The Modern Tour Golfer

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood

John Huggan makes an excellent case for the modern touring golfer being satisfied with second place and a hefty check versus winning trophies and titles. And he uses Lee Westwood as an example!

 He had this from Peter McEvoy, two time British Amateur Champion:

We live in a golfing world that does not breed winners. Part of that is the money, which is the root of all golfing evil. If we created a different competition, one where the pros put their own money in and it was winner-take-all, a very different animal would evolve. He'd be a golfer who took chances and went for his shots. And he wouldn't be a guy who was happy to churn out yet another eighth place finish and collect a nice cheque. The whole thing is self-perpetuating and has created a system where a high level of mediocrity is over-rewarded

He also had this from Ben Crenshaw on the role of coaching; a man who grew up under the laissez-faire tutelage of famed instructor, the late Harvey Penick:

Ben Crenshaw (Time)

Sometimes I question the teaching of the game. I hate to use the word 'stylised', but it seems that way to me, everything in the same box. I don't see some players able to adjust on the course. You have to be able to do that on the course, especially when you are not playing well. It's no good waiting until you can go back to the range for the answers. They are relying too much on the guys standing behind them.
May I just say that I could not agree more with everything Mr. Huggan presents in his profound article. There is too much money, too much instruction and too much coddling on the major professional golf tours.  Touring golfers are becoming "Fat Cats" that can pick and choose where they would like to cash their next $200,000 check.  Tim Clark has never won on the PGA Tour, yet has earned almost $15 million! They travel in style with their own entourage from caddie to masseuse and everybody in between. Aaron Oberholser once stated that the last thing a professional needs is a "guru" - true words! They all know how to play golf and beyond another pair of educated eyes, they need to get to the business of playing winning golf.
I'm afraid to say it but all the money has made them soft.

Golf Has Only Nine Shots!

I've got all the shots I'm just not sure when I'm going to hit them!

Control Your Ball!

Or what about a shank, a top, a blade, a whiff?  Okay, there are only nine proper shots that a golfer needs to master.  They are the low draw, straight one and fade; the regular height draw, straight one and fade and the high version of each option.  Tiger Woods incorporates all of the above shots into his practice sessions - shouldn't you?

Try this fun and challenging exercise in your next practice session:

  • Be sure to use an alignment string that is set up to a target within range of a 7 iron.
  • Keep the size and pace of your swing at around 75%.
  • Start on the 'ground' floor (low) with the shot shape that is most comfortable for you (draw or fade)
  • Stick with the low shots until you have hit one of each.  Keep in mind the draws/fades should start at the target and curve away from it.
  • Work up to the medium and high trajectory shots until you have also hit one of each.
  • Keep track of the number shots required to complete the SLAM (all nine shots) and set yourself a target score for the next time you practice.  The fewer shots, the better.

This exercise will illustrate to you the type of shot that is most difficult for you to hit. (Hey, some golfers just don't know!)  Practice the most difficult shot until you can pull it off on the course.  This will serve to neutralize your swing and allow you to ultimately hit the ball straighter.

If you struggle with slicing the ball, practice hooking the ball!  If you hit the ball inordinately high, practice hitting low punch shots all day long until you can hit it at a regular trajectory.  Get to a point where your extreme misses are less extreme than before and the ball will stay closer to the intended target and your scores will do the same!

Over the upcoming week I'll address the techniques required to hit the ball low or high and with a draw or fade.  Check back!

Things to Ponder:

  • At the Texas Open this Lance Ten Broeck, both caddied for Jesper Parnevik and played in the event. They both missed the cut but what must it feel like as a player when your caddie beats you! (Ten Broeck 141 vs. Parnevik 144)
  • The PGA Tour must be struggling to find players.  I can think of 20 golfers better than a caddie and a dozen washed up golfers from the 80's to play in a PGA Tour event!
  • And this little interesting snippet from

John Huggan with this nugget from last week's Players:

Not only did the diminutive leader of the world's richest circuit manage to mangle the champion's name, calling him "Heinrik" more than once, Finchem's minions were apparently hard at work pressuring host broadcaster NBC into not mentioning just how many Fed-Ex Cup points the Swede picked up along with the $1.7million first place cheque. Embarrassingly, that number is nil, due to the fact that Stenson (who will no doubt have welcomed the sizeable boost to his bank balance in the wake of losing a goodly chunk of his fortune amidst the recent Stanford fiasco) thinks he can muddle by without being a PGA Tour member.

  • Don't think the PGA Tour does not go out of their way to censor what information we get during the broadcast of their beloved 5th major!
  • Zach Johnson is quietly becoming a top five player in the world.  Gutsy!