By Theresa Poalucci
I am aware of few games where the players endlessly stress about their score and their skill set, and yet are totally devoted to.
I am speaking of Golf, a game that for beginners can seem terribly complicated with rules, many types of clubs and the mechanics of the swing. To add to the confusion there’s the lingo: birdies, bogeys, bump-and-runs. So when I heard about Oro Valley resident and Golf Coach Susie Meyers and her method of appealing to the mind of the golfer as way to teach or improve rather than dwelling on the minutia of the mechanics, I was intrigued.
“I felt overwhelmed after my first golf lesson. By the time I had my hips, feet, elbows and shoulders in the exact position I was suppose to start from, without even swinging, I was overwhelmed with the details,” I complained to Meyers by phone.
She laughed, explaining that all of us tend to think of golf instruction as just swing mechanics.
“That is why I call myself a golf coach instead of an instructor,” she explained. “Learning golf is all about getting the most out of someone, and everything we do starts in the brain. So the way that you think about it is going to be hugely important. I definitely teach the golf swing and I help people develop their golf moves, but I do it in such a way that it doesn’t get in the way. It is about “point A” thinking, which makes the process of learning positive, simple and brain compatible. The way that we learn is through broad concepts and not through details.”
Meyers has spent the last 20 years as a golf coach at Ventana Golf and Racquet Club — both a private and resort club. Her journey to becoming one of the top teachers in the country started when she was at the University of Arizona and was named an All American Golfer. She met her future husband, Dan, at the UA who was also a fine golfer. Susie went on to play on the LPGA Tour and has competed in four US Opens.
When she moved back to Arizona to marry Dan she took the job at Ventana Canyon and garnered attention when one of her longtime students, Michael Thompson, captured the Honda Classic in 2013. That same year she began working with Derek Ernst who surprised the golf world by entering the Wells Fargo Championship field as the fourth alternate and then winning in just his ninth PGA Tour start.
Meyers was quoted at the time as saying “When you coach the person instead of just the golf stroke it doesn’t matter who is standing in front of you.”
“Once I started teaching I found my passion,” said Meyers. “I am fortunate to be coaching at Ventana Canyon which I think is one of the most beautiful properties in the country.”
Recently Meyers self-published a book which she described as a compilation of her 40 years of experience with the game of golf. Titled “Golf From Point A” it is about the way one thinks about the game, letting attitude determine how one plays.
“I teach technique,” said Meyers, “but I have been studying how the brain works and how people learn. The game can seem overwhelming and complex at times, so I have developed a way to keep it simple.”
“People have expectations when they play golf. They expect to play well. I try to make the game more palatable by encouraging them to think about one shot at a time, rather than worrying about what happened on the last shot they played or stressing about the shot to come.”
Meyers says Point A is about playing in the moment. She believes the game of golf should be played creatively and with positivity.
Meyers was encouraged to write about her coaching techniques by a friend and former student Valerie Lazar.
“It took a couple of years of my talking about coaching and Valerie organizing those thoughts into something that could be published,” said Meyers. “She tamed the lion.” The book has been available on Amazon since just before the holidays and Meyers is pleased with the reception and the notoriety it has brought to her teaching philosophy.
In the beginning chapter of the book Point A is described as “a concept and a process for improving your golf by changing how you think about yourself and the game. It’s a starting point, a turning point, and a point of no return all in one. From novice to professional, Point A thinking is an approach that offers the clarity and direction that’s needed to develop a reliable thought process that is the foundation of a strong golf game.”
“I feel I am at the top of my game right now,” enthused the coach, telling me that she also was recently named one of the Top 100 Teachers by Golf Magazine.
“Golf is the greatest game,” said Meyers. “Play 18-holes and in those four hours you will experience a mini microcosm of life — frustration, celebration, socialization, learning, loss and victory.”
“Learning to golf is like learning a language. It is easier to learn when you are young, but you can learn at any age,” she continued. “The main objective is to keep the ball moving forward, respecting those playing around you and enjoying your four hour journey.”
Meyers wants everyone to be happy on the golf course. She said it is a great place for grandparents to play with their grand kids. It gets people out in nature. It is great exercise to walk the course as well.
“Golf is entertainment, a chance to challenge yourself, and an opportunity to socialize,” said Meyers.
It has been my personal experience that the very best coaches are people who get a person to believe in themselves and are great life teachers as well. They are passionate about what they do and they make the sport, job or task fun. They are always great communicators.
Meyers seems to possess all these attributes and her new book is filled with a philosophy and practical advice that transcends the game of golf no matter what the challenge.
Coach Susie Meyers publishes new book
Playing golf starts with your mind