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- Best Overall: Tom Watson Lessons of a Lifetime II at Amazon "Includes 22 new advanced lessons, making this an indispensable resource regardless of your skill set."
- Best Value: Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers at Amazon "Covers all aspects of the sport across its one-hour playing time."
- Best for Covering all the Basics: Best Instructional Golf Videos at Amazon "Focuses on essentials like how to swing and not sway, lining up for the perfect putt, and getting the grip right."
- Best for Your Short Game: Phil Mickelson at Amazon "Phil Mickelson, who has won 34 PGA Tour events, guides you through all shots played in the short game."
- Best for Focusing on the Clubs: Hank Haney at Amazon "Unpacks the reasons behind errant shots from each to help you understand the best way to use those tools."
- Best for Perfecting Your Swing: Jim McLean at Amazon "This DVD isn’t broken out into chapters, because learning what McLean is teaching should be a linear experience."
- Best for Collectors: Jack Nicklaus at Amazon "The approach is refreshingly bare bones, focusing on the fundamentals like swing, award-winning, and grip."
- Best for Drills: David Leadbetter Interactive at Amazon "You get Swing Analysis, a disc that utilizes the same V1 swing technology Leadbetter uses with tour players to analyze a swing."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Tom Watson Lessons of a Lifetime II
Though pro golfer Tom Watson has won enough accolades for his play to stretch across two lifetimes, the “Lifetime II” in the title references the inclusion of 22 new advanced lessons, making this an indispensable resource regardless of your skill set. It includes all lessons in the previous edition, as well as a booklet for reference when you’re out on the field.
Rather than flooding the audience with highly technical terminology, Watson’s approach is clear, simple, and easy to grasp, echoing his decades-long, common-sense approach to the game. Instructional topics cover the gamut, from grip and grip pressure to ball positioning, putting under pressure, pre-shot routines, and head movement. He even includes tips on how to teach kids and seniors.
Best Value: Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers: More Power
Culled from the experts behind Golf Magazine, this DVD leverages the advice of 100 pro teachers into one central resource ideal for mid-level handicapped golfers. These pros come from a range of different backgrounds, including those who worked at the top resorts in the country and ones who teach at par three courses and driving ranges across the country, to bring you a complete instructional resource in one DVD.
It covers all aspects of the sport across its one-hour playing time, including how to manage tension, perfecting a smooth transition, mastering the backswing and release, and tee shot strategies. It also taps into the mental side of the game with tips on power imagery and Brian Mogg’s “Path to Power” philosophy.
Viewers praise the warm-up sessions, led by Ted Mataska, who highlights what should become a tradition before you start to swing, an exercise that’s often neglected by most golfers. The first in a series of three DVDs, this one mostly focuses on tips to help improve your distance shot, while the other two — The Consistency and The Up and Down — delve deeply into the short shot aspects of the game. Bonus: in addition to the hard copy DVD, this instructional video is also available for streaming via Amazon.
Best for Covering all the Basics: Best Instructional Golf Videos
This cache of four DVDs covers all aspects of the sport, conveniently broken out into the long game, the short game, practice drills and equipment, and course management and etiquette. The production value isn’t necessarily top-notch, but its crystal focus on the most pressing aspects of the game (and its low price) definitely earns points.
It focuses on essentials like how to swing and not sway, lining up for the perfect putt, getting the grip right, judging distance and direction accurately, and knowing when to putt and when to chip and run. The third DVD also includes five lessons, five drills, and tips on the best training equipment available to make your practice easier.
Best for Your Short Game: Phil Mickelson: Secrets of the Short Game
Skill is required in any part of the game, but when you get within 50 yards of that elusive hole, that’s when a deep pocket of strategy and talent really comes into play. Phil Mickelson, who has won 34 PGA Tour events, guides you through all shots played from that distance, including putting, chipping, sand shots, and the flop shot that he popularized shortly after joining the tour in 1992.
Emmy award-winning Terry Jastrown was tapped as producer and director, and the DVD reflects his high-quality pedigree. Amateur golfers will learn that all of Mickelson’s shots are basically variations on one swing method, and he includes effective drills to help you approximate that iron-clad technique. As the saying goes, the pros always make it look easy — and that’s true in this DVD.
But Mickelson breaks it all down with a refreshingly conversational tone. With lots of practice and re-watching, it’s certain to improve your game. The two-disc set features interactive menus and scene selections, with a collective running time of 105 minutes.
Best for Focusing on the Clubs: Hank Haney: ESPN Golf Schools: the 3-Club Tour
There’s no debating Hank Haney’s credentials. He’s taught more than 200 touring pros from the PGA, LPGA, and the European, Japanese, and Asian tours, including stars Tiger Woods and Mark O’Meara. In this DVD, he leverages all this experience by applying the basics of ESPN’s one-day golf instruction template to offer a definitive resource for golfers of all skill sets by focusing on how to use the three dominate clubs in any golfer’s arsenal: the driver, the wedge, and the putter.
According to Haney, 75 percent of all shots played by the pros are with those clubs, and he unpacks the reasons behind errant shots from each to help you understand the best way to use those tools. This simplistic approach makes his instructions straightforward and coherent and covers everything from sand shots to pre-shot routines, as well as practice drills for things like putting for impact and distance.
Best for Perfecting Your Swing: Jim McLean: The 8-Step Swing
The title nicely encapsulates the focus of this instructional DVD, but it’s far from simplistic. The 80-minute video breaks down a golf swing, slicing it into eight key checkpoint positions that — when executed properly — will dramatically help your game. The best approach: Master the first step before taking on subsequent advice. Specific drills align to each stage in the swing instruction, but it doesn’t cover basics like grip, so beginners may need some supplemental instructions.
And, surprisingly, this DVD isn’t broken out into chapters, perhaps because learning what McLean is teaching should be a linear experience — not a series of quick gimmicks. As such, it benefits from re-watching it several times as you start to put his lessons into practice.
Best for Collectors: Jack Nicklaus: Golf My Way
Jack Nicklaus: Golf My Way feels more like a collector’s item than the latest-greatest in instructional videos. But that’s not a knock against it. The DVDs delve into all aspects of how The Golden Bear mastered the game of golf, winning 18 major championships throughout the course of his pro career. Rather than relying on tricks or funky swing stances, his approach is refreshingly bare bones, focusing on the fundamentals like swing, award-winning, and grip.
The package is broken out into two DVDs, the first covering all the basics, while the other explores more minute aspects of the game like wedge play, the downhill and uphill lies, the bunker shot, and putting. It’s decidedly dated the production values — one reviewer reported that watching it feels like taking a lesson from the 1980s, but in a good way — but Nicklaus’ tips and advice are as relevant now as they were when he ruled the tour.
And that killer argyle sweater he’s wearing on the cover is just as timeless as his advice.
Best for Drills: David Leadbetter Interactive: The Modern Golf Swing
Consisting of four DVDs and an exclusive interactive program, this kit covers all aspects of the golf swing, including five hours of instructional content and 70 game-improving drills. The sequence of DVDs focuses first on set-up and swing concepts, then follows with golf swing essentials, tips to improve your accuracy by shaping your swing, and executing power shots to distance shots.
In addition to those valuable resources, you also get Swing Analysis, an interactive disc that utilizes the same V1 swing technology Leadbetter uses with tour players to analyze a swing.
Purchasing the DVD set gets you membership and access to the Leadbetter Interactive Golf Academy, so you can send your swing elusive a certified instructor for personal swing analysis, who then assigns specific drills to help overcome your faults, which you can also load onto your smartphone for reference when at the practice range.