You know who the range gurus are. There are mid handicappers, they watch The Golf Channel 4+ hours per day, subscribe to at least 4 major golf publications and spout more cliches than Brent Musberger.
…and they offer advice to golfers of all skill levels, including pros. Yes, these Madmen of the Mats will even approach golfers significantly better than them with unsolicited advice.
…all of the advice sounds good because many technical terms are used but the lesson is often worth less than the price that it cost. Here are some beauties…and if you are wondering why I don’t get involved and say something, it’s just not worth it because the poor student usually thinks they are getting good stuff and just thinks I am just rude.
1. I was on the range one day watching a guy give a lesson to a teenager. He massively shut the club at the top and had one of the most bowed left wrists I have ever seen. He shut the club so badly, all he could do was unwind the club open at impact and hit a 50 yard slice with woods and shanks with irons.
Range Guru #1, who I saw hitting balls and the only lesson he should be giving are how to pickup chicks in a leisure suit. He walks over to the kid and says…”the reason why you are slicing is the club is too open, so what you need to do is take a stronger grip and try and roll the club closed as you are taking it away.” then he grabbed the club at the top and really wrenched it shut. It was not pretty.
2. Range guru #2 implemented my favorite cliche in a manner that defies logic. A lady who was obviously a big time beginner, was topping every shot with every club. No shoulder turn, lifted her arms, made a massive head dive at the ball and did the old double chicken wing to top 7 out of 10, whiff 2 and actually get one airborne. This guy a few spots over who has that swing that I love to make fun of. All he did was lift his arms, drop them on the ball and pull the club slowly into that perfect reverse C finish and pose. AKA “The scratch finish.” You all know this guy. He is about a 12-15 handicap, hits it about 220 downwind, downhill, but he walks with his chest out cuz everyone tells him how beautiful his swing is. He walks over to this lady and tells her that she is not keeping her head down…and repeats this every time she whiffs or tops it. Which was about 43 times in the next 20 minutes.
3. This is one of my favorites. An older guy, with a dang solid move, is hitting balls. He was slightly over the top, but was hitting this consistent 10-15 yard cut…not close to a slice. Looked like he could be a high single, low double digit with a decent short game. Unsolicited, range guru #3 walks over to him and says, “you have a pretty good swing, but you know you come over the top and a draw goes much farther.” He then tells the guy to start his downswing by trying to hit himself in the right hip with his hands. I saw this old guy a few weeks later and he couldn’t get the ball in the air.
4. I am watching a guy who is about a 10 give a guy who is about a 25 a lesson. The 25 looked like he might have been a former pro athlete, because he was very coordinated and picked up movements very quickly. It was also obvious he hadn’t played long. Range guru #4 is throwing every cliche and technical term at this poor guy…and to his credit, he did about exactly what #4 was telling him and hitting pretty good shots. #4 then tells this guy to hit a draw at a target flag. The student hits a laser right at the target flag, it turned over a hair too much, hit the slope about 10 feet left of the flag and took a big kick to the left…and I quote…”when you work the ball, you only want it to curve about 2-3 yards, your shot hooked because you unwound your V-flexion too soon.”
Let me digress before I continue the story. A beginner hits a laser draw 10 feet from a flag…that is an awesome shot. You are only supposed to work the ball 2-3 yards? Were Ben Hogan and Moe Norman even that good?…and excuse my profanity, but WTF is V-flexion?
Well, that is how I approached the situation. I asked #4 what V-flexion was. He told me it was the “V” that is formed when you really make a small angle with the left arm and the shaft and it forms a “V.” That is where all power comes from.
So I said, “you mean lag?”
He said, “no, lag is when you really get those hips moving to start the downswing before the upper body and hands and the hands “lag” behind the turn of the lower body.
I laughed, walked away and told the beginner if he knew what was good for him, he wouldn’t listen to his buddy.
#4 told me I had a big mouth and would I like to put my money there.
The course where this range was is pretty difficult and has a set of tees that is in the 7500 yard vicinity.
I knew this guy was all talk and wouldn’t risk much money, so I took the opportunity to embarrass him. I said, “let’s play the back tees, I’ll give you a stroke a hole and the loser pays for the green fees of all three.”
By the fifth hole, he gave me the money for my green fee and left with his friend.
PS-I have been approached by one of these fellows more times than I can count. In my younger years, I used to curse them, call them idiots and asked them how much they wanted to play for. As I got older and became less hostile, I would politely say thank you, and that I had a tournament the next day and I didn’t like to work on anything new the day before hand. They were all at least smart enough to agree to that.
Now I just practice with Oakley sunglasses that play my i-pod wireless through and can pretend I don’t hear them.
The moral to the story: Neither a guru nor a listener to a guru, be. 🙂