“That’s a great shot with that swing”

David Feherty said “That’s a great shot with that swing” as he watched OPEN CHAMPION Ben Curtis tee off.    What he said is, in my opinion, a truth in golf instruction for juniors, and I translate it as “own your swing, and learn to play the game”.  Too many people, of all ages, are looking for the perfect swing when they should be looking to improve how they play the game, playing better and getting lower scores should be the point.

Alan Carter (Jasper Park) and myself got to watch the preparations for the Vagliano Cup in 2007.  12 young women from Europe vs 12 from GB& I.   We watched the Euros warm up, 12 girls, 12 different swings, none too good, but hitting arrows.   We watched the Brits warm up, many household names already but most too young to drink.  12 different builds, but 12 similar really good swings.  Also hitting arrows. Their team coach was making sure they had 12 identical finishes.  This was just before they went on the Torrance Course to wax the Euros.   Well, they lost 9 of the 12 matches, but they did have better swings.  Europe won the trophy.     What’s my point:  once you’ve found your swing and are deemed to be a “better” player and have made a team, practice PLAYING the game.

The day before the matches the Euro girls spent the day visiting St. Andrews, the British Golf Museum, the R&A, the Old Course, shopping.   The GB&I team practiced 6 hours ON THE RANGE.   Our beautiful Torrance course sat unused.

Go to any US Tour event and observe the players on the range.  They are the world’s best, yet they are “working” on something.  The lucky ones are the players from overseas whose “coaches” are back home.

Robert Thompson talked in his blog about the superb indoor facility in Vaughn.  Many years ago, the late great George Clifton and myself has a practice range on Yonge Street in a closed Canadian Tire store.  We also had the “latest” teaching tool, in our case we had video machines that were so old we could actually wind the tapes back to get perfect slow motion images.  George had a WWII bomber camera which got 132 images of your swing.  Rad.  We had one young student, Danny Mjovich who hit balls every day on our other piece of equipment which measured swing speed.  Danny already was a good player, and each week he increased his clubhead speed by a mile an hour, that winter he went from 88 mph average to 118 mph.  He watched us teach, maybe listened a bit, but he certainly hit a lot of balls on that speed machine.    I recommend indoor practice as you can work on YOUR basics and improve speed and strength – and if you use the same balls that you use outside, play with the new launch and scope machines.  Change your swing if you need it, but please, if you can already play, just hit balls and go by the improved sound.   And get stronger.

And in the spring, or if you afford to get south this winter, get outside and play the game.  Canada has a lot of great young swings, but not enough good competitive players.  Seriously!  Golf is a game, enjoy playing it.

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Gary Slatter

Venerable Canadian golf pro Gary Slatter discusses his opinions on the state of golf, golf course design and construction, teaching and more, based on a lifetime in the business.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Thanks Gary,
    Right back at ya. We have had a nice Christmas visit with our daughter, son-in-law and new grandson. We are returning to Titusville for the remainder of the winter. You have probably heard that Royal Oak has closed down and left a lot of disappointed Canadians. We understand that the course has finally sold and new owners plan to restore the course and have it open in June or July. It hasn’t been cut for six months and is unrecognizable as a golf course. We play at Sherwood and a few others are at LaCita and the Great Outdoors. We still are enjoying being there and hook up every year with Jim McCann and his wife Nan and have a great time to-gether.
    Really enjoy the blog
    Bruce and Pattie

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