One of the highlights of our annual vacation to Amelia Island last week was my golf lesson with Anne Cain.

golf magAs one of Golf Magazine‘s Top 100 Teachers, Cain’s tips and instruction are often featured in the monthly magazine. She teaches at the Golf Club of Amelia Island. Besides that, she played at the University of Georgia–which, if you’ve read much of this blog, you’ll know that makes her automatically cool in my book.

Her setup is quite technologically advanced and includes a small building with tons of video equipment, a golf tee that automatically tees up your ball, “hot lines” which make the tee drop into the ground when your swing gets off plane, and a lot of other cool stuff.

She is also miked up, which allows her to record the entire lesson. I took home a DVD of the lesson so I can watch the entire hour any time.

Cain uses Sam Snead’s teaching philosophy. Snead taught that ball position should be the same for every club—off the left heel. The stance should narrow with each club. So your stance with a driver will be much wider than your stance with a wedge, but the ball position will be the same for each. Jack Nicklaus used this technique as well.

My main takeaways from the lesson: 1) My setup was off. My stance was too wide, the ball was too far back, and my head wasn’t far enough behind the ball. 2) My backswing was starting inside the proper plane and was too long, which caused my downswing to be—you guessed it—over the plane.

 My downswing is way too steep actually—a problem that I hope to fix with Cain during my as-yet-unscheduled next lesson with her.

As I mentioned before, when your swing goes too far inside or outside, Anne has her equipment rigged so that the tee actually drops under the ground. It’s immediate feedback which helps you learn the proper “feel” quickly.

Anyway, I would highly recommend a visit to Anne Cain if you’re in north Florida or south Georgia. I haven’t watched my swing on video since my college golf days, so my experience was quite eye-opening.

Since the lesson, I’ve been bombing my driver but struggling with my wedges and irons. Funny how golf is: my best round in Florida–76–took place before the lesson. Afterwards, I shot 77 and 82. But my swing feels much more sound and compact–and the best part is that I now understand what I need to fix.

If I can figure out a way to get a DVD onto some type of usable online video, I’ll post parts of the lesson that include my swing. My technical skills are limited, so that may be doubtful.