September 14, 2020

Heidi Richardson: Focus on Balance and Rhythm

Heidi Richardson, the 2018 PGA Southern California Section Player Development Award Recipient and the 2016 & 2018 PGA Southern California Section Youth Player Development Award Recipient, is a PGA Teaching Professional at the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course, in Encinitas, California.

Heidi Richardson on the importance of focusing on balance and rhythm:

At Encinitas Ranch Golf Course, I have students who range greatly in age and skill level. I seek to achieve a base level of instruction from the outset, emphasizing balance and rhythm. There are many times when a student may be missing his or her shots in varying directions, and I strive in those scenarios, to slow them down, to calm them in a sense, and help them focus on what it takes to hit a straight and solid golf shot. I emphasize a shorter swing, a direct strike that makes hitting the ball on the sweet spot of the club much more likely. We spend time on and around the practice green – short putts, then longer ones, lengthening the backswing, and as a result, the follow through. We chip with the same philosophy in mind. Students see the ball going in the general direction of their target, and they get the feel of what the sweet spot of the club feels like. We take these concepts to the lesson tee and even onto the golf course. Short swings help our students advance the ball straight time after time, providing confidence and encouraging them to slowly lengthen their swing. As we already know and students eventually learn, lengthening the swing will provide greater distance, but I teach them to weigh the pros and cons of distance versus accuracy. Both are important, but the process taken to achieve that happy medium is the key to true progress. I use various training aids to reinforce these concepts that help students understand the connection between balance and rhythm. We place added focus on breathing, ensuring a relaxed grip and stance at address.

Heidi Richardson on the business impact of focusing on balance and rhythm:

In teaching our students, we must find the most effective methods to help them improve. These game improvement philosophies often differ from instructor to instructor. But the gist of what goes into a good golf swing is often nonnegotiable. The ball flight laws are called as such because they are indisputable. A repeating swing that strikes the ball in the direction of the target with a square clubface at impact will produce a straight golf shot. The concepts discussed here help students attain the desired swing path and club face at impact. The better my students play the more they talk. They are truly the most effective advertising I can get. The concepts discussed here have helped make me a successful teacher with a busy teaching schedule and full student roster. Understanding how your students learn and gearing your teaching to their needs, while always keeping the basic concepts of balance and rhythm in mind will render successful results for your students, as they have mine.

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