11.8 C
Dublin
Sunday, August 9, 2020
- Advertisement -

Learning from the pros

Must read

You Give Love a Bad Name*

When passion boils over into anger, there's no excuse for taking your rage out on the golf course. Sadly, that's exactly what happened on the 17th green at North West GC recently

Hazeltine memories highlight the fervour and fanaticism of US supporters

Another year to wait but much to ponder in the interim; a Ryder Cup in America is no place for the fainthearted, be they European players or fans

Fast & Fascinating facts

More tidbits from around the world of golf including the one time Masters champ who not only correctly predicted his win but also his aggregate score

Cursed in Foxford and Puerto Rico

Some curses seem harder to break than others, whether you're a Mayo footballer chasing an All-Ireland title or a Puerto Rico champion sentenced to PGA Tour doom

My alter egos, Mutt and Jeff, are martyrs for being glued to the box when there is golf on TV. Keeping to the social distancing rules, I joined them for a discussion on the lessons, if any, they might have discovered from attending pro tournaments?

Ivan: What’s the biggest lesson you learned from watching a professional golf tournament?

Jeff: Not as much as you’d expect apart from the day I followed Gary Player for 18-holes around Portmarnock in the Irish Open and saw him shoot 1-under par 71 while hitting only one green in regulation – the par 5, 13th, which he was on the green in two blows and then three-putted!

Mutt: You must have learned a lot about bunker play watching Gary. His ball striking was often poor, but he knew how to score.

Ivan: That’s what most of us cannot do – gouge out a score. I couldn’t tell you the last time one of us walked off a course feeling as if we hadn’t wasted a few shots.

Jeff: That’s the difference all right. We have often watched a pro and felt: “I’m as good as him!” But, we’re not!

Mutt: One thing that we could apply to our advantage is pros don’t bother with practice swings. I suppose they consider them to be a waste of energy.

Ivan: Not true on short shots around the greens. Sometimes, you’d think that they will never hit the ball for all the practice swinging they do.

Jeff: What about this lining the ball up business on the greens?

Mutt: It’s about half-in-half! About half of them use a line drawn on the ball to help them aim their drives and putts and half of them don’t. I have no idea about the success rate. Mind you, I’ve tried it but find it distracting. It takes my focus away from the target and onto the ball, which I think is a mistake. The target is where the ball goes not the ball itself.

Jeff: Another thing I notice is how rhythmically and ‘easily’ the pros swing. Everything is unhurried and done slowly even on the practice ground; often taking several minutes between shots. They warm up with short shots, work through the bag and then come back to square one; ending with some smooth, unhurried wedges.

Mutt: A good amateur player told me once that he wasn’t impressed by the shots the pros hit and felt that he could hit the same shots. While, pros are all impressive on the range, they are not quite the same on the course. They hit the ball into the rough and trees far more than you’d think. It’s surprising how many greens the pros can miss in regulation even when making solid contact.

Ivan: That’s why golf is so tantalising. Anyone can hit an occasional shot as well as the best player in the world. The problem is with our bad shots and our inability to recover. Pros, by and large, are fantastic at recovering from all sorts of lies and situations.

Jeff: And, they don’t go all out on their wedge shots, which they all seem to hit very low. Their drives fly high, but their wedges fly low!

Ivan: Pros are creatures of habit. They are married to routine. I saw Stuart Appleby doing a drill in 2009 and he was still doing that same drill in 2014. You could say the same about Miguel Angel Jimenez. It’s worth the price of admission just to see MAJ warm up. Meanwhile, every time I see Padraig Harrington practicing, he is doing something different and slightly weird.

Mutt: The progression from being a great amateur player to being on one of the mini tours and ultimately the European Tour or PGA Tour is never about perfect ball striking. All the pros have sound methods that they can repeat ad nauseum. It’s more about the inches between the ears and how much they believe in themselves to be able to do what needs to be done and when they need to do it. The ability to hit great shots is not the separator. It’s how bad are your bad shots?

Jeff: Knowing how to get there (i.e. onto the Tour) and then into contention is the hardest part of being a pro. Holding onto a lead or chasing down a leader is only for the exceptional few.

Mutt: Pros think differently to amateurs. Watching the pros in action reminds me that many top amateurs can hit the ball as well as them but posting a low a score is another matter.

Ivan: It’s not one thing. It’s a lot of things that must be meshed together. Enjoying the ‘circus travelling-lifestyle’ is another overlooked part.

New Gear

FIRST LOOK: The all-new Titleist Tour Speed golf ball

Following years of rigorous product development, the introduction of the new Titleist Tour Speed provides golfers with their fastest, best performing golf ball yet

Adidas to unite golfers preparing for Tokyo 2021

The Tokyo Collection – made up of 41 footwear silhouettes across 19 sports, are all purposefully designed in a signal pink colourway to connect athletes without words

Shot Scope unveils V3 performance tracking and GPS watch

The new high-performing unisex V3 watch is sure to fit comfortably on the wrist of any golfer and boasts accurate readings to 30 centimeters

Galvin Green hits the shelves with eye-catching 2020 range

Galvin Green has turned to the ‘Science of Excellence’ for inspiration for its 2020 Part Two clothing range launched this month

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

McIlroy leads by example with act of class in round two

After his ball was trod on, Rory McIlroy found himself on the receiving end of a drop too good, uncomfortable that the lie he was given compromised the integrity of the game

Meadow in the mix at LPGA’s Marathon Classic

Stephanie Meadow reeled off two straight birdies to close out her round and cruise into the weekend mix at the LPGA Tour’s Marathon Classic

PGA leader Li sings the praise of early Irish-born coach McLoughlin

Leader Haotong Li was full of praise for a Dubliner's influence on his career but not many other Irish eyes were smiling after frustrating days for McIlroy, Lowry and McDowell

McIlroy & Lowry with it all to do at TPC Harding Park

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry face uphill moving day tasks to ensure they play themselves into contention over the weekend at the PGA Championship

Restrictions for golf in Kildare, Offaly and Laois

Those of you with a game of golf planned this weekend may want to have a look at the latest restrictions, not just for the three counties in question but those outside them too