Interview with James Leitz PGA
Today’s Interview is with James Lietz PGA
I have had the pleasure of being able to work alongside James Leitz for the past three years and my knowledge of the golf swing has grown exponentially. James, the Director of Golf at Tchefuncta Country Club in Covington Louisiana is a 37 year PGA professional, and also is one of the world’s leading experts on ball-flight analysis. He is the only instructor to be both a Golf Digest Top 100 club fitter and Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. James has been invited in to be the featured speaker at over 100 Golf Professional Education seminars all over the world including the PGA Teaching Summits in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Paris, Ireland, Scotland at St. Andrews, Great Britain, Switzerland, and Australia. James has also been a featured speaker at M.I.T. three times and the PGA of America Coaching & Teaching Summit twice.
Leitz invented the D-Plane Model and developed methodology for capturing the most detailed information available today about a golfer’s swing at impact and ball flight by using Gears 3-D Body Motion Analysis and Trackman Doppler radar. He is an expert in the use of the Trackman Launch Monitor with students and to teach other coaches. James is sought out by many PGA Tour instructors as a source of technical information. The fitting process that James uses is one of the most advanced and through in the world. James has also taught 26 junior state champions in Louisiana since 1982.
1. Why don’t you start by telling us how you got into golf?
In 1972 when I was 12 years old my dad had a set of clubs in the trunk of an old 1958 Chevy. He did not play golf, but he had a friend of his who did, and who gave him the clubs hoping he would play someday. He told me I can play around with the clubs on our acre lot in Lacombe. Within 10 minutes I was hooked for life!
2. When did you know you wanted to go into teaching?
Anyone who plays golf and wants to get better is inquisitive about improving their technique. I was in that mode from the time I was 13 until I got out of college at 22. So when I got the head pro job at Pinewood country club at 22 years old members wanted to help on their own games. I felt like I was not getting results with my students and felt bad about taking their lesson money. I knew I had to learn more about how to be a more efficient teacher.
3. What is your teaching philosophy and how has that morphed over the years?
During my formative years in golf in the 1970s, the information was not very good. There were no video cameras around to see what people were doing. So we listened to good players about what they thought they were doing. This was not a very efficient way to get better as a teacher. I was lucky that at Pinewood country club there were many engineers there who encouraged me to get into measuring what was going on. I have followed that technology thing for 37 years.
4. What are the biggest barriers you face with getting students to see improvement?
Golfers think that if they understand what they have to change that they can immediately do it. This works with cerebral skills but not very well in a motor skill sport like golf.
5. What are some of the worse pieces of advice you have seen given out in the world of golf instruction?
The information today in golf instruction is way better than it was when I got into the teaching business. I do believe there are some people that are on the edge of the best information. However even the rank-and-file teachers today are much better than they were many years ago. Purely position golf teachers will not be very efficient if they do not take into consideration impact alignments.
6. What are the main areas a golfer should focus on when practicing and how should they prioritize their time?
To change motor skill movement a lot of times the ball needs to be removed from the process. Blocked practice on individual motion changes without a ball is important. They must get used to these changes and do them without conscious thought before we introduce the golf ball.
7. You utilize a lot of technology in your teaching can you explain the different pieces you use and how it helps your teaching and understanding of the golf swing?
The most important thing teachers need to understand about technology that is that it is mostly for them to use as a diagnosing tool, an explanation tool, and something to measure progress with. Confusing golfers with too much technology can be a huge problem if you’re not careful.
8. What advice would you give a golfer just picking up the game?
To take lessons from a competent instructor who at least uses Video to show them their progress.
9. What are the best things a golfer can do to make sure they continue to make progress after a lesson?
Verify that what they are doing is actually what they should be doing. Video is very helpful for this.
10. Any last pieces of advice that you would give the golfers out that are trying to make improvements in their swing and golf game?
Understand the four impact alignments first and how they affect ball flight. Then work back into their golf swing to change their motion to improve their impact alignments.
11. Where can people find out more about you and access the great information you put out there?
You can find me on twitter @Leitzgolf and Instagram @jameslietz If you are interested in a lesson the Tchefuncta Country Club golf shop phone number is area code 985-892-1949 to schedule an appointment.
I want to thank James For taking the time to answer these questions and give some advice and insight on the golf swing and golf instruction. If you have any questions for us, we are here to assist you with our wide variety of in-person and online training options, just head to our website below. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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John Paul Guidry DPT CSCS TPI Guidry Golf and Sport www.guidrygolfandsport.com