Updated: Apr 29, 2019
It looks like Tiger Woods is back! The last time Tiger won the Masters was in 2005. He won his first green jacket in 1997 and is just 3 wins shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championship wins. The 85th playing of the Masters was an amazing comeback win for Tiger.
Tiger has re-tooled his swing several times putting in countless hours on the practice tee with his instructors and coaches to polish and refine his technique. Tiger dominated golf as an amateur in the late 80’s and for at least another decade as a pro. I ended up becoming a professional about the time Tiger turned pro in the late 90’s.
The guy Tiger is chasing in the history books is Jack Nicklaus. Up to this point Jack, “The Golden Bear”, has been arguably the best player in history. He won the Masters Tournament 6 times over a span of 23 years, starting back in 1963. He has 73 tournament victories and scores of top ten finishes. I grew up watching Jack play against Arnold Palmer and other golfing stars of that era.
What do the "great" players do that separates them from the good players? Other than their incredible talent the they do things that many other players can’t or won’t do. They tend to be students of the game, continually learning ways to improve.
Jack Nicklaus wrote an article that was in the 2000 issue of Golf Magazine. That magazine featured the 25 Best Golf Tips of ALL Time. Jack’s tip was all about getting a fresh start every year. His annual ritual in the spring was to take a lesson with his teacher and friend Jack Grout. He would call up his teacher and ask him to meet him at the practice tee. Once they got to the tee he would tell his teacher the same thing every year, “Okay Jack, time to teach me golf one more time, starting with the grip, the set-up, etc…” and that’s what they would do, going through all aspects of the game, as though he was a complete beginner.
He spoke about these annual start-over sessions as having at least a two benefits. First, it cleared his head of any erroneous ideas he may have had about the swing that lingered from the previous season. Secondly, by getting a complete refresher on the fundamentals he would go into the year able to focus his practice sessions on the right things. He said that his record would have been considerably diminished without those annual refresher sessions.
If the great Jack Nicklaus took a lesson each spring wouldn’t it be a good idea for the rest of us to do the same? To gain confidence and more enjoyment from your game, try taking a lesson from a qualified golf professional!
Wishing you a successful year of golf!
Greg Lewis, Golf Professional
Quote of the week: "A golfer has to train his swing on the practice tee, then trust it on the course" - Dr. Bob Rotella