Sheridan runs half-day and full-day camps for kids starting at just six years old. For older golfers, Par Breakers' Winter Clinics are renowned for helping golfers fend off both winter rust and winter blues and start tuning up for the upcoming season.
Sheridan was kind enough to take time from his jam-packed schedule to sit down for Five Questions:
1. First off, talk briefly about your golf instruction philosophy and how you implement it at your facility.
SHERIDAN: The style I use to convey the golf swing is built around the physics of the golf club as a tool and the optimum way to use the body to build power and leverage as in all sports. I also try to show my students how the main driver of power and accuracy in the golf swing is the core. Using the core to square the clubface at impact ups the chances of solid contact again and again. I also cover the master dynamic of the swing arc bottom. This allows the student to better understand the forward shaft tilt that must happen at impact to achieve contact like a pro.
2. What attracted you to the SwingFix platform and how effective can this method be for golfers?
SHERIDAN: The SwingFix platform gives all of my students the opportunity to work with me from afar. If they are not in my state or are on vacation, they can upload their swing and get help from their instructor. This has many benefits, the biggest being that they can get feedback from the professional of their choice with ease and in a short time period. I also feel that the platform is very simple to use and is also wonderful for students to review their lessons over and over again.
3. In your opinion, what is the secret to taking the "range game" to the first tee?
SHERIDAN: I have my students warm up then hit no more than three shots with every club in their bag, alternating clubs and always sticking to their pre-shot routine and staying focused on the target. After they hit all of their clubs, I have them pull out an old score card and pretend to play the holes as if they were on the course. This allows them to shape shots and hit targets just as they would during a round. My students have had great success using this method.
4. Is there a particular training aid that you tend to use most regularly and with the most effectiveness?
SHERIDAN: I have all of my students use alignment sticks during practice sessions. There are so many different ways to use them, and they help the student build a constant in their routine. There are so many other great aids that students can use, but many can also be used incorrectly. I feel that alignment sticks are the best buy and the most simple training aid on the market. I am a big fan of drills that revolve around this aid.
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.?
SHERIDAN: Almost all of my students see great improvement in a short period of time after working with me. Within a five-lesson period, most strike the ball with better contact than ever before and lower their scores. The best thing is that if they miss-hit a shot, they can recover easier than ever before. This gets scores to drop because their mistakes are not so great. Using the core to square up the club gives them better, more accurate shots and also more power. They are no longer hitting the ball with their hands; they are swinging the club. This makes them enjoy the game more, and that’s all I am trying to achieve: Helping my students enjoy the game they love.