People in Golf - Bryan Hepler

Founder - Tathata Golf
Interview with Matt Ward

Growing up in Wenatchee, Washington (just over four hours east from Seattle by car), I fell in love with the game of golf at a young age. After a successful junior career, I ended up getting the chance to play for a national championship, winning Wake Forest University team. I then went on to more than 30 years of learning from the greatest golf instructors, martial art teachers and spiritual masters across the world. Now 48, and a resident of Scottsdale, AZ for the last 20 years, these teachings have culminated into the realisation of a childhood dream with the introduction of Tathata Golf in 2010, and its ultimate launch in 2015. 

Golf Features: What separates Tathata from others teaching golf today? 

Bryan Hepler: Tathata Golf differs from typical golf teachings today in almost every way. Tathata Golf offers a completely new way to learn and train through movement training. Tathata also provides a completely new set of fundamentals based on the movements of the greatest golfers and athletes of all time. Tathata also includes the introduction of 2,500 year-old martial art mental training practices, and principles, as well as timeless movement and striking truths. Finally, it is all delivered through one of the most thorough and structured mind, body and swing learning and training curriculums in the game of golf.   

Golf Features: Is it fair to say the bulk of teaching done today is simply nothing more than quick fix remedies, and therefore little real opportunity for overall improvement in one’s game? 

Bryan Hepler: A sound and effective golf swing is a combination of many different movements that dynamically come together in synchronicity and harmony. Typical golf lessons today do tend to be based on quick fixes and random tips, with no place for student’s learning to start and eventually end, while learning all that is needed. It is a lack of curriculum and structured pathway of learning that has led to golf being taught in this way. Tathata Golf introduces a 60-day, 6-chapter programme involving body, hands and arms, pressure and impact, speed and strength, short game and putting and shape and trajectory - a structured curriculum to build every part of every golf motion that is helping to shift this pattern in instruction and support teachers and golfers across the world. 

Golf Features: When you wake up in the morning - what drives you professionally? 

Bryan Hepler: There is a burning passion at the front of my heart to spark and help sustain the largest period of growth the game has ever seen over the next 10-15 years, through better golf. It is for the betterment and prosperity of all current and new golfers, professionals, courses/clubs, companies/organisations and associations that relentlessly drives us in all that we do and to become a worldwide leader in golf learning, training and education. With contact sports losing favour and golf being introduced to the global stage in the Olympics this year, the sport as a whole has one of the biggest opportunities for growth it has nearly ever seen.  

Golf Features: Define the word “progress” when student and teacher are engaged? 

Bryan Hepler: Progress is a word often associated with seeking something other than what currently is. As inspiring as the quest for progress can be, it can also lead to years of frustration and a never-ending lack of satisfaction, that can ultimately lead even the most passionate golfer to give up the game. It is the purpose of Tathata Golf to help all who come to answer every question about every part of every golfing motion, so that they are “trained.” Rapid and sustained “progress” is obviously a by-product of this form of learning/training, but with this the unending pursuit of progress is softly quieted. Once someone is trained in all of the fundamentals of driving a car, they simply get to look out in front and enjoy driving. 

Golf Features: How should a student measure progress and when should a student opt out from a teacher and look elsewhere? 

Bryan Hepler: Unfortunately, in today’s instruction, progress is something that tends to be random and fleeting because of the absence of a structure curriculum to support student’s development. While working with a teacher, it is important for students to know what is ahead over the next 3-4 lessons,  how what they are working on today complements that plan and the full path of learning they will ultimately move through to build all of their golfing motions - full swing, chipping and putting.

If students are discouraged by their “progress” as it relates to hitting the ball better and shooting lower scores, and are not encouraged by a clear path of learning ahead - it could be time to start looking elsewhere for improvement. 

Golf Features: What’s the biggest myth in golf instruction? 

Bryan Hepler: The influence of how the body moves and its affect throughout all golf motions is one of the most overlooked aspects in teaching today. If we simply train the body to move efficiently the whole motion of the golf swing reacts with it. It’s as if we forgot how to move and create pressure, which builds speed and strength to support the shape and trajectory we envision the ball to travel. We in the industry have simply forgotten over time to allow golfers to move and react with a golf shot like a child at play. As Brandel Chamblee likes to say: “What he (Bryan/Tathata Golf) is doing is correcting golf instruction, bringing it back to its truest form.” Brandel understands these movements were always there for us to see, we just didn’t know what to look for until now. 

Golf Features: People are under severe time constraints through daily life — how does Tathata and your overall programme  deal with this day-to-day reality? 

Bryan Hepler: Tathata Golf offers an In-Home 60-Day Training Programme. Each day of training is roughly 45-60 minutes in duration and students can move through the programme at a pace right for them and their schedules; the effectiveness of the training doesn’t change.  There is no need to visit a golf course - and no need for expensive golf equipment for golfers and newcomers to the sport everywhere - to build world-class golfing motions in the comfort of their own home in just days and weeks, rather than months and years. 

Golf Features: Golf is experiencing a drop in total players playing the game. What do you see being key in turning that around? 

Bryan Hepler: What is always encouraging to take note of is the 327 other courses in planning and 269 others currently being built around the world - as per the R&A ‘s Golf Around the World 2015 publication. While this can be a sign of the passion and enthusiasm still shared by so many for this great game, golf is in real danger of missing out on entire generations of future golfers, as the current golfing demographic continues to age and many leave the game as they struggle to improve.  

A potential catalyst for turning this pattern around, and sparking the sustained growth of the entire industry over the next several years, would be offering golfers and newcomers a way to play the game at a dramatically higher level than what we currently see today. Current golfers would play and enjoy the game more, while newcomers could learn to excel at the game in days and weeks rather than years. This is what led us to the creation of Tathata Golf and the world’s first 60-Day Programme we offer today. 

Golf Features: Best advice you ever got was what and from whom? 

Bryan Hepler: From an early age my parents taught me to seek the advice of the best teachers in the world and work with them personally whenever possible. I applied this thinking to several different authors I liked and different golfers and instructors I revered. This turned into a passion and led me to work with several of the top golf instructors, martial art senseis and spiritual leaders across the world over the last 30 years. It is this high level of expertise and teachings from several different disciplines that combines together and is delivered through Tathata Golf’s practices and principles and the world’s first 60-Day In-Home Golf Training Programme. 

Golf Features: If you could change one thing in golf what would it be? 

Bryan Hepler: The level of golf played around the world. With contact sports beginning to lose favour and golf being introduced back to the global stage for the first time in more than 100 years, the game has a window of opportunity to capture the attention of individuals around the world, or fear missing out on entire generations of future players. At Tathata Golf, we are driven by a passion at the front of our hearts to make this game radically easier to learn, play and excel at for all who come. With this, the entire sport is poised for an unprecedented period of dramatic and sustainable growth far beyond what we even saw during the “Tiger-boom.”


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