My 10-Minute Free Lesson

May 22, 2009
Play Golf America

Play Golf America

The greatest downfall of my golf game has always been the part where I swing the club. Sure I could narrow it down to my grip, back swing speed or stance, but what’s the point? From my perspective, they are all wrong. How do I know that? Because nothing can be right if I start jumping up and down celebrating when I break 100.

Fortunately for me, on the grounds at the 70th Senior PGA Championship, Play Golf America has set up two practice nets, and with the help of the Northern Ohio PGA Section, is giving free 10 minutes lessons.

I signed up and minutes later met with the unfortunate PGA professional who was going to have his hands full. He asked what was the biggest issue with my golf game. I sorted through the virtuously endless list of deficiencies, choosing to focus on consistency.

He was ready; obviously I was not the first to come to him with this problem.  The first thing he did was walk me through the five things I need to keep in mind every time I address the ball.

Grip – First, he demonstrated how I should overlap my hands, and use my right thumb to pinch the forefinger against the middle finger.

Stance – Next, he explained why it is important to put the ball at the absolute bottom of my swing, which if my weight is centered is usually is in the middle of your stance. Setting the ball in the center of your stance makes sure the club face hits the ball in the center, instead of with the bottom edge of the club.

Line – His next tip was to place my feet parallel to the line I want the ball to travel. That’s an obvious one … now.

Posture – After that, he told me to get in an athletic stance, feet shoulder-width apart with my weight on the balls of my feet to ensure I was well balanced.

The First 12 Inches – Finally, he showed me why it is important to keep my wrists stiff as I begin to bring the club back. It’s that first 12 inches that dictates the path of your back swing, which if not done correctly will result in the club face not striking the ball square to the target.

Using their special foam golf balls that over exaggerates a regular ball’s spin, I began to put this new found wisdom to use. After one more final tweak, something about actually watching the ball when I swing, I was hitting them right into the middle of the net, consistently.

Now I need to go put this lesson to the test on the course. Unfortunately, it is currently reserved for those over 50.


Pro-Am Results, News & Notes

May 19, 2009

Tom Kite walks with his Pro-Am Teammates (photo: The PGA of America)

Tom Kite walks with his Pro-Am Teammates (photo: The PGA of America)

THE PRO-AM’s TOP PRO

Tom Watson, the 2001 Senior PGA Champion, posted the low professional round in the Pro-Am held today at the Senior PGA Championship. Watson offset two bogeys with four birdies for a 2-under-par 68 to edge Ohio native John Cook by one stroke. Defending Senior PGA Champion Jay Haas and Wayne Grady, the 1990 PGA Champion, each shot even-par 70.

THE PRO-AM’s TOP TEAM

In the team competition, 1997 U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain Tom Kite led his group to victory.  Kite and amateurs David Biscan, Bob Morris, Bob Nakasone and Jonathan Vassil shot 13-under-par 57 to win by one stroke over the team paced by two-time PGA Champion Nick Price (Jim Brown, Mac McLaughlin, Jerry Draga and Greg Bumbu).

For photos of the Pro-Am visit www.SeniorPGA2009.com.

PLAYER QUOTES

“These fairways [at Canterbury Golf Club] are better than a lot of greens I’ve putted on.” — PGA Club Professional Mike San Filippo, competing this week in his seventh consecutive Senior PGA Professional.

“There are two things you must do this week to be successful here [at Canterbury]: You must drive the ball in the fairway and you must keep the ball below the hole. This is probably the toughest set of greens I have ever played on one golf course.” — Kirk Hanefeld, the 2008 Senior PGA Professional National Champion, who is making his fourth consecutive appearance in the Senior PGA Championship.

A GATHERING OF CHAMPIONS

One of the great traditions of Senior PGA Championship week is the annual gathering of both Senior PGA Champions and PGA Champions for dinner and camaraderie. On Tuesday night, Defending Senior PGA Champion Jay Haas hosted the Champions’ Dinner at Canterbury Golf Club. He was joined by 14 other Champions, including:

  • Allen Doyle (1999 Senior PGA Champion)
  • Hale Irwin (1996, 1997, 1998, 2004 Senior PGA Champion)
  • John Jacobs (2003 Senior PGA Champion)
  • Mike Reid (2005 Senior PGA Champion)
  • Charlie Sifford (1975 Senior PGA Champion)
  • Jeff Sluman (1988 PGA Champion)
  • Dave Stockton (1970 and 1976 PGA Champion)
  • Hal Sutton (1983 PGA Champion)
  • Bob Tway (1986 PGA Champion)
  • Lanny Wadkins (1977 PGA Champion)
  • Tom Wargo (1993 Senior PGA Champion)
  • Denis Watson (2007 Senior PGA Champion)
  • Tom Watson (2001 Senior PGA Champion)
  • Fuzzy Zoeller (2002 Senior PGA Champion)

They dined on a menu chosen by Haas and his wife, Jan, which included:

  • Baby mixed greens with warm brie in puff pastry
  • Petit filet mignon with rosemary-infused reduction
  • Lobster tail with scallion-lemon zest buerre blanc
  • Whipped potato croquette
  • Grilled asparagus
  • White chocolate banana cream pie (a favorite of Jay and Jan Haas and a recipe from Winnie Palmer, the late wife of Arnold Palmer)

As a gift to the assembled Champions, Haas selected a Match Pewter pitcher.

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Media Day Quotables

April 30, 2009
From left to right: Bill Townsend, Jay Haas, Jim Remy and Doug Grabert

From left to right: Bill Townsend, Jay Haas, Jim Remy and Doug Grabert

On April 27th Canterbury Golf Club hosted the Senior PGA Championship Media Day. On stage, in front of a room full of local media outlets, Defending Champion Jay Haas was joined by Jim Remy, president of the PGA of America; Doug Grabert, NBC Sports golf director; and Bill Townsend, general chairman of the 70th Senior PGA Championship.

These gentlemen discussed details about the Championship, relived past Senior PGA moments and shared their memories of Canterbury.

The following are some of their quotes from the press conference. To read the full transcript, visit www.SeniorPGA2009.com.

Bill Townsend – General Chair for the 70th Senior PGA Championship

General Chairman of the 70th Senior PGA Championship Bill Townsend

“I want to roll out the red carpet for the thousands of spectators, the people that really care and want to see great golfers like Jay, here to my left, play up close and personal. The red carpet is out for you, and I hope to see you in the end of May.”

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Jim Remy – President of the PGA of America
picture-18Explaining one of his duties as the new president of the PGA of America:

“I want to take the opportunity to tell you that one of the great honors I have as president of the PGA of America is to make phone calls to recipients of awards and tell them they have won an award. And one of my most exciting days was the day I got to call Mr. Powell, Bill Powell, to let him know that he is the Distinguished Service Award winner for 2009.” Mr. Powell was on-hand at the press conference with his daughter, World Golf Hall of Fame member, Renee Powell.

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Doug Grabert — NBC Sports Golf Director and Cleveland native who got his start with local NBC affiliate WKYC
picture-19Regarding the weather last fall when NBC came out to scout the course for the best camera locations:

“When we came out in October, it was so cold, they had to go out and find gloves in the lost and found at Canterbury. It was 30 degrees, no golf to be played, straw on the greens and fairways, but we really appreciated getting the gloves.”

Discussing his memories of Canterbury:

“… the biggest memory I have from Canterbury is as a high school boy back in the early ‘70s. The PGA of America had a rule at that point … that (professionals) had to use local caddies at the PGA Championship. I remember 10 days before the event sitting out on the patio on an evening, nervous as I am right now, and they started pulling names out of a hat. As they are going along, there are players, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and then they called my name and out of the hat they pulled Raymond Floyd. So that ended up being something for a high school boy. A memory I’ll never forget.”

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Jay Haas – Defending Senior PGA Champion
haas_480x288Referencing his celebratory pose after winning the 2008 Senior PGA Championship:

“If any of you can take that trophy with one arm and lift it above your head, we’ll give you an exemption into the tournament in May.”

Regarding his defeat during the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill Country Club. With three holes to play, Haas was down three strokes. If he could tie his match the U.S. would have won the Ryder Cup.:

“And I happened to win 16 and then won 17 with a par, so now I got on 18 tee, and it’s a very difficult hole. If you’ve been to Oak Hill, it’s quite challenging. But I almost choked my guts out basically, but as you can see (referencing video highlighting his career) I was using one of those wooden drivers. Today, we have these big heads, you can’t hardly miss one. I hit a terrible drive.”

On being the defending champion of the Senior PGA Championship:

“To have my name on that trophy a couple times, is, like I said, the crown achievement of my career. To be here as a defender is really special.“

When asked if technology improvements have helped the seniors more than the regular TOUR player?:

“For me, I tell people all the time, in the early 80s when they first started doing the statistics, and my first year, I was about 252, 253 was my average driving distance. And for the last six or eight years, it’s been about anywhere from 275 to 278, somewhere in there. So, 25 yards longer, 25 years older, that doesn’t compute.”

To read the full media day transcript, visit www.SeniorPGA2009.com

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Pictures for the Senior PGA Championship Media Day

April 30, 2009

On April 27th, The PGA of America welcomed the local media, PGA of America, NBC and tournament officials, and defending champion Jay Haas to Canterbury Golf Club for the Senior PGA Championship Media Day. The day consisted of a press conference, one-on-one interview session, golf outing and Indians game.

We created an album on Flickr with all the behind-the-scenes pictures from the day. Be sure to click through till the end to see who won the chipping contest between Jay Haas and Indians Color Commentator Rick Manning, and to find out who tried to steal the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy, senior golf’s most coveted prize.

Jay Haas Interview during Media Day

Click the image to view the entire Media Day photo album.

For a recap of the Senior PGA Championship Media Day, be sure to visit the event’s official Website www.SeniorPGA2009.com.

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Senior PGA Championship Trophy will be at the Greater Cleveland Golf Show

February 13, 2009
The Alfred S. Bourne Trophy

The Alfred S. Bourne Trophy

Golf fans visiting the Greater Cleveland Golf Show next weekend (Feb. 19-21) will have the chance to get an up-close look at senior golf’s most coveted prize – The Alfred S. Bourne Trophy, which goes to the winner of the Senior PGA Championship. The Trophy will be on display all weekend located just inside to the Main Entrance of the IX Center.

The 2009 Greater Cleveland Golf Show is set for Friday, Feb. 20 (2 p.m.-8 p.m.); Saturday, Feb. 21 (9 a.m.-6 p.m.); and Sunday, Feb. 22 (10 a.m.-5p.m.). PGA of America staff members will also be on hand at the expo to answer any questions regarding the 70th Senior PGA Championship, including tickets sales and volunteer opportunities.

The Alfred S. Bourne Trophy
In 1937, Alfred S. Bourne, one of the original members of Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club and a longtime friend of The PGA of America, donated $1,500 for the creation of the Trophy that is awarded each year to the winner of the Senior PGA Championship.

The Bourne Trophy stands 40 inches tall, is 18 inches wide and weighs 30.5 pounds.  It is one of the largest prizes in golf.  Among the legends that have their names engraved on the trophy are: Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Tom Watson and Jay Haas.

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Defending Champion will be in town for April 27 Media Day

January 23, 2009

Senior PGA Championship defending champion Jay Hass will be in town for Media Day on April 27. He will be attending the noon press conference at Canterbury Golf Club and fielding questions about the 2009 Championship as well as his win last year. After the press conference, Haas will be playing a round of golf with Cleveland-area media.

Haas shot a 287 (+7) at the 2008 Senior PGA Championship winning by one stroke over Bernhard Langer. Last year’s Championship was played at Oak Hill Country Club, in Rochester, New York.

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