Friday, November 27, 2015

Golf Instruction From 1953 With Hogan, Snead, and Others.

In 1953 the PGA released an instructional movie along with Life Magazine called "Keep Em On the Fairway".

The intro is by Bobby Jones and the explanation of the golf swing is as true today as it was then.  I love the way it uses what was then state of the art technology to inhance the instructional portion.

The film features a nice mix of footage where the pros are seen both attending to the common faults of some everyday golfers and demonstrating their techniques on the course. Included in the film are the giants of the game at the time: Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Lloyd Mangrum, Jerry Barber, Cary Middlecoff, Walter Burkemo, Ed Oliver, Jimmy Demaret, Lawson Little, Byron Nelson, Lew Worsham, Pat Abbott, Miss Louise Suggs, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Have More Fun Playing Golf!

Have More Fun Playing Golf!

I have been involved in an untold number of discussions about the decline of golf and I think one of the major issues is that people are not having enough fun to justify the time and expense.  I am not going to get into all the possible reasons for the decline or this would become a book instead of a blog.  The one thing I am going to do is offer a simple suggestion.

Let everybody that wants to use a tee and tee it up in their own fairway.  I phrase it this way because I think there should be an advantage for hitting it in the fairway.  Now before the purist start lighting their torches let me explain.  By some estimates around 90% of golfers are already playing “lift, clean, and place” (winter rules) year round.  Is it such a leap to let them lift, clean, and put a tee under it?

One of the battles that rage in clubs and Golf Committee meetings around the country is the height of cut of their fairways.  The low handicappers want them tight and the vast majority of the members/players want them longer so they can set the ball up.  Longer fairways have several major draw backs.  Aesthetically, you need definition between rough and fairway.  With a higher fairway cut the rough gets deeper and slows play down.  It also makes the fairway softer and the ball won’t roll as far making the course play longer.  The longer cut seriously penalizes anyone that plays the ball “as it lies” because it produces flyers from the fairway.

The simple solution is short mowing heights and let less skilled golfers use a tee.  Everybody is happy (in my wildest dream).

There is already a lot of discussion about two different sets of rules - one for tournament/serious play and one for everyday play.  That’s wonderful, but you have a better chance of winning the Power Ball Lottery than living long enough to see the USGA and R&A come out with that.

My suggestion is start now.  As long as everyone in your group plays by the same rules it doesn’t matter.  If you play in a league they can adopt it for all of their members.  You don’t have to wait for anyone to “officially” recognize it.

The vast majority of golfers don’t have established USGA Handicaps now, so that isn’t a problem.  The one drawback is that you can’t have it both ways.  If you do decide to establish a handicap this way you will be at a severe disadvantage if you decide to play in an event played by USGA Rules.

My point is that we need to do things now that help people enjoy the game more so they won’t quit as fast and I believe this is a much better alternative than 15 inch cups and “Foot Golf”.

I’m simply throwing this out as a suggestion and food for thought.  I encourage you to bring your friends into the discussion through social media, email or whatever you are most comfortable with.  I would love for you to leave comments on this.  Be sure to check out my Facebook page and follow me on Pinterest.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Golf Hall of Fame Celebrates Golfers That Were Veterans.

Veterans Day is a time to honor the men and women that have served their country and give them their due respect.  There is no shortage of distinguished golfers that are among this group.

 Arguably the most famous was Lloyd Mangrum, who joined the PGA Tour in 1937 and won five times before entering the Army in World War II. Mangum fought on D Day and in the Battle of the Bulge and won two Purple Hearts. After being discharged from the army, Mangrum went on to win the 1946 U.S. Open and eventually earned 36 tour titles in a career that earned him a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Lloyd Mangrum receiving the U.S. Open trophy after his 1946 victory (AP Photo).
 This video is the World Golf Hall of Fame historian Dr. Tony Parker narrated this video, produced by the WGHOF, telling the stories of several of the more than 20 members of the Hall of Fame served in the military. In the video Parker tells the stories of several of these golfers.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Finding a Good Instructor/Coach

The major reason it is difficult to find good golf instruction today is that instructors/coaches are not ranked by results.  The PGA, Golf Digest, no one does this.  What we need is an “Angie’s List” for golf professionals.  This may be why eighty percent of golfers don’t take lessons.  I’m sure it is at least a factor.

At this point word-of-mouth is all we have.  If you are thinking of taking lessons, you need to do some research before you pay your hard earned money to someone.  The good ones will have no problem with this.  If they are offended by your questions then move on.  You would be wasting your money with them anyway.

Here are a few points to consider before signing up with someone:

If they try to sell you a package up front there is a problem.  If I haven’t worked with someone at least once I have no idea how many lessons they will need.  Packages are not bad unless you are being asked to sign up for one initially.

If they do split screen video comparing your swing to some tour player you need to ask for your money back.  This is what I and my friends refer to as “Let me show you how many ways your swing sucks” school of instruction.

The real red flag is do they teach a method?  Every instructor should have a method of teaching but should never teach a method.  It’s like saying “One size fits all”.  No method fits everyone.  People and golf swings are individual.

Here’s what to expect from a good instructor/coach on the first lesson:

Introduction. Students are often intimidated by PGA pros, so he or she should try setting the student at ease and developing a rapport prior to the session. This leads to more effective communication between the teacher and the student.

They will want background information. This information includes: Previous golf and sports history; previous injury history; simple movement screens to detect physical limitations; occupation; previous instruction history; goals for golf.

They will want specific golf information. This includes: examination of the golfer's equipment; ball flight characteristics; determining how far the golfer hits each club; strengths and weaknesses in the various aspects of golf; practice habits; motivation for playing golf (i.e., competition vs. hobby vs. spouse activity, etc.); motivation for taking golf lessons.

A good instructor will form a personal relationship with you and be personally interested in your success.

The real art of instruction is figuring out what is integral to each players swing and knowing that you should not try to change that.  You have to work around it and help them become the best they can be with the swing they have.  If you know someone who does this, please let me know.  I want to promote them to everyone.

There is good news though.  There is a growing number of instructors out there that will help you simplify what you need to do and will help you maximize your swing and ability – not remake your swing in their image of what it should like.  It’s just difficult to find them because they don’t get much publicity.

One word of caution – if you try to go it alone, keep this in mind.  If you Google golf instruction, golf tips, how to fix a slice, etc. you will get a huge selection.  One reason for this is people that these people are in it for the money and not to actually help golfers.  You are bombarded by emails and infomercials telling you that if you buy this DVD or training aid, this book, etc. your game will dramatically improve and each one is telling you a different secret.  They have tour players and ex-tour players swearing its some type of breakthrough.  I hate to tell you, but virtually all of them are all scams.  Nobody has the secret because there is no secret.  They are simply trying to make money off you regardless of what they tell you in their video.  Anyone that appears on the first page of Google results has an ulterior motive or they wouldn’t go to that much trouble to get that highly ranked.

If you have questions or would like to get in touch with me just click on this link.  You can also see some of my other writing on the Pro Golf Now site.