Miami Gives Me A Going Away Present In The Form Of A Free Golf Lesson


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Thursday, February 3, 2011

I am always on the first tee no matter what I am doing. I often catch myself practicing my one-piece takeaway in random situations. On the weekends I work at one of the local hot spots on Ocean Drive, South Beach. I picked up a shift for one of my co-workers on Tuesday who needed the day off. I need extra money for my move to Arizona, so I was happy to oblige. Little did I know what was going to happen.

Towards the end of my shift, three gentlemen came up to the bar to get drinks. The transaction went as normal. They were very laid back with a kind of laissez-faire attitude. I love these kind of customers. Makes the day a lot more enjoyable.

They hung around for a for a while and then one of the guys came back and ordered another round for the crew. After I made the drinks, I put the money in the register and instinctively went into my address position. I took my backswing to waist high. Checked the position, continued the backswing, and then followed through.

I started to repeat the drill again, and I heard someone say, "Hey, I usually don't do this, but come see me and we'll work out that swing of yours." He pulled out his card, which read Michael Hunt, Lead Master Instructor, Miami Beach Golf Club.

I told him that I wish I had met him earlier because I was leaving in two days for Arizona. He thought for a second, going over in his head his schedule for the following day. Mike told me to come by around 12:30PM and he would have time to take a look at my swing. Sweet!

I had never taken a formal lesson before this. Mike Southern has helped me tremendously and is my coach online, but I have never been face to face with an instructor. I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous, but any nervousness I had went out the door as soon as Mike Hunt picked me up from the driving range.

Mike H. looks as though he would just as comfortable on surf board in Hawaii as he is standing over the ball on the tee box. He has been an instructor for seventeen years, spending fourteen years as a teacher at the Jim McLean Golf School in Doral, Florida before moving over to Miami Beach Golf Club. His teaching style is a direct reflection of his laid back attitude. I felt comfortable and he made everything easy to understand.

Mike had me take a few swings with my six-iron so that he could get a feel for what I might need help with. After a few swings, he asked what type of shot I like to hit play. I would like to hit a soft draw, but I told him because of my coming over the top, I tend to be inconsistent.

Mike pulled out his camera and filmed me from the target view and the face-on view. After a few more swings, he told me to keep swinging and he walked over to load the footage into the computer so that he could show me what my swing looked like.

When Mike was ready, he had me come over to see what I was doing in my swing. He asked me which PGA pro I tried to emulate. I told him I like Hunter Mahan's swing. He seemed pleased, telling  me that Mahan has a great swing to follow because it is so simple, yet effective.

The film revealed the same thing that Mike S. saw after he watch the latest footage of my golf swing. My takeaway is great, but then as I continue, I roll the wrist, which causes my club to be flat at the top of the swing. Mike H. did a side-by-side comparison of my swing and a few of the pros. The wrist hinge that the pros use is what generates their power. Something I was lacking.

Mike H. had me take my address again, then had me stop at waist high and then he physically hinged my wrist. This is the same drill Mike S. had given us in this post. The advantage to having someone there with you is that they can actually put you into the correct positions so that you can feel it.

Mike H. stuck a tee into the butt of my club and showed me a drill I could work on. He laid down a shaft for alignment and had me take my swing to waist high, hinge the wrist, and then stop. The tee should be pointing at the ground just inside of the shaft. Without the proper wrist hinge, my shaft was nearly parallel with the ground.

Mike H. then took my swing to the follow through position at waist high and then had me stop. He explained that at this position, the tee should be pointing at the ground just inside the shaft as well. My tee was pointing towards my body, which caused my slices.

Mike teed a ball up and had me take a few swings while he filmed me. The difference was night and day. I hit the ball a lot more solidly as a result of the proper wrist hinge.

The last thing he pointed out was in my setup. I had too much forward shaft lean which opened up my upper body. I was instructed to start with the butt of the club just left of my belt buckle. This would help to keep my shoulders square at address.

Overall, it was a great experience. Mike H. explained the whys and whats of golf. He wanted me to know why I was making the mistakes in my swing and what to do to remedy the problem. He told me, as long as I am hitting it great, do not change a thing. But when I start to struggle, I need to know why I did it so that I can change it before my next shot.

Here's a list Mike H. gave me to work on in practice.

1.Hands Centered/Shoulders Square
2.Use wrist to get the club light(When I'm flat at the top, the club becomes heavy, and I have to fight to get it to impact. The wrist hinge helps to keep the club light into transition.)
3.Tee Drill - Both Sides

I would like to say a sincere thanks you to Mike Hunt. He took time out of his day to help out a complete stranger and for that I will be forever thankful. If you are ever in the Miami Beach area, be sure to visit Mike and the friendly staff at Miami Beach Golf Club. You will not be disappointed. Have a great round and always hit your target.

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Comments (4)

  1. February 3, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    I'm glad to know I didn't give you anything counterproductive in my posts, Dex! ;-)

    Having someone right there to help certainly can speed up your improvement. Although I only had one lesson with Carl, he completely revolutionized my swing and I'm still able to use things he taught me while he could watch and correct them right then. And when that teacher can make things simple, they seem like miracle-workers. I had been unable to hit anything but a pull-slice when I went to see Carl, but I left with the ability to hit a draw or fade at will.

    One lesson, that's all it took. Granted, I had to practice a little to ingrain the new moves, but now I knew what I had to do to hit those shots... and I could do it when I tried. All because I met a really good teacher named Carl Rabito.

    Sounds like Mike Hunt is a really good teacher too. Golf needs more of them, and when we find one, we need to make sure we get their names out there so other people can find them easily. If Mike has a website, you might consider putting up a link to it -- that's what I did with Carl.

  2. February 4, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Like I've said before Mike, I have complete confidence in your ability to teach. The evidence is in my improved swing.

    I did some more research on Michael Hunt and he has worked with some top tier golfers including the likes of Bernhard Langer, Hal Sutton, and Christie Kerr. He doesn't have his own website, but has been featured on many others.

    I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him. He joins you on my "good people I met randomly" list.

    I just arrived in Phoenix so now I have to find a new place to practice. I'm going to miss my "laboratory". Nothing was better than being able to stay and hit as many balls as I wanted.

  3. February 10, 2011 at 6:33 AM

    Michael Hunt is an INCREDIBLE instructor!!! His work speaks for itself!

  4. February 10, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    I couldn't agree with you more. I just wish I had met him sooner and not the day before I was scheduled to leave Miami. His teaching style is very easy to understand and he made me feel very comfortable.