Barney's June 2020 Newsletter
Updated: Jan 22
Certainly levels of optimism in golf are completely different as we approach July than they were at the beginning of April. The pandemic had taken hold of the country and our economic future in golf and all areas looked bleak. Although I would be one of many saying as a society we must be careful, certainly there is some light at the end of the tunnel and it isn't a train!
During our cautious return from lock down a curious phenomenon has taken place in golf and golfers are rediscovering their love of the game and certainly the value of being a member at a golf club. It was great to see 100 plus members join Mid Herts and speaking to my friends in the trad the level of interest in our game is high. The fun 9 hole course I help out with at Wheathampstead is experiencing record levels of play and a tee sheet that is 90% full. I know there are various views on tee times, however with social distancing being in for the foreseeable, I imagine it will certainly be required until the end of the summer.
From a personal stand point my lesson diary is full and I really enjoy having the following conversations approximately 3 to 5 times a day.
"Hi Barney how are you and are you back coaching yet?"
"Great thanks, how's your golf been since coming back?"
"Well you wouldn't believe it (Oh yes I would :-) but the first time back was really good. The next game or two it started to go off and now I can't hit my hat!"
It is strange when we have no expectation we trust our games and our swing. Then feeling we could get just a little more from it, we hit it a bit harder and lose a small amount of control. The next stage is a few of our golfing gremlins reappearing and it's time for a lesson!
I am hopeful that with my friends at David Short Golf we will be able to operate abroad this Autumn / Winter and we are certainly putting on a few UK dates from next month (subject to government guidelines) and will see how that pans out.
Of course over the lock down period we have all had time to read, study and watch all sorts of things time does not normally allow.
Certainly on my own viewing habits I started off really well by watching some excellent French, German and Danish subtitled dramas and some programmes on Art which fascinates me. Sadly as time progressed my brain became dulled and I ended up watching the bizarre documentary - Tiger King and its lead character Joe Exotic which probably tells you all you need to know. For those of you fortunate enough not to have seen it, it's about Big Cat ownership in America of which there are 10,000 with only 4,000 in the wild. Suffice to say watching it, you find truth stranger than fiction and a cast of cartoon like characters. Glad I'm now so busy I don't have time for TV!
On the up side I was involved with some excellent discussions with other "resting" teaching professionals, as we looked at the current crop of terrific golfers and those of yesteryear. In this category one of favourite finds was Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, featuring the greats of back in the day. The favourite game which is well worth a view on YouTube is Jack Nicklaus v Sam Snead at Pebble Beach in 1963. At the time Nicklaus is around 23 years old and the sweet swinging Sam Snead early 50's. There are some great shots and bearing in mind with the technology of the day, the match could take 8 hours to film and in fact some of the matches went into a second day. It is rather heart warming in one of the games I saw, the players walked off the 9th in bright sunlight only to walk up the 10th in overcast conditions and dew on the ground!
Looking at the longevity of both players is quite remarkable with Sam Snead finishing 4th in the USPGA Championship when he was 64 years old in 1974. in 1979 he actually beat his age twice in a regular Tour event which is an amazing feat. Jack Nick;aus had 73 top 10 finishes in Major Championships over a mind boggling 38 year span (1960 - 1998).
It was great fun to study these players and whilst the golf swing has evolved, how we arrive at impact with the ball has not. Certainly plenty of great pointers to us in upcoming lessons for players of all abilities.
Hope this helps and enjoy your upcoming golf and if you need a post lock down tune up you know where to find me.
Stay Safe and Stay Sane
Fellow of the PGA