PGA Merchandise Show will be world’s largest

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Merchandiseshow

Merchandise show

As the world’s largest professional golf equipment testing event, the PGA Merchandise Show Outdoor Demo Day will welcome some 5,000 PGA Professionals and invited VIP retailers for the industry’s exclusive preview and hands-on testing of the newest innovations in golf equipment, tomorrow (Wednesday), Jan. 26, at Orange County National Golf Center in Winter Garden, Fla. (The event is not open to the public.)

Within 200-plus hitting bays of the circular range and short game areas of the 42-acre practice facility of Orange County National, influential PGA Professionals and golf retailers will test the hottest equipment and accessories that will drive golf retail sales in the upcoming season from more than 90 top manufacturers including Bridgestone, Callaway Golf, Cleveland Golf/Srixon, Cobra-PUMA, Mizuno, Nike Golf, PING, TaylorMade Golf, Titleist, Tour Edge, Wilson and more.

The PGA Merchandise Show Outdoor Demo Day also will feature several special appearances by PGA Tour and LPGA players.

While Outdoor Demo Day tees off the biggest week in golf for many, the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show doors officially open to more than 40,000 industry attendees from more than 75 countries on Thursday, Jan. 27, at the massive Orange County Convention Center. Nearly 1,000 top golf manufacturers and brands, from today’s golf market leaders to emerging companies, create the world’s largest business-to-business golf event. All of golf’s market leaders join industry manufacturing veterans and emerging companies are introducing an abundance of new products to drive golf retail in 2011.

The PGA Merchandise Show annually attracts international industry leaders, top CEOs, influential retailers and scores of celebrity endorsers from the realms of professional golf, golf instruction and entertainment. Matt Kuchar, 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup Team member and winner of the 2010 Vardon Trophy for lowest average score by a Tour professional, will be joined by celebrated saxophonist and golf enthusiast, Branford Marsalis, and PGA of America officials in the event grand opening at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday morning, Jan. 27.

Kuchar and Marsalis are among a long list of participating celebrities at this year’s industry-only PGA Merchandise Show. Many exhibiting companies will host PGA and LPGA players and renowned PGA teachers including Greg Norman, Paula Creamer, Peter Jacobsen, Annika Sorenstam, David Leadbetter, Rosie Jones, Brittany Lincicome, Dave Pelz, Rick Smith, Hank Haney, Natalie Gulbis, Brian Gay, Ryan Moore, Michael Breed, Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist, Nancy Lopez and Johnny Damon.

In addition to the busy marketplace among nearly 12 miles of Show aisles in the Orange County Convention Center, Show days are full of professional learning opportunities in the PGA Show Education Conference, at the PGA Equipment Forum industry presentations and within a full schedule of events at the PGA Show’s Fashion Gallery stage. Each setting offers multiple opportunities for PGA Professionals to earn MSR credits.

The PGA Merchandise Show Opening Day features a global golf announcement by the PGA World Golf Alliance and subsequent headliner panel discussion on the Asian golf marketplace with Greg Norman, Hank Haney and Michael Breed. Also, The PGA/USA Today Golf Tips Hotline 2.0, the PGA Merchandise Show’s only consumer connection, will take place on Opening Day, Jan. 27, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., to include live streaming golf lessons by the nation’s top teachers, plus PGA Professional golf instruction via telephone, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and E-mail.

Attendees will find an energetic Show floor featuring exhibits, hundreds of vendor Show specials and promotions, plus some 47 equipment testing bays at the Indoor Demo Days; multiple New Product Centers to centralize the latest introductions for buyers; a new Inventor’s Spotlight Pavilion for patented products not yet available at retail; numerous specialty exhibitor pavilions including fitness, training aids and golf travel; plus the second annual PGA Merchandise Show Career Fair.

Each day offers a full calendar of special events and each night, attendees can participate in and network at special industry events including the Association of Golf Merchandisers Product Preview and Reception on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; the prestigious PGA Awards Night on Thursday, Jan. 27, 5:30 -7:30 p.m.; and the entertaining Elations “Rocks the Joint” Industry Concert featuring Lou Gramm of Foreigner on Friday, Jan. 28, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

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The PGA Tour and Trackman make announcement

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TrackmanThe PGA TOUR and TrackMan have extended their partnership with the recent signing of a new five-year agreement.

Under the contract extension, the PGA TOUR will continue using TrackMan for the measurement and reporting of player launch, flight, and club delivery statistics at its weekly PGA TOUR events.

The PGA TOUR collects TrackMan data for all PGA TOUR events. The collected data is used for PGA TOUR research, as well as selectively being made available privately to syndication clients and publicly to fans.

TrackMan operations are handled by the PGA TOUR’s ShotLink staff. ShotLink incorporates TrackMan data into the myriad of other ShotLink statistics that are made available to the players, media and fans.

TrackMan Data collected at the tournaments includes: Shot Trajectory, Carry Distance, Ball Landing Position, Ball Speed, Launch Angle, Spin Rate, Launch Direction, Club Speed, and more.

TrackMan has been providing swing and ball flight data to the PGA TOUR since 2005. During this time, TrackMan has cemented its position as the industry leader for accuracy, reliability, and ease of use.

“TrackMan enables the PGA TOUR as well as our fans to discover more than just the scores,” said Steve Evans, Vice President of Information Systems PGA TOUR. “TrackMan’s precision and dependability gives us the ability to analyze, document, and share accurate data including ball-flight distance, club and ball speed and more, which truly demonstrate the exceptional athleticism and abilities of PGA TOUR professionals.”

“We are very excited to continue our collaboration with the PGA TOUR. Being the choice of golf’s leading associations, players, coaches, and governing bodies affirms the quality and performance of our products and TrackMan’s continued commitment to excellence,” said Klaus Eldrup J�rgensen, Co-Founder and CEO, TrackMan.

About TrackMan

TrackMan is an easy to use indoor/outdoor radar-based solution for analyzing the impact conditions and resulting ball flight in golf. The choice of the PGA TOUR, USGA and R&A, TrackMan provides the industry’s most accurate real-time data and graphics on ball launch, flight, and landing.

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Local Club Pro gives insight to Waialae Country Club

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Kevin Carll

Kevin Carll

This week’s Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu is the first full-field event on the 2011 PGA Tour schedule. Before the first tee shot was struck, we caught up with Waialae Country Club PGA Head Professional Kevin Carll, who gave us some insight into the event, as well as what it was like to be a competitor.

PGA.com: Thanks for joining us, Kevin and Happy New Year. I think it’s safe to say that the Sony Open in Hawaii routinely lends itself to some of the most dramatic, exciting finishes golf fans get to see all year. Why is that?

This week’s Sony Open in Hawaii will take place at Waialae Country Club.

Carll: That’s a great question. The 18th hole is a reachable par 5 and there’s a lot that can happen coming down the stretch when the finishing hole is a par 5. Also, 17 is nothing more than an 8 iron with the trade wind. So, there’s the possibility of a birdie-birdie finish. What’s more exciting than that?

PGA.com: One thing that I’ve heard will make it all the more exciting this time around, is the fact that the closing holes on the weekend will be broadcast in 3-D. How neat is that?

Carll: I’m looking forward to it. We have a few of the Sony flat-screens with 3-D technology in the men’s grill in the clubhouse. We have 100-plus 3-D glasses available to members. The technology itself, I haven’t seen, but I’m excited about it.

PGA.com: As the first full-field event of each new season, I would imagine it’s your goal to set the bar high for other tournaments. You’ve already got the Paradise setting, but what specifically do you think up that fans might not otherwise suspect?

Carll: I think it’s the magic of Hawaii, everything about the islands. It’s a big hit for families to come over — the Tour wives and children. The weather is usually in the mid-to-low 80s and the Pacific Ocean is right near course – almost right on the course, actually.

PGA.com: You actually played in the Sony Open eight years ago. What was that week like?

Carll: That particular week was surreal for me. It’s something I dreamt about when I picked up the game as a child. I almost had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. That was quite a few years ago, obviously. I missed the cut, played awful, but really enjoyed myself. Now as head professional, biggest challenge is the weather. The next couple of days might be wet and that will be a challenge for our superintendant. The most challenging part of the job is the stuff you can’t control.

PGA.com: Waialae is such a great venue for a tournament and I think that has a lot to do with the variety of champions the course yields. Bombers have won. Short knockers have won. Superstars have won. Guys that aren’t household names have won. It’s probably as level a playing field as any course on Tour. What do you think is the reason for that?

Carll: It’s a very traditional layout. There’s not a whole lot out there that’s hidden. It’s out in front of you. Tight fairways that are firm, a lot of doglegs, you have to control your ball around the course. Some of the doglegs limit the amount the long hitters can cut off, which makes it a strategic course where positioning is extremely important.

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Martin Hall joins Golf Channell – latest news

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Martin-Hall

Martin Hall joins Golf Channel

Martin Hall is your newest Golf Channel teacher.

Beginning Jan. 25, he’ll preside over the network’s newest instructional series, “School of Golf,” a weekly 30-minute show.
Hall, the director of instruction at Ibis Golf & Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., emerged as the winner when Golf Channel went searching for its next instructional host as part of last month’s “12 Nights at the Academy.” He was among three finalists in the search who hosted shows in the series.
In “School of Golf,” Hall will relay insight from his 30 years of teaching experience.
“I didn’t choose the title of the show, but I absolutely love it,” Hall said. “I love it because I see myself as a true teacher.”
By that, Hall means he sees himself as a student of the game who has honed a skill for passing along his knowledge.
“I’ve been influenced by so many sources, Hall of Fame players and teachers,” Hall said. “I’m really looking forward to sharing things I’ve learned from players like Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson and teachers like Bob Toski, Jim Flick and Chuck Cook. I’ve got some interesting stories from some interesting sources, and I’m glad to pass them on.”
Like any good student, Hall also has a large library.
“I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of books and videotapes about the game,” Hall said. “I’ve also got books about the great coaches in sport, about Vince Lombardi and John Wooden. The great coaches fascinate me.”
Hall, the PGA of America’s Teacher of the Year in 2008, is ranked No. 10 in Golf Digest’s annual rankings of the game’s top 50 teachers. He’s made that list every year since the magazine began producing it 10 years ago. He was Morgan Pressel’s first teacher, helping the junior phenom qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open when she was 12, win the U.S. Amateur when she was 17 and become the youngest winner of an LPGA major championship when she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship at 18.
Growing up in Stoke-on-Trent in the heart of England, Hall played the European Tour from 1976-78, where he learned some of the lessons he’ll pass on to viewers the hard way.
“I played the tour with an alarming lack of success,” Hall cracks. “I became a teacher in ’78 after missing a horribly smelly 3-foot putt I needed to keep my tour card.”
Viewers can expect a dose of Hall’s British humor in his teaching. It’s been part of his appeal in his 13 years at Ibis.
“I grew up in the middle of England, where humor’s an important part of life,” Hall said. “It’s the same part of the country that Lee Westwood and (Westwood’s manager) Chubby Chandler grew up in. We take the game seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
After giving up tour golf, Hall took his first job as a teaching professional at England’s Wentworth Club under Bernard Gallacher, who played on eight European Ryder Cup teams and captained three others. Five years into teaching, Hall stumbled upon a classified ad in Golf Digest promoting a Golf Digest School at Turnberry. Toski, Flick, Cook and Peter Kostis were featured teachers. Hall visited the school and struck up friendships with the staff, which would lead Hall to the United States when he was 25.
“Seeing them was a real life changer,” said Hall, who is married to the former Lisa Ann Hackney, a four-time Ladies European Tour winner and the LPGA’s Rookie of the Year in 1997. “They knew so much about how to teach, and I saved every penny I had to travel to the United States to learn from them.”
Hall flew to the Golf Digest School at Boca West in South Florida, where he would land a job at St. Andrews in Boca Raton. He’ll tell you he’s still learning as he continues to seek out the best players and teachers.
“What I hope to do in this show is honor the people who’ve helped me so much,” Hall said.
Hall will honor them with plain talk, humor and his array of teaching props.
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Have you got the low down regarding instruction?

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InstructionalGuides

Instructional Guides

Who doesn’t love to see shiny, new golf equipment under the Christmas tree?

While the latest toys are nice to look at and brag to your friends about, consider them useless unless the proper steps are taken to ensure you get the most out of your special gift.
If you really want that golfer on your holiday shopping list to get the most out of his or her game, new equipment isn’t the answer if it’s the wrong equipment.
Here at PGA.com, we’ve enlisted the help of three top PGA Professionals from the PGA Center for Learning & Performance in Port St. Lucie, Fla., to offer their input in three essential areas: instruction, equipment and fitness. If you consider the advice given in each of these three sections, your favorite golfer will get more out of their respective game than ever before.
Areas to consider regarding instruction:
Ah the Holidays, the dreams of putting a, “better golf game,” on Santa’s wish list and actually getting it. Well it may be more realistic than you think — if you are willing to be a good little elf (read as “an intelligent consumer”).
Here’s the key: just going out and throwing a dart at the phone book is as efficient a way to get real golf lessons as hunting a Saharan elephant with a bow and arrow using satellite imagery and shooting from the isle of Bora Bora. I suggest the following:
1. Draft a scouting report. Call your spouse’s golfing companions and find out what area of their game is really in need of help. Then find out which club it is that they hate to hit. Finally, find out what club it is that they like in their friends’ bag that they keep borrowing.
Here is what you just found out, you know the area of your golfing companion’s game that needs work, the “shots” that are giving them trouble and you know the shots they would like to be able to hit.
Now, what do you do with that info?
2. Go to the PGA.com Pro finder and find the PGA Professionals in your area, use forefinger to dial the 10 digit number, and suggest a package of lessons that will be a “strategic course” for improvement. For example, “Yes Dave, I would like to get my husband a series of lessons that will help his putting and sand play, in addition he has difficulty with hitting his fairway woods — so he probably needs to learn how to do that before I spend another $199 on a “club that doesn’t work,” and he seems to like the new hybrid 5-iron that his friend Ray uses, so perhaps he needs a look at his set makeup? Can we set up a package for this?”
Okay so maybe that was a really smart consumer, but if you are not that savvy your PGA Professional can fill in the rest!
3. And here is the beauty and magic of Christmas: when your spouse goes out for the lesson, it will be as if the pro already knew what to work on which will elicit the age old response, “Wow, there really is a Santa Claus!” – Joe Hallett, PGA Director of Golf, PGA Center for Golf Learning & Performance
Areas to consider regarding equipment:
The golfer in your life and the holiday season can be the proverbial marriage made in heaven and not just for those of us lucky enough to live in a sunny climate.  However, golf enthusiasts have had their fill of exploding golf balls and fireplace sets in the shape of golf equipment under the tree. It’s not that these are poor gifts, but that there’s another option for your superstar.
Golf handicaps have not gone down dramatically in the past number of years in spite of advancements in golf equipment and state of the art instruction technology, not to mention the dramatic improvements in golf course playing conditions.
The bottom line is this: A new driver under the tree is a wonderful gift. The 10-round pass at the local course is sure to please when the weather breaks in the spring. But a beautiful new set of irons are worse than worthless if they are too long and upright for your player.
Swing improvements are next to impossible if the body is incapable of attaining stronger and more efficient positions. So to make a dramatic difference in your favorite player’s game this year, buy a complete player development program — buy the knowledge and commitment of trained professionals in a coordinated effort and change the player forever. The fulfilling marriage here is combining quality golf instruction, properly fitting equipment and a body capable of more efficient and consistent production customized for the individual in a complete player development program. Save the exploding golf balls for the company scramble.
Here are a few dos and don’ts this holiday season:
1. Don’t buy equipment based on the marketing alone. Do include a professional fitting in your gift with a gift certificate for the purchase of equipment.  Some facilities will even throw an incentive toward the purchase your way included in the fitting.
2. Don’t buy equipment because your friend Bill likes it. Do understand that Bill’s game is very different than yours and the equipment that will work for you will be unique to your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Don’t limit your search to the driver. Do think about the fact that less than full shots account for 65 percent of the game. A gap wedge and a perfectly compatible putter will most likely save more shots than the driver ever thought about.
4. Don’t limit your gift to the short term.  Do think about a developmental package for continuing improvement. As your superstar improves, equipment and instructional needs will change. Assist in building a relationship for the long term success of your player. – Eric Hogge, PGA Director of Club Fitting, PGA Center for Golf Learning & Performance
Areas to consider regarding fitness:
Improving your golf game should start with a physical evaluation. The reason you swing a particular way is determined by how the muscles in your body contract and relax. In order to get the proper movement you need a correct push and pull in the body. Normally, the front side of the body is tight and restricts movement which creates an imbalance in the golf swing.
The problem with most physical improvements is that it requires you to do the majority of work. Not always the best gift to receive.
Here are three points to consider when buying or giving the gift of physical training for a golfer:
1. Not all golf-specific training programs are created equal. Show me the difference between a yoga for golf class and a regular yoga class. Is there really a difference between the Down Dog pose? The program should start with some kind of physical evaluations. You should perform motions in a unloaded state, with no weight and only you creating the movement, no club or bar. If these are not included in the training, go somewhere else.
2. Does the person working with you truly understand movement? If the individual you are questioning for sessions only wants you to lift heavy or work with machines, go try someone else. Just because they look good or work at a health club does not make them an expert. Ask them: why are we performing this exercise or activity? If they don’t know, then stop working and get a new person.
3. The only golf-specific exercise is swinging a golf club. The best way to train to run the 100-yard dash is to run the hundred, the best way to train how to swim is to, yes, swim, therefore the best way to train how to swing a golf club is to swing the club. Those individuals who say this exercise is the best golf-specific training, start for the door. Work to increase core strength, glute or butt strength, hamstring strength and joint stabilization. All those motions combined with proper golf instruction will help you perform better on the course. – David Donatucci, PGA Director of Fitness and Performance, PGA Center for Learning & Performance
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Rich Prohl – PGA Head Professional at Taconic Golf Club named Recipient of Labron Harris Sr Award

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RichPohleHeadProfessional

Rich Pohle - Head Professional

Rick Pohle, head men’s golf coach at Williams College and PGA head professional at Taconic Golf Club and a member of the Northeastern New York PGA Section, has been named winner of the Labron Harris Sr. Award presented by E-Z-GO in cooperation with The PGA of America and the Golf Coaches Association of America. The Harris Award is presented to the college or high school coach and PGA Professional whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of the game and who represents the finest qualities the game has to offer.

“I am extremely proud to be the recipient of the Labron Harris Award,” said Pohle. “It is always a great privilege to be honored by your peers and is quite humbling. I have always enjoyed my association with the PGA of America and being able to combined that with collegiate coaching and the GCAA is very special to me. I have been blessed with a great number of quality student-athletes over my 28 years at Williams, who have adopted my passion for the game, and an administration that has let me provide the best possible learning environment. In addition, being the head professional at one of the top collegiate golf courses in the country and serving a supportive membership has made my responsibility a lot easier. I want to thank the people at E-Z-GO for their participation in recognizing the efforts of us who thrive in our dual roles.”

Pohle was named the head golf professional at Taconic Golf Club and men’s golf coach at Williams in 1983. He is just the third men’s golf coach at Williams in the last 71 years. Through the fall of 2010 Pohle has logged an impressive career record of 1,866-534-6 (.777), winning 15 Little Three championships (including a current streak of 12 straight), 10 NESCAC titles and 10 trips to the NCAA Division III Championships. The 10 NESCAC titles is a conference best as is the 10 NCAA Tournament appearances. Williams’ 10th-place finish at the 1999 NCAA Championships is a school and conference best.

Pohle has guided Williams to six of the last nine NESCAC titles. Six Ephs have earned PING All-America honors while 10 players have earned Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar recognition. Pohle was named NESCAC Coach of the Year in 2001, ’04, ’05 and ’09. He was named the Eaton Golf Pride Northeast Region Coach of the Year in 2008.

In the fall of 2010, Pohle guided the Ephs to a 50-22 mark with tournament wins at the Bowdoin Invitational and the Williams Invitational. Williams finished second at the NESCAC Qualifier Tournament and will be one of four teams to participate in the NESCAC championship in the spring of 2011.

Pohle is a 1972 graduate of the University of Maine where he received a B.S. in education. He joined the Williams staff from a six-year stint as the head professional at the Gorham Country Club. He is a Class “A” and Quarter Century Member of the PGA. Just the third golf professional in the 111-year history of Taconic Golf Club, Williams served as host professional of the 1992 Massachusetts Open, 1996 USGA Senior Amateur, 1999 Division III Men’s Golf Championships and 2004 Massachusetts State Amateur and the 1981 and ’83 Maine Open Championships while at Gorham Country Club.

A six-time qualifier for the National Senior Club Professional Championships (2001-06), Pohle has won four Northeastern New York PGA Section Stroke Play Championships (2003-06). He was named the Northeastern New York PGA Section Player of the Year in 2006 and ’09, Section Merchandiser of the Year in 2005, Section Player of the Year in 1992-93 and Section Vardon Trophy winner four times (1985, ’89, ’91, ’01). Pohle was honored with the Section’s Bill Strausbaugh Award in 2010, the Roland Stafford Award in 2003 and was named Teacher of the Year in 1989.

Pohle has served four different stints on the Board of Directors for the Northeastern New York PGA Section. In addition, he has held the offices of vice-president and secretary and chaired the Membership and Senior Liaison Committees and served on the tournament, employment, education, nomination and grievance committees.

An active member of the college coaching community, Pohle has served as president of the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association. He was a member of the NCAA district selection committee on three occasions, chairing the committee twice. Pohle has served as chair of the GCAA Division III All-America Committee and on the Association’s International Competition Committee. He has also hosted and served on Rules committees for numerous events and has several graduates still active in the golf industry.

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How to get trained by the same people the PGA Professionals get trained by?

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DavePelz

Dave Petz

Dave Pelz has studied everything from rocket science to the golf swing. His days at NASA long behind him, he’s been a New York Times best-selling author, was named by Golf Digest as one of the game’s 25 most influential instructors ever and of course the short-game coach to Phil Mickelson for the last seven years. Pelz recently sat down with PGATOUR.COM’s Brian Wacker for an interview to discuss the next innovation in teaching, his relationship with Mickelson and how losing to Jack Nicklaus 22 times over the course of his college career impacted him.

You’ve been an innovator for so long with a dozen or so developments or patents in the game of golf. What’s next when it comes to innovations in teaching?

Probably in my career the biggest change has been video. It came when I was young in my profession and it’s been a tremendous help to players. Then it’s been enhanced and is now 3-dimensional and really that’s pretty hard to teach. It’s hard to work with a golfer on this even though you can see what happens. It gives you so much information that in most cases it ends up being confusing. I’m now into measuring digitally, how players perform certain moves — whether that’s the putter accelerating, or aiming in a different place or having a different feel in a wedge swing. The other thing we’re still studying is the brain, which has been a mystery to us. We work with it and there’s a mental aspect to the game, but we’re working in quicksand because you just don’t know.

Explain what you mean by that.

My basic premises is I’m trying to understand the game well enough to teach simply enough to be effective in the golfer’s learning cycle. The more I can measure how they perform at various levels — from the beginner level to the best in the world — I can have a 30 handicap who can become a 20 and a 20 to a 10 and a 10 to a scratch and a scratch to professional quality. And then how an LPGA player can move toward a PGA TOUR level and Phil and the boys, the elite players, can get better. I’m trying to get my research results into my teaching. That’s how we’ve gotten to where we are. I see no end in sight to the learning. There’s still an awful lot of things still to be understood.

You’ve worked with Phil Mickelson for the last seven years. Describe your relationship with Mickelson and what he means to you.

I’ve really enjoyed working with Phil. He’s one of brightest players I have ever known and probably the best I’ve ever worked with and he certainly has the best short game I’ve ever seen. A lot of people ask me for an overview of our relationship and how I try to put it in perspective is that I’ve probably learned more from him than he’s learned from me. He’s honest, he’s open. He always tells me the truth and what he’s thinking. He hadn’t won any majors before [we were together] and now he’s won four and hopefully he can win more, though he’s had setbacks in his quality of life the last couple of years. In ’09 his wife and mother were treated for cancer. In ’10 he had psoriatic arthritis. He endured a lot of pain during the year. His practice wasn’t as sharp and his game wasn’t as good because he went on medication. He’s said it’s fine, that it had no effect on his game, but I think it has. I don’t know about next year, but if it doesn’t it could be the best he’s ever had. And meanwhile time is passing and the young players — Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, etc. — are getting better.

Who are the best short game players on TOUR right now?

I think Phil is the best and I think it might surprise some but I think Mike Weir is really great. If we’re talking strictly short game, Vijay Singh is really good; he just doesn’t putt as well. When [Singh] was putting well, he rose to No. 1 in the world. And some of these young kids can really get it up and down. Recently, about a year ago, I was asked about the great young players and Anthony Kim and Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa are all on everyone’s radar, but I concluded the article by saying Dustin Johnson and Hunter Mahan, if they got their short games up to not as good as Phil’s but could sniff it, they’d be world beaters. Unfortunately for Hunter, he had a bad experience on the last hole at the Ryder Cup, but that happens. He and Dustin would get my vote for being the next superstars.

Your life on the line, who are you taking to get up and down right now?

I’d rule out Tiger because his short game has really suffered this year, but he was the only guy even close to Phil in short game and putting. And when Tiger’s putting well, he putts better than Phil. I do think Stricker would give them a go, though. He’s as good with his distance wedges as Phil, but not as good with the cute shots around the green. But he may be the best putter out there.

You were a very good player in your younger days having gone to Indiana University on a golf scholarship, but you lost to Jack Nicklaus 22 times during your collegiate days. What did that do to your career and how did it impact your decision to work in science and not play golf, your true passion?

That is the nut of it — that golf was my true passion. The first tournament I played in I was 7 years old and I had a match against a 77-year-old man. I don’t even remember who won, but it was in Lexington, Ky., and I got my picture in the paper. It was an incredible statement for the game of golf when a 7-year-old and a 77-year-old can go out and compete. I thought I was a superstar at the time. That got me into the game. I fully intended to play the TOUR and I just happened to major in physics. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and never even thought about it because I just assumed I could play golf. I didn’t lose to him 22 times head-to-head, but I’m thinking it’s probably not luck he beat me 22 out of 22 times. There’s some data there that says I’m not good enough. And I thought if I can’t beat this overweight college kid, I concluded what was I going to do against the real pros? So I entered grad school but I didn’t finish the first semester because I got a job with Goddard Space Flight Center. The Soviets had put up Sputnik and the world was wondering what happens in space and I thought it was an awful lot of fun. It was an incredible experience and I was there 15 years. I left though when I realized I was a golfer who loved physics rather than a physicist who loved golf.

You said years ago that 60-65 percent of shots come from 100 yards and in. What can the average player learn from watching a TOUR pro play in that regard?

At all my schools and how I try to help people, that’s what it’s all based on. Knowing that, I would recommend instead of going to a TOUR event when it comes to town, I think you can learn more if you go to the practice rounds. You’ve got to see those sessions and what they do to tune up. They put alignment sticks up to make sure they’re lined up and exactly where they need to be. They measure how far they are; chip, putt, hit out of the sand. If you practice like they do, that’s what improves your game. It’s not playing an extra practice round.

Rhythm is important in putting. How important is rhythm in chipping and pitching?

If you look at the importance of fundamentals of chipping and putting, it’s acceleration. All good chippers and putters accelerate past impact. As the ball strikes the clubface, it’s got to be accelerating. The importance of rhythm is that you have to have one has a repeatable rhythm so you can have repeatable mechanics. Tom Purtzer doesn’t have great mechanics, but he has great rhythm and he can get away without great mechanics because of it.

Who’s the best putter you’ve ever seen?

The best putter I ever measured was George Archer. He made more putts from more distances, percentage-wise, than anyone. During his heyday, he hit it sideways but he could really putt. But the best guy inside 6 feet was Watson, in his heyday. He had a higher percentage than anyone, even though Nicklaus was touted to be the best putter in the game. Jack was probably in the top-10 all-time, though. Watson was not a very good lag putter and he did have touch problems on the greens, but when the greens were between 9.5 and 10.5 the way they used to be, Watson was unbelievable inside 6 feet. But if I had to pick one guy, I’d take Archer. Bob Murphy is another guy, tremendous putter. The guys of Murphy’s era maybe putted better than the guys today, though it’s tough to say because the greens are tougher today. It’s hard to measure era to era. One guy today I’d like to measure is Rickie Fowler from inside 10 feet because he makes an awful lot of them.

Fowler is often talked about as one of those next great players. What do you see in his game?

The two things I’ve seen is that he doesn’t leave his [missed] putts close, he doesn’t three-putt. But I was weary of him because I didn’t know if he was paying attention to his first putt. The other thing I see is that he plays so fearlessly that he sometimes puts himself in bad positions and makes double bogey. It’s not so much shot management but game management. He either almost wins or doesn’t play very well it seems and I think that’s part of game management. He’s got all the shots; I think he just needs to manage them so he doesn’t need to hit them all every week.

In this era of the power game, have you changed any of your short game principles to cater to that power?

There have been modifications or details have changed but the fundamentals haven’t really changed. If you want to putt really well, you have to aim well and have the blade square at impact. That will never change. There’s no spinning of putts that will help the ball roll better. So the fundamentals aren’t changing even though players are driving it further because they’ve made courses longer and greens firmer. Ben Hogan hit as many greens when he played as these guys today. These guys today are facing higher rough, narrower fairways and firmer greens. When I first went out on TOUR, if you put a pin 10 feet from the edge of the green they would have run you out of town and tarred and feathered you. If you put pins in the middle today, pros would shoot lights out, they’d shoot in 50s. Where the rub comes is when amateurs are turned loose on these courses, then they shoot a million. And my pet peeve is the USGA changed the grooves rule this year and said it wouldn’t affect the amateurs because they don’t hit many greens in regulation. Well it turns out after watching the pros [this year] that it hardly affected the pros at all because they’re good enough to play around it. The USGA took good data and misinterpreted that data. The amateurs are the ones who hit greens with wedges; they don’t hit greens with 4-irons. The first question I always get asked at clinics is how can I get more spin on my wedges? Mine don’t stop like pros do. The USGA has taken away 50 percent of the spin from the amateurs. It was a terrible decision, the worst decision the USGA has ever made. Change the ball or change the driver. Don’t change the wedges for amateurs.

Thanks for your time.

You bet.

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