How this teenager gained 60 yards (!) of carry and shaved 13 strokes
Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new GOLF.com series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.
As someone who got into golf at age 12, I always look back on those early days of playing and wonder, “What if?”
What if I had put in the time to seriously learn the game, rather than just play with friends? What if I had actually given up one of the other sports I was involved in to really commit to lessons with a teacher? And what if I hadn’t just tried to self-correct my issues, but instead really dig into data and swing analysis?
While I can’t go back in time, these are a few questions I’ve often wondered as I continue my golf journey. And as the game continues to evolve and more players start younger, it always amazes me how well some of these current kids perform.
Rather than try to squeeze three or four sports into their schedules like I did, some have narrowed their focus to golf — and the dedication can pay off, with many showing serious gains before they even reach high school.
One of those golfers is a junior named Everett, who has worked with GOLF Top 100 Teacher Trent Wearner for the past year, and with unbelievable success.
In just 12 months, the teenager has shaved 13 strokes off his Handicap Index, with Wearner helping him to better ball-striking, more distance and a soft touch around the greens.
So what’s his secret? I asked Wearner to share some of the ways he’s helped improve Everett’s game. Take a look below at his tips.
How this teenage golfer shaved 13 strokes
“In my opinion, nothing is more important, or satisfying, than developing a player,” says Wearner. “This development can come in different forms, but it always needs to revolve around shooting lower scores.”
Wearner began working with Everett between his 8th grade and freshman year of high school. Since then, the young player has made tremendous gains in his overall golf game. So much so, that Everett’s dad can actually refer to a spreadsheet that he’s used to track his son’s progress.
“His dad keeps a ton of stats, and he labels them on his extensive spreadsheet; both ‘pre-Trent’ and ‘post-Trent’,” says Wearner. “I love this because it keeps all of us accountable — both me as coach, and Everett as my student.”
In the year the two have worked together, Wearner lists improvements with the following stats:
— Everett’s score has gone down 13 strokes
— His GIRs have increased by 88%, with the average length of his first putt being 18.7 feet
— His average distance into the green has gone down from 157.1 yards to 145.6, even though the course yardage he’s now playing averages almost 500 yards farther
— Everett’s clubhead speed with his driver went from 77 to 93 mph, making his carry yardage go from 185 to 245 yards.
“Below is his swing when we first started,” Wearner adds. “As you can see, he has lots of great stuff going on, but his excessive body tilt on the right side after impact was causing him back pain, which limited him each swing and also led to discomfort later in rounds.”
“This was obviously the first thing we addressed,” Wearner continued. “He called it ‘getting out of the shot’, and, in doing so, he started to use the ground more effectively in a vertical sense — which is much safer and easier on his back. In essence, he focused on striking the ball and immediately moving upwards with his spine.”
To help Everett eliminate this drastic side bend, the two used a drill that focused on the teen’s shoulder positioning, which Wearner demonstrates in the second slide in the Instagram video above.
“He hits a shot with an abbreviated follow through, trying to get his right shoulder closer to the flag than his left shoulder, which also helps him minimize the right-side bend,” Wearner said. “This is pretty common with many young golfers. They often stall their bodies in an effort to create power, but it can be hard on their bodies, especially their backs.”
Finally, Wearner says that the duo also worked on Everett’s short game, helping the teen dial in from around the green in an effort to eliminate unnecessary strokes from within 75 yards or so.
“Certainly, he’s made some fantastic distance gains, but he’s still going to experience kids that hit it farther than he does,” Wearner said. “So we want to also have a short game that makes those bombers jealous, making them say, ‘Man, I sure wish I had that kind of short game!'”
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