Editor’s Note: Baden Schaff has been a PGA teaching professional for 17 years and is the co-founder of Skillest, a digital platform that connects golf students with golf coaches across the world for online lessons. To learn more about Skillest and to book a lesson of your own with Baden or Shauheen Nakhjavani, head over to Skillest.com or download the app in the app store.
If ever you wanted proof that online golf coaching has moved beyond a novelty or curiosity, it lies in Shauheen Nakhjavani.
Shauheen, if you didn’t already know, is a Canadian coach based in Montreal and he is making serious waves in the world of instruction. The amount of students he teaches on Skillest is eye watering. In the past two years he has given nearly 4,500 lessons to students across the planet and he has done all of this from the palm of his hand.
Why is he so prolific?
It’s simple: Shauheen really really knows his stuff.
By definition if you want to be a successful online coach you have to be good. There is no room for small talk when you are teaching someone online, you need to have an incredibly well trained eye ,and Shauheen’s attention to detail is second to none.
His teaching has become so popular that he is redefining the vernacular and swing models that are used by other coaches. In particular he is renowned for his ability to teach golfers to shallow the club correctly on the downswing. Shallowing the club correctly is the holy grail of the slicer whose downswing is always too steep.
Shauheen excels in his explanation as he fundamentally understands that nothing works in isolation. There are so many factors that contribute to a golfer being able to bring the club from the right direction on the downswing and remove that slice. He has even created a course on Skillest that is entirely dedicated to this problem, I sat down with him recently to talk about the structure of that course and the main factors to consider when trying to shallow the club.
1. Shoulder rotation: Internal vs. External
The common belief is that to shallow the club correctly on the downswing you need to get your trail arm to externally rotate on the backswing. Shauheen says that this can be very counterproductive as you will then need to overcompensate on the downswing consequently leading to a steep downswing. Ricky Fowler is the perfect example of this.
2. Grip and Wrist Angles
Your initial wrist angles are critical to shallowing the club. Being able to move your wrists into flexion (bowing) on the downswing is a must. It is this move that allows you to close and deloft the clubface preventing the ball from going right. Too strong a grip at the start will prevent the flexion on the downswing and will often lead to the cupping of the wrists which is one of the biggest causes of a slice
3. Forearm Rotation
One of the biggest faults Shauheen sees students make is the amount of forearm rotation they have on the backswing. Golfers have the misguided belief that if they roll their arms to the “inside” that they will be able to bring the club from the inside. This, like many counterintuitive elements of the golf swing has the opposite effect.
4. Lead Arm Depth
The direction of your arms on the backswing is critical. If you take your arms too vertically on the takeaway it makes them very hard to shallow them on the downswing. If you look at players who have really high arms like Justin Thomas or DJ they require a lot of right side bend to compensate. This requires a lot of coordination and can cause injuries.
This is just the tip of the iceberg if you want to understand all of the influences of shallowing the club and the whole 15 video course is available on Skillest right now. It is information that is being used by multiple touring pros including former Players Championship winner Stephen Ames. Nahkjavani’s depth of knowledge on the golf swing is even more remarkable when you learn that he is completely self taught. He himself has never even had a lesson. His concepts and theories have all been developed through years of studying the golf swing on his own. He didn’t have a mentor whose theories have heavily colored his. His ideas are his own.
His obsession with the golf swing is perhaps only matched by his love of his home town Montreal. It appears that he will not be setting up an academy in Florida and Arizona anytime soon. Fortunately for thousands of golfers around the world he is still able to teach you at any time of the year and all from the palm of his hand.
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