By Kiel Christianson
The SwingFix roster of instructors includes some of the most well-respected teaching professionals in the nation.
Christian Czaja, PGA instructor at Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, is one of them. In 2011, he was named South Florida PGA Teacher of the Year.
A PGA member since 1993, Christian organizes free short game clinics and "supervised practice" sessions for students outside of lesson time. He also donates lessons to local schools and junior golf programs.
Thanks to SwingFix, you don't have to be in Boca Raton to get lessons from an award-winning instructor like Christian, who was kind enough to sit down with us for an interview:
1. First off, talk briefly about your golf instruction philosophy and how you preach it at your facility.
CZAJA: My golf instruction philosophy has been shaped over the years by a lot of different things. I feel that my strong playing background and the fact that I have given a huge amount of golf lessons to players of all skill levels and ages really sets me apart from other PGA teaching professionals. I have seen firsthand how the game should be played and feel that coaching players on the correct swing fundamentals is how great results are achieved. Having a keen 'golf intuition' as I call it, I keep my instruction simple and always provide accurate information to my students. I believe all golfers are different and should be coached as individuals. I enjoy teaching the membership and their guests. Players from all over the world come to Boca for lessons with me. Everyday is exciting. I also love to teach teachers and other professionals. Very rewarding.
2. What attracted you to the SwingFix platform and how effective can this method be for golfers?
CZAJA: I was attracted to the SwingFix platform for two main reasons. First, it is clear that the majority of golfers never go for formal instruction. There are many reasons for this. It wasn't that long ago when I played college golf for East Carolina University and taking lessons was not on my to do list mainly because of the cost. If SwingFix had been available I would have definitely checked it out. I feel that promoting the game is the goal. I feel great when I can help a golfer get elite coaching at an affordable price. The second reason I became involved was the quality of the platform. I use video with almost every lesson I give. To have access to such a state-of-the-art platform is just terrific. Awesome stuff!
3. In your opinion, what is the secret to taking the "range game" to the first tee?
CZAJA: The secret to taking the 'range game' to the first tee is two-fold. First, golfers need to practice like they play. Second, take playing lessons. On the practice range and putting green, try and simulate real situations. Practice your pre-shot routine, and always play to a target. When you go on a playing lesson, take some notes and watch your instructor play the course. I really enjoy playing and demonstrating for my students. It’s a great way to learn.
4. Is there a particular training aid that you tend to use most regularly and with the most effectiveness?
CZAJA: I use video all the time. Having the IPad2 makes video so easy to use, and I now video tape players on the putting green and golf course more than ever. I also use mirrors a lot. It speeds up the learning process. Giving golfers feedback is critical for learning, sometimes positive and other times negative feedback. Players learn a lot from video analysis when it is used properly.
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.?
CZAJA: In the game of golf today power is very important. Golfers who improve their swing dynamics and use fitted golf equipment lower their scores rapidly. I always evaluate the player's short game and make suggestions on how to play better from inside 100 yards. I feel that golfers who hit it longer off the tee and can play shorter clubs into the green do great with dropping their scores five-plus shots. Golf today is definitely a power game; all one has to do is watch the men and women on TV playing this great game for a living to see that.
Take a lesson with Christian Czaja.