PGA Champion Tour Summary

10/12/12 I have been out on the Champions Tour the past two weeks inNorth Carolina.  My purpose was to work with players as they choose on their putting technique and to promote my grooved grip technology.  In short I want players to put the grips in play.

At Prestonwood Golf Club inCary,NCI worked with Bernard Langer for the first time.  He came up to talk about the SAMPutt Lab and the grooved grip.  Notice I said “he came up”.  I still hold to my original premise of not approaching any player.  I leave it to them to approach me.  I learned long ago in orthopedic practice where I treated many now Hall of Fame athletes to not invade their territory.

Back to Langer:  He went on the machine.  He saw his results.  He asked for my suggestions on how to correct same.  I game my opinion.  We went back on the machine and he saw the issue was promptly corrected.  He then asked that I put the grooved grip on his alternate putter.  I never stay for the tournament and moved on to Hickory, NCover the weekend. Bernard won at Prestonwood.  He was 10th in putts per round and 1st in putts in greens in regulation.  I hoped he had used the groove putter technology.  I spoke to him atHickory to learn, he did not.  He expressed appreciation for my help and said he would “keep tinkering” with the grooved grips.  Of course I was disappointed.  I thought we had our first win with the grooved grip technology.

At the Red Barn Course inHickory,NCthe last four days have been the most productive of all my time on tour.  So many players asked for instruction and many asked to put the grip in play.

Jeff Sluman has used the grooved grip technology since June on the long putter.  He says his putting is terrible so he switched back to shorter putter.  We worked together for several hours.  I pointed out some drills he could do and next day his technique was much better.  Out of curiosity I looked at his stats and learned the “terrible” in his mind was actually 14th in putts when hitting the green in regulation and 24th in total putts on the Tour.  This reality check gives you an idea of the standard these tour players want to achieve.  He has a traditional grip on the short putter and I never try to “sell”.  I just try to help.

The next “terrible putter” asked for an appointment.  He is a “top 30” player on tour.  The next day I worked him in.  We went on the machine to profile his technique and learned he hit all his putts to the left.  He says he occasionally has a good “streak” but most of the time is just afraid to hit the putt.  Everything in this stroke is really good, but he aims left and hits left.   I ask to look at his putter.  I was shocked.  The grip was on in such a way that the face was open almost 10 degrees.  No wonder he aims left.  We changed his grip to a mid size grooved grip.  We showed him the grip was on straight with use of a laser.  Suddenly he aims at the hole and more relaxed and confident.

I worked with another player who shot 67 in the Monday qualifier.  I had worked with him 11 years ago when he was on the Nationwide tour.  It was inCleveland,OH.  His name is very memorable, although not a prominent player.  He hits all putts one half inch towards the toe.  Wow!  The reason was very evident.  His putter shaft entered the putter head dead center. I had seen this before.  The putter shaft in the center obstructs the player’s view of the ball and therefore during the stroke they move the putter head towards their body to better view the ball at impact.  I showed him my putters what were properly shafted.  He was appreciative, but did not want to change.  He wanted grooved grips to try next week.

I am recording these encounters as there were so many various “issues” even with these seasoned players at this high level of play.

Another player, new to the Champions tour wanted to work with me.  He went on the machine and had very good technique in every parameter.  He did no know he was so good.  I gave him reinforcement supported by evidence.  What was really funny was the later that day and the next he kept coming back wanting to putt the exact putt I had set up for testing as though there was something magical about that place on the earth.  Later he wanted to do the grip testing with the driver.  He hit it with his driver and found it was near center and high and each impact was dispersed, not on tope of one another.  With the test driver he hit all the shots on top of one another, to his amazement.  Jerry Pate who I know well was standing by and saw the results.  He asked “you only hit this once?  No, five times.  Wow!  Jerry the reflected he did this test last year, but never put the grips in play after the one tournament inIowa.   He has grips.  He said, maybe I better try them.”  Now back to the player.  He was shocked.  He wanted affirmation that his driver was pretty good.  Yes, it was but not close to the test driver, he never had in his hands before and hit it dead center.  He wanted the tape to stay on his driver and keep trying to hit it in the middle without a grooved grip.  After twenty hits they were all the same.  He thought he could do it with practice without the grooved grip.  No such luck.  He wanted grips to try for next week at home.  Fine.  I continue to be amazed at the personalities and reasoning of the PGA tour player.

This next story really takes the cake.  A very good player on this tour came up to me and engaged me in conversation.  Many players had seen me working with Langer last week and that spread fast through the locker room.  Others have seen me working with Bob Tway, Mark McNulty, Brad Faxon, so they want to know what I am doing.  This player went on the machine and was shocked to see his fundamentals; not good.  I showed him the corrections.  He was good enough to do them.  Our conversation continued and asked about all the things I was working on.  For reason, known only to him, he said, “I want to work with you.  I will do everything you tell me.  I know you can make me better.”  I said, “Really, not so fast.  There is safety in many counselors.  You should be free to talk to many people.’  “No, I want to stick with you as much as possible related to the time you will give me and I will do everything.”  I cannot understand why others would not want to tap into you knowledge and what you prove with evidence.”  So next day we go down and do the driver impact test.   He hits his driver and then the test driver out of a barrel at a driving range, but with my groove grip on it.  He hits his driver very well, but with impacts dispersed across the face.  He hits the test driver with groove grips with higher trajectory and about 20-30 yards farther.  This driver does not fit him as it has a regular shaft and different loft, plus he did not even have a practice swing which is our test routine.   The test driver impact spots are on top of one another and more to the center.  He is shocked.  This guy who the day before could not understand why anyone who saw these type of evidence would not do it, joined the ranks of those who would not put this grip one.  It was fun for me to see, a tour player who one day could intellectually grasp the idea, but when it was personal, he was no different than the others.  He finally settled down and said he wanted grips to test in the off week.  I had a big smile inside, but not outside.  The psychology of showing a tour player something they cannot believe will cause this type of reaction.

Many players took putter grips to put in play.  Still very few want the driver/iron grips even with such evidence by their own testing.  Go figure!  These are just a few of the stories from the last two weeks.  I would get tired typing if I related them all.  Pretty amazing experience out here on tour.