INSTRUCTION: UNCONVENTIONAL SWING GURU BRIAN MANZELLA
You won't find Brian Manzella on Golf Channel or even on the range at PGA Tour events. But among golf instructors, his influence might be growing faster than anybody's.
The New Orleans native, 52, leads an informal group of teachers whose aim is to take the "folklore" out of instruction and replace it with facts.
"I've always been looking for the answers," Manzella says. "I started out with the Golfing Machine [teaching philosophy] and went as far as you can go with that, but a few years ago a couple of scientists patted me on the head and said, 'This isn't science.' So we started calling up scientists to see what they had to say."
Those conversations turned into what Manzella calls "the Anti-Summit," a scientific symposium that is designed to be the antithesis of traditional golf teaching gatherings.
"At other summits, you sit and listen, and you can't ask any questions," Manzella says. "Even if you could, the answers are just some golf pro's opinion. We get scientists to make presentations on everything from technique to club design and tell people they can ask whatever they want."
Manzella's group was one of the first to popularize the idea of teaching golf lessons by using the TrackMan launch monitor. Now more than 300 teachers are using the units, and the boxes have become a staple on tour.
On Manzella's website (brianmanzella.com), a simple question generated 1,700 responses and more than 275,000 views, and he engages with hundreds of instructors around the world on his golf-science Facebook group pages.
"Another teacher might know the science better than I do," he says, "but I turn it into something the average guy can understand." —Matthew Rudy