In a word, Wow. Unbelievably impressive. Best 180 bucks I ever spent on my golf game. (But it now costs $200 a year.)
This review was written before they switched to an annual membership. Reader Jennifer Belote found that they put her on automatic renewal without her permission. It’s still a good deal if a couple of hundred bucks a year doesn’t mean that much to you. But if you’re sitting here in the cheap seats, it has become a bit too pricey. (Still, the golf instruction is great.)
- Tathata Golf (tah-thah-tah) is a golf training program founded on martial arts training principles.
- It was created by Bryan Hepler (“Helper”, spelled sideways).
- It’s a 60-day program you can do at your own speed.
- Each lesson lasts about 40-45 minutes. You can do a whole lesson in one sitting, or break it up and do it in stages — say, two 25-30 minute sessions, or three 15-minute sessions. (There are multiple segments in a lesson, so there are many places to stop.)
- You can do them 60 days in a row, if you’re hard core (2 months), or do something like 3 a week (5 weeks). Or do it in more time. Or less time.
- So in 3 to 6 months, give or take, you can work through the whole program. That is a decent amount of time to train a movement as complex as the golf swing. (And you can go back and review anytime you like.)
- There is a lot of refinement on body positions and movements. The good news is that you need to perform those movements, to swing well. The better news is that as you practice doing them, you ingrain the movements until, eventually, they recede from conscious awareness.
- You follow along with Bryan, so put the video on max-screen mode and stand in front of it. YouTube videos are great at showing you how to do things, but these videos take you through a workout that has you performing the movements. (Have a 7-iron handy.)
- You do get a workout, but like a good martial arts instructor, Bryan spends a fair amount of time talking, telling you the details of what you’re trying to do. (Especially true at the beginning — and you’ll be grateful for them until you have built up your golfing muscles!)
- For an additional $60 or so, I got the DVDs (total cost, about $240), mostly because I wanted to have a long-term backup. But the online forums and support tools add a lot, so I’m not sure I’ll really need the DVDs.
- The website does seem to take a while to respond. So if I wind up using the DVDs at all, that will be why.
- Of course, what you don’t get in a video-instruction series is feedback on what you’re actually doing, compared to what you think you’re doing. (Trust me when I say that they can be worlds apart, at times.)
- So combining the program with something like Golftec makes a lot of sense, to get that feedback.
Learn more: Golftec vs. Tathata
- Another option is to seek out one of their certified instructors. (There aren’t many at the moment, but they have an entire program to develop them, so I’m certain there will be quite a few, very soon now.)
I’m writing this post after Day 01, when I discovered that the Tathata program is already much better than expected. Covers the body mechanics involved in the setup and the backswing. You learn the movements in multiple stages, each one building on the next. Covers many more details than I’ve ever been exposed to, despite taking numerous lessons with multiple instructors. (Four of them, with 20, 10, 1, and 25 lessons, respectively.)
Even on day one, I noticed areas where it would be helpful to be more flexible. Made me glad that future lessons in the series include work on stretching!
I was particularly impressed by the way the simple “turn” became a much more detailed series of movements in the torso that load the muscles, to produce power. Wow. Pretty phenomenal. You can “turn” with very little power, or “load” with a lot of it. Huge.
On the strength of this day alone, I’ve decided to become an affiliate. As a former martial arts instructor and volleyball coach, I greatly appreciate the way Bryan teaches, and I look forward to helping others one day (most probably by giving them helpful feedback as they learn).
P.S. Videos Not Needed!
I bought the videos for an extra $50, mostly as a backup. But I needn’t have bothered. The online site gives a lot more information in the form of “daily extra” videos, pages you can print out, and a great support team. In fact, once I bought the videos, they changed the site settings so I could view anything at any time. But that was a problem! For one thing, I always had to click the “Reset Test” button to take a test at the end of a session. For another, it meant that the site was no longer tracking my progress!
The problem with that was that I was doing the sessions every 3rd or 4th day. By the time I got back to it, the site had logged me out — which meant I had to remember where I left off. I’m a big believer in doing things in sequence anyway, and I love the extra feedback the tests provide, so I had them change my settings back, as though I had never bought the videos!
Update: No Longer Outstanding, but Still Good
As of October, 2017, Tathata has changed to a membership-based program, to the tune of $200 a year. That’s more than the $180 I paid for a copy of the program that I “own”. It’s still a good program, and they tell me they spent $1m upgrading everything, so it should run a lot faster than it used to, which is good.
I still have access to the original “legacy” version, at legacy.tathata.com. They’re giving me membership for a year, too. But so far they haven’t responded to my queries about whether the free membership automatically renews at the end of the year (something I dislike) — and since a credit card is required to join, I suspect that it does renew automatically. (After 10 years that would be $2,000, and climbing.)
For well-heeled golfers of course, $200 a year isn’t a lot. But for those of us in the cheap seats, it represents a significant investment, rather than a “no brainer” purchase. So I still recommend the program, but now it’s a “qualified recommendation” (great if you can afford it), rather than an unqualified one (something you must do).
Next up: My Best Game Ever
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