Those familiar with the Couer d’Alene area acknowledge the world class golf courses within a drive of downtown.  These courses only add to the many natural features North Idaho has to offer.  Dustin Ainsworth, Castaway guide and former Golf Professional, enjoys the natural wonders of Coeur d’Alene along with these man made beauties.

Over the years guiding he’s utilized his knowledge of both sports, Golf and Fly Fishing, to help instruct his fishing clients.  In his view, knowing how to golf has made him better at fishing.  In fact many famous golfers are also fly fisherman.  It only makes sense when you consider the origins of these two sports.

Dustin takes the time to instruct new anglers how to take their knowledge of golfing and apply it to their cast.  He has created analogies between the two sports: Tempo, Target, Shoulders, Takeaway, Extension, Hands.  
Tempo – the count with which a swing of the club and a swing of the rod is measured.  This is a critical aspect to learning and fine tuning your skill.  “I try to tell clients to count from 1-one thousand on the forward swing, 2-one thousand on the pull back and a FULL 3-one thousand on the timing of the loading (back) cast of the fly rod before it is pulled back.  This 3 count tempo is repeated until the cast.  In teaching golf, this tempo technique goes from the take away to the top of the swing until the follow through.”  By changing the tempo of the swing, either faster for longer drives or slower for longer casts a golfer and angler can adjust their game to reach their target.

Target – This concept is quite common: Aim & Fire.  With Golf your target is marked by a flag in a hole.  “I tell clients to focus on the target and see the fly landing in: a 1-2 foot circle around the target where they want to land a fly. A similar technique is used around the greens with chipping and long puts.”

Shoulders- Point them at the target! “I remind people who understand the fundamentals of the golf swing about keeping the shoulders pointed towards the target upon release.  Very similar to the follow through of the golf swing, the shoulder placement upon completion of the cast needs to be facing that 1-2 foot circle you were aiming for.” 

Take-away – “In golf, the club is pulled back away from the target and remains on the same plane as the target.  I find myself reminding clients how important it is to have the casting motion be on the same line (plane) as the intended target.”

Extension – doesn’t mean added length to the rod or added length of the club.  Visualize the rod/club as part of your arm.  “On the cast, keep the arm pointing skyward between the 10-2 o'clock position (on plane with the target) and then towards the target on release.  The same idea applies to golf, where the leading arm is used to keep the club on plane.” 

Hands – This analogy is best suited for beginning fly casters.  “In the golf swing the hands remain in front of the chest during the swing or shoulder turn (take away) keeping the right elbow in tight as possible to the body.   The same could be said about the casting motion. By keeping the hands in front of your chest, it allows you the ability to 'feed' out the line on the forward cast for further distance.  This also relates to the casting arm/shoulder which should stay close to the body.” This is helpful as novice anglers find their tempo.

Body position and keeping count are instrumental for both sports in reaching their targets.  As with all sports, the more you practice the better you become.  If you ask any coach the reason behind practice they will tell you it’s to achieve muscle memory so when the time comes to apply those skills the body knows what to do.  So starting early with proper technique is critical; so you don’t have to unlearn bad skills.  If you already have the grace and skill needed to play a round of golf, apply that same grace and skill to learning another sport that will allow you to enjoy the natural beauty North Idaho has to offer.  

 


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