Observations of Another and New Wedges because the grooves were worn off

Hi Bob.  I keep a journal to reflect on and record what I learn in lessons.  I just thought I would share my entry from Wednesday.

 Wednesday 4/12: I watched Bob coach a very good amateur.  

 Mr. Dan Sivadge

Coach introduced me to Dan Sivadge who he described as one of the best and most competitive amateur golfers in southern CA.  This golfer said he hadn’t golfed in 3 months which was a longer break than he had ever taken in his life.  He seemed a bit frustrated because he had lost control over his shot shape and lost his “feel” at impact. 

He asked coach to look at his stance and ball position and swing. Bob took pictures of him at address with his 9, 6, and driver.  Coach said there was nothing wrong with his set up or his swing.  He would not give the golfer advice – saying it would be very bad to start “chasing geese” as the golfer regains familiarity with his swing.   

Coach then asked the golfer the same question several times and wouldn’t let the golfer dodge it – “in the next 1000 balls, how many do you think you will mis-hit?”  When the golfer finally said 20%, Bob said “well you’re gonna mis-hit more balls than you are used to in the next week and you just have to choose to be OK with that and trust and be patient that the % of mishits will go down as you start to practice more”.  It would be a bad idea to start changing things while he is out of practice.  Here I could see that the advice to “do nothing” because nothing needed to be “fixed” was invaluable. 

Of course for Bob to be able to give this advice, he needed a trained pro eye to determine that there was indeed nothing “wrong” with the swing. That is to say, this is not general advice that can be given to by anyone advising an out-of-practice golfer – it still takes a pro’s eye to determine the swing is indeed in ok shape.  

He then asked the golfer what he has done in the past to “get his swing back”.  The gentleman said short game, because it allows him to practice feeling the swing at the impact position while taking a smaller swing.

Coach then watched him hit small PW shots for an hour.  Coach noted the golfers pre shot routine got more consistent.  Simultaneously the golfer started to hit a very consistent 80 yard shots with a draw that seemed to please the golfer.

Also, just after Bob complemented a particularly good sounding impact, the golfer said something very interesting.  He said “Yeah I can do that, it’s just that right now I need to concentrate a little harder”.   

Here is my opinion of what happened.  The golfer was thinking that his errant shots were coming from some physical mistake when really it was all mental.  The fact that the shots got better simultaneously with pre-shot routine shows that the golfer just needed to reestablish his relaxed concentration mental state where he could unconsciously perceive and control the impact condition. The golfer already knew and said that shot control came from club head awareness (mental – not physical) and that shorter swing shots were the way to rebuild that awareness or “feel”. 

Interestingly Bob’s role here was to help connect the golfer with what Dan already knew was correct, and to steer the golfer away from getting distracted by physical “fixes”.  Bob had to work very hard to remind the golfer of what he already knew by asking him thing like “When did your swing last feel good?” and “What did you do last time to get your swing back?” 

I also liked how Bob would stand directly over the golfer’s ball to take control of the lesson and conversation.

Thank you Dan and Bob.

Will Stuart




A Little Course Tour



As a PGA Teaching Professional, I feel obligated to help golfers continually increase their knowledge and appreciation for The Rules of Golf. I typically start familiarizing folk brand new to the game with basic Definitions, Rules and Ettiquette starting right away. For example, I might start with a little course tour before I ever hand the person a club. “You see those two markers lined up with one another over there? Those are called tee markers. Got it?”

“Yes.” (note the lesson begins with the student being right: comfortable and succeeding)

“Good. Can you draw an imaginary line between them using your imagination.”


“That’s the starting line. You have to start behind the starting line. Got it?”

“Yes.” (Big smile. Happy student beginning to get hooked on the game for the rest of their lives.)

“Okay. See down there a ways? Can you see that flag waving in the breeze.”


“Can you see that it’s up on a stick?”


“That’s called a Flagstick,” I tell the learner who’s quickly becoming a begining golfer and student of the game. Love that. “What’s it called?”


“Excellent. Where did they stick it?”

“In a hole?” they say inquisitively.

“Correct!” I acknowledge.

“So, you start here” I point to the teeing ground. “And you golf your ball until it goes in the hole…Got it.?”

The comeback is usually something like “Sounds easy enough.”

“Yep. And if anybody ever comes along and makes it seem complicated , they’re wrong. Got it?


They ask, “Just play golf.?


Is it every golfer’s duty to become a better student of the game? I think so. One aspect of this is The Rules. I feel strongly that we all have an obligation in this regard. Please do your part.






New Adoptable Local Rule for 2017

Did you know that the USGA Rules of Golf allows for the Committee (those in charge of a golf competition) to adopt Specimen Local Rules? Those currently available can be found beginning on page 138 of your Rules of Golf booklet. Such things as prohibiting play from Ground Under Repair, protection of young trees, “preferred lies”, and more.

Unless I am mistaken, this video describes what will be an additional Specimen Local  Rule available to Committees beginning in 2017.

I have no argument.

Do you?


Good Players Want To Be Coached


Good players want to be coached. Great players want to be told the truth

– Doc Rivers    Head Coach Los Angeles Clippers

When you do something for the number of years that I have you learn a lot and see patterns. I think Doc Rivers has it right. Good players want to be coached.

I have been hanging around coaching since I was a kid. I started taking golf lessons in 1969 and took somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 lessons over the next fifteen years. Every Saturday. I still go see my coach when I am training.

Since I turned pro, I have probably given over 30,000 lessons.

I’ve had several teachers really. All were very good players and had a complete command of the subject. The best ones told the truth and NEVER blew smoke.

In golf, we tend to be called “teachers”.  We are expected to help by instructing. This is certainly one part of the craft. I teach people stuff all the time: everything from etiquette to correct ball striking techniques. It’s plain old telling or sharing of information. I know something the student needs to know. So, I share it with them.

Coaching is something a bit different. Coaching is the art of giving the student the responsibility and the tools they need: concepts, drills, games, exercises, etc. Coaching insists the student do the discovering. It involves asking questions, coaxing answers, getting the player to experiment, and find out for themselves what’s happening and what’s best. I guide and kind of stay out of it. I get the student to study. This begins with their wanting to be coached.

Are you ready to study and be coached? That would be good.

We’ll make a good team.





Student Cavin McCall Wins PGA Event

Related posts

Student Success: Thinking Less and Trusting More


This is a conversation that took place via text between me and a 33 year old male triathlete and math teacher. He was completely tangled in knots–thinking too much– and could not hit the ball at all. He took his first lesson from me where we talked about moving better and letting things happen. He had this to say in the coming days of practice and drilling.

Dear Bob,

It’s a really weird feeling but I’m starting to build trust in the solidness of contact.  I realized I was totally obsessing on the ball and on the contact.

Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I can mentally let go of it and trust the contact will be there.  This allows me to pour all my mental energy into simply moving (my body better).

As a result I pulled off a pretty insane stunt today at the range. I hit four balls in a row with perfect contact and a full swing with my eyes closed!

My “full swing” now feels absolutely nothing like the full swing I had before.  It is completely effortless.

Today, I hit 20 balls eyes closed.  5 were miss hit.  The other 15 were identical super high fades that landed within a 5 yard radius 110 yards out.  I have no idea why my eyes closed shots are so so much more consistent than my eyes open shots. I’ve never hit a grouping that tight before.



Want to hit it better? Worry less about the hit, free it up and let it go.

Crafting a Better Golf Learning Experience



Practice Kicking Field Goals



One way is to spend some practice time “kicking” field goals. That is, instead of shooting down a line to a pole or flag or sign on the range, pick out two “goalposts” and shoot between them. This creates an alleyway not unlike a fairway which has width. Greens do too. There is too much concern about perfect alignment and shooting down a line. Instead, pick out two yardage signs or range fence poles. This offers relief before you even walk up to address the target. It’s obviously easier to send the ball into an area 30 yards wide than it is to hit an exact line.

Hitting to an imaginary fairway breeds confidence. Each shot can be a relieving and reassuring victory instead of a depressing failure.

Start out wide. You can always narrow it up.


Student Success Story: Time and Effort

Short Game Class benefits student who is over 70


I thoroughly enjoyed the session with you and Scott this morning. It was enough different than the other short game class that I attended to make it time well spent. I listened to other people’s comments in the de-briefing and I think all but one or two of them probably applied to me as well.

I have been doing some soul searching about golf, among a lot of other things. I realize that I probably don’t have too many more years to play the game and I am definitely not happy with the way I have been playing. I was pretty excited and committed when we first got together and then things evolved to the point where golf practice started getting pushed aside to make time for a lot of other demands that seemed more important at the time. (I suspect that you may have figured that out.) I realize that there are some limits on what I can expect to achieve but I can certainly do better than I have been and that means I have to adjust some priorities and put in more time and effort on golf. I intend to make this happen and I’ll let you know how it goes. Give me a little time to work on it by myself and then I’ll be out to see you about some fine tuning.

It is truly hard to believe that Walker is a senior in high school and soon to be a college freshman. You and his mom must be very proud of him and rightfully so.

Thanks again and looking forward to seeing you soon.



2016 Teacher of the Year Nomination

The PGA of America’s Southern California Section sent me a letter.

I am extremely honored. Thank you.

I look forward to continuing to serve our guests, teach, and coach at Sycuan Golf Resort and support the SCPGA by presenting at teaching seminars and writing articles.

Thank you Clint Higgins, PGA Director of Golf at Sycuan for originating the Nomination, for believing in me, and for giving me the freedom of movement to practice my craft.

Thank you to all my fellow Team Members at Sycuan for supporting me all these years.

And thank you to all my clients and friends for wanting to study the game, and find that getting better is always worth the time and effort.teacher-of-the-year-letter

A Little Victory

Practice: the word nearly everyone loves to hate.

Practice often means some repetition and drill, but it doesn’t have to be arduous.

The formula: one successful rep is followed by another successful rep. Practice time must be filled with success. After each shot, you want to say to yourself “Yep!” This signals a little win; a little victory.