Hank Haney, one of the premier golf instructors of the last two decades and the one-time instructor of the No. 1 golfer in the world, has devoted his life to instruction, to making the game easier to learn, easier to teach and ultimately easier to play. But at a press conference today to announce his new endorsement contract with TaylorMade adidas Golf, Haney conceded that it's not innovations in instruction that will be more vital to golf's future, it's innovation in equipment.
"Obviously cost and time are factors, but the biggest thing is that golf's just such a hard game," he said. "It's just such a difficult learning curve."
Haney has been involved in teaching both young, elite players as part of his International Junior Golf Academy, as well as developing instructors to help them learn how best to teach the swing. Still, he thinks the game's inherent difficulties mean a good teacher can take a student only so far.
"While instruction is getting better and there are more good teachers throughout the world now, golf is still the same. You're still playing a game where you're standing to the side of the ball and the ball's sitting on the ground and you turn your body and you swing your hands and arms. There's not going to be some new way to teach the game of golf that's all of a sudden going to make it that much easier. To the extent that equipment manufacturers are allowed to make the game easier and more enjoyable, I think that's going to be a big part of growing the game.
"Obviously, I'm a teacher and I'm always trying to figure out ways to help people get better and get the message across, but let's face it, most people would rather buy a game than actually work for one. Hopefully, we can continue to make some clubs that will continue to make it a lot easier for them to play the game."*