Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why Bigger isn't always Better

          I have been in the golf business since 1987. I worked in industrial sales for 8 years prior to that. If my math is correct that adds up to 37 years experience working directly with customers.
        I opened Golf Rx nearly 6 years ago and have been fortunate as my customer base has grown each year. In the past year customers have asked, "When are you going to move to a larger building?", " When are you going to open another location?", "Have you thought of franchising?".
        Those questions are the very reason I opened Golf Rx. Having worked for a big box retail store for five years I saw first hand what happens when you grow too fast. The bottom line comes before customer service. Experienced and knowledgeable employees are no longer on staff. It is almost impossible to talk to a real human being when you call with a problem.  
          I saw a growing sense of frustration from golfers wanting professional, knowledgeable and personal service. When customers call Golf Rx they talk with me - the owner. When they visit the store they talk eye to eye with me - the owner. If they have a problem with their game, want new equipment, or need a club re-shafted they deal with me - the owner.
         To me, this is the advantage locally owned businesses have over the big box retailers and franchises. I'm not saying at some point I may not move to a larger location, but one thing won't change. I will still be the one answering the phone and greeting my customers. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The golf swing has only one purpose

  Yesterday afternoon I watched Jim Furyk win The Heritage Classic in a two hole playoff with Kevin Kisner. Furyk birdied both holes in the playoff to win his 17th PGA Tournament. During his career he has finished second 29 times and has won over 63 million dollars. Not bad for a "weird" golf swing.
   John Jacobs, one of the most influential golf teachers in history has an interesting perspective on the golf swing. He said, "The golf swing has only one purpose: to deliver the club to the ball correctly, and to achieve such impact repeatedly. How a player achieves this is of no significant importance as long as it is repeatable. If golf were about getting into correct positions throughout the golf swing, then the greatest players in the world have had it wrong."
    Hank Haney, one of many disciples of Jacobs recently spoke at our PGA Education Seminar. Haney has taught over 50,000 lessons during his career including some of the best players in the world.  He echoed the same message. Don't change a player's swing just because it doesn't  conform to the "perfect swing" image we all have in mind. All players are different when it comes to height, body shape and swing characteristics.
     As long as the player makes consistent contact and produces a repeatable ball flight there is no reason to change their style. Let's say a player comes to you and is having trouble hitting his irons solid. Sometimes he hits them fat and other times thin. He is a 13 handicap and has been playing for over 25 years. You watch him hit a few balls, and notice his hands are not staying firmly together at the top of the swing. The left thumb and right palm have separated during the backswing and then reconnected at the start of the downswing.  You explain how this causes a casting motion leading to both fat and thin shots. He corrects the fault and immediately begins hitting his irons solid. 
    A less experienced teacher would also want to correct the quirks in the player's swing because they don't look quite right. He would be doing the player a major disservice. I teach beginners the correct fundamentals so they get off to a good start, but I also realize they are individuals and accept that each will have their own particular swings.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Interesting short game facts

Here are some short game facts and statistics that you may find interesting. 

When hitting a putt the ball is actually on the putter face for .000125 of a second.

Which is more important when putting: Club face or Club path?
Putter face 83%, Putter Path 17%. The putter's face angle is 5 times more important than putter's path.
A 1degree closed or open putter face on an 8 foot putt will cause you to miss the putt.

PGA Tour Statistics  Percentage of putts made from these distances

3-5 ft.         94%
4-8 ft.         77%
5-10 ft.       65%
10-15 ft.     39%
15-20 ft.     26%

On putts from 4-8 ft. there is a nearly 15% difference between the No. 1 and No. 150th ranked putter on the PGA Tour. For every 100 attempts the No. 1 will hole 15 more than the 150th. That's nearly 11 strokes in a 72 hole tournament.

During a 6 year period on the PGA Tour Tiger Woods won 45% of the tournaments he entered. If he had not three putted he would have won 85% of them.

How important is the short game? Check out these statistics.

PGA Tour Leading Scoring Average through March 10, 2015.

                                                      Avg.                                       Greens in Regulation

1. Bubba Watson                            69.63                                          64%
2. Webb Simpson                           69.42                                          70%
3. Dustin Johnson                           69.69                                          65%
4. Brooks Koepka                           69.71                                          67%
5. Ryan Palmer                               69.72                                          70%

These players are hitting between 11 to 12 greens in regulation and yet they are averaging 2 under par per round.