Catching Up With Sarah Dant
The Turn: What are you most excited about this season in golf?
Sarah Dant: The new additions I've made to my teaching program. A year ago, I had my “aha” moment in teaching. We, the instructors, are responsible for growing the game of golf. To accomplish this huge task we must start by teaching basic skills. More importantly, we need to focus our instruction on helping students score better through short game, putting and on course instruction. I have designed a program where my students accomplish real results, lower their handicaps and learn the fundamentals of the golf swing. I have seen drastic improvements with this new program.
TT: Tell me how you got involved with Coutour Golf and their Tri-Fit System?
SD: Coutour Golf is a custom fit putter company started by Golf Digest Top 50 Golf Instructor, Todd Sones. The idea behind Coutour Golf is to fit students through instruction. I first worked with Todd in Naples, FL where I teach in the winter months. I was blown away by his method of teaching putting and how he was getting instant results with students. I have spent the last year studying the Coutour Fitting System and am now a certified fitter. I see the same results with my students.
TT: What is the benefit of getting custom fitted for a putter?
SD: If 40% of your score happens on the putting green, then a properly fit putter will be the most important club in your bag. Students should first develop proper setup fundamentals and then get fit to the exact length. A good fit allows for the putter to swing freely under the body.
The second benefit is that the student will become a thoughtless putter. Great putters don’t think about how to putt, they focus on making the putt. A properly fit putter will allow the golfer to become more consistent.
TT: Once you’re fitted, what’s the secret to putting?
SD: Let your putter and eyes do the work. In putting, the head and body must remain still while the putter head swings like a pendulum under the body. The swing weight of the putter is very important in relation to tempo. Most amateur golfers struggle with putting because they change the tempo of the stroke instead of the length of the backswing. Let your eyes do the work by visualizing the putt, seeing the ball falling in the hole. React to the distance instead of spending time analyzing how to make the putt. This is when thoughtless putting begins to happen.
TT: I hear you have a cool website and newsletter, how can someone get involved?
SD: I do have a great interactive website that includes a weekly newsletter filled with articles and my weekly blog. Go to http://sarahdant.retailtribe.com and click on "subscribe to my newsletter". My readers give me positive feedback each week and consistently say the articles are really helping them get better. The greatest joy I get from my role as a teacher is the feedback and results I see in my students.
TT: In as few words as possible, how does someone get from a weekend hacker to a par/bogey golfer?
SD: Believe it or not, you will not get better by just practicing. I use this formula from Dr. Rick Jensen on my students: on course performance = skills – interference +/- luck. To play better golf at any level you can follow this formula. Most “weekend hackers” do not have the fundamental skills down. These skills include pre-swing routine, making solid contact, club face awareness, swing plane, body movement and most importantly, learning how to make an effortless swing. Same applies for short game and putting. You must have an understanding of the shots necessary to get the ball in the hole in fewer strokes. Interference is all the mental chatter that blocks us from better performance. Our belief system about ourselves, attitude, emotional commitment, focus and attention are all part of interference we experience on the golf course. Improvement can be achieved if you know where you fit in this formula. And then come see me for help!
Sarah Dant is a PGA Professional at the Sarah Dant Golf Academy and The Golf Club of Tennessee.