Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

Could PGA Championship, Ryder Cup Have a Permanent Host? Should They?

Published

on

Taking my colleague Ben Alberstadt’s post in a different direction, let’s talk about another aspect of this post by Ted Bishop, former President of the PGA. In it, he is essentially lobbying for Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, KY, to become the annual host of the PGA Championship, as well as all Ryder Cup events played in the U.S..

Feel free to read Mr. Bishop’s post for detailed reasoning, but a brief summary is as follows:

  1. Valhalla is a massive facility that can easily accommodate throngs of fans, as well as corporate and merchandise tents and all the infrastructure associated with such things.
  2. The course also has an impressive resume of past champions and dramatic golf theater in its tournaments (I will resist latching on to the argument that Augusta National is “not as dramatic and challenging as Valhalla,” as that has already been debated).
  3. Valhalla is already owned by the PGA of America, who would love to enhance the value of its course.
  4. Louisville, KY, is adept at hosting major sporting events (i.e. the Kentucky Derby) and is a palatable destination for patrons and sponsors alike.
  5. With recent discussions about moving the PGA Championship to May, Louisville is about as far north as you could hold that tournament for agronomical reasons.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to some commentary. I would be remiss if I didn’t put forth the disclaimer that I have a unique history with Valhalla. I learned to play golf at their junior clinic in 1988, which was the year my dad joined the club. He is still a member there. I was raised in the Louisville metro area and currently only live about 1 hour east of the course. I know a lot of people at the course. I love Valhalla, plain and simple.

That being said, if I said I were wholeheartedly in favor of this change, I admit it would almost entirely be purely for selfish reasons. Obviously, I would love to have a major championship in my backyard every year. I thoroughly enjoy (and am in awe of) watching the best players in the world shred a golf course that I myself have played (and struggled mightily with) many times.

As a regular golf fan, there’s two sides to this. On one hand, it would be nice to have the familiarity that comes with having a tournament on the same course every year, à la The Masters. Golf fans wind up associating the course with the tournament and you build an emotional relationship with it over the years. Remember Louis Oosthuizen’s double eagle on No. 2 in the final round of The Masters in 2012? Remember Phil’s shot out of the pine straw on No. 13 in 2010? Who’s to say that couldn’t happen with Valhalla, even if it may not be on the same scale as Augusta National? After all, most will remember Tiger pointing his putt into the first playoff hole in 2000 and Azinger spraying champagne after ending the USA’s Ryder Cup drought in 2008.

On the other hand, when you make the decision to marry a tournament with a specific course, you obviously limit yourself in certain aspects. While Louisville is an easy drive from many populated areas such as Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Nashville, it’s not easy to bring your kids to the tournament if you live in Portland, for example, which one can argue makes it difficult to grow the game. The flipside to that, of course, is that you have the U.S. Open in June to rotate around the country and ensure a broader audience could be reached.

For now, I will have to agree with Mr. Nicklaus himself (also the course designer if you’re unaware) in saying it’s “an interesting concept.” What say you? Comment below.

Your Reaction?
  • 58
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW2
  • LOL1
  • IDHT3
  • FLOP3
  • OB1
  • SHANK62

Peter Schmitt is an avid golfer trying to get better every day, the definition of which changes relatively frequently. He believes that first and foremost, golf should be an enjoyable experience. Always. Peter is a former Marine and a full-time mechanical engineer (outside of the golf industry). He lives in Lexington, KY with his wife and two young kids. "What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive." -Arnold Palmer

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Scott

    Aug 7, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I would not propose one course but maybe PGA should only be held on the far west Midwest or West coast to get prime time viewing? That way it can get the feel of being held in one location, get prime time viewing, and ease up on the East Coast bias golf has. If it was held in prime time (on the East Coast) every year, it may start developing an stronger identity.

  2. Ronald Montesano

    Aug 7, 2017 at 6:06 am

    A) It’s impossible for major titles to carry the same aura;
    B) Attend a PGA and feel its vibe. Whoever “you” is will change her/his mind about it being weak or not at the same level;
    C) Exhibit A: Glen Abbey. Weak course that keeps great golfers from playing Canadian Open. Since PGA is a major, it would only be a few years before inevitable comparisons to TPC and Players Championship were made;
    D) They say “You can’t move the Masters” and “The US Open is the US Open for a reason.” USA have a stranglehold on major titles and perhaps its time to say “2018-US Open is a major. 2019-Canadian Open is a major. 2020-Australian Open is a major.” Rotating the national open status can’t be any more ludicrous than keeping the PGA or the Ryder Cup at one course;
    E) Exhibit B: Oak Hill. 36 holes-take that, Valhalla. East course being returned to its classic greatness. Do they know how to put on a tournament in Rochester? Huh-YUH!

    I could go through the alphabet, but you and I both know that the solution to this is to move majors and team events around as often as possible. Simply no defense in making golf even more exclusive, even if it is geographic.

    • Sam

      Aug 7, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      I agree with your conclusion, but I don’t agree with Glen Abbey, they get a good field for that tournament, and the main reason why it’s not better is that it’s after the British version of the US Open.

  3. Jacked_Loft

    Aug 6, 2017 at 11:54 am

    As the PGA is seen as the “weakest” major I believe that a fixed venue would reduce it further to being just another stop on the tour schedule. An earlier scheduling would effectively make the Open Championship the last major of the season, which would then be concluded in July. With only the FedEx playoffs left you would have created a situation where basically only limited field events are played after the Open. I don’t see this as positive for growth. Leave it when it’s scheduled but make a fixed 5 venue rota to increase the image and establish a “new”history for the event.

  4. Greg

    Aug 6, 2017 at 8:44 am

    The Ryder cup needs to move. That’s part of what makes it amazing. Every 4 years on our soil, different venues.

    Personally I think the PGA should have a set rota of 5 and never vary: Valhalla, Whistling Straights, Maybe Bethpage since they are camped there for a few years, somewhere south-central, somewhere west coast. This touches most of America when you can play there. Whistling Straights is another venue that has become well known with the PGA. For the southern central area, I would propose Southern Hills CC. I’m at a loss for where out west since the PGA really hasn’t been out there a ton.

    I think this gives them a nice consistent rota without throwing in other locations (like the USO and Open Champ), and allows you to build up familiarity with the courses without trying to copy the Masters/Players.

    My long standing on PGA has been they have to change the format somehow. That’s why it’s the weakest event, it feels like any other tournament. I think going stableford, setting up the course easy, and just having birdies and eagles galore and a low scoring (or in stableford’s case high scoring) affair. I want to see what happens when these guys have to keep firing from hole 1-72. Masters is about the history, USO is about being a grind, Open is about the weather, so make PGA about going low.

  5. NT

    Aug 6, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Move the PGA to other countries. Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe. Make it a global game.

  6. Chris

    Aug 6, 2017 at 1:04 am

    No way they should make either a one course event. That said, Valhalla is one of my favorite PGA venues and it definitely would be fine with me if the make it the events featured course and give it the tournament every 5 years. 18 there is one of the best finishing holes in Championship golf and that was no more apparent than in the McIlroy Mickelson controversial basically a foursome finish.

  7. Tommy

    Aug 6, 2017 at 12:26 am

    This is a great idea. Everything about the present PGA is lacking…a total letdown that nobody looks forward to. It doesn’t even feel like a Major anymore. If it doesn’t work a planned, who says you can’t change it back to how it was? It might take ten years to build some cred though so they’ll have to be patient. Bottom line is that it just can’t be any worse than it is now. Do it!

  8. Woody

    Aug 5, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Drop the PGA and add the Players..or move the PGA to
    A different time of year. I do look at the PGA as the easiest to win out of all 4. I think that’s why it isn’t as prestigious as the others.

  9. Joe

    Aug 5, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Trying to match the feel of The Masters is a fruitless endeavor. Which is why the US Open and (British) Open have a Rota system, making sure to include particular courses in a cycle and having St. Andrew’s every 5 years.

    If you love having Valhalla as a more official site of the PGA. Then do what the others do. Make it the official venue every 3 to 5 years, but keep rotating the courses.

    Ryder Cup, since it changes continents every 2 years, is just a no-brainer to not have it at the same place.

  10. Hawkeye77

    Aug 5, 2017 at 8:43 am

    No surprise Crawford supports this “piece”. Nothing solid about it, lol. Peter basically ducks the entire issue, and no mention of historical significance of past venues for either event. Bigger LOL, create an environment like The Masters? That’s just silliness, and again no comprehension of the history/background/elements that make The Masters what it is. Come on now.

    Take a stand and make some intelligent arguments. Former Marines (and respect X 1000) should take these issues head on!

    • Peter Schmitt

      Aug 5, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Thanks for the comment. I think it’s safe to say it would be a pretty much unanimous consensus among golf fans that the PGA Championship doesn’t carry the same anywhere near the aura or mystique of the other three majors. I can absolutely see why the PGA would like to give their major a shot in the arm. Would this work? Who knows. Ultimately, what I was aiming at is to (a) put my personal bias out there as a disclaimer, and (b) present both sides of the coin. I could envision a scenario where this works and you start to build some pageantry around the PGA. That’s not to say that it would rise to the level of the Master’s, but it could elevate the PGA to some extent (who knows to what extent that might be). I could also see a scenario where the PGA ties its own hands behind their back and doesn’t achieve much of anything. Either way, I do think it’s safe to say the PGA is turning their wheels about how to improve their major. It could be interesting to see how that develops.

    • Adam Crawford

      Aug 5, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Wow, calling me out in your comment. Nice to meet you too, friend.

  11. Moose

    Aug 5, 2017 at 8:13 am

    I do not really think of the PGA as a major. No one grows up dreaming of winning the PGA.

  12. BBD

    Aug 5, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Dumbest idea ever. Playing on different courses is what makes both those events somewhat more interesting. It would get really old real quick that it’s always on the same course. And nobody wants to take away the glory from the Masters

  13. Adam crawford

    Aug 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    I think it could really do the PGA some good. It suffers from fatigue at the end of the season, especially when there are Ryder Cups looming. I don’t know that a permenant home would totally cure it, but over the course of a decade it could really help. I also think Valhalla would be a great venue. May is a beautiful time in Kentucky. The Ryder Cup? Not quite on board with that being in one spot in the states. Solid idea and solid piece, Peter!

    • Sam

      Aug 7, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Kentucky is not a good idea, they should keep it in August, but hold it out west every year somewhere in California

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Instruction

The Wedge Guy: The easiest-to-learn golf basic

Published

on

My golf learning began with this simple fact – if you don’t have a fundamentally sound hold on the golf club, it is practically impossible for your body to execute a fundamentally sound golf swing. I’m still a big believer that the golf swing is much easier to execute if you begin with the proper hold on the club.

As you might imagine, I come into contact with hundreds of golfers of all skill levels. And it is very rare to see a good player with a bad hold on the golf club. There are some exceptions, for sure, but they are very few and very far between, and they typically have beat so many balls with their poor grip that they’ve found a way to work around it.

The reality of biophysics is that the body moves only in certain ways – and the particulars of the way you hold the golf club can totally prevent a sound swing motion that allows the club to release properly through the impact zone. The wonderful thing is that anyone can learn how to put a fundamentally sound hold on the golf club, and you can practice it anywhere your hands are not otherwise engaged, like watching TV or just sitting and relaxing.

Whether you prefer an overlap, interlock or full-finger (not baseball!) grip on the club, the same fundamentals apply.  Here are the major grip faults I see most often, in the order of the frequency:

Mis-aligned hands

By this I mean that the palms of the two hands are not parallel to each other. Too many golfers have a weak left hand and strong right, or vice versa. The easiest way to learn how to hold the club with your palms aligned properly is to grip a plain wooden ruler or yardstick. It forces the hands to align properly and shows you how that feels. If you grip and re-grip a yardstick several times, then grip a club, you’ll see that the learning curve is almost immediate.

The position of the grip in the upper/left hand

I also observe many golfers who have the butt of the grip too far into the heel pad of the upper hand (the left hand for right-handed players). It’s amazing how much easier it is to release the club through the ball if even 1/4-1/2″ of the butt is beyond the left heel pad. Try this yourself to see what I mean.  Swing the club freely with just your left hand and notice the difference in its release from when you hold it at the end of the grip, versus gripping down even a half inch.

To help you really understand how this works, go to the range and hit shots with your five-iron gripped down a full inch to make the club the same length as your seven-iron. You will probably see an amazing shot shape difference, and likely not see as much distance loss as you would expect.

Too much lower (right) hand on the club

It seems like almost all golfers of 8-10 handicap or higher have the club too far into the palm of the lower hand, because that feels “good” if you are trying to control the path of the clubhead to the ball. But the golf swing is not an effort to hit at the ball – it is a swing of the club. The proper hold on the club has the grip underneath the pad at the base of the fingers. This will likely feel “weak” to you — like you cannot control the club like that. EXACTLY. You should not be trying to control the club with your lower/master hand.

Gripping too tightly

Nearly all golfers hold the club too tightly, which tenses up the forearms and prevents a proper release of the club through impact. In order for the club to move back and through properly, you must feel that the club is controlled by the last three fingers of the upper hand, and the middle two fingers of the lower hand. If you engage your thumbs and forefingers in “holding” the club, the result will almost always be a grip that is too tight. Try this for yourself. Hold the club in your upper hand only, and squeeze firmly with just the last three fingers, with the forefinger and thumb off the club entirely. You have good control, but your forearms are not tense. Then begin to squeeze down with your thumb and forefinger and observe the tensing of the entire forearm. This is the way we are made, so the key to preventing tenseness in the arms is to hold the club very lightly with the “pinchers” — the thumbs and forefingers.

So, those are what I believe are the four fundamentals of a good grip. Anyone can learn them in their home or office very quickly. There is no easier way to improve your ball striking consistency and add distance than giving more attention to the way you hold the golf club.

More from the Wedge Guy

Your Reaction?
  • 83
  • LEGIT13
  • WOW5
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP4
  • OB1
  • SHANK8

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Vincenzi’s 2024 Texas Children’s Houston Open betting preview

Published

on

As the Florida swing comes to an end, the PGA Tour makes its way to Houston to play the Texas Children’s Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course.

This will be the fourth year that Memorial Park Golf Course will serve as the tournament host. The event did not take place in 2023, but the course hosted the event in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Memorial Park is a par-70 layout measuring 7,432 yards and features Bermudagrass greens. Historically, the main defense for the course has been thick rough along the fairways and tightly mown runoff areas around the greens. Memorial Park has a unique setup that features three Par 5’s and five Par 3’s.

The field will consist of 132 players, with the top 65 and ties making the cut. There are some big names making the trip to Houston, including Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Tony Finau, Will Zalatoris and Sahith Theegala.

Past Winners at Memorial Park

  • 2022: Tony Finau (-16)
  • 2021: Jason Kokrak (-10)
  • 2020: Carlos Ortiz (-13)

In this article and going forward, I’ll be using the Rabbit Hole by Betsperts Golf data engine to develop my custom model. If you want to build your own model or check out all of the detailed stats, you can sign up using promo code: MATTVIN for 25% off any subscription package (yearly is best value). 

Key Stats For Memorial Park

Let’s take a look at several metrics for Memorial Park to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds:

Strokes Gained: Approach

Memorial Park is a pretty tough golf course. Golfers are penalized for missing greens and face some difficult up and downs to save par. Approach will be key.

Total Strokes Gained: Approach per round in past 24 rounds:

  1. Tom Hoge (+1.30)
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+1.26)
  3. Keith Mitchell (+0.97) 
  4. Tony Finau (+0.92)
  5. Jake Knapp (+0.84)

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

Memorial Park is a long golf course with rough that can be penal. Therefore, a combination of distance and accuracy is the best metric.

Total Strokes Gained: Off the Tee per round in past 24 rounds:

  1. Scottie Scheffler (+0.94)
  2. Kevin Dougherty (+0.93)
  3. Cameron Champ (+0.86)
  4. Rafael Campos (+0.84)
  5. Si Woo Kim (+0.70)

Strokes Gained Putting: Bermudagrass + Fast

The Bermudagrass greens played fairly fast the past few years in Houston. Jason Kokrak gained 8.7 strokes putting on his way to victory in 2021 and Tony Finau gained in 7.8 in 2022.

Total Strokes Gained Putting (Bermudagrass) per round past 24 rounds (min. 8 rounds):

  1. Adam Svensson (+1.27)
  2. Harry Hall (+1.01)
  3. Martin Trainer (+0.94)
  4. Taylor Montgomery (+0.88)
  5. S.H. Kim (+0.86)

Strokes Gained: Around the Green

With firm and undulating putting surfaces, holding the green on approach shots may prove to be a challenge. Memorial Park has many tightly mowed runoff areas, so golfers will have challenging up-and-down’s around the greens. Carlos Ortiz gained 5.7 strokes around the green on the way to victory in 2020.

Total Strokes Gained: Around the Green per round in past 24 rounds:

  1. Mackenzie Hughes (+0.76)
  2. S.H. Kim (+0.68)
  3. Scottie Scheffler (+0.64)
  4. Jorge Campillo (+0.62)
  5. Jason Day (+0.60)

Strokes Gained: Long and Difficult

Memorial Park is a long and difficult golf course. This statistic will incorporate players who’ve had success on these types of tracks in the past. 

Total Strokes Gained: Long and Difficult in past 24 rounds:

  1. Scottie Scheffler (+2.45)
  2. Ben Griffin (+1.75)
  3. Will Zalatoris (+1.73)
  4. Ben Taylor (+1.53)
  5. Tony Finau (+1.42)

Course History

Here are the players who have performed the most consistently at Memorial Park. 

Strokes Gained Total at Memorial Park past 12 rounds:

  1. Tyson Alexander (+3.65)
  2. Ben Taylor (+3.40)
  3. Tony Finau (+2.37)
  4. Joel Dahmen (+2.25)
  5. Patton Kizzire (+2.16)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (24%) SG: OTT (24%); SG: Putting Bermudagrass/Fast (13%); SG: Long and Difficult (13%); SG: ARG (13%) and Course History (13%)

  1. Scottie Scheffler
  2. Wyndham Clark
  3. Tony Finau
  4. Joel Dahmen
  5. Stephan Jaeger 
  6. Aaron Rai
  7. Sahith Theegala
  8. Keith Mitchell 
  9. Jhonnatan Vegas
  10. Jason Day
  11. Kurt Kitayama
  12. Alex Noren
  13. Will Zalatoris
  14. Si Woo Kim
  15. Adam Long

2024 Texas Children’s Houston Open Picks

Will Zalatoris +2000 (Caesars)

Scottie Scheffler will undoubtedly be difficult to beat this week, so I’m starting my card with someone who I believe has the talent to beat him if he doesn’t have his best stuff.

Will Zalatoris missed the cut at the PLAYERS, but still managed to gain strokes on approach while doing so. In an unpredictable event with extreme variance, I don’t believe it would be wise to discount Zalatoris based on that performance. Prior to The PLAYERS, the 27-year-old finished T13, T2 and T4 in his previous three starts.

Zalatoris plays his best golf on long and difficult golf courses. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks 3rd in the category, but the eye test also tells a similar story. He’s contended at major championships and elevated events in the best of fields with tough scoring conditions.  The Texas resident should be a perfect fit at Memorial Park Golf Club.

Alex Noren +4500 (FanDuel)

Alex Noren has been quietly playing some of his best golf of the last half decade this season. The 41-year-old is coming off back-to-back top-20 finishes in Florida including a T9 at The PLAYERS in his most recent start.

In his past 24 rounds, Noren ranks 21st in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 30th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 25th in Strokes Gained: Total on long and difficult courses and 21st in Strokes Gained: Putting on fast Bermudagrass greens.

In addition to his strong recent play, the Swede also has played well at Memorial Park. In 2022, Noren finished T4 at the event, gaining 2.2 strokes off the tee and 7.0 strokes on approach for the week. In his two starts at the course, he’s gained an average of .6 strokes per round on the field, indicating he is comfortable on these greens.

Noren has been due for a win for what feels like an eternity, but Memorial Park may be the course that suits him well enough for him to finally get his elusive first PGA Tour victory.

Mackenzie Hughes +8000 (FanDuel)

Mackenzie Hughes found himself deep into contention at last week’s Valspar Championship before faltering late and finishing in a tie for 3rd place. While he would have loved to win the event, it’s hard to see the performance as anything other than an overwhelming positive sign for the Canadian.

Hughes has played great golf at Memorial Park in the past. He finished T7 in 2020, T29 in 2021 and T16 in 2022. The course fit seems to be quite strong for Hughes. He’s added distance off the tee in the past year or and ranks 8th in the field for apex height, which will be a key factor when hitting into Memorial Park’s elevated greens with steep run-off areas.

In his past 24 rounds, Hughes is the best player in the field in Strokes Gained: Around the Greens. The ability to scramble at this course will be extremely important. I believe Hughes can build off of his strong finish last week and contend once again to cement himself as a President’s Cup consideration.

Akshay Bhatia +8000 (FanDuel)

Akshay Bhatia played well last week at the Valspar and seemed to be in total control of his golf ball. He finished in a tie for 17th and shot an impressive -3 on a difficult Sunday. After struggling Thursday, Akshay shot 68-70-68 in his next three rounds.

Thus far, Bhatia has played better at easier courses, but his success at Copperhead may be due to his game maturing. The 22-year-old has enormous potential and the raw talent to be one of the best players in the world when he figures it all out.

Bhatia is a high upside play with superstar qualities and may just take the leap forward to the next stage of his career in the coming months.

Cameron Champ +12000 (FanDuel)

Cameron Champ is a player I often target in the outright betting market due to his “boom-or-bust” nature. It’s hard to think of a player in recent history with three PGA Tour wins who’s been as inconsistent as Champ has over the course of his career.

Despite the erratic play, Cam Champ simply knows how to win. He’s won in 2018, 2019 and 2021, so I feel he’s due for a win at some point this season. The former Texas A&M product should be comfortable in Texas and last week he showed us that his game is in a pretty decent spot.

Over his past 24 rounds, Champ ranks 3rd in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 30th in Strokes Gained: Total on long and difficult courses. Given his ability to spike at any given time, Memorial Park is a good golf course to target Champ on at triple digit odds.

Robert MacIntyre +12000 (FanDuel)

The challenge this week is finding players who can possibly beat Scottie Scheffler while also not dumping an enormous amount of money into an event that has a player at the top that looks extremely dangerous. Enter McIntyre, who’s another boom-or-bust type player who has the ceiling to compete with anyone when his game is clicking on all cylinders.

In his past 24 rounds, MacIntyre ranks 16th in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 17th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green and 10th in Strokes Gained: Total on long and difficult courses.

MacIntyre’s PGA Tour season has gotten off to a slow start, but he finished T6 in Mexico, which is a course where players will hit driver on the majority of their tee shots, which is what we will see at Memorial Park. Texas can also get quite windy, which should suit MacIntyre. Last July, the Scot went toe to toe with Rory McIlroy at the Scottish Open before a narrow defeat. It would take a similar heroic effort to compete with Scheffler this year in Houston.

Ryan Moore +15000 (FanDuel)

Ryan Moore’s iron play has been absolutely unconscious over his past few starts. At The PLAYERS Championship in a loaded field, he gained 6.1 strokes on approach and last week at Copperhead, he gained 9.0 strokes on approach.

It’s been a rough handful of years on Tour for the 41-year-old, but he is still a five-time winner on the PGA Tour who’s young enough for a career resurgence. Moore has chronic deterioration in a costovertebral joint that connects the rib to the spine, but has been getting more consistent of late, which is hopefully a sign that he is getting healthy.

Veterans have been contending in 2024 and I believe taking a flier on a proven Tour play who’s shown signs of life is a wise move at Memorial Park.

 

Your Reaction?
  • 15
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Ryan: Why the race to get better at golf might be doing more harm than good

Published

on

B.F. Skinner was one of the most important psychologists of the 20th century, developing the foundation of the development of reinforcement, and in doing so, creating the concept of behaviorism. In simple terms, this means that we are conditioned by our habits. In practical terms, it explains the divide between the few and far between elite instructors and college coaches.

To understand the application, let’s quickly review one of B.F. Skinner’s most important experiments; superstitions in the formation of behavior by pigeons. In this experiment, food was dispensed to pigeons at random intervals. Soon, according to Skinner, the pigeons began to associate whatever action they were doing at the time of the food being dispensed. According to Skinner, this conditioned that response and soon, they simply haphazardly repeated the action, failing to distinguish between cause and correlation (and in the meantime, looking really funny!).

Now, this is simply the best way to describe the actions of most every women’s college golf coach and too many instructors in America. They see something work, get positive feedback and then become conditioned to give the feedback, more and more, regardless of if it works (this is also why tips from your buddies never work!).

Go to a college event, particularly a women’s one, and you will see coaches running all over the place. Like the pigeons in the experiment, they have been conditioned into a codependent relationship with their players in which they believe their words and actions, can transform a round of golf. It is simply hilarious while being equally perturbing

In junior golf, it’s everywhere. Junior golf academies make a living selling parents that a hysterical coach and over-coaching are essential ingredients in your child’s success.

Let’s be clear, no one of any intellect has any real interest in golf — because it’s not that interesting. The people left, including most coaches and instructors, carve out a small fiefdom, usually on the corner of the range, where they use the illusion of competency to pray on people. In simple terms, they baffle people with the bullshit of pseudo-science that they can make you better, after just one more lesson.

The reality is that life is an impromptu game. The world of golf, business, and school have a message that the goal is being right. This, of course, is bad advice, being right in your own mind is easy, trying to push your ideas on others is hard. As a result, it is not surprising that the divorce rate among golf professionals and their instructors is 100 percent. The transfer rate among college players continues to soar, and too many courses have a guy peddling nefarious science to good people. In fact, we do at my course!

The question is, what impact does all this have on college-age and younger kids? At this point, we honestly don’t know. However, I am going to go out on a limb and say it isn’t good.

Soren Kierkegaard once quipped “I saw it for what it is, and I laughed.” The actions of most coaches and instructors in America are laughable. The problem is that I am not laughing because they are doing damage to kids, as well as driving good people away from this game.

The fact is that golfers don’t need more tips, secrets, or lessons. They need to be presented with a better understanding of the key elements of golf. With this understanding, they can then start to frame which information makes sense and what doesn’t. This will emancipate them and allow them to take charge of their own development.

Your Reaction?
  • 14
  • LEGIT5
  • WOW1
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK11

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending