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Finding your golf swing's nirvana

Ed Tischler has developed a unique golf swing training method which is customized to the individual golfer.

Good things come in threes.

For golf-swing guru Ed Tischler, that adage has been taken to the literal sense.

Tischler has perfected a golf-swing program in which if followed through to its last steps, allows the golfer to own their customized swing.

The program, New Horizons Golf Approach, strays from the traditional ways of coaching a golf swing.

It focuses on the individual person and their golf swing.

In essence, Tischler trains a golfer through four stages and he identifies his student's swing as an individual one -- not trying to force a squared peg through a round hole.

"Everyone has a different swing and we fit a training program to that individual person," Tischler said. "The New Horizons Approach considers all aspects of the game, physical, mental and inner. While cultivating these three aspects of the game, we believe each golfer has the best chance of developing a complete game."

That complete game includes owning your own swing.

"Our goal is to give (a golfer) the chance to own their own unique swing," Tischler said.

It's a process which isn't done overnight, either. It takes years and dedication to make it through the four stages set up by Tischler.

"Even Tiger Woods is still on a quest to own his own swing," Tischler said. "Tiger has said that only a few people in history have truly owned their own swing, that being Ben Hogan, Moe Norman and Lee Trevino.

"Deep down, every golfer wants to own their own swing."

Proof is in the pudding

Tischler started playing the sport of golf at age 9, after his father started bringing him to the range.

He didn't play his first golf round for two more years, as interest in other sports also blossomed.

Tischler competed in gymnastics, martial arts and archery -- even being courted to try out for the Olympic archery team.

But his love for golf led him to reading everything about it. He also started studying kinesiology -- the study of motion within the body.

By the age of 18, he committed fully to golf and earned a spot on a pair of junior college golf teams in California and eventually earned the top spot for the University of California San Diego in 1986-87.

His vision for his New Horizons Golf Approach was sparked after reading "Golfing Machine" by Homer Calvin.

"Basically, it said there are a lot of different options (to teach a golf swing)," Tischler said.

Another big influence in his new approach was an unorthodox one -- Bruce Lee.

"Bruce Lee's philosophy was 'Be like water,'" Tischler said. "Meaning, be adaptable and be more reactive than structured."

That's where Tischler's idea of adapting a golf swing to the individual was spawned.

Ironically, an injury he suffered after his club stuck between two railroad ties -- which basically shredded his shoulder -- almost ended his golf career and was another incident which directed him towards his new approach.

The injury took him out of golf for the next four years.

During that time and beyond, he wrote 17 self-published books on his new golf-swing approach from 1993-2003.

He also practiced what he preached and taught himself through all four stages of the program.

"I have owned my customized swing since 1988," Tischler said. "They called me 'The Machine' in college with my consistent swing."

And success is proof in the pudding.

Tischler owns 15 different course records around the world -- on the hardest courses in Alaska, Thailand and a top 15 course in Japan -- and has a 17 green in regulation average through 350 rounds.

His average drive is 309 yards back in the late 1980's and early 1990's using a steel driver.

Tischler owns eight holes in one and two double eagles.

All the courses he set records on had ratings over 74 with slope ratings over 140 and as high as 165.

"The best way to teach it, is to show it," Tischler added.

The Power of Three

The path of owning one's own swing starts out simple with the fundamentals, then winds down a very detailed regimen.

There are four stages a golfer trains through: fundamentals, techniques, biomechanics and playing the game.

As each stage is completed, the golfer grows closer to his swing and each step shows improvement in performance.

"Over 10 percent of (students) make a hole in one after the first year," Tischler said.

Teaching the fundamentals stays with the traditional way of teaching golf.

The fundamental stage helps accomplish what golfers want from their swing: accuracy, power and a swing which feels good -- or the sweet spot.

Stage two teaches the techniques, with a variety of driving, pitching, chipping and putting gone over.

Stage three is where the main components of New Horizons Golf Approach is taught.

"This is where the Power Three Golf is taught," Tischler noted. "In stage three, we access the individual to start building their swing to fit their body."

Here, there are 12 bio-features related to the human body -- with each having three options.

"Of all those 12 features, there are three options and we only appoint one option of those three to fit your perfect swing," Tischler said. "We pick the feature and option to fit you."

This stage takes patience, dedication and ambition to make it through.

"Nobody has ever done all 12 stages under three years," Tischler said. "It's a long process. What usually happens is after stage one, a golfer likes their improvement and goes away for a while.

"Then they realize they want to get better after a while and hit stage two. Then they see more improvement and go away for a while again, then again realize they want to take that next step."

After the task of stage three is complete, stage four is the mental and inner game training.

The difference between mental and inner is pretty apparent.

Mental is everything you do to get focused before your shot.

Inner is the act of doing, everything which is happening in the moment of sport.

"The stage four motto is 'be prepared,'" Tischler included. "This stage ties everything together."

Rome wasn't built in a day, as goes for improving in one of the most difficult sports -- golf.

To finish the New Horizons Golf Approach and reach golf's version of Nirvana is a difficult journey to complete.

"In the pre-training interview, we do set a primary goal based on how long and how many lessons a golfer wants to take and customize it from there," Tischler said. "We have some experienced golfers who start at stage three. It's a stage unique to anything else which is taught out there."

Many things can be owned in our materialist world, but owning your own golf swing is as unique as it gets -- and it guarantees a much better game, as well.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.