What to learn from Brendan Steele

He was at the range where I practice yesterday while I was working with an 18 year old college player, who is very good.

What this young star to be learned and what escapes all of the average ams, is proper understanding of golf.

All golfers assume every PGA Tour player bombs it 300+ dead straight every time, stripes every iron perfectly and inside 10 feet, hits every shot from inside 50 yards in gimmie range and cashes every putt inside 40 feet.

Apparently 42 under wins every week and no Tour player ever shoots over 68, even on their worst day.

…and all golfers measure their own expectations relative to this ideal…and that is where the train runs off the track.

If people would measure their own expectations relative to the actual level PGA tour players occupy, they would have more realistic expectations for themselves…screw with their swing less, have more fun…and shoot lower scores.

For instance, I will see an 8 handicap be mad he it a shot from 150 yards to 30 feet…and fail to realize that is significantly closer than the overall tour average for that length shot.

Back to Brendan and my young protege. Mr. Steele hit a driver and my young friend said, “Wow, that is huge!”

Which I thought was odd as even though I am far from a tour player right now, he watches me hit drivers farther than that every day…and it dawned on me. Here was a PGA Tour winner and he was in awe…and that was appropriate as a PGA Tour winner deserves awe for their skill…but I wanted my young friend to learn some perspective for the benefit of his own game.

I said, “You do realize he is one of the longer hitters on the Tour and I hit it past him.”

He watched and said, “You don’t just hit it past him, you hit it 30 yards past him.”

I then said, “Watch how many shots he mishits…and more importantly, watch how he misses them.”

Mr. Steele then hit two really thin irons shots in a row but on line…I tell all of my students that is a great swing and they all scoff. The assumption is a great swing produces a perfect shot. That is wrong. A great swing produces the same relative motion every time and a thin straight ball is a club coming down the line and slightly mis-timed.

I tell everyone that all the time and no one listens. No one pures it every time, but the better the player, the better the misses are…Tiger not withstanding.

Mr. Steele then pulls out a 3-wood and my friend sarcastically says, “I suppose when he mishits this, he is going to shank it off the heel and hit a low push fade. Just like I do when I swing poorly.”


I kept repeating, “This guy is awesome, one of the best in the world and look at how often he mishits shots. Stop being so hard on yourself every time you hit a shot that doesn’t have a bacon strip divot and flies at the hole.”

So let’s rehash. A big time up, young, up and coming PGA Tour winner, who is considered among the longest hitters on the Tour:

1. Thined about 1 out of every 4 iron shots and two in a row, several times.
2. Had the same missed 3-wood as a solid college player when he is struggling with his swing.
3. Is 30 yards shorter than an old broken down former long drive champion.

The point my friend learned and that all of you need to learn. Even the best in the world are so far from perfect and the perception of what good golf is is completely skewed by television coverage of the best at their best.

PGA Tour players mishit shots all of the time. They shoot in the 80’s sometimes.

The rest of us golfers ruin our games by not having perspective or having realistic expectations based on an ideal that doesn’t exist.

If you spew out one of your own stats and it is better then the Tour average…guess what?




  1. cdnmike

    This may be my favorite post! Just excellent!

    I knew that tour players weren’t perfect but I definitely need reminding some times. I am going to take this to the course on Saturday.

    Thanks Monte.

  2. Michael

    “If you spew out one of your own stats and it is better then the Tour average…guess what?”

    … I should fill out my Q-school application and start playing in mini-tour events?

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Michael…I was making fun of the guys on Golfwrx who say they average 305 with 80% of fairways, 78% GIR and 28 putts.

      • Michael

        Lol I know man, I was just responding like they would. If I hit my approach shots closer than Brendan Steele in non-tournament conditions, I must be a better player than he is right? Haha

  3. Calvin

    Pretty good. You hit it farther than Brendan. Sadlowski can hit it farther than you.
    The shorter of the three is the better player.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Calvin…that is a point lost on almost every golfer right now. especially the ones who are desperate to hit a draw, add lag, more forward shaft lean, etc.

      • Wees

        This point is somewhat weakened when the low man on the distance totem pole in this case still hits it further than 99% of golfers.

      • cdnmike

        I hear that! I tried to hit a draw for many years and I succeeded. I was really pounding it out there. Unfortunately the misses were really bad and the draw ended up costing me strokes. I have gone to a fade this year and my scores are way lower and I am more consistent. I have lost a few yards, but it doesn’t matter when I am in the fairway more.

      • Calvin

        Wees, the point is not weakened. The PGA driving distance stats do not at all reflect the money winning stats or the Fed Ex standings. Distance is a valuable tool but it is greatly diminished without a supporting cast.

  4. Mike H

    I wonder if our generation of golfers is at a disadvantage when hitting balls on the range. The older generation of golfers needed a person out on the range to shag the balls, in order to not have this young man run all over hell and yonder the golfer needed to try his best to be more accurate, more efficient. Today a golfer can hit it 30 yards off line, pay no mind and rake another ball onto the mat.

    Any thoughts on this?

    • Monte Scheinblum

      I think this genation is at a disadvantage because there is too much information and most of it is misunderstood, misinterpreted or just plain awful.

  5. Jason

    Monte hit his biggest drive with a fade. A fade can go a s far as a draw, it spins the same way but in an opposite direction. There is no such thing as overspin unless you top it along the ground.



  1. Update — 2013.05.24 | Digging Out of the Dirt - […] I also found this gem while looking through the archives… What to learn from Brendan Steele. […]

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