Design Consultant / Golf Digest Top 50 Instructor
B A C K G R O U N D E R . . .
A member of the Golf Digest Instructional Staff for more than 20 years and a long-time Golf Digest Top 50 and Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, Reinmuth worked closely with Bill Parks and the engineering team to design and calibrate the action of the Swing Coach club so it performs for players of all abilities.
Reinmuth has worked with a variety of tour players, among them legendary pro Dave Stockton, tour winners Scott Verplank, Rory Sabbatini and Ricky Barnes, U.S. Amateur champ Eric Meeks, and 13 years coaching Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson.
Reinmuth is the author of “Tension Free Golf” (Triumph Books, 2013) and creator of numerous best-selling instructional videos. He was one of the original instructors for Golf Channel when the network launched in January 1995. He is the owner-operator of the Dean Reinmuth School of Golf in San Diego.
T H E R E I N M U T H S T O R Y . . .
I have to credit the experiences I had early in life growing up outside of Chicago with setting the groundwork for what has evolved into a very rewarding career in golf instruction.
My first job in golf was working at Naperville Country Club. I started as a caddie and worked my way up through the ranks – as a groundskeeper, working in the bag room and then making it into the pro shop. Later I was hired as 1st assistant professional at Midlothian Country Club, in Midlothian, Illinois where the Western Open was held. These various positions enabled me to learn all aspects of the business of golf while fine-tuning my playing skills well enough to compete on tour.
Since I decided to step away from a playing career, my focus has been on doing what I do best, which is motivating and teaching others. And of course, coaching Phil has been a significant part of that but being a leader in my field both thru television key note speaker around the world at coaching summits allowed me many opportunities to educate and help others.
MW: What was the genesis of Swing Coach?
DEAN REINMUTH: Swing Coach was invented by Bill Parks, a competitive amateur golfer who is blind in one eye. The idea for Swing Coach resulted from his need to enhance the “feel” for a correctly executed swing and increase the pace of learning the game.
MW: How does Swing Coach differentiate itself from countless other swing aid products?
DR: The design of the Swing Coach Club allows for varying speeds and the length of swings – from a pitch shot to a full length full speed swing. The Swing Coach Club creates a lot of self-awareness for the proper arc, path, and smoothness of proper acceleration. Think of the first time you drive a powerful car. You step on the gas and your head jerks back at hits the seat. You have to be trained to learn the gradual touch and increase in acceleration. That is the key to helping people learn the golf swing proper shape sequence of movement … and a gradual increase in speed thru the impact area.
MW: How simple is Swing Coach to use?
DR: It is the coolest golf coaching product I have ever come across. It looks like a golf club and you swing it like one, which propels a real golf ball being held in a specially designed cradle affixed into the club head. Make a swing, watch how the ball flies and you learn from the results of each swing and the ball reaction what you did in your swing … whether it was correct or incorrect. Swing Coach will teach you to make the right swing at every speed.
MW: Can Swing Coach be so successful as to push the need for golf teachers to the side?
DR: A teacher will always be a critical component to a student in learning at a faster rate, by providing the proper assessment and setting a plan for improvement. In between lessons, the biggest concern for any teacher is whether the students are following the right swing movements which are required to improve. The Swing Coach will help students understand when their swing is not functioning properly, or they revert back to their old swing habits. Swing Coach helps guide the student to the proper shape and movement, and to train that movement to go from an abnormal feeling to a normal one.
MW: Over the last 20-25 years there have been countless technological gains in equipment — but the average handicap has only fallen 1-2 strokes for men and women. The result has been overall frustration and many golfers leaving the game. What has teaching failed to do for the most part?
DR: Golfers need a simple, quick way to receive continual proper analysis of what is happening in their swing – a direct, immediate response to their problem and a way to receive a reminder when they slip back to their old habits. Golfers learn quicker this way. A player can only absorb so much data at one time. And it needs to be a feeling of proper movement by doing not an over analysis of what is wrong.
MW: Have too many teachers simply made teaching far more complicated than it should be?
DR: Teaching has become too segmented and analytical, with way too much comparison of their swing to someone else’s swing. Teaching should be about simple directions and simple movements. First learn simple movements at slower speeds in easier learning conditions. Get the simple movements under control, and then develop them to ones that are more refined and more specific.
MW: Do students spend too much time on full swings and less on the more important scoring areas such as putting and other short game elements?
DR: That is 100 percent correct. But usually that changes by getting them to look at where their score really comes from. Even if you two-putt every hole, that is 36 shots. And that is the case for a good player. Putting and the short game become even more critical for average player.
MW: If a student wishes to select a teacher — what is the best process for doing so?
DR: You have to observe teachers who are able to work with varying levels of students. If looking for teacher who is advanced – someone who teaches tour players – often times they are not the best one for a more beginner type of golfer. That is particularly important for children. The best who teach beginning child on regular basis know how to entertain them and keep them actively interested. More specific Teaching skill comes in when students have the intellectual ability to reason and think more. Kids need more fun.
MW: Best advice you ever got regarding golf coaching — what was it and who from?
DR: The person who taught me the most was Bob Toski. I knew he was already successful and I wanted to be successful as a player. I learned a lot about teaching by being around Bob: His comments to me were straightforward – have fun when teaching; it creates the best learning environment. Two, terminology matters. A doctor says, “Give me a scalpel.” He doesn’t say, “Give me a tool.” We need to say things that make sense. Using a term like “Post-up” is a basketball term that is not relevant to our sport.
MW: Golf is going through a period in which Millennials, women and minorities are not entering and staying with the game as previous generations. Time to play is one item of concern, the cost to play is another and overall frustration when playing is another. What would be your game plan to attract these specific groups to play?
DR: We have to look and the type of golf people want to play. Enjoying golf is more than just playing 18 holes. You can go to the range, or play five or six holes, and have great time. The concept that the only way to play the game is “18 holes and score” is wrong. Throw the rules out. Just enjoy making nice swings and being with friends. It’s really important for parents to understand that the sport of golf is a great social environment for kids to get along with other kids, play by set of fairness and rules and learn both succeeding and failing and how to deal with both properly .