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An Open Letter to Gear Heads

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Back when Tiger Woods was golf, I played a round with a very nice man who hit the ball about 160 yards with his driver, lost half a dozen golf balls and whose greatest pride in the game of golf was that he played the exact same clubs as Tiger Woods.

Because of my playing companion’s spending behavior, and many other golfers like him, club manufacturers invest millions of dollars on endorsement contracts and advertisements that feature famous golfers. By showing that that these professionals use their products, companies are trying to convince us to use them, too. But is this the best way to sell clubs… or the best way to buy them?

In 1996, looking to reproduce the business model it pioneered with Michael Jordan, Nike signed Tiger Woods to a $40 million endorsement contract and entered the golf market. Capitalizing on Tiger’s success, the company launched a golf ball in 2000 and golf clubs in 2002. Tiger went on to win eight major championships, 14 World Golf Championships and 50 PGA Tour events with Nike Golf clubs, and Nike Golf became synonymous with Tiger Woods.

Between 2002 and 2013, to further support its brand in golf, Nike signed dozens of other talented professional golfers to endorsement contracts. Its biggest signing came in 2013; the company pulled off what many saw as a coup in the golf equipment world by signing Rory McIlroy. Nike Golf now had the two best golfers on the planet under contract, and it seemed primed to become the leader in golf equipment sales. Not even four years later, however, Nike announced that it was exiting the golf club business.

What, if anything, can my playing companion and the rest of us learn from Nike’s history in the golf club business? Is it possible that selling and buying clubs based on celebrity endorsements is not the best way to do business? Based on the behavior of the other golf equipment manufacturers, the answer seems to be a resounding “no.” Club companies still sign golfers to endorsement contracts, of course, but they are marketing their clubs more and more on technological improvements and using launch monitor data to support their claims.

But what technological details should we care about? Does it matter that pros hit the ball farther with a new club or that it was designed in the same wind tunnel as a jet?

The only thing that really matters for golfers is to compare the shots they hit with their current clubs to the shots they hit with new clubs, and the best way to do that is by testing clubs on launch monitor. So the next time you’re interested in new gear, make sure to put the endorsement contracts and advertising aside. Go do some launch monitor testing with your current clubs to see if new ones offer a tangible benefit.

Lyndon Wilson, a club fitting expert and owner of Studio360, is a 14-year veteran of club fitting. He now works with everyone from average golfers to elite players, including the No. 2-ranked golfer in the Rolex Rankings Ariya Jutanugran and dozens of other PGA and LPGA tour players. He calls fitting “crucial” to the process of buying new equipment.

“A proper fit can increase both accuracy and distance, which is only going to make golf more fun,” he says.

There are currently a lot of buzzwords when it comes to golf equipment fitting, and they have a lot of golfers confused. That’s why it’s important to resist the urge to try and fit yourself; it’s really hard for average golfers to know exactly what they need to play their best.

Bill Holbrook, a representative of Cobra-Puma Golf and a 2015 National Sales Associate of the year, says many golfers focus too much on lowering the spin rate of their shots. He says it stems from the strides golf equipment manufactures have made in creating lower-spinning clubs in recent years and their intensity in marketing them.

“For people with speed, [lowering spin] has been a huge help,” Holbrook says. “But for a lot of players, it’s not. These players need to be fit to ensure they have the right variables to maximize distance, which often means more loft and a softer-tip shaft.”

A good starting point in a fitting is looking at the three major keys to ball flight: ball speed, launch angle and spin rate. It’s also a good idea to look at the axis tilt of the golf ball, as straighter-flying shots tend lead to more birdies than crooked ones. And of course, you’ll want to keep an eye on the balance of carry distance and roll out.

To make sure your launch monitor data is accurate, you’ll also want to do your testing on a top-notch launch monitor (the best fitters almost always use either FlightScope, Foresight or Trackman). If the data demonstrates that one club performs significantly better than another, that’s a compelling argument to purchase a new club. This goes for your wedges and putter, too!

For quite a long time on the PGA Tour, a top-10 money winner used game improvement irons designed for higher-handicap golfers. His friends may have looked at him funny, but those were the clubs that work best for him. Most golfers won’t ever make a living playing the game, but we all enjoy golf more when we play better. That likely means you’re not going to be playing same clubs as Tiger, Rory or any other Tour player.

Happy Testing!

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Brendan is the owner of Golf Placement Services, a boutique business which aims to apply his background in golf and higher education to help educate players, their families and coaches about the process! Website - www.golfplacementservices.com Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Barry Evans

    Mar 18, 2017 at 10:06 am

    What is more important:
    The clubfitter or the clubfitter company?

  2. Kourt

    Mar 10, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    I’d have to agree completely. I take money every week from guys playing blades even when my game is off because my minor misses are still close. And I know I could play blades and still win, but the off center hit performance of game improvement irons is just too good to play without. Now I agree that no iron looks at sweet as a classic blade and if u want the looks more than performance then more power to ya. But The people claiming that blades are better to play are absolutely nuts. If a blade truly offered more “precision” than a cavity back club then why are those same people playing blades also playing drivers at 460 cc? If “precision” came from a harder to hit club they should be hitting old persimmon wood clubs that aren’t as forgiving, yet they choose to use a maximum game improvement club in a 460cc driver and probably use a spider high moi putter too Haha.

  3. JThunder

    Mar 10, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Yes, fitting is extremely important to get the most out of your game.

    It’s extremely unlikely a high percentage of less-than-avid golfers will ever get properly fit for their clubs.

    It’s extremely unlikely that anyone who frequents Golfwrx is unaware of the importance of fitting, or of the unimportance of playing the same clubs as your hero.

    In the US, and many other parts of the world, our hero worship of and obsession with celebrities and athletes is far out of control. I would ever-so-humbly suggest that buying Tiger-spec clubs is among the utmost benign symptoms of this disease. (I take greater issue with their funneling hundreds of millions to millionaire players while their worldwide employees work in sweatshops and their first-world employees get laid off, for example).

    Telling also that here again we see celebrity worship held so high over the value of educators.

  4. JThunder

    Mar 10, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    “whose greatest pride in the game of golf was that he played the exact same clubs as Tiger Woods” –

    so, the author clearly states this was the man’s “greatest pride”, and then he explains how wrong and misguided the guy is.

    Is he playing golf? Is he having fun? Will he come back?

    And you’re suggesting “growing the game” by taking that away from him?

    No wonder things are in the state they’re in.

  5. Murdock

    Mar 10, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    What I don’t get, is that the pro’s always say “get fit” for your clubs. But, if you’re whole heartedly working on your game to improve, your “fit” might change in the matter of days or weeks, depending on swing changes. Of course, your body characteristics (i.e. height and arm length) won’t change, but your swing plane, impact position and club path among other factors certainly will! So, then at what point do you Mr. Golf Fitter, recommend we get fit? When we have the money, or when we’ve ironed out the issues with our swings?

  6. ahw74

    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I was a huge Nike Golf guy, it suited my eye and worked for me, that being said I really feel like the difference between the major brands in the GI area is like the difference between a Camry and an Accord. I also think if you can’t break 100 you shouldn’t be in blades.

    • JThunder

      Mar 10, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      People played “blades” (or musclebacks) for the first 500 years of the game, and apparently enjoyed it enough for the game to survive. If a 30 hdcp wants to play MBs, then they should – it’s their money and their leisure activity. The mistake so many people make in their judgement of other peoples’ decisions (apart from their need to judge other peoples’ decisions) is to judge others’ behaviors based on their own value systems. Not everyone determines their enjoyment of golf based primarily or only on their score. If they did, it seems likely that far fewer people would play the game, given the average golfer’s score and the fractional percent who are scratch or better.

      Playing MBs might drive some percentage of people away from the game, if they had no other option. Likewise, playing offset shovels would drive some people away too. Options exist for a reason, and others’ reasons may differ from your own.

  7. golfraven

    Mar 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    I went to a golf show recently and was looking around. Went to Ping stand and asked the dude to show me the i200s and iblade – told him I game older i-series and was looking to uprade. He pulled 2 clubs out of the bag and I started hitting without any warm up. He called the numbers and balls were flying 15-20 yards short what I am used to with my clubs. Looked at the shaft and those were stiffer what I usually game. Anyway once I was warmed up he handed me a G model with a graphite shaft in regular and told me to hit. Of course those shots were going much further and within a meter dispersion. Was not bothered to give me the right shaft with the other models. That was my worst experience when “testing” clubs and little to say I will not buy Pings again. I have a judgement level of my abilities and when a rep is a d… and treats me like a beginner I take offense.

  8. Nath

    Mar 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Your like the guy at a retail store that tried to fit me into srixon z355 irons with nippon 950 reg shafts std length and lie, said i should never to look at what the pros have, its not for me, blah blah. He even said i have the 120s and they are not for you. Lol he knew me for all of 5 mins. i went ahead with my own plan trusting my own instinct z745 nippon modus 103 x 2*flat + 1/2, these things are dangerous. and have shave half a dozen strokes. Never hit more greens. Good job at helping people out bud

  9. Skip

    Mar 8, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    LOL getting fit on a “FlightScope, Foresight or Trackman” hardly ensures accuracy.

  10. Sam

    Mar 8, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    IMO i think fitting is just a money grab from the PGA pro side. I got fit into Project X from a fitting session based on outdoor Trackman numbers, but i liked golf less and less after playing with those. Went back to my S300s, nothing is optimal anymore but love the feel.

    Also most of the high cappers would see the same results using “GI” or “players” clubs, a scoop or fat shot is still a scoop or fat shot with either.

  11. TR1PTIK

    Mar 8, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    The #1 reason Nike’s advertising model didn’t equate to a larger share of the marketplace is simple. To be like “Mike” I only had to spend a couple hundred bucks (if that) for a pair of shoes – maybe more if I wanted the jersey. To be like Tiger, I’d have to pay at least 10 times that amount. To top it off, I still wouldn’t have his one off clubs – glued hosel driver and fairway woods, specialized putters and irons. If I’m going to spend that much on golf clubs they had better be the best available for my game or I’m not buying.

  12. helloooo

    Mar 8, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Mr Ryan,
    Regarding the man with TW clubs.. It’s like you are saying a guy shouldn’t buy a pair of Jordan sneakers because he’s not even good at dribbling..
    For Nike’s effort to sell more clubs by signing huge endorsement deals with TW and RM, your view seems to neglect the fact that that effort is what brings money into the sport and grows it.
    Without support of freely buying whatever you want to buy, (be it for improving your game or making a weekend golfer feel a bit more tied to the “now-ness” of the game by purchasing the latest.) the industry will get even smaller.
    It’ll turn in the direction towards something like the sport, Curling. Expensive to play, expensive equipments, with no market.

    • HUH?

      Mar 9, 2017 at 10:13 am

      Hello helloooo,

      I didn’t read anywhere where the man said you couldn’t buy whatever equipment you want unless you were capable of actually playing the game well. I think the only point he was trying to make was that matching equipment to fit the way we swing the club is a good idea. The “golf industry” is a lot of things ranging from stuffed animals and pointless trinkets to playing lessons, lawn mowers and sprinkler heads. Just because you buy golf clubs that fit your swing doesn’t mean that the entire golf industry is going to suffer – just like wearing a hundred percent polyester polo with an unfortunately large logo emblazoned on it is going to help enrich it.

    • Brian

      Mar 9, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      Sneakers and golf clubs are a lousy analogy. A pair of Jordan’s or a pair of Adidas won’t make a lick of difference to your hoops game. Trying to play Mizuno MP4s vs. Ping G-Max? Huuuge difference.

  13. Sam

    Mar 8, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I would agree that having your clubs fit properly to your swing to help you play your best, but I would think that a lot of average golfers do not want to spend that money (fee) on the fitting, as they would rather put that money towards new equipment.

    Also, getting out and playing a round of golf is supposed to be fun and who are we to judge what a person plays (with) or buys? To your opening paragraph about the “very nice man who hit the ball about 160 yards with his driver, lost half a dozen golf balls and whose greatest pride in the game of golf was that he played the exact same clubs as Tiger Woods”, if this made him happy to have spent his hard earned money on those exact clubs that Tiger Woods played, then that’s up to him. He’s not only helping the golf industry by making these purchases, but also getting out there and playing. Losing all of those golf balls, also helps the golf industry because he would have to constantly keep buying new golf balls.

    I would understand if he’s holding up the pace of play and something should be said, but again, with his equipment purchase, we are all free to buy and use what we feel is best for us. Since 90% (or more) of the average shouldn’t play MBs, why do retailers still carry them? They should be special order only. But they are there to entice us to strive to be that better player or just be dumb and buy them, yet to trade them in a couple of weeks later. The golf industry is a business and they want the consumer to buy the newest and greatest thing, that’s their goal and they don’t really care about if we actually enjoy the game or are improving…..they want our money!!

  14. Tim Metcalf

    Mar 8, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Odd that the article was displayed under a banner that included WITB. WRX like most most golf centric outlets promote the the what’s in the bag.

  15. Progolfer

    Mar 8, 2017 at 10:23 am

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE!! Skill– not equipment– is what matters! Chalk it up to society… Most people would rather look good than be good.

  16. Nick

    Mar 8, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Do you guys even proof read your articles?

    • Chopper

      Mar 8, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      I was wondering the same thing. “The only way thing that really matters for golfers…So the next you’re interested in new gear…” And talk about comma overload!

  17. Tourgrinder

    Mar 8, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I’d like to add one thing Mr. Ryan forgot, but a suggestion Mr. Ryan would probably agree is worthwhile. In addition to testing on a top-quality launch monitor, a session of equal or even greater value to the everyday golfer would be to go out on a grass range — (you know, similar to conditions where you actually play golf!) — and hit a variety of shots with both your new or prospective clubs as well as your current clubs. Compare the trajectories, the distances, the relative ability of hitting fades and hooks (if that’s part of your game). Maybe I have too much gray hair, but no matter what the technology is and what it says inside, hitting off a turf mat indoors only provides so much feel and so much feedback. Good golfers also rely on non-technical feedback that ends up translating to confidence. Go outside…on grass…in some winds…and hit all kinds of shots, including knock-downs, tight lies, deep rough, etc. If your retailer doesn’t allow it or won’t allow it, find merchants and pro clubfitters that work just that way. I realize it’s mostly a dying art due to the conveniences of the indoor technologies, but ask yourself — just what is the game we’re trying to address here?

  18. Greg V

    Mar 8, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I assume that it is OK for me, with my 93 mph driver swing, to play what the ladies on the LPGA tour play. And I am not ashamed of that.

  19. Tom54

    Mar 8, 2017 at 9:11 am

    In the club I play at I notice that the better players gravitate towards the better clubs. I used to be a scratch golfer in my younger days days and always appreciated how good pro models of clubs looked and performed. Now that I’m 40 years older and have a higher hdcp I’m still going to always play nice stuff. I’m always joking with my friends that my game isn’t as good as it once was but I sure have nice clubs

  20. PineStreetGolf

    Mar 8, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I like telling other people to have fun too.

    Fitting is important, and the last half of the article was good I guess. The first half was condescending and arrogant. If I have fun using a pros clubs I’ll use a pros clubs. There was no need for the bashing of people who do that as somehow being dupes. He probably liked his clubs and who are you to tell him what to do?

  21. Uhit

    Mar 8, 2017 at 8:21 am

    A few thoughts:

    1. you need a really good fitter
    2. you need a swing during the fitting, that is really representative
    3. whilst trying different things, your swing can change / improve
    4. tinkering on your own, may be a substantial part of your hobby
    5. a good fitting to bad habits may not be the best idea…
    6. never underestimate the psychological effect of new gear
    7. sometimes a new grip on your clubs may cause wonders!
    8. don´t forget that the fitting has to fit to the balls you use…
    9. a pleasant look and a good feel contribute to a joyful golfing experience

  22. Mark

    Mar 8, 2017 at 7:42 am

    “testing clubs on launch monitor. So the next you’re interested” and “either FlightScope, Foresight or Trackman”. Poor editing has spoiled a good read. Editor, hang your head in shame.

    • ooffa

      Mar 8, 2017 at 8:58 am

      As long as you knew what the author was trying to say then the writing was fine. Take the grammar police show elsewhere and CTFD.

      • DrRob1963

        Mar 8, 2017 at 9:38 am

        CTFD? Is that the new Controlled Trajectory Forged Driver from PXG??? Giggle!

        • LD

          Mar 8, 2017 at 12:16 pm

          I’ve already pre-ordered one with a TXXXX Blueboard. Can’t wait to hit it!

      • loofa

        Mar 8, 2017 at 10:57 am

        So I guess professional publications should fire their editors and just let writers go crazy since we’ll simply figure out what the author is trying to say? Solid response bro.

      • Mark

        Mar 9, 2017 at 11:59 pm

        The intelligent amongst us like to read what has been well written. Further, my comment was not about grammar.

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Gear Dive: USC head golf coach Chris Zambri on the challenges that will come with the new NCAA rules

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In this Special Edition of The Gear Dive, USC Men’s Head Golf Coach Chris Zambri discusses his thoughts on the new NCAA mandates, how to get recruited, and the pros and cons of recruiting can’t-miss superstars.

  • 9:55 — Zambri discusses thoughts on new rule
  • 17:35 — The rule he feels is the toughest navigate
  • 26:05 — Zambri discusses the disadvantages of recruiting a “can’t miss” PGA star
  • 32:50 — Advice to future recruits
  • 44:45 — The disadvantages of being tied to an OEM as a college golf team

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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A new NCAA transfer rule gets passed… and college coaches are NOT happy

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New rules just keep on coming from the NCAA; college coaches are not happy about this one.

In a summer of block buster coaching changes, the NCAA has done its best to stay atop the news cycle by making some significant changes, which will impact the recruitment process. In an article two months ago entitled “The effect the NCAA’s new recruiting rules will have on college golf,” I spoke to college coaches about a new rule, which will not allow unofficial or official visits until September 1 of the players Junior Year. To go along with this rule, the NCAA has also put in place a new recruiting calendar which will limit the sum of the days of off campus recruiting between a head and assistant coach to 45 days starting August 1, 2018.

The 45-day rule will have several potential impacts for both recruits and assistant coaches. For recruits, it is likely that after a couple (2-3) evaluations, coaches will make offers and ask for speed responses to ensure they are not missing out on other options. I also think you will see far less assistant coaches recruiting, which ultimately hurts their opportunities to learn the art of recruitment.

The new transfer rule

In the past, players were subject to asking their present institution for either permission to contact other schools regarding transfer, or a full release.

Now, starting October 15, players can simply inform their institution of their intensions to leave and then start contacting other schools to find an opportunity. This is a drastic shift in policy, so I decided to poll college coaches to get their reactions.

The poll was conducted anonymously via Survey Monkey. Participation was optional and included 6 questions:

  1. New NCAA Legislation will allow players to transfer without a release starting October 2018. Do you support this rule change?
  2. Do you believe that this rule will have APR implications?
  3. Who do you think will benefit most from this rule?
  4. What are the benefits of allowing students to transfer without a release? What are the potential harms?
  5. New NCAA Legislation will make December a dead period for recruiting off campus. Do you support this legislation?
  6. What implications do you see for this rule?

In all, 62 Division I golf coaches responded, or about 10 percent of all Division I coaches in Men’s and Women’s Golf. The results show that 81.25 percent of DI coaches said that they do NOT support the rule change for transfers.

Also, 90 percent of coaches polled believe that the rule will have APR implications. APR is Academic Progress Rate which holds institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term.

The APR is calculated as follows:

  • Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one point for staying in school and one point for being academically eligible.
  • A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by 1,000 to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate.
  • In addition to a team’s current-year APR, its rolling four-year APR is also used to determine accountability.

Teams must earn a four-year average APR of 930 to compete in championships.

While the APR is intended as an incentive-based approach, it does come with a progression of penalties for teams that under-perform academically over time.

The first penalty level limits teams to 16 hours of practice per week over five days (as opposed to 20 over six days), with the lost four hours to be replaced with academic activities.

A second level adds additional practice and competition reductions, either in the traditional or non-championship season, to the first-level penalties. The third level, where teams could remain until their rate improves, includes a menu of possible penalties, including coaching suspensions, financial aid reductions and restricted NCAA membership.

Clearly coaches are not happy about the move and feel that the rule unfairly benefits both the student athletes and major conference schools, who may have a swell of calls around middle of October as Student athletes play great fall golf and look to transfer. Although coaches are unhappy about the new rule, it is very difficult to predict what direct impact the rule will have on teams; coaches are extremely smart and understand recruiting and development within the frame work of college better than anyone can imagine. As a result, I think coaches will react in many ways which are impossible to predict.

The survey also asked, “new NCAA Legislation will make December a dead period for recruiting off campus. Do you support this legislation?” For this, coaches were more divided with 45 percent in favor of the rule, and 55 percent not.

Although coaches supported the legislation, many (41/62) suggested that it would potentially hurt international recruiting at tournaments like Doral and the Orange Bowl and they had, in the past, used December as a time to recruit.

As we move forward with these changes, here are some potential things that recruits, and their families should consider, including consequences of the rules:

  1. With a limit of 45 days and these transfer rules, it is likely that coaches will be doing significantly more investigation into a player’s personalities and family situation to make sure they know what they are getting.
  2. Coaches may also start skipping over better players in favor of kids they think will be a good fit and are likely to stay
  3. Rosters may get bigger, as coaches are trying to have larger numbers to potentially offset transfers

Unfortunately, we enter a new era of rules at the worst time; we have never had a more competent and deep group of college coaches, the clear majority of whom are tremendous stewards of the game. Hopefully this rule will have insignificant effect on the continued growth of college golf but only time will tell.

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Is golf actually a team sport?

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Do a little research on the top PGA Tour players, and what you’ll see is that most (if not all of them) employ a team of diverse professionals that support their efforts to perform on the golf course. Take two-time major champion Zach Johnson; he has a team that includes a caddie, a swing instructor, a sports psychologist, a physiotherapist, an agent, a statistician, a spiritual mentor, a financial adviser… and of course his wife.

“I know this seems like a lot, and maybe even too much,” Johnson readily admitted. “But each individual has their place. Each place is different in its role and capacity. In order for me to practice, work out and just play golf, I need these individuals along the way. There is a freedom that comes with having such a great group that allows me to just play.”

My best guess is that Zach Johnson commits hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to this team, and I assume most players on the leading professional tours are making significant investments in their “teams.” There are three questions that jump out at this point. First, is a team necessary? Second, how can anyone compete without one? And third, how to pay for it?

From the club player to the collegiate player to the aspiring/touring professional, everyone can benefit from a team that offers individual instruction, support, guidance, and encouragement. Such a team, however, needs to be credible, timely, beneficial and affordable.

To be affordable, serious golfers should build their team one piece at a time. The obvious first choice is a swing coach. Golf swing coaches charge from $100-$1,500 per hour. The cost explains why players have historically been responsible for their own practice. The next piece, which is a newly developing trend, should be a performance coach who specializes in the supervision of practice, training and tournament preparation. Performance coaching on-site fees range from $200 to $3,000 per day.

So is team support essential for a player to be as good as he/she can be? My research says it is. When a player schedules a practice session, that session is usually based on what the player likes to do or wants to do. “Best Practices” utilized by world-class athletes suggest strongly that great progress in training always occurs when someone other than the player writes, administers and supervises the programs and sessions. The team approach says the player should focus on what needs to be done. Sometimes what the player wants to do and the things needed to be done are the same thing; sometimes they aren’t.

Now for the question of how to pay for it all. Wealthy players, or those with substantial or institutional support, have access to what they need or want… whatever the cost. If you use an on-site coach, teacher or other professional you will be paying for blocks of time. Fees can be hourly, weekly, monthly, yearly or lifetime arrangements based upon several factors. If your coach of choice is not local, you can also incur travel and per diem expenses. The process of paying for someone’s time can really add up. You can review what I charge for various services that require my attendance at edmyersgolf.com.

For those of you who don’t have easy access to on-site expertise or don’t want to incur the expense, I want to offer an approach that business, industry, colleges/universities and entrepreneurs are turning to: “Distance Coaching.” Distance learning is made possible through modern technology. In today’s world, expertise can be delivered using FaceTime, Skype, texting, email and (old fashion) phone calls. Textbooks, videos, specific programs and workbooks can be accessed from anywhere at any time by anyone with a desire to do so… and who knows what’s coming in the future. Through Distance Coaching, individuals can employ professional expertise on an as-needed basis without incurring huge costs or expenses.

The primary team expenses that can be avoided are those associated with face-to-face, on-site visits or experiences. Distance Coaching brings whatever any player needs, wants or desires within financial reach. For example, a player in Australia can walk onto the practice ground and have that day’s practice schedule delivered to a personal device by his/her performance coach. The player then forwards the results of that session back to the coach — let’s say in Memphis, Tennessee. The player is then free to move onto other activities knowing that the performance, training and preparation process is engaged and functioning. In the same vein, that same player in Australia may have moved into learning mode and he/she is now recording the golf swing and is sending it to the swing teacher of choice for analysis and comment.

So what is the cost of Distance Coaching? Teachers, trainers and coaches set their own fees based upon their business plan. Some require membership, partnership or some other form of commitment. For example, I offer free performance coaching with the purchase of one of my books or programs, as do others. Where face-to-face, on-site fees for performance coaching is available for $200 a day, the same expertise from the same coach can cost as little as $50 a month using the distance format, tools and technology. I highly recommend that players responsibly research the options available to them and then build the best team that fits their games, desires and goals. I’m happy to forward a guide of what to look for in a performance coach; just ask for it at edmyersgolf@gmail.com.

Back to Zach Johnson; he recently admitted that his lack of recent success could be traced to his lack of focus and practice discipline. Additional, he concedes that he has been practicing the wrong things. “It goes back to the basics,” he said. “I have to do what I do well. Truth be told, what I’m practicing now is more on my strengths than my weaknesses.”

Zach Johnson has a great team, but as he concedes, he still needs to put in the work.

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19th Hole

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