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Home Schooling

Let's face it: In a ninety-minute video golf lesson, you don't need every tip—but some you need more than once. Which is why DVDs, which allow you to skip, repeat or watch in slow-mo, are the perfect format for home instruction. There are a baffling number of them out there, some all-new (such as Roger Gunn's Taking It to the Next Level) and some shot years ago and recently transferred to DVD (including A Lesson with David Leadbetter). I watched nearly two dozen of them and came up with these five standouts. A good video lesson is easy to follow, informative but not overwhelming, and sometimes—as in the case of Golf for Dummies with Gary McCord—highly entertaining to boot.

The 8-Step Swing by Jim McLean

Teacher to the stars Jim McLean has identified eight key checkpoints—four on the takeaway and four on the downswing. If you're within a small range of error at each point, you've got a PGA Tour swing. The dry-but-coherent McLean will have you practicing in front of a full-length mirror, if not a video camera, in no time. This 2002 DVD was created from McLean's book and Golf Channel series of the same name. Not recommended for beginners or casual players.

Bottom Line
An intelligent breakdown for anyone dedicated to learning a proper golf swing.

Butch Harmon's Ultimate Golf

The Best Golf Instructor in the World Today delivers here with a comprehensive three-part DVD. (Each part—Short & Sweet, Power Play and Course I.Q.—can also be purchased individually for $20.) Filmed in 2000 (the myriad references to Tiger will remind you), Harmon's lessons are refreshingly candid, and each ends with a helpful recap. For the Course I.Q. segment, he plays a round with son (and T+L GOLF contributing editor) Claude III—for the viewer, a wonderful playing lesson.

Bottom Line
Best Overall
The surprisingly charming Harmon leaves nothing out of this instructional box set.

Golf for Dummies with Gary McCord

As a serious golfer, I didn't think this video was worth my time. But ten minutes into it, Gary McCord—by far the most entertaining host here—had me under his spell. Sure, there are some tips worthy of the title ("Ten excuses to make when you hit a bad shot"), but McCord explains the proper swing plane as clearly and concisely as anyone. He shows how to fix a slice and tackle a buried lie, and his on-the-green lesson will keep you from looking like "an orangutan putting a football."

Bottom Line
Best for beginners, but great for midhandicappers as well; hosted by one of the game's liveliest personalities.

A Lesson with David Leadbetter: Faults and Fixes

Filmed in 1994 with a feather-haired Nick Price ("the hottest player in the game today"), this lesson is proof that while your ten-year-old equipment has become obsolete, David Leadbetter's swing hasn't. While walking you through that swing, the pro's pro highlights common mistakes and shows how to fix them using drills on the practice tee. Leadbetter stresses angles, balance and routine. He also includes tips on shot shaping for more advanced players.

Bottom Line
Leadbetter is masterful at explaining the golf swing; this is among the best of his eight Lessons available on DVD.

Taking It to the Next Level in Golf with Roger Gunn
$20 ($30 for two)

California teaching pro Roger Gunn has taught all levels of golfers, including Tom Lehman and Steve Pate. His unique approach to the video lesson is tailored to five individual ability levels (determined by handicap). Each level has one DVD lesson for the full swing and one for the short game. Gunn is a straight talker, and the two thirty-fiveminute lessons that I watched were just enough to digest and think about the next time at the range.

Bottom Line
A little-known pro with a great idea; you'll feel more confident with these lessons for your specific ability level.


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