Barney's June 2019 Newsletter
Updated: Jul 15, 2019
Finally the green keepers prayers have been answered and this week looks great for giving our golf courses a good soaking. Everywhere I have been that does not have fairway watering, has been suffering, so allied to some nice heat next week we will have some nice growth. I have been fortunate with plenty of coaching opportunities and a couple of playing ones too. With some friends we played the excellent Burnham and Berrow near Bristol. A classic links test with a very welcoming Club and members and great fish and chips too! Locally, I played The Shire designed by Seve as it has been a few years since I visited the course. I have to say it is in terrific condition with greens running at 11 on the stimp meter, which certainly tested our pace putting.
It is interesting when coaching, as we are always looking at new ways to address the golfing challenges. We do this with various drills and mindsets and I find golfers fall into two categories, which I call Artists and Scientists. By that I mean some players look at golf through pictures and feel and some are artistic, whereas others need the details and theory so are more scientifically oriented.
It is not to say one process is is better than another, it is just how we are wired as individuals. Certainly from my youth, I would have said Seve was the ultimate artist and played the game with passion and creativity. On the other hand Nick Faldo was far more precise in his play and general outlook and left no stone unturned in his quest for the perfect swing. In the modern game the aptly named "mad scientist", Bryson DeChambeau with his thoughts on air pressure, ball compression and position on the golf course relative to the moon, has both his feet firmly planted in science! Whereas world number 42 the free wheeling Irishman, Shane Lowry comes from the "If I can see it, I can hit it and if I can hit is I can hole it!" school. As in life, it's all about embracing the different approaches and enjoying what they bring.
Speaking of Instruction, I was fortunate enough to be asked to produce a booklet "Build a Better Game" with Ryder Cup player and Tour Winner Andy Sullivan and it is in the July Edition (on the shelves now) of Golf Monthly. It is billed as 36 pages of game changing advice, so if you manage to read it, I hope it does!
Of course, the other side of playing the game is the emotional side and I happened upon an article about Danish LPGA player Nanna Madsen who has an unusual method in dealing with her emotions on the course. Her secret is sucking on a piece of lemon! In the recent LA Open a third round 67 brought her right up the leader board. On the 11th hole she three putted (always good to get the blood boiling) and she promptly pulled out a lemon wedge and started sucking on it. Three birdies in the last 7 holes seems to prove that you can give your emotions the pip! Nanna says it takes her mind off her emotions as the unique taste tends to make you focus on just that, which I have to agree with. Although in last weeks US Open she shot 66 in the 3rd round with 5 birdies and an eagle. Her golf was so serene the lemons were not required.
This week is the men's US Open at Pebble Beach so putting my legendary predicting skills to the test, here are my thoughts. Clearly the man in Major form is Brooks Koepka and looking for three Opens in a row. I think it will be 3rd time unlucky, however I'm going for a former Major winner Adam Scott. He has played well on links before and arguably should have won an Open Championship. His games Achilles heel has been the putting, but with now being able to leave the pin in, he seems to have found a rich vein of form this season. South African Branden Grace, first man to break the 63 barrier in a Major (Royal Birkdale) is a good each way prospect. He flights the ball really low and is a deft putter. It will be terrific and being played on the iconic Pebble Beach, just adds another dynamic to this tough event.
All the best
Fellow of the PGA