golf inclusion monthly

Coaching Tip of the Month

Instructing Blind Golfers - Considerations and Techniques

By Trevor Hazen, PGA

Program Director, The Turn

Director of Golf, North Olmsted Golf Club


Providing instruction to blind golfers for the first time can be an intimidating experience for any golf instructor. Understanding a few specific considerations and techniques can help make the lesson experience more effective and more enjoyable for both the student and teacher. When working with a blind golfer, the first step is to determine if they have been blind from birth or if they had vision and then lost their vision. Just like any other golf lesson our next step is to determine which way our student learns best. Is it auditory, visual or kinesthetic? Most blind golfers will rely the most upon auditory and kinesthetic learning but those who previously had vision may benefit from presenting them visuals through verbal description. 

Once you have learned their history and determined their learning style, here are some general considerations during the lesson:
  1. Always let your student know and ask permission before you put your hands on them.

  2. To aid with proper alignment, develop a routine where your student holds their club horizontally in front of their chest with both arms outstretched so that you can take the same position across from them and help them to aim.

  3. Always tap the ball onto the clubface and say clear to let them know to begin swinging.

  4. Always provide an extremely specific description of the shot that they face during their pre-swing.

  5. Always provide an extremely specific feedback of the result immediately post-shot.

Here are some specific swing techniques that we have found to be successful:
  1. Use a metronome to help your student with their tempo. In many cases blind golfers tend to swing quickly so this can help to slow down and smooth out their swing from putter through driver.

  2. We have also developed a number system with some of our students to help them calculate their speed when putting. Each number corresponds to a distance range.

  3. We also use audio cues to help the student to determine both the distance and direction of the target. These cues may be the metronome, beeping or clapping.

  4. During putting and chipping you can put an alignment rod down just under your students toes so that they can feel proper alignment. This helps because blind golfers tend to move their feet post-shot.

  5. Blind golfers tend to have difficulty maintaining their swing center throughout the swing, so it helps to place an alignment rod touching the top of their head during full swings.

  6. We also incorporate kinesthetic training to help the student feel their movements or to have them feel OUR movement. As an example, we may put our hands on their shoulders to help them feel the rotation or we may have the student place their hands on OUR shoulders to feel how we rotate.

These considerations and techniques will help you when teaching blind golfers and, as is true with any golf lesson, communication is the key. Keep it positive and keep it in the short grass!