Breaking 100

By Kelly TilghmanJanuary 21, 2002, 5:00 pm
Kelly Tilghman

Straighten your left arm, not too tight! Stand tall, but remember to flex your knees. Chin up! Keep your head down. Loosen your grip but dont let go of the club. Dont stand too far from the ball. Hey, dont smother it either!
 
Your spine angle should be straight but dont bend over too far. Check your target line. Your feet and shoulders should be parallel to it! Okay. Theres a bunker on the left, water on the right. Anything short is dead. Anything long is in the deep rough. Relax! Remember to shift your weight. Okay, youre ready. Now clear your mind and swing.
 
Oh - and try to have fun.
 
Dont you just love golf? My boss, Arnold Palmer. may have said it best. Its a deceptively easy, endlessly complicated game. On top of its complexities from tee to green, theres the simple fact that its incredibly time-consuming.

While most people enjoy the challenge posed by this age-old sport, many fail to break 100 mainly because they dont have the extra time or the proper understanding of the swing. According to the National Golf Foundation, the average golfer shoots an average score of 100 on the nose.
 
Are you one of these people? Well, have I got a treat for you! Hackers, lend me your ears!
 
I recently witnessed a metamorphosis that is sure to spark your interest! Dave McClain is a retired police officer that resides in Key Largo, Fla. Heading into the fall of 2001, hed been playing golf for 22 years and never in his life had he broken the century mark.
 
The Golf Channel decided hed be a perfect candidate for a new series called the Troubleshooters Challenge: Breaking 100. Jim McLean is one of the Golf Channels Troubleshooters, a team of five world-class instructors that offer regular instruction on our air. McLean is one of the best on the planet and was the featured guru in this fledgling mission. The task wasnt easy, but one Jim gladly accepted. We allowed him only 10 lessons with Dave McClain to teach him to shatter the 100 barrier.
 
I know it doesnt sound like many, but Jim had Dave shooting in the 90s consistently before their final session even arrived. I already know what youre saying - give me 10 lessons with one of the greatest teachers on earth and I can do the same thing! In a modest statement from Jim McLean, that is definitely not the case.
 
McLean says, Most students think when theyre going to a good teacher, they dont have to commit to what theyre learning, but they have to. If youre shooting 30 to 40 strokes over par, things are fundamentally wrong. You should never assume that a top-notch instructor could turn your game around without your help.

Dave McClain admits that the first couple of lessons were the hardest because he battled with a strong urge to resort to his old swing. Its usually at that point where most teachers, regardless of skill level, make or break their students. However, its up to the pupil to make that commitment. In a focused effort by Dave, he entrusted his swing to Jim and the positive changes began to skyrocket from there.
 
Dave McClain spent several hours a day during the rainy season in South Florida trying to ingrain the basic moves offered by Jim, but his time wasnt always focused on the driving range. According to Dave, when the torrential downpours and hurricanes passed through, he resorted to practice swings in his house. When he couldnt get to the course, he swatted miniature coconuts across the canal in his backyard.
 
When I progressed to the medium coconuts, my neighbor on the other side of the water would get mad at me and start throwing them back, said Dave in regard to his project. He even mooned me occasionally, but that only gave me a bigger target! (??) Now, thats what I call making the most of a rough situation!
 
Yes, Dave was loyal to his mission. Yes, he had the hours to kill and invested them wisely to achieve his goals, but before you are resigned to the fact that you dont have that kind of time, listen to this:
 
Jim McLean says the average duffer can learn to break 100 in two months while putting in a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes a day! It sounds crazy, but its true!
 

There is a catch. You must stick with your instructor and commit. Jim insists that results will surely come if you approach your goal intelligently. Break your focus down into four quadrants. Concentrate on the long game, the short game, the mental game and your course management. Dont cram your practice into a couple of hours on the weekend. Spread it out evenly over the course of the week and place the emphasis on repetitiveness.
 
Thats the key. With the guidance of a qualified teacher, the possibilities are endless. If youre a total beginner, Jim claims that you will need a year to cross the 100 mark, naturally barring anyone with superhuman Tiger-like talents.
 
Dave McClains progress is inspirational.
 
Golf is a sport that challenges, frustrates, rewards and unites people. Along a similar path to the one we call life, if you approach it with a positive attitude and put in the proper amount of work that it requires, you too can have a most enjoyable experience and continue to reap its benefits.
 
By the way, Dave McClain told me the most rewarding thing about learning to play the game of golf the right way is being able to spend more time with his kids on the golf course. He also added that he wants to be the subject of our 'Troubleshooters Challenge: Breaking 90' series, starting next week.
 
Maybe youll be able to audition by then, too, if you follow Jims advice.
 
Are you looking to get your game past that 100 mark? Dont miss the premiere of the Golf Channels 'Trouble Shooter Challenge: Breaking 100' highlights show where Jim McLean walks through the steps every golfer should take to reach that goal. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 10 p.m. ET
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.