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19th Hole

Professional golfers who have never had a lesson

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“Swing your swing. Not some idea of a swing, not a swing you saw on TV, or swing you wish you had. No, swing your swing.”

Arnold Palmer’s words have been quoted for years, and over time, it’s been proved that distinctive swings can more than get the job done in the professional sphere of golf.

But what about those who take it that one step further and not only swing their own swing but reach the upper echelons of the game without even taking lessons? While it is rare, some players are entirely self-taught and have had major success in the sport.

Here we’ll take a look at some tour pros that have used the swing they were blessed with to forge both a living and a legacy in the game.

Professional golfers who have never had a lesson

Lee Trevino won six major championships. Here he is after winning the 1972 Open Championship, his second Claret Jug.

Bubba Watson

The most-well know self-taught genius is Bubba Watson.

Watson taught himself to play as a kid by hitting whiffle balls in loops around his house, and his journey has taken him right to the very top, with 12 PGA Tour wins to his name, including two Masters titles.

The American taught himself to swing harder and harder as he progressed and invented his own version of golf: ‘Bubba Golf’, which involves Bubba often hitting either a giant cut or draw. 

His rope hook shot during the 2012 Masters playoff was the perfect example of a self-taught genius at work. No other player on tour would have seen the shot, let alone pull it off.

Lee Trevino

Lee Trevino’s career is highlighted by 6 major triumphs, and another perfect example of how your unique and individual swing can’t be taught but only learned.

After being discharged from the Marines, Trevino took a job as a club pro in El Paso, Texas and made side money gambling on himself in head to head matchups.

He would famously say about his swing: “No one who ever had lessons would have a swing like mine.”

Moe Norman

The Canadian, Moe Norman, is considered one of the best ball strikers of all time and was given the nickname “Pipeline Moe” out of respect for how pure he hit the ball.

The stories regarding Norman’s self-taught swing are legendary, with tales of how he could hit hundreds of balls without touching a blade of grass. 

Vijay Singh called him a genius, while Tiger Woods once said that Moe Norman and Ben Hogan were the only two golfers to “own their swings.”

Jim Herman

Another current pro who has never had a lesson is Jim Herman. Herman started at the age of 9 and learned the game by playing daily at Shawnee Lookout Golf Course in North Bend. The American plied his trade as an assistant pro and ironically an instructor before making it onto the PGA Tour.

Since then, Herman, who says “things like course management and strategy get ignored in the beginning stages of instruction”, has gone on to win three times on the PGA Tour.

As far as owning your own swing, Jim Furyk is another excellent example, whose only ever coach has been his father. While Luke Donald  throughout his career would only occasionally seek the council of his college golf coach, Pat Goss at Northwestern.

To succeed in a sport like golf is hard enough, but to do it without any lessons is almost miraculous. Are there any self-taught professionals we’ve missed? Let us know if so!

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Stephan Lechner

    May 9, 2021 at 6:57 am

    I think Rocco Mediate was self taught I remember hearing it during a broadcast

  2. Bladehunter

    Mar 29, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Anybody saying moe who is simply too blind to see.

    Pure genius at work. His mental hurdles only kept him from being wealthy and famous. They didn’t cause him to strike a golf ball. You see. That drive comes form the high hurdles you have to cross when you have learning disabilities. It’s not some auto pilot gift. It takes 10x the work of capable folks. The secret is the work . Don’t demonize him for working hard. Demonize those who are born able mind and body and are just too lazy to do the work.

  3. B.S.A.

    Mar 27, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    I’m pretty sure Ben Hogan never had a lesson either, as was common in his day.

    • Martin

      Mar 27, 2021 at 7:33 pm

      I think he learned from Henry Picard. But Im sure there are other golfers who knows more about this. But you could claim that he was the best instructor himself.

    • Evan

      Mar 28, 2021 at 4:40 pm

      He may not of had formal lessons, but he watched and learned from Stan Leonard, Sam Byrd, Henry Picard, Jimmy Demaret, and of course Byron Nelson who he always looked up to. Hogan was far from a self-taught golfer.

  4. AM19

    Mar 27, 2021 at 9:55 am

    JB Holmes worked with Matt Killeen for atleast 7 years, so no idea why he’s on this list

  5. MOE NORMAM

    Mar 27, 2021 at 3:52 am

    Cool article thank you ! Moe Norman hands down all day every day accross all galaxies ! His heart was pured in the best sst puring machine , his swing makes Freddy and Tiger watch in awe , he could use one tee for year , he would have fun by playing holes backwards (leaving a longer shot into green than tee shot can go) , he hit it OB only once !
    NONE OF THE OTHER MENTIONEES are able to have Moe s resume and philosophy ! That s why Moe is the best , to understand in human terms he is a prophet , in DBZ terms he is Broli

    • Moe Who?

      Mar 28, 2021 at 11:14 am

      He has no resume. If he was as great as you seem to think he was, he would have won things. And before you say, “well, he had mental issues,” those same mental issues were most likely the cause of his obsession and what little success he did have. So, if you take away his mental issues, you’re left with probably nothing. He was a one-off, quirky guy with mental deficiencies and a knack for the game, far from the excellence you espouse.

      • Frank

        Mar 28, 2021 at 7:52 pm

        Made 25/32 cuts on PGA Tour including 5/5 cuts on the Champions Tour, shot 59 three times and broke over 30 course records, has multiple Canadian Tour wins… Not to mention 3 world #1 golfers Nick Falso, Nick Price, and Fred Couples together watched him hit balls and were super impressed, there is a photo of this instance all over the internet. How many 59’s have you shot and have you ever hit it well enough for 3 world #1 golfers to come watch you?

  6. Jack

    Mar 26, 2021 at 8:53 am

    I don’t think Larry Nelson ever had any formal instruction. He taught himself to play based on Hogan’s book.

    • Cagel

      Mar 27, 2021 at 8:45 am

      Good call, that’s qho I was about to mention as well. Also started at like 25 I think. Maybe the most underrated American golfer ever. It was a pure politics and a travesty that he never was a Ryder Cup captain. His career was much better than either DL III or Dave Stockton. Don’t believe me go look him up, 3 majors and a 9-3-1 record in Ryder Cups.

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19th Hole

MLB All-Star sued for $64k by North Carolina Country Club

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Booking tee-times has often been a contentious issue even for the most private of clubs, but San Diego Padres star, Will Myers, has found his frustrations leading to the courts.

According to a recent report by The Charlotte Observer, Myers and his wife, Margaret, joined Carmel Country Club in ‘lockdown’ year 2020 after issues with his previous club, problems that included availability of tee-times due to high demand.

Per the report, after paying 20 percent of his $80,000 initiation fee, the remainder was to be paid annually over a period of four years. However, with golf experiencing a boom during the year of the pandemic, tee times were again hard to obtain and in December 2020, the Myers’ resigned and cancelled their membership.

In response to his resignation, Carmel then charged the couple for the remainder of the fee – $64,000 – and set a date of December 2020 for the amount due. They then took to the courts in March 2021 to find the couple countersuing three months later, stating they had suffered |knowing misinterpretations and commissions.”

Court filings state that the MLB star “found it almost impossible to find a tee-time and frequently could not even use the driving range.”

Carmel denied all accusations and would go on to say that the COVID-19 pandemic “immediately and overwhelmingly altered the lifestyles and available leisure activities for all members of the club.”

The trial is set for February 2022.

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19th Hole

The Match V: Brooks vs Bryson – Full Viewer’s Guide

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Those with long memories might recall the halcyon days of television’s Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, a series of two or three-player stroke-play ‘match’ events that showed many of the top golfers of the day in light-hearted but competitive action over 18 holes.

Players such as Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam were some of the miked-up stars that thrilled the crowd and viewers with their comments throughout the hour or so of recorded coverage.

Not in their wildest dreams could they envisage that 27 years later, we would get to a point where two golfers meet in what has become a huge grudge match, with both Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka ramping up the hate over the past few months and even further over the past couple of days.

Cartoon hate or real? Either way, this made-for-TV match has the golfing public eagerly awaiting the best of-12 hole bout and here is the outline of how, when and what this is all about.

Take a look at the figures and hop over to Matt Vincenzi’s article on all the betting odds available and his final verdict.

  • TV: TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN.
  • When: Friday November 26th 4pm E.T 1pm P.T
  • Where: Wynn Golf Club, Las Vegas
  • Commentators: Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley
  • Play-by-play: Brian Anderson
  • On-course: Amanda Balionis
  • Format: 12-hole Matchplay
  • Bonus (charity holes): 3-6-7-9-11

And as they want to play it like a boxing match, let’s have a ‘Tale Of The Tape’:

                                      Bryson vs Brooks

 

Is it all nonsense? is it all genuine? Is it all for PIP (Player Impact Programme) income?

Who knows. Whatever, it’s going to be the best ‘The Match’ yet.

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19th Hole

The Match V: Brooks vs Bryson – Top prop bets and who we’re picking to win

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“The Match V”: Brooks Koepka vs Bryson DeChambeau is all set to take place at Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 26th at 4:00 PM ET.

For those who want to make the event a bit more interesting, there are plenty of betting options in the prop market for the Brooks Bryson showdown.

Odds via betonline.ag

  • Bryson is a slight favorite to win the Match at 4/5.
  • A hole-in-one by either player pays 50/1.
  • Bryson is the obvious favorite for the longest drive however, Brooks is getting nearly 4/1 on this prop.
  • A blowout match decided by hole 9 or earlier pays 11/2.
Winner of The Match V
American Odds
Fractional Odds
Bryson DeChambeau
-125
4/5
Brooks Koepka
+105
21/20
Both Drives to Find Green on 12?
No
-2500
1/25
Yes
+900
9/1
DeChambeau Drive to Find Green on 12?
No
-240
5/12
Yes
+200
2/1
Koepka Drive to Find Green on 12?
No
-300
1/3
Yes
+250
5/2
Closest to Pin on Par-3 11th Hole?
Bryson DeChambeau
-110
10/11
Brooks Koepka
-110
10/11
Either Player to Hit a Hole-in-One?
Yes
+5000
50/1
First to Break Par on a Hole?
Tie
+130
13/10
Bryson DeChambeau
+190
19/10
Brooks Koepka
+210
21/10
Leader After 1st Hole?
Tie
-130
10/13
Brooks Koepka
+270
27/10
Bryson DeChambeau
+270
27/10
Leader Thru Six Holes?
Bryson DeChambeau
+160
8/5
Tie
+175
7/4
Brooks Koepka
+195
39/20
Longest Drive?
Bryson DeChambeau
-500
1/5
Brooks Koepka
+395
79/20
Match Settled By Play-off?
No
-300
1/3
Yes
+250
5/2
Total Holes Conceded
Under 2½ Holes
-180
5/9
Over 2½ Holes
+160
8/5
When will The Match be decided?
After a Play-off
+250
5/2
Hole 12
+300
3/1
Hole 11
+325
13/4
Hole 10
+400
4/1
Hole 9 or Earlier
+550
11/2

The Match V: Best Bets

Winner of The Match V: Bryson DeChambeau -125

For these types of events, I typically tend to side with the underdog due to the variance that can occur in a single match. With the match being only 12 holes, the outcome becomes even more unpredictable. However, there are a few reasons why I still believe that the value lies with DeChambeau at a slight -125 favorite.

For starters, DeChambeau has experience in this type of event. Aaron Rodgers and Bryson appeared in the match last year and defeated Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson quite convincingly. After a slow start, Bryson really appeared to gradually settle in as the match went along and should have a better idea of what to expect this time around.

Additionally, DeChambeau is just playing much better golf than Koepka recently. In their past 24 rounds, DeChambeau ranks 9th on Tour for Strokes Gained: Total whereas Koepka ranks 121st of 150 qualified golfers. Brooks is also coming off of back to back missed cuts at Mayakoba and The Houston Open.

While it is entirely possible that Koepka’s killer instinct kick in as he attempts to take down DeChambeau (who I genuinely believe he truly dislikes), I am siding with the guy who is simply a better golfer right now as a slight favorite.

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