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Interview with Jon Sherman from Practical Golf

Learn more about Jon Sherman, owner of the Practical Golf Website, Author of The Four Foundations of Golf” and “101 Mistakes All Golfers Make (and How to Fix Them)” books, and co-host of The Sweet Spot Podcast.

Jon Sherman, owner of the Practical Golf website, author of “The Four Foundations of Golf” and “101 Mistakes All Golfers Make (and How to Fix Them)” books, and co-host of The Sweet Spot Podcast, lives on Long Island – about an hour from New York City. 

To better practice what he preaches, Sherman recently converted a laundry area in his home into a high-tech golf simulator room – electing to hire the Indoor Golf Shop folks to design the room and install the equipment. 

A scratch golfer, he regularly competes in tournaments around the New York Metro region. But he’s always striving to improve. We recently caught up with him to find out more about his Indoor Golf Shop simulator room installation.

Q & A with Jon Sherman

Your Practical Golf system and the Sweet Spot podcast approach game improvement differently. This isn't a "fix your slice/train your path" methodology. Can you walk through how you came to start using data, strategy and other techniques to help golfers score better practically?

It was a long journey of doing a lot of my own testing on launch monitors, and learning from people like Mark Broadie who wrote a great book called “Every Shot Counts” and from another friend named Scott Fawcett, who's the founder of the DECADE Golf system. It was a combination of learning through my own testing and then referring to some people who were experts in the field, and I settled onto my own philosophy that I think applies to average golfers.

What led you to want to share what was working for you with other golfers?

My main goal was work through my observation that a lot of the information out there for game improvement is really about the golf swing.

I knew there was a lot more that it would take to get better at this game and I just wanted to share all those other topics, and that ultimately became my “The Four Foundations of Golf” book. The main topics I like to talk about are:

• Expectations 

• Management 

• Strategy

• Practice 

• Mental Game

 I try and have a lot of passion for helping golfers in those topics, because again, most of what the golf industry is focused on is really the technical aspects of the golf swing, and it’s not a strategy.

Who have been your mentors and collaborators?

The gentleman I do the podcast with, Adam Young, is someone I've learned from. Andrew Rice is another instructor I've learned from. There have been a lot of people I've become friendly with in the industry.

How do you divide your time between your golf projects and sharing your knowledge and content with your audience?

They're both intertwined. Everything I do in golf, whether it's when I play in tournaments or even recreational rounds, I'm learning things in my own game. I'm observing other golfers. Then I try and educate people on what I've learned, whether it's on Twitter, my podcast on my website, or now through my book. And I have a video course in my book coming out, so it's all connected together. I get a lot of my inspiration from playing golf and watching others play golf.

Custom Golf Simulator Install with Jon

Tell us about the simulator installation you have from The Indoor Golf Shop. What equipment do you use and what’s the design of the space?

The installation was awesome. I sent dimensions and pictures of the room to In-Home Golf, which is now part of Indoor Golf, and we went through a few different iterations.

They did some 3D designs and videos for me where we decided how big the screen would be, how much turf we would be using, how big the turf would be in like the hitting strips, the protective stuff, the projector, etc. Everything had some unique challenges in the room, because of the size, there's a washer and dryer in here, and there's a window.

So we had to do a lot of planning beforehand. And Rene from Indoor Golf helped me with the launch monitor so I got a Foresight GC3 from them and I use the GSPro software. And I’m super happy with it. But I guess it wasn't as big of a room as they were used to and there were some strange dimensions with an angle on the ceiling and the width and the depth of the room. There had to be some considerations made on what materials we used and designed together.

Do you have a space for putting in addition to your hitting area?

Yes, they built two holes that are about 11 feet apart, right in front of the screen, so I can practice putting – which is awesome.

What were your must-haves for this space, so it functioned the way you need it to?

The most important thing was making sure obviously there's enough room to swing a golf club. And for the launch monitor, I wanted something portable so that because the room isn’t as wide as some other rooms, if someone else was in here who was taller than me, I wanted a portable launch monitor that could be adjusted easily.

I also wanted to have the highest resolution possible on the projector, so that was something we planned for. But I just wanted the biggest hitting area and screen possible, and to be able to use the space as a multifunctional room for my kids to watch movies in here.

What support and expertise did you get from the Indoor Golf Shop team to help this project go smoothly?

They had input on pretty much everything. The first decision was how much turf we were going to use and deciding if we wanted to just do a smaller hitting strip or do the entire room in turf. We went back and forth on that, and how it interacts with the carpet. The width of the screen, they advised me on too. 

It took a lot of back and forth with the dimensions and different plans, to make sure that it was going to be to my liking. I also had to make sure the washer and dryer were still accessible, so we had to put a curtain over that when it's not in use. They were super helpful and then Mike came out to my house to take the final measurements and just double-check everything, so there was quite a bit of interaction with them. 

What did you learn about the sim room installation process that might inform future projects or your own, or advice you might give to someone embarking on a similar project?

Mainly that I couldn't do it myself. I'm not a very technical or handy person. Just watching them set up the aspect ratio and all the things that it took for the projector at the end, making sure that the screen was in the right spot, and that we had to custom-make the screen because the width of my room was not standard.

 Putting in the protection materials, the turf, cutting out my carpe, making sure the sub flooring was proper – there were many small details that they obviously are experts at. And I have no clue how to do this stuff. It would have taken me forever, and I would have done a bad job. It was nice having them, and great to see the experts take care of everything.

Is there anything you would have done differently in your space?

No, I really don't think so. I think we've maximized everything possible. It came out exactly how I had hoped. It's awesome.

What was the process like working with the Indoor Golf Shop - from planning to execution and completing the job?

Their team paid extreme attention to detail. The process was seamless, and their customer service went above and beyond to make sure that I got everything I wanted and that I was happy with the product in the end.

How do you use the space day to day? What aspects of the space do you get the most use out of?

I hit golf balls in here every day, whether I'm just kind of practicing for a little bit or playing simulated golf. The real benefit of it that's been even better is watching sports with my son or movies with my son, daughter and wife. We're actually going to get a nicer sound system installed and some seating. So really, it's the bigger benefit of being a home theater for our family. We're spending a lot of time in here together, which is awesome.

What would you tell others about working with The Indoor Golf Shop?

Yeah, I’ve already recommended them to many people. We had them on our podcast and I would say to anyone wanting to get a sim that there are a lot of DIY setups you can purchase from the Indoor Golf Shop. Anyone wanting to go above and beyond and wanting to get the setup of their dreams and make sure it's done properly and it's going to work properly, they're awesome.