Buck Mayers’ path to becoming a respected and sought-after golf instructor wasn’t necessarily “textbook.” It was a personal journey that has made him uniquely qualified to teach a wide array of amateurs ranging from beginners to the elite college players and aspiring pros. Mayers was a successful tennis pro in Ponte Vedra, Florida when a friend, who happened to be the wife of PGA TOUR player J.C. Snead, suggested he give golf a try. He took to the game naturally and soon was playing in “Sneaks and Cleats” events that combined golf and tennis competitions and became a serious student of the game.
Mayers learned from teaching legends like Bob Toski, Jim Flick and, at the suggestion of J.C. Snead’s legendary Uncle Sam, met and learned from Manuel del a Torre. His knowledge of the game developed rapidly and after a while, traveled with J.C. helping him with his game.
As the tennis industry fell into a decline, Mayers sought more golf teaching work in his native state of Texas, which led to him becoming a popular and very busy teaching pro in Waco. There, he tirelessly gave roughly 30 lessons per week and built a reputation as a studious and trusted teacher. He caught the attention of Carl and Frank Paul, the owners of Austin-based one-time retail giant Golfsmith who were launching the Harvey Penick Golf Academy in honor of the city’s most beloved teacher and author of the best-selling Little Red Book. Penick wondered why Mayers was so fond of using video in his lessons. He explained to the master teacher,
“It’s not for me, it’s for the student. When a student sees their swing on video, they can learn faster and will be more inclined to trust what I’m teaching,” Mayers explained.
Mayers would go on to teach all over the Texas Hill Country and develop a loyal clientele of avid amateur golfers and talented young players. Today, as director of instruction at the posh Escondido Golf & Lake Club, Mayers has a state-of-the-art facility to teach members and those who travel an hour outside of Austin seeking his coaching.
Here, Mayers shares his views on using the V1 Pro video system and how it is helping golfers play better:
Did being an accomplished tennis instructor inform your methods as a golf teacher?
Tennis and golf are biomechanically similar and there’s a definite blending of mental and physical skills in both, but I think the biggest similarity is that you have to approach students of each sport as athletes and assess their needs as individuals.
What do you like best about using the V1 Pro platform to view and share students’ swings?
With V1, the trust factor goes way up when the student sees their swing. The video is quicker than the eye and can, very often, validate what the instructor is saying. I love V1 and video, but I’m also a proponent of ball flight. So I’ll use a down-the-line camera outside or from a covered hitting bay. I can send voiced-over swing keys and drills and stay connected with students. It’s an awesome tool.
How do you use the library of model swings V1 has for you to use?
Carefully. So many teachers want to put their students’ swing next to Adam Scott in hopes they can get them to a perfect swing from a perfect position, but most of the time, that doesn’t fit the need or the narrative. I’d rather show them how they’re progressing by showing their old swings versus their new ones as we show them to keep improving.
What are you looking for from that down-the-line camera angle?
With a high-speed camera, you can see the club face, their path, their angle of attack and even shaft lean, so I pay close attention to those factors and work on a solution based on improving one or more of those factors. I’m a question teacher and so often, that question is simply
“What is this student’s need?”
The balance in my teaching is using intuition based on decades of knowledge and teaching and combining it with today’s technology and technical data. Most importantly is not bogging the student down with too much data. You have to understand the student and know how technical the lesson needs to be for them to walk away with instruction that works for them.
So being the gatekeeper of the swing knowledge is as important as your communication style and your attention to detail?
It’s part of that attention to detail. Jim McLean has probably taken video and catalogued every lesson he’s ever done, but the student doesn’t need to hear everything the instructor sees to give a good lesson. Sometimes I don’t show the student their video until after our lesson.
What is one consistent tenet in your teaching that you share with top players all the way down to recreational amateurs?
I look at what the clubface is doing more so than plane or path. I teach controlling the clubface as it relates to that golfer’s rate of closure. Rory McIlroy is a golfer with a high rate of closure. A skilled player like that might benefit from a tip from instructor Pete Cowan, who teaches a face-related swing. For players like that, when they get out of tune, it’s often as simply putting a pitching wedge in his hand and asking him to swing shut-to-open. In his mind’s eye, that is going to feel very square to his path. Once a student understands the concept of the clubface, we can “build their circle” around that and move into developing things like their footwork and rhythm. Using V1 Golf Pro Software for video capture and feedback aids in teaching the process of sequencing. It’s great. It’s like jumping into their bodies and finding the fix at the moment they need it.
Visit www.buckermayersgolf.com to learn more.