May 27, 2015
1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND INFLUENCES IN GOLF:
I learned to play from my Dad growing up in Ohio, I moved to California and played mini-tours for two years, and then I was hired as an assistant at The Alisal by Jerry Preuss, who was an All American at USC. To this day I wish I had his golf swing. I have had 2 Head Professional jobs and one Director of Golf position, but for the last 11 years I have been teaching exclusively.
2. DO YOU FOLLOW A FRAMEWORK OR DO YOU TEACH EACH PERSON “ARTISTICALLY”?
The “framework” to me is changing motor patterns that affect the club to change the ball flight. The “art” is communicating to the student cause and effect, how to see and feel the required changes, and how to practice effectively to ingrain the changes. So I do both, but my strength is having many different ways to communicate the same thing until it clicks with the player.
3. IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME TO COACH THE YOUNG YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
When my time machine becomes available I would coach myself as a player and also as a future instructor. For my playing career I would work on building more speed at a young age, and definitely learn to become a better wedge player. Add those to my straight driving and good short game and I would have had a chance. Assuming my brain did not hold me back.
As far as my future role as an instructor, the main thing I would advise myself is to find a mentor(s) who would help me learn more quickly what it took me many years to learn on my own.
4. WHO IS IN YOUR DREAM FOURSOME
I’m stretching it here but I must list three threesomes in three categories to join me. The first group is my Dad, my brother Mike, and my best friend Jim, who unfortunately are no longer with us. Group 2 are the Legends, so Jack, Arnie and Ben. And the last category is current players, with Rory, Adam and Phil. Since it’s a dream we’ll play Augusta, or Cypress Point if we stay west.
5. COMPLETE THESE SENTENCES:
- THE GOLF WORLD has provided so much to so many. For me it’s given me an enriching career, some of my closest friends, and memorable experiences from here to Scotland.
- MY FAVORITE GOLFERS TO WATCH ARE Rory Mc Ilroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, and Paula Creamer.
- IF WE ALL share our knowledge with other PGA professionals and mentor less experienced instructors our Association will be stronger and the game will benefit.
- MY OWN GOLF swing does not create the impact alignments that I am looking for. But it’s getting better. Any day now. The search continues.
- MODERN TEACHING TECHNOLOGY is fantastic and has changed teaching and playing. But it’s not the be-all to end all. As the late, great Jim Flick always said “it’s a game of feel”. That launch monitor can’t help you on the golf course.
- PEOPLE WOULD PLAY BETTER IF they took playing lessons. Course management, pre-shot routines, specialty shots, reading greens, just to name a few, are areas where most players are severely deficient.
- MY FAVORITE TEACHING AID IS dependent on the student and the desired change. I like the Orange Whip for many issues, an impact bag for feedback, and a small medicine ball for correct pivot and release. And of course I use video, primarily for the student to see.
- ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SAY: 1-As good as teaching aids are, to me drills are more effective. When prescribed correctly with an explanation of how to practice, a motivated student will accelerate his or her learning curve. 2-There is so much good information available today, on YouTube, in books, on Golf Channel, and at PGA seminars, that it should be easy to improve your craft. Keep searching for knowledge, your students will thank you.