By Clay Horning
The Moore American
MOORE — In one of the three rooms in the new establishment a few doors down from Louie’s Grill and Bar reserved for the most state of the art golf instruction in the history of golf instruction, David Lisle is listening.
“I feel like I’ve reached a plateau. I just don’t feel like I’m getting any better,” he’s told. “I’d like to shoot in the high 70s.”
Later, from the same student, “I’m kind of afraid of my lob wedge.”
A few minutes after that Lisle’s pupil explains, “I have a bad tendency to sway, to the rear, and I don’t even know it, I just get told.”
Lisle’s there to help.
This is GolfTEC, Lisle’s new post-Westwood Park adventure, where he gets to do the thing he probably enjoyed the most over his 27 years as head pro at Norman’s only municipal golf course — teach — just about all the time.
The place has been open for a bit, but it’s been a “soft opening” in the sense that there must be names for everything. The “grand opening” is only a day away, not that Lisle hasn’t already found himself busy.
“Business is picking up and we’re getting busier by the day,” he said. “Word of mouth is beginning to spread, people are hearing about it.”
For those who approach the game mechanically, GolfTEC is something akin to nirvana, with video, motion sensors, ball-flight simulator and frame-by-frame swing comparisons available to tour player after tour player. For those who prefer to feel their way through the game, they still have the benefit of Lisle’s decades of experience and his credentials as a fantastic teacher to sift through the data and make it work in a way you can still get your head around.
And still, beyond the contraptions, the value of the initial $125 evaluation may be a bargain if only for the interview that comes with it, when Lisle or one of his instructors asks every question they can think of about your game.
One student first told Lisle putting wasn’t a big issue in his game, yet then admitted to as many as five three-putts per round when not feeling it on the greens.
Of course, that prompted Lisle to offer, “I’m going to give you my best tip of the day,” before going on to explain that distance, distance, distance, not direction, is the key to good putting.
If you ask, Lisle will explain all the contraptions at his control — “It’s been incredibly exciting to be able to use all these toys to help teach,” he said — in addition to talking up the outfit he’s gone into business with.
Basically, explains Lisle, there are about 600 GolfTEC instructors at 185 locations and already, as a national entity, GolfTEC is providing one fourth of all golf lessons in the U.S. Also, 95 percent of GolfTEC students report their game improving. And, when you think about it, a new $400 offer that.
Still, perhaps the best thing about it is the guy manning the controls, who understands the technology is terrific, yet every player’s still unique.
“You’ve got to adapt your teachings to what the student needs, not necessarily what the corporate headquarters says you need to do,” Lisle said. “And you have to be able to articulate that, maybe the same thing, 10 different ways until one of them hits home and they understand it.”
What’s the most common misconception among golfers?
“They think they’re swinging down this line,” Lisle said, indicating a down-the-target swing path, “yet they’re swinging down the line like that,” he finished, indicating an outside-in path to the ball.
Translation? Golfers don’t know why they’re slicing the ball. Some things never change. Only now Lisle has the hardware to prove it, as well as the same hardware, not to mention his life in the game, to help fix it.
“You have to adapt your teachings to what the student needs,” he said.
Already, at his new digs, he’s done plenty of that. And Tuesday, with the grand opening, it gets a little more serious.
A glad-handing and helpful fixture at Westwood for almost three decades, Lisle appears to have taken his game — which happens to be teaching the game — to a whole new level.