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Celebrate Father’s Day on the course with a catch

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One of the great moments in cinema is the iconic line from Field of Dreams: “Hey, dad, wanna have a catch?”

Every one of us who played catch with our dad would probably love the chance to do it again, especially on Father’s Day. When I was a child, my dad and I played hours and hours of catch in the big backyard we had in St. Louis. I lost him suddenly to a heart attack in 1999, and can still remember the last time I saw him. We were leaving a tour event and it was raining. I had just blown a top-5 finish with bogeys on two of the last three holes. We were loading the cars as the weather was getting worse, and I gave him a quick hug and said, “Love you,” and we got in our cars. A couple of weeks later he was gone.

If I’d known that was going be the last time we were together I would have held onto him a little longer before we left, no matter how hard it was raining, and I wish I had one more round of golf with him or one more catch.

When my son left for college at Florida State, he surprised me with a catch right before he got in the car. He played quarterback in high school, and he spent hours practicing with me as his wide receiver. He grabbed a ball he had stashed in his car, turned to me and threw me one last pass as he jumped into the truck and headed down the road to Tallahassee.

Golf is one of the few ball sports where you cannot play some sort of catch or pass game. Or is it? One drill I have my parents play with their kids is “catch” on the putting green. It is a great way to practice speed and hang out and share time together.

Here’s what you do:

  • First, get your favorite on-course beverage.
  • Second, position yourselves three paces apart on a putting green with three golf balls. All three balls start with one player, and his or her goal is to putt the ball to the other person at the perfect speed. If the ball rolls more than one shoe width past their heels, it was hit too hard. And it comes up more than one shoe width short, it was hit too soft.
  • When the other player has all three balls, they are to return them to the other person with the same perfect speed. When both players have hit three consecutive putts at the proper speed, each takes one big step backward and the process is repeated.

Eventually, the players will get to a distance where at least one of them is struggling with speed control. Both remain there until they each get it right — six straight perfect putts. It’s a great practice drill for controlling speed, and affords both players an opportunity to hang out and chat. Try this and see if your putting speed control improves… and you add more great memories of hanging out with your kids or your parents.

Happy Father’s Day to everyone, and be sure to “have a catch” with your dad on the putting green!

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If you are an avid Golf Channel viewer you are familiar with Rob Strano the Director of Instruction for the Strano Golf Academy at Kelly Plantation Golf Club in Destin, FL. He has appeared in popular segments on Morning Drive and School of Golf and is known in studio as the “Pop Culture” coach for his fun and entertaining Golf Channel segments using things like movie scenes*, song lyrics* and familiar catch phrases to teach players. His Golf Channel Academy series "Where in the World is Rob?" showed him giving great tips from such historic landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, on a Gondola in Venice, Tuscany Winery, the Roman Colissum and several other European locations. Rob played professionally for 15 years, competing on the PGA, Nike/Buy.com/Nationwide and NGA/Hooters Tours. Shortly after embarking on a teaching career, he became a Lead Instructor with the golf schools at Pine Needles Resort in Pinehurst, NC, opening the Strano Golf Academy in 2003. A native of St. Louis, MO, Rob is a four time honorable mention U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Youth Golf Instructor and has enjoyed great success with junior golfers, as more than 40 of his students have gone on to compete on the collegiate level at such established programs as Florida State, Florida and Southern Mississippi. During the 2017 season Coach Strano had a player win the DII National Championship and the prestigious Nicklaus Award. He has also taught a Super Bowl and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, a two-time NCAA men’s basketball national championship coach, and several PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players. His PGA Tour players have led such statistical categories as Driving Accuracy, Total Driving and 3-Putt Avoidance, just to name a few. In 2003 Rob developed a nationwide outreach program for Deaf children teaching them how to play golf in sign language. As the Director of the United States Deaf Golf Camps, Rob travels the country conducting instruction clinics for the Deaf at various PGA and LPGA Tour events. Rob is also a Level 2 certified AimPoint Express Level 2 green reading instructor and a member of the FlightScope Advisory Board, and is the developer of the Fuzion Dyn-A-line putting training aid. * Golf Channel segments have included: Caddyshack Top Gun Final Countdown Gangnam Style The Carlton Playing Quarters Pump You Up

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Rob Strano

    Jun 22, 2015 at 10:01 am

    My readers crack me up….Here is an article about Father’s Day and a drill to spend time with your dad or kids and there as many negative votes as positive. How can that be? Are there that many readers that dislike spending time with their family?
    How about the drill…??? I have seen that speed control on the greens is a huge issue for 99% of the players on the planet and it is a great drill to “play catch” and work on your speed with another person.
    The negative votes make me really scratch my head about what people think and what is going on in their head when they read a positive article with a solid drill to help them improve.

    • TR1PTIK

      Jun 22, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      I think it’s a great drill and it kind of reminds me of the egg drill they used for hockey in the Mighty Ducks movies – but with less mess. I’ve found that a lot of readers/commenters on GolfWRX have a serious stick poked up their @$$ and just like to let everyone else know about it. Don’t let ’em bother you.

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