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Tom Watson releases ‘Lessons of a Lifetime II’ DVD



When a living golf legend chooses to offer his golfing knowledge, it’s decidedly best to accept.

Tom Watson, an eight-time major champion and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, recently released Lessons of a Lifetime II, which introduces Disc Three to his Lessons of a Lifetime DVD anthology. While the first two discs in the series relay the fundamentals of the golf swing, the new addition provides golfers with 23 more advanced lessons including mental approach, handling pressure and practice techniques.

Lessons of a Lifetime, directed by Terry Jastrow, a seven-time Emmy Award winner, has sold over 70,000 units since its release in 2010, making it one of the best-selling instructional programs ever. It not only sells, but it works. In a survey of viewers from the first two discs, 88 percent of golfers said it helped improve their game. It has been sold globally in 40 countries and five languages including French, German, Japanese, Mandarin and English.

So what makes Watson want to share his extensive knowledge with the world?

“There’s a cloud over my head when I’m playing bad. Life isn’t as sweet. It’s a lot better when I’m playing well,” Watson told GolfWRX in a conference call. “If 10 percent of golfers improve from this, then I succeeded. I want to make you a better golfer.”

With positive feedback from the original release, Disc Three builds on the fundamentals established on the two-disc set, and includes even more stories from his golfing buddies.


Throughout the series, Watson consolidates knowledge that he’s soaked up from more of golf’s greatest minds including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Byron Nelson, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, his late caddy Bruce Edwards and his long-time teacher Stan Thirsk. He even has a lesson entitled “Tips from Tiger’s Dad.”

“I’ve plagiarized from others… and these are what I consider to be the fundamentals,” Watson said. “I’m narcissistic in the sense that these are the fundamentals that have worked for me.”

Watson has been a sponge around his all-star cast of friends over the course of his illustrious golfing career. According to Jastrow, he’s one of the smartest golfers ever, comprehensively understands the fundamentals of the game and articulates them with supreme simplicity.

Jastrow has it right. Watson breaks down seemingly every aspect of golf with an unbelievably easy to retain approach. He communicates complex moves, feelings and thoughts that are valuable to lower handicap golfers, in ways that the beginner can understand.


The combination of Jastrow’s direction and Watson’s mastery creates entertainment value and a natural flow of content that is top notch. Watson breaks down each concept with a verbal explanation and demonstration, using simple graphics (lines, circles and even virtual goalposts added in post-production) to increase understanding. He reviews key points as the series moves along and provides a checklist for every lesson.

Commonalities throughout Lessons of a Lifetime are his emphasis on setup, ball position and most importantly, grip pressure. Nicklaus was a proponent of similar notions, who was known to say that he could teach someone with a good setup and good grip, but a golfer with poor setup and a bad grip was unteachable.


Watson relayed a story from when he was having dinner with Nicklaus the night before the final round at Turnberry during the 1986 British Open. Nicklaus called Greg Norman over to their table and told him, “Just be careful of your grip pressure tomorrow.” Norman went on to win the tournament, and Nicklaus’ advice illustrates that even the world’s top players should concern themselves with how they grip the club.

“Bad grip and poor fundamentals are more likely to fail under pressure than a good grip and good fundamentals,” Watson said.

To explain phenomenons like Bubba Watson, he tells golfers to “Do as I say, not as I do. His swing may work for him, but probably not for anyone else.”

Some of the lessons in the series delve deeper and display how the body and mind should work through the swing. In Disc One, he introduced what he believes to be “The Secret,” which simplifies how the shoulders work around a plane. His knowledge of this “secret” originally began when he analyzed Corey Pavin’s swing and pre-shot rehearsals.

In the newly released Disc Three, he delivers a sequel to “the secret” in a lesson named “The Secret: #2: Keeping the Hip ‘Crease’ at impact.” It’s an original take on a concept that others before him have tried to explain.

“No one has talked about hip crease before.” Watson said. “It’s a different way of thinking that may be easier to understand. It’s sometimes hard to take words and put them into action, but it helps getting you to your left side and creating acceleration.” 

On the DVD, he shows how the “hip crease” maintains stabilization of the body throughout the swing and produces power and solid contact.

As for how amateurs can improve their equipment setup (WRX members ears perk up), Watson said in the interview, “A 60-degree (wedge) shouldn’t be in most people’s bag. It’s too difficult to control distance and takes too much skill.”

He also suggests that players opt for more loft in the driver, play the ball farther forward in their stance and add more hybrids to their bag. He admits himself that he will be gaming four or five hybrids in the near future, recognizing that his status as a “super senior” is approaching.

With inherent and professional ties into the golf industry, Watson also tackled issues facing the recent decrease in the population of golfers. He believes that the golf hole should double in size for the sake of overall enjoyment, but doesn’t think it will translate to more people playing golf. The biggest problem, according to Watson, is that golf has to compete with smart phones and instant communication.

An 18-hole round of golf may simply take too long. Nicklaus has been experimenting with 12-hole golf courses, but Watson says nine, six, or even three holes would be sufficient for people to get the golfing experience.

Another popular topic in current events among golfers is the use of Trackman. How does Watson, who preaches fundamentals, feel about the widespread usage of the technology? “I’m skeptical,” said Watson. “How accurate is it? How do you figure out how far the ball went? Maybe through mathematics. The way I use Trackman is to look at the numbers when I hit a perfect shot. Then wait until I hit another perfect shot and compare the numbers to 100 percent confirm it. That’s how you should use Trackman. You have to tell Trackman when you hit a good shot.”

Golfers and teachers across the world are accepting Trackman and similar technologies into their preparation and practice routines. Numbers, angles of attack, speeds and spin rates are useful to hone the swing and equipment, but fundamentals are the heart of a golf game. That’s where Tom Watson thrives.


The MSRP is $49.95 for the entire anthology of Lessons of a Lifetime, which includes all three discs and a 20-page booklet. If you want to purchase the third disc individually, it sells on retail for $24.95 with a four-page booklet. You can buy either, or both, at or on Amazon.

As Watson puts it, life is sweeter when you play well. There’s no better way to learn the game, or improve on bad habits, than a comprehensive look into the knowledge that a living golf legend has acquired over his career.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Minh Nguyen

    May 10, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Andrew, do you know why most, if not all instructional videos come only in a DVD format with no Blu-ray option?

    I’ve thought if buying Mr. Watson videos, Hank Haney, and Burch Harmon. However, the DVD format is holding me back. Assuming you have a HDTV, how bad/good is the picture quality?


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The Wedge Guy: My top 5 practice tips



While there are many golfers who barely know where the practice (I don’t like calling it a “driving”) range is located, there are many who find it a place of adventure, discovery and fun. I’m in the latter group, which could be accented by the fact that I make my living in this industry. But then, I’ve always been a “ball beater,” since I was a kid, but now I approach my practice sessions with more purpose and excitement. There’s no question that practice is the key to improvement in anything, so today’s topic is on making practice as much fun as playing.

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved the range, and always embrace the challenge of learning new ways to make a golf ball do what I would like it to do. So, today I’m sharing my “top 5” tips for making practice fun and productive.

  1. Have a mission/goal/objective. Whether it is a practice range session or practice time on the course, make sure you have a clearly defined objective…how else will you know how you’re doing? It might be to work on iron trajectory, or finding out why you’ve developed a push with your driver. Could be to learn how to hit a little softer lob shot or a knockdown pitch. But practice with a purpose …always.
  2. Don’t just “do”…observe.  There are two elements of learning something new.  The first is to figure out what it is you need to change. Then you work toward that solution. If your practice session is to address that push with the driver, hit a few shots to start out, and rather than try to fix it, make those first few your “lab rats”. Focus on what your swing is doing. Do you feel anything different? Check your alignment carefully, and your ball position. After each shot, step away and process what you think you felt during the swing.
  3. Make it real. To just rake ball after ball in front of you and pound away is marginally valuable at best. To make practice productive, step away from your hitting station after each shot, rake another ball to the hitting area, then approach the shot as if it was a real one on the course. Pick a target line from behind the ball, meticulously step into your set-up position, take your grip, process your one swing thought and hit it. Then evaluate how you did, based on the shot result and how it felt.
  4. Challenge yourself. One of my favorite on-course practice games is to spend a few minutes around each green after I’ve played the hole, tossing three balls into various positions in an area off the green. I don’t let myself go to the next tee until I put all three within three feet of the hole. If I don’t, I toss them to another area and do it again. You can do the same thing on the range. Define a challenge and a limited number of shots to achieve it.
  5. Don’t get in a groove. I was privileged enough to watch Harvey Penick give Tom Kite a golf lesson one day, and was struck by the fact that he would not let Tom hit more than five to six shots in a row with the same club. Tom would hit a few 5-irons, and Mr. Penick would say, “hit the 8”, then “hit the driver.” He changed it up so that Tom would not just find a groove. That paved the way for real learning, Mr. Penick told me.

My “bonus” tip addresses the difference between practicing on the course and keeping a real score. Don’t do both. A practice session is just that. On-course practice is hugely beneficial, and it’s best done by yourself, and at a casual pace. Playing three or four holes in an hour or so, taking time to hit real shots into and around the greens, will do more for your scoring skills than the same amount of range time.

So there you have my five practice tips. I’m sure I could come up with more, but then we always have more time, right?

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The Wedge Guy: Anyone can be a better wedge player by doing these simple things



As someone who has observed rank-and-file recreational golfers for most of my life – over 50 years of it, anyway – I have always been baffled by why so many mid- to high-handicap golfers throw away so many strokes in prime scoring range.

For this purpose, let’s define “prime scoring range” as the distance when you have something less than a full-swing wedge shot ahead of you. Depending on your strength profile, that could be as far as 70 to 80 yards or as close as 30 to 40 yards. But regardless of whether you are trying to break par or 100, your ability to get the ball on the green and close enough to the hole for a one-putt at least some of the time will likely be one of the biggest factors in determining your score for the day.

All too often, I observe golfers hit two or even three wedge shots from prime scoring range before they are on the green — and all too often I see short-range pitch shots leave the golfer with little to no chance of making the putt.

This makes no sense, as attaining a level of reasonable proficiency from short range is not a matter of strength profile at all. But it does take a commitment to learning how to make a repeating and reliable half-swing and doing that repeatedly and consistently absolutely requires you to learn the basic fundamentals of how the body has to move the club back and through the impact zone.

So, let’s get down to the basics to see if I can shed some light on these ultra-important scoring shots.

  • Your grip has to be correct. For the club to move back and through correctly, your grip on the club simply must be fundamentally sound. The club is held primarily in the last three fingers of the upper hand, and the middle two fingers of the lower hand. Period. The lower hand has to be “passive” to the upper hand, or the mini-swing will become a quick jab at the ball. For any shot, but particularly these short ones, that sound grip is essential for the club to move through impact properly and repeatedly.
  • Your posture has to be correct. This means your body is open to the target, feet closer together than even a three-quarter swing, and the ball positioned slightly back of center.
  • Your weight should be distributed about 70 percent on your lead foot and stay there through the mini-swing.
  • Your hands should be “low” in that your lead arm is hanging naturally from your shoulder, not extended out toward the ball and not too close to the body to allow a smooth turn away and through. Gripping down on the club is helpful, as it gets you “closer to your work.
  • This shot is hit with a good rotation of the body, not a “flip” or “jab” with the hands. Controlling these shots with your body core rotation and leading the swing with your body core and lead side will almost ensure proper contact. To hit crisp pitch shots, the hands have to lead the clubhead through impact.
  • A great drill for this is to grip your wedge with an alignment rod next to the grip and extending up past your torso. With this in place, you simply have to rotate your body core through the shot, as the rod will hit your lead side and prevent you from flipping the clubhead at the ball. It doesn’t take but a few practice swings with this drill to give you an “ah ha” moment about how wedge shots are played.
  • And finally, understand that YOU CANNOT HIT UP ON A GOLF BALL. The ball is sitting on the ground so the clubhead has to be moving down and through impact. I think one of the best ways to think of this is to remember this club is “a wedge.” So, your simple objective is to wedge the club between the ball and the ground. The loft of the wedge WILL make the ball go up, and the bounce of the sole of the wedge will prevent the club from digging.

So, why is mastering the simple pitch shot so important? Because my bet is that if you count up the strokes in your last round of golf, you’ll likely see that you left several shots out there by…

  • Either hitting another wedge shot or chip after having one of these mid-range pitch shots, or
  • You did not get the mid-range shot close enough to even have a chance at a makeable putt.

If you will spend even an hour on the range or course with that alignment rod and follow these tips, your scoring average will improve a ton, and getting better with these pitch shots will improve your overall ball striking as well.

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Clement: Don’t overlook this if you want to find the center of the face




It is just crazy how golfers are literally beside themselves when they are placed in a properly aligned set up! They feel they can’t swing or function! We take a dive into why this is and it has to do with how the eyes are set up in the human skull!

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