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Bobby Clampett: Why Tiger and I Could Never Find a Golf Coach

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News of Tiger’s departure from his most recent coach, Chris Como, should come as no surprise to anyone. Tiger’s growing list now includes the so-called world’s best instructors: Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, Sean Foley and now Chris Como. It’s also worth mentioning that Tiger has spoken to so many more and gotten their feedback over the years. After the “interview” process, he chose not to hire many of them.

I’ve gotten to know many coaches that Tiger has hired and interviewed over the years. They all share a common passion for teaching and genuinely wanted to help Tiger. But why would Tiger end up firing all of them? Why were they not able to provide him what he needed? What is it that he needs?

Watching Tiger go through this process brought back memories for me, and not good ones. After winning back-to-back Northern California Junior Points Annual totals, winning back-to-back Fred Haskins Trophies (the Heisman Trophy of College Golf), being the No. 1 ranked Amateur in the world and having back-to-back years on the PGA Tour where I finished in the top-20 money winners, I got talked into trying some new coaches. I was told it was the only way to become the No. 1 player in the world.

Ben Doyle had been my coach for 10 years and I felt my game had plateaued with him. Never wanting to look back and regret that I didn’t at least try a new coach, I went for it. Like Tiger, I would talk to my Tour friends whom I trusted and get their opinions on who the best coaches were. Of course, they all advocated their coach at the time. That’s part of the ethics of being on Tour and having a coach. As a player, you want their success, too, just like they wants yours. Like Tiger, I dabbled with them for a while before I committed. Some I committed to longer than others, just like Tiger. 

Like Tiger, I got differing opinions from different coaches. The one thing they all had in common is that they wanted me to make some pretty significant style changes, some that I just wasn’t capable of making. The changes were all different and some even conflicted with one another. One coach wanted my swing plane steeper in the backswing; the other wanted it flatter. One coach wanted a slight cupping of the left wrist at the top of the backswing; the other wanted the wrist to be flat. One coach wanted my hands low at address; the other wanted my hands to be higher. One coach wanted me to have a shorter backswing with a smaller hip turn; the other just wanted to change my setup posture. Tiger has been experiencing the very same things. 

Not once did I ask the one question I should have asked. It’s probably the biggest regret I have in my 15+ years on the PGA Tour, and it could have changed the outcome of my career. I sincerely doubt any of the coaches could have given me a satisfactory answer, but I would have really enjoyed hearing the answer. The question is, “How is this style change you want me to make going to affect my impact?”

Impact is the only thing that really matters in golf. It is 100 percent responsible for sending the ball where it goes. Where the ball goes is 100 percent due to the conditions created at impact. Like I used to joke with my caddie Cliff Robinson on the Champions Tour, “The ball goes where I hit it every time!” Sure, things you alter in your swing can affect your impact, but the real key to understanding golf lies in answering the question, “How?”

I didn’t mention my other coaches, because I don’t believe in throwing them under the bus. They genuinely wanted to help me and were gracious with their time, but they were all looking in the wrong direction. I believe Tiger is experiencing the very same thing. Tiger was the No. 1 ranked player in the world with each of his three coaches, and he was also No. 1 without a coach. One of his coaches, who had been one of my coaches for a while, confided in me that he actually taught Tiger differently that he did me and others. He let Tiger determine the direction the coaching would go. I found that very interesting and certainly a departure from how he coached me. I think that was wise on his part and kept Tiger playing well. But did it improve his game? Tiger wouldn’t have left if he had kept improving. Tiger likes playing his best.

What I think Tiger is beginning to discover is what I discovered many years ago that led to my current impact-based instruction. What else explains why Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Eamonn Darcy, Corey Pavin, Bernhard Langer, Jim Thorpe, Fuzzy Zoeller, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and countless others have had such great careers with such unorthodox and even in some cases, ugly swings. It certainly isn’t their swing style. The common ingredient of all these great champions is impact. 

Tiger has proven this. He’s been No. 1 in the world with countless different styles of swings. In my opinion, Tiger doesn’t need a coach. He knows more than they do anyway. At least he doesn’t need a coach that’s going to try to improve his style of swing. To improve his golf, Tiger needs to stick with a style that’s comfortable. He needs to feel he can repeat his swing in competition. Then, he then needs to fine tune his impact, consistency and cause/affect understanding.

If Tiger can keep it simple, it will allow for the brilliant artist that exists to come out and paint the pallet of great shots. The world waits with anticipation.

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For students wanting to experience how improving their impact will improve their games, Bobby suggests coming to his next Signature Golf School, creating your own private school for your own group, and/or signing up for a private lesson. Simply go to: www.impactzonegolf.com or call 239-236-5536. For those instructors who want to learn "Impact-Based®" instruction, Bobby Clampett now has a fully developed Advanced Level One online training fully supported by the PGA and LPGA with continuing education credits. For those who complete, Bobby and Impact Zone Golf are developing a Certification Program and ultimately a masters Program. Impact Zone Golf is ready to build an army of good golf instructors and rid the epidemic of frustrated golfers victimized by "style-based" instruction methods. Bobby Clampett is a well-known PGA Tour Winner and Longtime CBS Golf Broadcaster, but perhaps he will be best known for his discovery of Impact-Based® Instruction. His two golf academies are in Naples, Florida: Indoor Performance Studio (1040 Collier Center Way, Unit 14, Naples, FL 34110) and at the Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. Bobby is the first golf instructor in history to be a PGA Tour winner and earn PGA Master Professional in Teaching and Coaching. He and his team of Impact-Based® Academy Trained instructors offer year-round Golf Schools, Private Lessons, Women’s Programs, Annual and Seasonal Coaching Programs, Competitive Junior Training and much more. He now offers Instructor Training and Certification approved by the PGA and LPGA. Visit: https://impactzonegolf.com or call: 239-236-5536.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Steve Wozeniak

    Jan 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Load of GARBAGE…….Clampett could not sustain a high level of play because of one thing…..The Golfing Machine, your not alone bud, this took EVERYONE out that got into it……

    Nice excuse though.

    Steve Wozeniak PGA

    • Stephen Finley

      Jan 18, 2018 at 9:45 pm

      Not saying TGM is for everybody, or that it’s not possible it eventually led to too much complication for Clampett, but the guy was one of the best players in the world for several years, and he says it was a big factor in how he got there. Who else on this comment list has been on that level? You?

    • Tyler

      Jan 29, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      100% agree.

  2. Mikele

    Jan 6, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Bobby has a nice gig over at TIburon. He gets all their tourists golfers and lots of kids and teens during the off season down here. But he is right all that matters is what happens at the moment of impact. Who really cares what is going on before that if you can train yourself to get impact right? That’s Clampett’s entire theory and it’s not wrong.

    Every time we play Tiburon gold and we look over at his area from the first tee we do wonder how much he is able to soak out of those people. They pay a pretty penny, especially the in season resort people.

  3. DS Sportsgolf

    Jan 4, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Impact is largely predetermined by certain body, lever positions and angles which put the club path and club face into the best possible areas, as CG, weight shift and pressure is moved into the lead side. This occurs before impact when the golf club draws maximum CG force of around 3G’s – gravity is the most powerful force in the universe – roughly just out of transition, when the golf club first points into the ground on the downswing, and between 18 and 22 inches before impact. You can’t physically manipulate the golf club against those forces…… top players try to correct in that area, that’s where the “saved it” action comes in. It’s not just about impact…..impact is the result or action determined by previous actions with variables …… just my basic opinion.

  4. Brennan Woods

    Jan 4, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    He needs The Golfing Machine, Bobby!

  5. Jim

    Jan 4, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Tiger just needs his confidence, bravado and unapologetic self back. Guy has more mojo than anyone on tour, ever.

  6. pelzy

    Jan 4, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    This is right on the money but too many read who wrote it before they read what was written. This is the only way to explain how so many great champions had unorthodox swing motions yet were very successful. The intention to improve a player’s swing must start with impact deficiencies and expand from there.

    I am also a guy who thinks he should have never left Butch and I firmly believe Butch would agree with Clampett’s impact first approach.

  7. John Krug

    Jan 4, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    The most important thing about a swing is that it be mechanically sound and not harm the body. This requires the classic golf swing, namely, a flared left foot, a lifting of the left ankle and a hip turn. Any attempt to twist the spine is a recipe for physical injury, e.g. Tiger and numerous other pros. Tiger’s body has been destroyed by his instructors.

  8. Doug

    Jan 4, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Great attempt at promoting more of your nonsense instruction!

    • Dana Booth

      Jan 4, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      How is Bobby’s instruction nonsense, Doug?

  9. Tyler

    Jan 4, 2018 at 9:19 am

    I truly hate to be negative but this article is just like Clampett’s books; 90% bragging about his personal accomplishments and 10% self-promotion. Bobby, you have one PGA tour win so don’t ever compare yourself to any Hall of Famer again. Hell, I’ve won a few scrambles in my day. I remember when I bought the Impact Zone after it came out. I waited patiently for slow shipping and was extremely excited to see the book arrive at my doorstep. Upon reading the book I had a bigger let down than three putting for par. I thought how is knowing all about Bobby Clampett’s acheivements going to help my game??? It didn’t! Nice Golfwrx profile, by the way. I am sure all PGA Touring professionals list every single amateur event they won.

  10. steve2

    Jan 4, 2018 at 1:10 am

    Unfortunately, Tiger seems to have lost his swing mojo some time ago by losing confidence in his golf swing knowledge. Perhaps he’s gone too cerebral and can’t get the answers from current teachers. So where should he look?
    I believe he must look within himself to find what he is searching for… a consistent swing that delivers the clubhead to the ball at impact.
    How can Tiger use the K.I.S.S. approach to reawaken his inner artistry? Perhaps he’s lost even that artistry. Perhaps he’s concentrated too much on athleticism, i.e. building up his body in the gym.
    Yes, athleticism is the foundation for artistry…. just like technique is the foundation for musical, dancing, painting artistry. But, excessive dependence on athletic technique can destroy artistry. It’s a tricky balance.

  11. Bryan

    Jan 3, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    It’s the coaches fault that I plateaued and didn’t win more. Maybe there is a correlation between changing coaches like underwear and being really really into yourself.

  12. SK

    Jan 3, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    “To improve his golf, Tiger needs to stick with a style that’s comfortable. He needs to feel he can repeat his swing in competition. Then, he then needs to fine tune his impact, consistency and cause/effect understanding.

    If Tiger can keep it simple, it will allow for the brilliant artist that exists to come out and paint the pallet of great shots.”
    ———————————

    Those last sentences of this fine article just about says it all!!
    Unfortunately, Tiger seems to have lost his swing mojo some time ago by losing confidence in his golf swing knowledge. Perhaps he’s gone too cerebral and can’t get the answers from current teachers.
    So where should he look? Now he must look within himself to find what he is searching for… a consistent swing that delivers the clubhead to the ball at impact.
    How can Tiger use the K.I.S.S. approach to reawaken his inner artistry? Perhaps he’s lost even that artistry. Perhaps he’s concentrated too much on athleticism, i.e. building up his body in the gym.
    Yes, athleticism is the foundation for artistry…. just like technique is the foundation for musical, dancing, painting artistry. But, excessive dependence on athletic technique can destroy artistry. It’s a tricky balance.
    What Tiger needs is a mentor to guide him in his search for his lost artistry. Only I can do it and tell him where he’s gone wrong in his compulsive athleticism. Tiger, if you’re reading …??!!! 😎

  13. Skip

    Jan 3, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Shameless plug for your “current impact-based instruction.” lol, geez took you long enough to discover that impact is all that matters.

    And I’m gonna disagree, I’m pretty sure Tiger Woods, already knows what you’re referring to. He doesn’t need to discover anything.

  14. David

    Jan 3, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    I agree with your assessment regarding style vs. impact. Bradley Hughes at Golfaus teaches the 4:30 path and he uses many of the all time greats as examples. Many ways to swing the club in the backswing. As long as the golfer gets to that 4:30 path.

  15. Mike

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    First off, Tiger didn’t fire Hank Haney. Haney quit after the scandal. Also I feel there is so much more scrutiny on Tiger that he gets criticized for things other don’t. For example, he’s had 4 coaches over a 20 year career. Is that even equal to the PGA Tour average? He’s had 3 caddies which I’m certain is way less than the average. 2 agents. Also probably less than average over 20 years. yet he gets hammered in the press for firing so many people. He also got to #1 with all 3 coaches that had a healthy Tiger to work with and had his best winning percentage with Hank (for all those never should have fired Butch people). Bottom line, Tiger knows what he needs. Everyone should stop armchair quarterbacking.

  16. Philip

    Jan 3, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Tiger didn’t fire all his coaches … and yet you write like you know everything about him intimately, but nice article about you and how Tiger may be lucky enough to follow your advice

  17. farmer

    Jan 3, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    It’s all so simple: great impact makes for great golf. This little infomercial completely ignores the factors that lead to a great impact position. That is a different and considerably more complicated process. BC was a great college player, never a particularly good pro, and never got away from the TGM nonsense. Total bust of an article.

  18. RG

    Jan 3, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Great article Bobby, and right on point. Tiger was longoff the tee and with the irons, but his greatness came because he could get up and down out of a garbage can and in his prime he was the best putter ever, period. When I watched Tiger deteriorate I watched a man who was trying to do things that just aren’t necessary. There is no reason to hit all nine shots with perfect mastery, you just need a couple that are really good. Tiger used to have beautiful rhythm and tempo to his swing, then it disappeared. His confidence was supreme in his prime. I stood next to him at the Tavistock and watched him hit a pitch shot (that he chunked) and he looked more nervous than I get. If he stays within himself and finds the back of the ball with the smoothness he used to have, it’s game on.

  19. juststeve

    Jan 3, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Another Clampett article that’s really all about Clampett.

  20. mwf0001

    Jan 3, 2018 at 11:51 am

    What Tiger needs to do is find consistency, especially off the tee. Why was he so good for so many years in the early 2000s? It’s because he had consistency off the tee. He used to have a go to shot with the stinger, whether with the 2 iron or the 3 wood. He almost never missed a fairway with those two clubs. That instilled confidence in the rest of his game and took the pressure off of the rest of his game, especially the driver. Why he ever got away from hitting those shots is beyond me. He was already the best iron player in the game, and he was already the best putter in the game. The only thing missing was consistency off the tee. In my opinion, in order for Tiger to get back to being a force on the PGA Tour, he needs to rekindle his flame with the stinger. Find fairways and let the rest of your game speak for itself.

    Sincerely,
    A Guy That Thinks He Never Should Have Left Butch

  21. Dino

    Jan 3, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I respect Bobby’s opinion in this matter (ie: of going through a variety of swing coaches and the propensity that they have to make significant swing changes).

    Yet, when I read the article, and knowing Bobby’s relationship in advocating for “Impact Zone Golf”, I cannot help but come to the conclusion that this was really an “infomercial” of sorts. It seems to be continuing in the same vein of seeking out another coach to help you get to number one or in every amateur golfer – to be the best that you can.

    The only thing different is that he is advocating for “Impact golf” rather than “swing golf”. I do agree though that there are more ways to swing a club … after all, no two people swing the club exactly alike.

  22. Brian

    Jan 3, 2018 at 11:23 am

    If only someone would come out with a book concerned with impact.

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A different perspective

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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to play a round with two of the greens keepers at a local golf course and it was a fascinating experience. It gave me a chance to get a behind-the-scenes view of what it takes to make a golf course great.

Many of us play at public courses, and sometimes its luck of the draw if the course we are at is in good condition. In my case, if I find a course that is well maintained and taken care of, I make it a regular stop. In this case, I was at Ridgeview Ranch in Plano Texas and it is a great public course and I play here at least once a month.

The two guys I played with were Tony Arellano and Jose Marguez. Both were great guys to share a round with. Tony shared what it’s like to make sure that all the greens are maintained properly and watered correctly. He showed me where there were some issues with one of the greens that I would never have noticed. We talked about how the invasion of Poa annua grass forces his guys to pull it out by hand with a tool that is smaller than a divot repair tool. It became clear to me that as a golf community, we need to lift up the people that do this labor-intensive work and thank them for all they do. Ridgeview Ranch is without a doubt one of the better public courses in my area, and it is because of the hard work these men do that keeps it this way.

As we watched the Masters tournament a few weeks ago we were awestruck by the awesome beauty of Augusta National and in my case I believe that is what heaven looks like. I think we take that kind of beauty for granted and forget the massive amount of time and hard work that go into making a golf course look good. These people have to deal with all of the different factors that Mother Nature throws at them and be prepared for anything. In addition to that, they also have to make sure the watering system is maintained as well as all of their equipment.

I have played at other courses in the DFW area that have a terrible staff and a superintendent that either don’t care about the course or don’t know how to stop it from falling apart. The course won’t spend the money to go get the right people that will take pride in their work. Some of these places will charge you more than $80 per round, and when you get to the first green that has dry spots that are without any grass you feel like you have been ripped off.

We all love this game not because it’s easy but because it’s a challenge and being good at it takes a ton of effort. We also love it because it gives us a chance to hang out with friends and family and enjoy time outside in the sun– hopefully without cell phone interruptions and other distractions of our modern day. We spend a ton of money on green fees, equipment and sometimes travel. We want to get what we pay for and we want to have a great course to spend the day at.

I wanted to write this article to thank all of those men and women that start work in the early hours of the day and work through the hottest stretches of the summer to keep our golf courses in great shape. They are people that never get the credit they deserve and we should always thank them whenever possible. Tony and Jose are just two examples of the people who work so hard for all of us. Ridgeview Ranch is lucky to have these two men who not only work hard but were fantastic representatives of their course. So next time you are out there and you see these people working hard, maybe stop and say thank you let them know what they do really makes a difference.

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5 most common golf injuries (and how to deal with them)

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You might not think about golf as a physically intensive game, but that doesn’t change the fact it is still a sport. And as with every sport, there’s a possibility you’ll sustain an injury while playing golf. Here’s a list of the five most common injuries you might sustain when playing the game, along with tips on how to deal with them in the best way possible so you heal quickly.

Sunburn

While not directly an injury, it’s paramount to talk about sunburns when talking about golf. A typical golf game is played outside in the open field, and it lasts for around four hours. This makes it extremely likely you’ll get sunburnt, especially if your skin is susceptible to it.

That’s why you should be quite careful when you play golf

Apply sunscreen every hour – since you’re moving around quite a lot on a golf course, sunscreen won’t last as long as it normally does.

Wear a golf hat – aside from making you look like a professional, the hat will provide additional protection for your face.

If you’re extra sensitive to the sun, you should check the weather and plan games when the weather is overcast.

Rotator Cuff Injury

A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint. This group are the main muscles responsible for swing movements in your arms. It’s no surprise then that in golf, where the main activity consists of swinging your arms, there’s a real chance this muscle group might sustain an injury.

To avoid injuries to this group, it’s imperative you practice the correct form of swinging the club. Before playing, you should also consider some stretching.

If you get an injury, however, you can recover faster by following RICE:

Rest: resting is extremely important for recovery. After an injury, the muscles are extremely vulnerable to further injury, and that’s why you should immediately stop playing and try to get some rest.

Ice: applying ice to the injured area during the first day or two can help. It reduces inflammation and relaxes the muscles.

Compress: bandage the rotator cuff group muscle and compress the muscles. This speeds up the muscle healing process.

Elevate: elevate the muscles above your heart to help achieve better circulation of blood and minimize fluids from gathering.

Wrist Injuries

Wrist tendons can sustain injuries when playing golf. Especially if you enjoy playing with a heavy club, it can put some strain on the wrist and cause wrist tendonitis, which is characterized by inflammation and irritation.

You should start by putting your wrist in a splint or a cast – it is necessary to immobilize your wrist to facilitate healing.

Anti-inflammatory medicine can relieve some of the pain and swelling you’ll have to deal with during the healing process. While it might not help your wrist heal much quicker, it’ll increase your comfort.

A professional hand therapist knows about the complexities of the wrist and the hand and can help you heal quicker by inspecting and treating your hands.

Back Pain

A golf game is long, sometimes taking up to 6 hours. This long a period of standing upright, walking, swinging clubs, etc. can put stress on your back, especially in people who aren’t used to a lot of physical activities:

If you feel like you’re not up for it, you should take a break mid-game and then continue after a decent rest. A golf game doesn’t have any particular time constraints, so it should be simple to agree to a short break.

If you don’t, consider renting a golf cart, it makes movement much easier. If that’s not possible, you can always buy a pushcart, which you can easily store all the equipment in. Take a look at golf push cart reviews to know which of them best suits your needs.

Better posture – a good posture distributes physical strain throughout your body and not only on your back, which means a good posture will prevent back pain and help you deal with it better during a game.

Golfer’s Elbow

Medically known as medial epicondylitis, golfer’s elbow occurs due to strain on the tendons connecting the elbow and forearm. It can also occur if you overuse and over-exhaust the muscles in your forearm that allow you to grip and rotate your arm:

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is the way to go to alleviate the most severe symptoms of the injury at the beginning.

Lift the club properly, and if you think there’s a mismatch between your wrist and the weight of the club, you should get a lighter one.

Learn when you’ve reached your limit. Don’t overexert yourself – when you know your elbow is starting to cause you problems, take a short break!

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TG2: Our PGA picks were spot on…and Rob hit a school bus with a golf ball

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Rob picked Brooks to win the PGA and hit the nail on the head, while Knudson’s DJ pick was pretty close. Rob hit a school bus with a golf ball and we talk about some new clubs that are going to be tested in the next couple days.

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

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