This Season It Will Happen

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

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I would like to share with you a six month journey I have undertaken learning how to teach and work with Tathata Golf. I have also been quite interested in the teachings of Manuel DeLaTorre which is a club focused way to look at a swing. I see so many similar things in both these views I would like to share. We will focus on Tathata this time. 

Tathata based in Scottsdale, AZ under the leadership of Brian Hepler, is a quality learning experience. They cover every aspect of the game in small learning compartments. It takes a time commitment of 60 days where your mind, body and swing undergo change. The program works best if you do the entire program. While it feels like most everything done is with the body, I recall constantly hearing “keeping the clubface in a safe position” multiple times each lesson. To me, this was keeping the ultimate goal of delivering the clubface to the ball in a manner that propels the ball to the target. 

I did the 60 day program doing one lesson per day, which took me about an hour and 15 minutes daily. Tathata will make you do soft workouts (well they are soft initially) and makes a couch potato like me work out twice daily. You will also take time to work on the mental aspect of golf. 

I loved the sequential learning done. Brian takes you through the swing but does it a little like the movie, ‘Karate Kid’. I did some exercises that seemed to have no real objectives at first and alone. These were small parts of the swing that were eventually blended into a full golf swing. When I started to understand what Tathata was doing, I would have given that student to sensei bow to Brian as my A-haa moment happened. Tathata will ask you to exercise, and what Brian calls the essence of Tathata “knowing who you are” through simple mental training. This training is a peaceful time that you learn how to visualize and how to bring that to the golf course. If we told the truth, 99% of us never visualize what the ball is going to do and we never really see the target once we start to swing.

I took these Tathata ideas and applied them to a new ‘never played’ group of juniors. We did nothing but the exercises and drills. After two weeks, we arrived at the point that a full swing was now the objective. I was amazed how great all the swings looked. I was more amazed when we hit balls. The percentage of whiffs was under 10%, which if we recall the first time we swung a club is very low. 

Finally, I have had great success using this working with all manners of players, the ones who are going through the program have far out produced all the others. Now lessons with them are much more productive because we have a very common starting point. I would highly suggest you look at this as a way to get better. 

This season I will be using Tathata to play and look forward to a season that shooting my age is more than a wish. Bring on the Cobra Kai aka bogeys.

Tom Velarde is the Manager at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email