Today Tour Caddies Do A Lot More Than You Might Think
I was very fortunate that Derek Sanders, Gene Sauer’s caddie and a golf professional in his own right, allowed me to tag along while he and other fellow caddies were scoping out the greens early in the morning before others get on the golf course. I BIG thank you to Derek for giving us this insider look!
Derek uses the Aim Point system as many other caddies are using to calculate breaks in the greens according to the slop measured by a level in percentages. Very interesting.
Some caddies get so good at calculating the slope that they can literally straddle the line and tell you if it’s a 1.5 degrees or 2.5 for instance.
Now before you run out to sign up for Aim Point system keep in mind one thing. This is only one method for calculating the break and many tour players do not pay as much attention to these calculations as the caddies do. Ball speed is the key and depending how fast you roll the ball the break off the slope will adjust accordingly. So many successful tour players are “feel” players so they shy away from raw digital readings and go with their gut.
I have to admit I am that way as well. I use the I’ve been here before” method. I figure I’ve seen almost every putt there is and I’ve putted it before and remember where it went last time. First thing I determine is the speed. Speed is everything in my mind. Then I consider how much slope and how much the ball will bend at the speed I’m going to roll it.
I’m mostly concerned with putts 6 feet and in. Long putts are not on my radar. Just want to get them close. If it goes in I laugh!
Here’s the video and I hope you find this interesting.
I think you can become so obsessed about a swing fault to the point that you can actually drive yourself nuts! I never forgot the comment the first PGA professional I ever learned from said. Vince Allen: “the dumber they are the better they play and Lopez you’re gonna be a scratch golfer.”
I think you either have to know it all and understand how to apply it, (maybe Jack Nicklaus) or just use your God given talent and sense of balance and coordination and let it rip. I’ve heard that Freddy Couples is that kind of guy. Just raw natural talent with of course some cleaning up here and there.
Doesn’t Bubba Watson comes to mind? For those of you trying desperately to build the perfect golf swing according to the all the gurus in golf magazines and on TV, watch Bubba for a while and get some beer and popcorn and enjoy the show. I think Bubba doesn’t know, doesn’t want to know and it would probably ruin him if he did. I like the way Bubba plays plus it’s good for golf. We can’t develop an army of robo-golfers out there!
I’ve prepared a video for you comparing one of the best golfers in history with potential swing faults and why you might do better to leave some golf swing faults alone UNLESS the swing fault is prohibiting you from getting the golf club on the proper path and getting the club face at the proper angle at impact. Some swing faults have to be addressed period. The talent comes in knowing which ones to work on and which ones to leave alone.
Didn’t Butch Harmon say he wouldn’t touch Dustin Johnson’s closed position at the top of his back swing because he wouldn’t be able to play if he did? Atta-boy Butch! I agree!
Yes you need to work on your golf swing. A great short game won’t do you a lot of good if it takes you nine shots to get to the green! Agreed, BUT you need to avoid becoming an absolute headcase about every little detail of your golf swing.
There have been and continue to be some great golfers with golf swing faults. You need to understand your swing faults, how they affect your ball flight and golf swing. You then need to learn to manage them. Your swing will never be perfect! The game isn’t perfect! Bad lies, bad bounces and the ball that bumps off line on a perfect putt.
Sure there probably are some swing faults you have that need immediate and continued attention, (you’re never cured) and maintaining or controlling your swing faults is part of your overall golf game management strategy. BUT, lets get past the golf swing motion and get on the golf course!
It was about two years ago at this same US Senior Open that I first met Gene Sauers and Pat Robertson. That was a very lucky day for me. Not because I’m claiming any influence on Gene’s win because I’m definitely NOT. If I had any influence at all it was very little. There is nothing I could tell Gene Sauers that he doesn’t already know. Not because this time the good swing won, (as mentioned in the video I did in 2014 below) but that I met two of the best guys you could ever have a friendship with.
I can actually feel it in my bones what it is like to spend practically your entire life in golf hoping for a bright moment here and there and I got one when I met Pat Robertson and Gene Sauers. Especially Pat! You ask who is Pat Robertson? No, not the preacher. Pat is probably one of Gene’s best friends throughout life and a person with a keen understanding of the golf business and financial planning and knows Gene like his closest brother. He is the best true blue friend to Gene Sauers.
Gene started playing golf on tour at the age of 19. He is a long time veteran who has stayed out on tour and slugged it out with the best in the business. He has never given up even after enduring adversity like a serious illness that cost him years on tour. He also endured the constant travel away from his family and home in Savannah. All for that quest or addiction of the one moment. That one moment when it all pays off. Miguel Jimenez misses an eight foot putt and Gene’s entire life of golf rests on a five foot putt AND putting is probably Gene’s least favorite thing to do.
I was on the phone with a very close friend of Miguel Jimenez, Juan Guillen and it was a very difficult moment for us both. Two great guys battling it out. It was a shame to see either one lose. Miguel Jimenez is a great guy. Juan is a writer for golf magazines in Spain so I know he was very disappointed but he remained a gentleman throughout. I also must admit that I always carry a very found memory of the friendships I had with so many great Spanish golfers like Monolo Pinero, Seve Ballesterios and his brother, Valentine Barrios, Jose Maria Canizares and so many others.
By the way, Juan is my exclusive contact for our new golf trips to Cuba so if you’re interested in joining us in sunny Cuba for great golf, cigars and rum please call me at 804-378-7456. Juan also heads up a golf academy for Miguel Jimenez every January in Spain.
I have to admit we did have one secret weapon. I told Gene to tell Jimenez that his golf shoes were ugly. Zapatos feos! Don’t know if he did tell him because Gene is just too nice. I doubt he’d said anything. I just wanted to help keep Gene loose.
I am so happy for both Gene and his pal Pat Robertson and appreciate their allowing me to participate in a very small way. It makes a shining moment in my golf career to know I’m friends with an Open Champion.
I have some video sent to me yesterday from sunny Scotland (yea right) of Gene practicing on the driving range at Carnoustie. I also include a picture of Carnoustie which as you can see, is very special.
You could go to Scotland FREE if you enter our drawing for a free golf trip for two to Carnoustie by going to http://www.freegolftriptoscotland.com. The trip is sponsored by Pendleton Golf Club. At Pendleton it’s like playing golf in Scotland without the cost of the airfare. In case you’re interested in going with us and you don’t win the free trip, figure on a cost of about $3,900. Please let us know if you’re interested so we can put a great group together. Imagine yourself playing golf where it all started and on the same courses the British Open was held on.
You could also get a FREE video analysis online of your golf swing, putting stroke or whatever you think is hurting your golf game. As you can see we have videos coming in from all over the world. Had one from Thailand just the other day. Just send a video of your swing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many golfers search for lag in the their down swing.
Lag is NOT essential for great golf. As you will see in the video Rocco Mediate as very little lag in his downswing and yet he plays fantastic golf. He also smokes really good Cigars. Rocky Patel Decades. Don’t say anything but he might be getting some real Cubans from Jimenez but don’t say anything please.
Lag is actually called “angular acceleration.” The greater the angle the faster one must move to keep up. This is found in marching a column left or right. Maybe you’ve seen ice skaters spinning in a circle and the last skater has to hustle to catch up to the circle of skaters.
How about a race track for runners where you see staggered starting points because the outside runner would be covering a longer circumference unless you move them forward.
In order to produce lag in the golf swing one must have a separation of the arms FROM the body on the down swing. Because the arms are as if they were on the outside lane of the track above, they must have a head start because they have more real estate to cover. Yes yes I know about the connected theory. It works for some folks like Rocco.
Your chest and upper body have such a short distance to reach the finish line which is impact with the ball, that the arms need a considerable head start with the longer golf clubs like the driver and not as much with the short irons.
Watch this video of a very kind student Ed Schneck that allowed me to use his excellent example of lag in his down swing that he was not even trying to produce.
You have to have one of two elements to change a golf swing position in my opinion. The ability to nag a swing fault into submission or have an uncanny talent to focus on the task at hand and ignore the results for now meaning the golf ball flight.
I’ve presented you a very uncommon occurrence of an athlete that can make changes in an instant. I’ve been teaching golf since 1970 and I can attest that finding that special someone that can make a change and put it to use quickly is very rare or I would not present this example on our Blog.
I guess that means that the rest of us belong to the “I’ve got to nag the swing fault to death”group. More importantly, you need to isolate the swing fault and do the drill for that specific swing fault slowly, diligently and with purpose and concentration. Drill drill drill and forget it! Once you get to the golf course forget the drill and let it take over. If your doesn’t perform as you hoped you just haven’t done the drills enough or improperly.
With our lesson membership one can video themselves doing the drill and e-mail it to us for analysis. It is just as important for us to receive a video of a golfer doing the drill as it is their full swing. Golf drills are a form of medication and you must take as prescribed by your golf doctor to be effective. You can see the details of our membership at http://www.quickfixgolf.com/golf-lessons/group-golf-lessons-richmond-virginia/
You may remember Caitlin Cooper who is now beginning her golf career at Randolph Macon University. We’re very proud of her! Now we have another junior lady golfer coming up that is showing tremendous promise as well!
My goal is NOT to make them top tour players. It might happen who knows BUT I find it even more important that they get a real education at a good school and lead productive happy lives. Tour golf is a grind and I believe some parents put too much pressure on their kids. Let them enjoy their journey in golf and not get too down on themselves when things just don’t the way you hoped. That’s sports!
In both of these cases we have to give the Dad’s most all the credit because they are present at every lesson and gently support their daughters the right way. You see there is still hope for America!
Our additional star is Jessica Rathbone and her Dad Roger who is a Physical Therapist. Jessica has show a very keen ability to make changes and understand why she’s making them and is a very hard worker.
Just like Caitlin she has that ability to bounce back from a bad hole or bad round. That’s something you can’t coach, they just have it or they don’t.
Jessica just finished third in a tournament on the Peggy Kirk Bell Golf Tour
Greater Richmond Classic held: June 11/12 at Magnolia Green Golf Course, Moseley, VA. This course is rumored to be the third toughest course in Va.
Finish: 3rd. In the Prep (High School) division distance 5800 yds ( 73.1/136) Shot 88 day one but came on strong Sunday to shoot a 79 to secure 3rd place.
Jessica was playing with girls that were older than her for the most part so there is a lot of room for advancement. Most of all….she’s a great girl with good grades and a very polite manner to her. The kind of girl anyone would want for a daughter and that goes for Caitlin too.
I am very fortune to have the opportunity to attempt to bring something positive to their lives. Give them all the credit and don’t forget Dad!
I Met Rocco Mediate and Became a Big Fan Instantly!
Rocco was chipping along side my friend Gene Sauers while at the Champions Tour and I yelled out to him, “what are you smoking?” Rocco said, “are you a cigar guy?” Is there a Cuban that is NOT a cigar guy?
Rocco immediately invited me over for a smoke and handed me two Rocky Patel Decades and they were just my type of cigar. I like what he said. “I’m only going to give you two cigars because I don’t like you.” I love it! I’m so sick of political correctness. I told Rocco one of my best jokes and we laughed while we lit up our cigars.
One thing for our students to get out of this is that Rocco’s golf swing matches his personality. Long and flowing and never rushed. Your golf swing should match your personality or make-up. You can work on golf swing positions all you want but if your tempo, balance and over all balance isn’t what it should be you’re toast.
Great tempo and balance will over come many swing faults. Take a look at the analysis I just did of Rocco’s golf swing. I’ll be sending more from the Champions Tour shortly.
Success in almost all endeavors requires proper preparation. Of course you are probably playing golf for recreation, but if you prepare to play golf properly you might enjoy yourself more and make better decisions on the golf course.
I have a video on Youtube called How To Use A Yardage Book that covers the yardage book at Pendleton Golf Club. Preparation in proper procedures before play will help immensely. However, proper preparation the night before you play with a stick to it strategy based on a yardage book or map of the golf course is going the extra mile which will pay dividends on your score card.
While on the seniors tour this week with Gene Sauers, Gene’s caddy Derrick was nice enough to show me his yardage book for this week. Many of you play mostly the same golf courses at home all year long so it would not be difficult for you to build a yardage and strategy book of your own. Heck with all the technology today you can practically make a picture of each golf hole with Google earth.
Here’s Derrick’s yardage book for this week’s tournament.
Bottom line is your swing can cause you to lose strokes by hitting shots off line however you might be wasting strokes by not preparing properly or having a clear strategy. Nicklaus was well known for his strict strategy building the night before. Once he decided he was going to tee off with a three wood on a given hole he would stick to that strategy no matter what his score was at that point.
Playing golf is like playing billiards outside. Where are you going to leave the cue ball for the best next shot. Play smart golf! Build yourself a yardage and strategy book for all the regular courses you play. Re-evaluate your performance and adjust your strategy accordingly.