With the advent of swing-analysis technology and video, the teaching of golf has changed greatly in the last decade, but practice, at least for amateurs, largely has not. For many, it still consists largely of solitary swings on the range with indefinite results and a random regimen.
This is the learning experience Chris Mayson is looking to change with X- Golf. X-Golf incorporates teaching and practice in a group setting in hour-long sessions with a single-skill focus and a competition at the end to increase intensity and engagement.
Mayson conducted a successful pilot of the program two years ago at Maderas Golf Club, but he held off on the launch until an optimal web site – x-golf.net – and compatible app. could be developed since X-Golf is a technology-driven and tracked experience.
“We wanted to make it as good an experience as possible when we launched and the app. really (improved the program),” Mayson says.
X-Golf will debut at Maderas on Oct. 19th. Mayson will conduct four classes daily during the week and a two a day on the weekend. Class attendance is unlimited and costs $150 a month.
Mayson is the Director of Instruction at the Maderas Golf Academy and coaches players on the PGA and LPGA tours. X-Golf is a concept gleaned from his nine years of instruction and wanting to see more players experience meaningful and successful practice.
He shares more about the X-Golf experience in the following Q & A.
What was it in your instructing experience that led to this concept?
I wanted to get people more engaged and involved in their practice. Too often a lot of people get bored with their practice and don’t know what to work on or how to get better.
(As an instructor), even when I’d give people really detailed practice advice after a lesson, I’d still rely on them going away and doing what I asked them to do, sometimes for weeks or months at time. Some would do (what I instructed), but many wouldn’t.
I wanted to create something with simple skills to learn that culminated in a competition at the end to keep people engaged.
And what’s the benefit of buying sessions vs. individual lessons?
This way, the player can see the instructor as much as they want – they can come every day – and really work on improving and making sure they’re on the right track every day.
How did you structure the pilot, and what made it successful?
We did mornings and evenings in groups of eight to 10, with different ages and levels of ability. Everyone loved it.
They got a very structured, detailed practice for an hour but there was also a social element to it. It makes it more fun when you can meet people and develop friendships. And that’s the culture we want to develop – and that culture helps keep people engaged and focused.
We did for two weeks, covering putting, short game and the swing, and ended each with a competition.
The feedback was very encouraging. I sent out a survey and everyone loved it so much that I knew I was on to something.
What do you like about the app., and what role does it play?
It’s really clean and simple. You book your classes on there, view your instruction videos and it shows your personal records. All your results get graphed so it tracks your progress and there’s a leaderboard to show how you did against your peers.
And some of the instruction videos are quite creative. Here’s one with the “Happy Gilmore” swing.
X-Golf will have you doing the Happy Gilmore to improve your power, sequencing and swing speed. For more out of the box, fun practice like this, join X-Golf.
We’ll also do a little training Big Break style. I will have a flop shot wall, six-foot circles, goal posts, SKLZ training aids, etc.
What level of golfer are you targeting?
It’s good for anybody from beginners to Tour players, but I think it’s really going to be perfect for people who play golf and love golf but don’t have time to play a lot or practice much – and maybe they don’t have a lot of money for instruction.
This provides them focused practice in a short amount of time – and it’s fun and affordable.
What benefits as an instructor have you seen from focused practice?
I think in a typical practice someone grabs a driver or 7-iron and starts hitting balls without any real rationale, so it lacks engagement.
With X-Golf, there’s a single skill every day – whether it’s bunker shots, flop shots or short putts – and you get the entire hour to work on that discipline. So by the end of the hour, you’ve had a focused, engaged practice and the competition simulates the competitive aspect of the golf course and gives you that intensity you need.
What’s the ideal class size?
Between eight and 16.
How long to does it to take to complete the full course in X Golf?
Every day is an hour, but it’s randomized practice. You might repeat a practice, but that could be three months out. There’s not really an end to the program because there’s always something to learn or work on.
How are fundamentals addressed in the program, like grip, aim and set up? What if I have a fundamental flaw hampering my progress?
We’re going to discover those things organically. If someone can’t hit a draw, then the coach will look at why they can’t and correct what’s limiting them. That’s where the individualization comes in.
I think you actually see that a lot in professional golf these days. Jordan Spieth doesn’t have a textbook golf swing, but it’s very effective. Phil Mickelson is another one. There are a lot of different golf swings out there, but they all know how to play the game and compete.
That’s what matters.
Classes will be mixed?
In the beginning, yes, but I can see cultures developing that give the classes identity. For instance, I can see hosting a young executives group in the morning. And maybe juniors in the afternoon. We’re going to do four sessions a day during the week and two a day on the weekend, so I think those things will just develop.
What’s the overall intent of X Golf?
Fun. Social. Focused. Quick. Competitive. That’s X Golf.
You can register for classes and download the app at www.x-golf.net. Media inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for Chris Mayson can be sent to email@example.com.