Visionary Golf Breakthrough For 2018!

As the calendar flips to a new year, I’m excited to bring you the most visionary, cutting edge breakthrough in golf instruction. With recent technological tools brought to the game, the advancement of equipment, plus proven physical training programs, being able to play at the highest level is now achievable. Imagine cutting strokes off your game, hitting the ball longer, while draining putts from every conceivable distance. It’s happening and it’s happening RIGHT NOW! Let me show you how.

Have you ever read or watched a video proclaiming many of the aforementioned claims? Sure you have. With the start of another year you’re about to be inundated with them again. As you sit on your couch watching the PGA Tour kick things off in Hawaii, you’ll wonder what you can do to up your game this season. A new driver, that sure fire swing aid being splashed in the commercial slots, the incredible one time offer at your local fitness center or perhaps the advanced golf training curriculum being offered at your local medical center can bring improvement.  Let’s face it.  It’s better than doing nothing.  But if you think there is something new out there, I’m sorry to disappoint you. There is not.

Golf, for one thing, is the most difficult game in the world. You can debate this but in the back of your mind you know it’s true. There are no perfect games, ultimate score (I guess you could rationalize 18 as the apex), or fool proof methods available to make you play your best every day. If there were one way to play (not swing), every player would pursue it. Yet because golf is an individual game made up of players of all shapes and sizes, personalities and analytical processes, one size does not fit all.

The one absolute in golf is getting the clubhead on the back of the ball with as much speed as needed combined with a square clubface aimed at the target. That is it, final, game over. It’s that fundamental.

However, when it comes to instruction, the acronym of “more is better” seemingly goes a long way these days . Analysis, categorization, investigation, experimentation, interpretation, print outs, video, Trackman numbers, you conceive it, some teacher is out there conjuring ways of introducing it while charging you for it. Does it do Bill, a 17 handicapper who plays twice a week, any good to compare him to Jordan Spieth’s swing or T’man numbers?  You could argue it might persuade Bill to buy a boat and sell his clubs in his next garage sale. How can he possibly achieve the same movement or stats? All that does is show Bill a comparison. Here is the best in the world and you’re not close.  Great incentive?  You tell me.

There is no question golfers know more about what they’re not doing than perhaps what they need to do at this point in time. Players can access some form of technology that records every conceivable aspect of their game. Tour players know where they excel as well as what needs attention. But that is their livelihood, their bread and butter. They need to focus on details. Most of us don’t.

It is advantageous to know the weak areas of your game. It’s important to know the distances you hit your clubs. You can benefit from relying on your tendencies plus your imagination. Working on visualization and feel is vital. Consistency is an ongoing battle.  But if you’re looking for a shortcut, an easier way to improve, your search will prove exhausting. Unfortunately that realization may dissuade some from taking up the game. On the other hand, those looking for an activity where you meet great people, can laugh at yourself on occasion, enjoy the outdoors, be encouraged by small increments of improvement and embrace the challenge, well this game might be for you.

History tells us, for those who care to delve into it, instructional methods are based on proper fundamentals. Ernest Jones, George Low, Tommy Armour, Percy Boomer, Claude Harmon Sr., Jack Grout, Jim Flick, and countless others taught the players of past generations.  While their approaches may have differed, their ideas are still being taught today. They’ve been dusted off, polished and introduced with new “techno” packaging but they are still the same ideals. Any instructor with a thesaurus can make Ernest Jones’ method sound like the newest revelation in teaching.  I agree there are new ways of interpreting swings and being able to dissect them on infinite levels but in the end, does that help the average player shoot lower scores?

My primary concern and certainly that of PurePlayGolf is whether instructors are actually teaching golfers how to play the game in these modern times. I’ve discussed this at length and won’t bore you with it here. If you should happen to visit one of these “voodoo” instructors, after they give you all of your Trackman numbers and video comparisons to Dustin Johnson, ask them what their strategy is for improving your play. I’ll bet you’ll get a funny look.

Ultimately the revolutionary breakthrough in golf instruction for 2018 is apparent –there isn’t one.  Here’s a hint.  There won’t be one for 2019 either.



That Didn’t Take Long – FU Golf Reinstated

A few weeks ago my alma mater, Furman University, announced it would disband its NCAA Division I Mens Golf Program in the fall of 2014.  This news from the private liberal arts college in Greenville, South Carolina might not have shaken the golfing world but it was worthy of mention on a February 7th telecast on the Golf Channel.  The story stunned alumni and those associated with University as the decision was not anticiptaed.  It appears now those alumni have resurrected the program by committing to fund it’s expense in future years.

An article dated February 25, 2014 on the Furman Athletic website discusses an agreement between the university and the alumni.  Brad Faxon, former FU All American, PGA and Senior PGA Tour Player, indicated he and others approached the administration with a plan to raise funds and maintain the program.  The article also mentions Rob Langley, ’05 golf team alum, assisting with the particulars of the financing plan.  Already some significant contributions have been made.

Sources close to the University indicate a sizable endowment ($9 million) would be required to maintain the future of the program.  While that amount may seem overwhelming, it appears the Furman alumni want to proceed in insuring the stability of their Mens Golf Team one shot at a time.

While the demands on athletic programs at the intercollegiate level as well as the high school level face ever growing demands, it is admirable that a group of individuals recognize the importance of their sport on the development of young people.  The beneficial opportunities afforded through golf should never be taken away.  In this case it is a lesson that needed to be learned by all.


Furman University Drops Mens Golf

Learning your alma mater decided to eliminate it’s NCAA Division I Mens Golf Team from a Golf Channel phone app was unsettling.  As a former member of the team, I was shocked and disappointed by the Board of Trustee’s decision.  Immediately I contacted people who have ties with the university to see what they knew.  They were as surprised as me.  It has been a few days since the fateful directive became public and many people are asking “why?”.  Unless you were privy to that board room discussion, the reasons may never be know.

What I have learned in the last few days is that Furman is facing some debt issues.  As a private university in this day and age that comes as no surprise especially with recent building additions that have been added to the campus.  Make no mistake — Furman is a beautiful university offering wonderful opportunities.  Which leads to the main question — why would they cut mens golf?  The savings from such a decision are minimal.  The women’s program is being kept intact.  It makes you wonder what cuts are coming down the road to other university programs?  Surely there will be some if financial issues need to be addressed.

I know such a decision would be the furthest thing from the mind of Past President, Dr. John Johns.  He played and loved the game while respecting those who were its participants.  Some might say times change — you can’t live in the past.  To those I say — golf is timeless.  It’s lessons endure. These days learning to take responsibility for administering rules, accepting ever-changing playing conditions and playing the ball as it lies are common societal behaviors needing reinforcement.  Golf offers a tremendous educational experience to restore these axioms.  It’s lessons are applicable to every day life.  What a tremendous message for young adults.  That opportunity is now being taken away by people entrusted to further the educational ideals of the university.  In my opinion, it is the wrong road to pursue.

If the financial future is suspect, why treat the hemorrhage with a Band-Aid?  Why add a lacrosse team with a budget that surpasses that of the mens golf program?  Why discourage potential donors with golfing sons to attend the university?  Why indeed?  The odd decision perhaps has an overtone of vindication wrapped around it.  Too many questions with no viable answers.

Some believe this decision will be overturned.  Doubtful.  Yet there is a possibility down the road mens golf could return.  In order to do so, those who have ties to Furman need to be in positions of influence.  Furman will run best with former Paladins at the controls.  We need administrators from the alumni base.  We need people who protect the valued programs of Furman University rather than eradicate them.

It’s time to face facts and employ workable solutions to solve larger problems.  If financial concerns are an obstacle going forward, Furman needs to address these issues prudently rather than disband a golf team as beancounters make petty judgements

It’s time to find leaders.  It’s time to promote opportunities rather than eliminate them.  It’s time to accept blame rather than deflect it.  It’s time to put the university back on the right track.  It’s time to move into the future with confidence, accountability and transparency.  Furman Trustees, it is time to play the ball as it lies and have the fortitude to hit the shot instead of walking off the course.