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Teachings of Manuel de la Torre


 

 

 

 

Overview

 

The “test of time” is perhaps the ultimate test. Over the past fifty years a mountain of articles, tips, and tapes have come and gone. There is one approach, however, that has remained unchanged. One approach that has built better golf swings for decades. It is an approach that has benefited players on all of the professional tours and benefited amateurs across the country. It is an approach that immediately makes sense.

That approach is the work of Manuel de la Torre, America's renowned golf teacher. His work has earned his elite status as both a memer of the “ PGA Teachers Hall of Fame” as well as the “ World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame”. Further, annual surveys of his fellow golf professionals conducted by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest always result in him be selected as a top teacher.

His approach to golf has been tested in the teeth of competition when he was on tour with legends like Sneed and Hogan. Hs method has been proven effective both in his own tour finishes, and has also been a guiding direction for tournament players such as Masters Champion Tommy Aaron and LPGA greats such as Sherri Steinhauer the only winner of consecutive Women's British Opens, Martha Nause and Hall-of-Famer Carol Mann. Every year, players from every tour come to spend time on the lesson tee with him.

Most important is that not only do the most gifted golfers find his lessons incomparable, but his lesson tee is filled with golfers of every handicap traveling from across the country to have him work with them. And that's the way it's been for more than five decades. That's the “test of time” which is unmatched by any other teaching philosophy.

In 2001, his book entitled “Understanding the Golf Swing” was published. Its first printing was immediately sold out. With the book now in its 6th printing, a video presentation is now available under the same name as a companion to the book providing the golfer an opportunity to hear from Manuel de la Torre as he employs an unequalled simplicity for unequalled improvement and consistency.

 

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Central Concepts of the de la Torre Teachings

 

1. When golf becomes simpler players get better, faster.

2. With the essence of the game being to use a club to send a ball to a target, the essence of learning golf is to learn how the club must swing to the target if the ball is to go to the target.

3. With the focus of golf instruction directed to how the club must be moving to send the ball to the target; the player is freed from the overwhelming amount of instruction about body movement, which encumbers most other golf instruction.

4. Instruction is always focused singularly on what you want to happen and never on the limitless things to avoid.

5. The same principles of how the club must swing applies to all the clubs equally

6. The result of instruction should be an understanding that creates a picture in the mind, which informs the brain as to what the golfer wants the body to do. As is well documented and often referred to by tour professionals, the club does what the player visualizes the club doing.

The scope of his approach is comprehensive. His teachings are inclusive, covering grip, stance, club set up, swing, playing various types of shots and course management.

 

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An Approach Built on a Solid Foundation

 

Manuel's father, Angel de la Torre, was a five-time national champion in Spain , and subsequently a renowned club professional in the United States . He was a student of the famous golf teacher, Ernest Jones. From watching these two men work together for years, Manuel developed an approach to teaching that is unequalled in simplicity and effectiveness .

In an initial golf lesson, Jones would typically ask his students to consider drawing a circle. To do so the student would put the point of the pencil against the paper and move it along a curved path until the shape was completed. He would then suggest how much more complicated the task would be if the student were asked to form the circle by drawing a series of small arcs to create the shape. Jones would then explain that creating a golf swing is similar to drawing the circle: both are circular and both are much easier to learn and produce as a whole than as an assembled collection of pieces.

To this point, Jones said, “The trouble with the teaching of golf is that too often one is taught what a swing produces, instead of how to produce a swing .” While it is logical that a golfer would proceed to learn and assemble the many movements of a golf swing, the approach is as tedious and unnecessary as learning to draw a circle by drawing 30 or 40 small connected arcs to form the shape. Learning to produce the swing as one motion accelerates the learning curve and dramatically improves consistency. More than any other single reason, such a piece-meal, complicated, laundry-list approach to teaching is a central reason so many golfers find learning this sport so very challenging.

The pivotal benefit of Jone's approach is the effectiveness in shifting our focus from teaching the movement of the body to teaching the movement of the club.

 

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Essence and Elegance

 

These are the two words that perhaps best distinguish the teachings of Manuel de la Torre. When you think of “essence”, think of “essential”. When you think of “elegance”, think of “simplicity”.

Golfers learning the lessons of de la Torre get better faster because they are not obliged to learn any of the laundry-list of body movements ordered by much of today's golf instruction. Instead they focus on understanding the swinging motion of the golf club. Instead of being taught the innumerable positions a swing produces, students are taught how to produce a swing.

In addition to benefiting from his approach to teaching the golf swing, students benefit from de la Torre's understanding of the mind-body relationship . Knowing that the body always works in accord with the brain's thought, teachers who employ his approach are able to coach the player to swing the club correctly by helping the player instill an accurate mental image of the club moving correctly. Without exception, the mind in turn directs the movement of the club in compliance with that mental image. In principle it's the same way we draw a circle. We create an image of the circle in our thoughts and the brain directs the movement of the pen. To put it another way, “what the brain sees, the body does.” This is why we hear so much discussion about visualization among more successful players.

As to the matter of elegance, one has only to scan through de la Torre's book or watch his instruction on the DVD to immediately be taken by the simplicity of his instruction. It is simple in concept and simple in application because the same motion is used for every club and every shot. Golfers are relieved and enthused by the simplicity not only of the swing, but also of alignment and setup.

 

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Simplicity accelerates improvement

 

While analysis of the golf swing can be very complex, producing it (like drawing a circle) does not need to be complicated. The fine golf swings produced by children of five or ten years of age are irrefutable evidence that the complicated approach for teaching golf is unnecessary.

Whereas the most common approach to instruction suggests that the player learn the correct form and timing of a multitude of body movements that are ascribed to an effective swing, De la Torre offers a simpler alternative. Not loosing sight of the fact that the golf swing is not the movement of the body, but instead the motion of the club, de la Torre turns the player's attention to learning how the club must move to send the ball to the target. . The movement made by the body varies from person to person, is highly complex, happens unconsciously, and is regularly described in ways that often sound contradictory. The swinging motion of the club is simple in nature, is clearly defined, easy to demonstrate and most importantly is easy to learn .

 

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Manuel's Mandate

 

Finally, there is “Manuel's Mandate”: Never teach players to do anything that they can over-do. If a player attempts to over-do anything I teach them the only result is that they will get better faster.

 

Heartland Golf Schools  

 

Attending Heartland has been an introduction to Manuel de la Torre's teachings for many of our students. Many golfers who have studied his approach come to Heartland for the opportunity to further improve their game for further improving their understanding of his teachings.

Whether golfers have or have not previously heard of him, by the conclusion of their session with us, they are grateful for the positive impact of his teachings.

We invite you to come join us for our 3-day sessions that we know you will find remarkably helpful and very enjoyable.

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"Get the de la Torre difference. Join us!"

 

 

P.O. Box 410623 ~ St. Louis, MO 63141
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