Golf Made Simple Blog

Interview with a Monkey (I mean an ex-Monkey)

We had an opportunity to have an Interview with a Golfer that has become a very good friend of Golf Made Simple. When he first came to see us – his game, in his words was “Going nowhere and I’m not enjoying the game like I used to.”

This ex-Monkey is a great person and we think you’ll enjoy what he has to say about how he was able to get his game back.

Marc – How did you feel the first time you where called a Monkey?

Ex-Monkey – I was in shock, I was thinking – How dare this guy that I’ve never met, call me a Monkey. Then as we went through the process, I began to understand why I was a Monkey and why if I was ever going to be comfortable with how I played on the golf course, I would need to stop being a Monkey or I would never be happy with my golf.

Marc – Then tell me, why do you now think that, yes, you were a Monkey?

Ex-Monkey – Because the way that I was playing golf was based on what I had been told by other golfers. And at the time I was learning from these golfers – these Monkey’s – they were better than me, so I listened to them. The funny thing is that as I look back at these golfers, they weren’t very good, they were just better than me at that time. And as my game caught-up to theirs, I stuck with their advice, even though my progress got slower and slower and then eventually it stopped and I started to get worse.

That’s when I started taking lessons from the local Pros’ from around my area. And the samething would happen with each of them. I would initially see a little improvement in my game, but then it would start to slow down and eventually I’d start to get worse again. So then I’d find another Pro, and the cycle would start over again – progress at the beginning and then slowly getting worse.

You know the problem was also that everybody was telling me the same things, so I thought – Well everybody is saying that I need to keep my left arm straight, it must be what I need to do. So I tried my best at keeping it straight and had some improvement, not much, but some. But as I’m able to look back at it, I think that improvement wasn’t really related to keeping my left arm straight, it had more to do with me just practicing more and developing my skills of hitting the golf ball.

And as you showed us that it really isn’t necessary to keep my left arm completely straight, I started to improve faster. Also, now it’s interesting to watch the Golf Tournaments on TV, because I can see that most of the Golfers don’t necessarily keep their left arm as straight as everybody had previously told me I needed to do. And as you jokingly said – “Just think how good the guys on the PGA Tour would be if they knew they had to keep their left arm perfectly straight like the Monkey’s say you need to!”

Marc – So what would be your definition of a Monkey?

Ex-Monkey – Well I don’t need to tell you what a Monkey is, you came up with the term!

Marc – Good point, but before we started this interview, you told me that one of the most important elements to your improvement was to come to the realization that you understood why you’re a Monkey.

Ex-Monkey- OK. A Monkey is a golfer that does the things they do because they saw other golfers doing it that same way and think, “Well, if they’re doing it like that, that’s how I need to do it.” But Marc, you explained it perfectly when you spoke about how most people learned to play golf, and how Golf Instruction has been passed down from generation to generation, it’s like the game Telephone that we played in Kindergarten – where the Teacher had all the kids stand in a single file line, then the Teacher would whisper a secret into the first kids ear. Then that kid would whisper the secret into the next kids ear and this would continue all the way to the end of the line, where the last student would announce what the secret was.

And every time the secret would be totally different than the original secret. Golf Instruction has been passed down the same way. When you said this during our 1st day with you – it opened up my eyes like never before. It makes so much sense.

So a Monkey is a golfer that plays the way they do because they’re trying to swing like everbody else, using ideas that might have started as good advice years ago, but the true meaning of those original ideas have been changed as they have been passed down. And as a Monkey, because we don’t know any better, we try to copy these ideas, instead of learning our own best swing and style of play on the golf course. And as far as I’m concerned, there’s an incredible amount of Monkey’s out there on the golf course because they’re not playing their game, their trying to play like someone else!

Marc – Judging by how many golfers are coming to see us, I can see how many Monkey’s there are. It‘s hard to keep up with the demand. We just brought on another fantastic Instructor this past week. And he’s already impressing me with his Coaching skills.

By the way, that was an excellent description of a Monkey.

Ex-Monkey – I just thought of something else I wanted to say. The best thing about getting away from being a Monkey is that I didn’t have to change my swing. It wasn’t like you said – “You’re swinging the wrong way, you need to do it this way.”

You said – “We’re not going to try to change your swing.” And you didn’t! You just had me focus on me, instead of on the golf ball. You had me focus on my movements becoming smoother as opposed to the 52-positions the Monkey’s say the club needs to be in to hit the golf ball correctly. Everything we did was based on movement, and that allowed my mind to relax, because my thoughts were so simple – all I had to think about was my pace – Tick Tock.

The Monkeys taught me to think about eye on the ball, left arm straight, head down, don’t sway, the left arm is for power and right arm is for control and some told me the left arm is for control and the right arm for power and some even told me use only my left arm and leave my right out of it. They also told me to shift my weight, but when I tried to do that, they said stay still you’re swaying. Then when I would stay still they said to shift my weight. Some Monkey’s told me I needed to swing inside out, and that my swing was too steep. I mean there were so many things I was thinking about when I went to hit the ball, it was ridiculous!

Marc – Was there one thing that really got you to stop thinking about all that Monkey talk?

Ex-Monkey – One thing? No, not really.

Marc – So if there wasn’t one thing, what got you over the hump?

Ex-Monkey- Well I shouldn’t say there wasn’t one thing. That sounds as if there wasn’t anything that caused me to get better. On the first day alone, you probably showed 6 or 7 examples of what the Monkey’s tell us to do, and why they can’t be done consistently. When you had Tom put his hands on your hat to hold your head perfectly still and then you tried to shift your weight to your left foot. You could see that it was impossible for you to move and that you either had a choice of hitting behind the ball because your weight couldn’t move or you had to lean back more on your right foot so that you would avoid the ground, but by doing so, you would catch the ball on the way up and top it. That was so powerful and important for us to see!

Maybe why that was so powerful was that it was so visual and all 4 of us in the group could now understand what caused us to hit behind the ball on occasion and what caused us to top it on other swings. It showed us why we are so inconsistent on the golf course.

Also – what was incredibly interesting is how on the first day we did those drills with swinging with the right arm and reaching for the club with the left arm and then vice versa. Then when we were feeling comfortable with that and could see and feel the difference, you asked us to take 2-practice swings with our eyes closed so that we could feel the movements of our body, instead of thinking about the ball.

After all the lessons that I’ve taken over the years and all the Instructors, I mean Professional Monkeys, that always asked me during the lesson – “Did you feel that? Did you feel that?” And where I’d say “Yes”, even though I didn’t feel it. All that wasted time. And then after doing your drill with the arms and then swinging with my eyes closed – I can now finally say – “Yes, I felt it!”

Then you asked us to hit 2-golf balls with our eyes closed and all 4 of us just laughed about how we’re going to miss the golf ball. But you said the key was to feel what you’re doing and stop thinking about the golf ball. So we did it and as you know, everybody hit their best shots of the day and joked “Maybe I should be playing with my eyes closed” and “That’s what I ‘ve been doing wrong, I’ve been playing with my eyes open.”

And in retrospect – as we were joking about having ours eyes closed and hitting the ball better – that’s what you wanted us to discover. Not that we should go on the course playing with our eyes closed, but that even though our eyes are looking at the golf ball during the swing, we shouldn’t be fixated on it. And that in the past as Monkeys we thought too much of the ball and not enough about ourselves. That if we moved everything on our body together, we don’t have to think of the golf ball, we‘d just automatically swing through it. And the beauty of it all was that we felt it ourselves by doing it.

That was such a valuable and powerful lesson!

Marc – Thank you. You know after doing that with 100’s of golfers from all over the world – I still get a kick looking at everybody’s face after they hit those 2-balls with their eyes closed. It’s like a childs face the first time they step into Disney World. They have this massive smile on their face as they say to themselves, “This can’t be real!” But it is, we see it every week. And as Jacob and I review our classes together, we’re always talking about how you guys smile after hitting that first shot with your eyes closed.

Ex-Monkey – You know, you must’ve gotten tired of hearing me each day say – “You know Marc, I just had an epiphany”. Because each day my mind would get clearer of all that junk that was put into it by the Monkeys. There was so many things I was thinking about before I came to see you, I now understand why my progress was so slow.

Now, I’m using a PLAN to get better and I’m seeing progress. And my buddies are seeing it also. They now want to come as group to see you this Spring.

And I feel secure that I’m doing the right things to get better. So now when I do have a chance to go to the Driving Range, I know I’m practicing the correct things as opposed to the way I used to do it, where I was just hitting balls and probably learning bad habits like the rest of the Monkeys.

I’m so glad I came to see you guys. You were a little more money than some other places, but I know if I went somewhere else, they would’ve tried to change my grip, my stance and everything else. You didn’t change any of that, if anything, you changed my mind and the way I look at the golf course. You didn’t change my swing, you just made it better.

By the way, my Wife says “thank you” because she doesn’t have to hear me complain about how bad I’m playing anymore.

Marc – Tell her it was our pleasure.

Golf Made Simple!

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