Archive for the ‘Stories from my career’ Category

A comedian gets his comeuppance.

I lived at PGA West in La Quinta (outside Palm Springs) for almost 10 years. Great practice facilities and courses to work on your game.

During the summer it was great. While everyone else was trying to beat the heat, the facilities and courses were empty for practicing at will.

The driving range had tees on both ends and one day the wind was blowing really hard straight down from the club house to the far end. I decided to go to the far end and work on my knock down shots into the wind.

While I was practicing, one of the assistant pros thought it would be funny to hit balls from the clubhouse end, downwind and have the balls roll up on me over 300 yards away…thinking the wind was way too strong for me to return fire.

One landed right near me and I waved to him and he kept hitting and waving back to me. Little did he know I had my long drive competition driver with me and I tried to hit a low bomb back at him. Reminded me of the BB gun fights we used to have as stupid teenagers.

The first couple went high and to the right, then I killed one but pulled it too far left for him to notice.

About the fifth or sixth one I nailed right under the wind, right at him…only it carried right over the top of him and hit his golf cart on the fly. He turned around and looked at the cart having no idea what just happened…not only did he not know I had hit that ball, he also didn’t know I had immediately launched another one that landed about 10 feet from him while he had his back turned to me.

It obviously scared him and as he tried to run to his cart in haste, his legs and feet got tangled with his driver and he ended up stepping on his driver shaft and snapping it in two.

The moral to the story. Don’t mess with an angry, pent up, hostile long driver who trains by eating Skittles and drinking Gatorade.

What happened to my swing…

(This may be a bit technical at times, but is absolutely spot on and a cautionary tale. I think those of you who are into ball flight laws, mechanics and such will find this very interesting. Those that don’t care about such things, you will still find some important tidbits that apply to you.)

I am piecing things together and it all started with watching my swing from the National Long Drive in 1993.

I saw the swing and remembered what I did and what I was thinking. I played the ball relatively far back in my stance, had a major forward press and made the lateral move…and I totally remember having a thought to stay behind the ball so I wouldn’t move in front of it.

My hips would clear and I would release the pants off my world class lag. Now that I understand the new ball flight laws, it makes perfect sense how I hit the ball well doing it that way and created a push draw that wouldn’t go left when I was doing it right.

In hindsight, whether it was a long drive contest or a touch wedge into a green, I would get in trouble and hit it bad when I would roll on the outside of my back foot on my lateral move…or get in a rut of not allowing the club to release…or both.

Here is how it all went wrong. Each step in the wrong direction was a result of trying to do what was “correct.”

I first got rid of the lateral move, because that’s what people told me to do…and I listened. Without a lateral move, the ball was too far back in my stance, plus that was “wrong” anyways, so I moved it forward.

Don’t even get me started on how bad the forward press felt after those changes.

Now that the ball was farther forward, I started missing shots in both directions and couldn’t hit a push draw any more. This also created a problem I have constantly fought for over 10 years. When the ball was back in my stance, my shoulders would always fall right down the line.

With the ball farther forward my shoulders always want to get open to my foot line and that is a death move for me.

I am now making that lateral move again, while being careful not to roll on the outside of my right foot. I am back to having the ball back in my stance and hitting a sweet push draw. The forward press just feels to awkward now, but I am back to having my hands in front of the ball to the point my left arm and the shaft create a straight line…or close to it.

IT FEELS AWESOME.

All I need is time to get used to this feel again, as I have not experienced it for over a decade. I don’t trust it yet. The other thing I used to do was adjust ball position and face angle at address from day to day in order to get the desired ball flight.

God only knows why I stopped doing that.

Every day I trash more and more residue left over from my “doing it correctly” days. I still have some left and the more I get rid of, the better my swing feels and the better information I think I can deliver to all of you.

These changes are all helping me allow the club to release naturally. Distance and trajectory control are getting better, as is my ability to take something off a shot.

When I start trusting it, I might actually be decent again…because as one young reader can testify, I can actually putt.

Swing fault vs. dynamic part of your swing

Jim Furyk’s loop, Lee Trevino’s reroute, Ricky Fowler’s ultra flat hand set and the infamous Jack Nicklaus flying right elbow.

These would all be looked at as swing faults, but they are dynamic parts of great player’s golf swings.

I know it’s hard, but try and discern what is an actual swing fault that creates a problem for you and what is an integral part of your swing that makes it athletic and dynamic.

Decide if it really prevents you from hitting good shots…or if it is just something that CCPGM (Cookie Cutter Perfect Golf Mechanics) says is bad.

The Monte Scheinblum lateral move would today be something that golf instructors around the world would be teaching people to copy, in order to get them more power…only I got rid of it, never made the Tour and never became famous, only infamous.

For clarification. There is no question in my mind the entire last paragraph is true. Not trying to be cocky or say that my swing is anything to be copied…you know where I stand on copying other people’s swings. Just stating an opinion that “IF” I had made the Tour, I would most assuredly have led in driving distance. We all know that gurus and the golf media find the anomaly that exists and preach it to the masses as gold. I am saying I disapprove of what would have happened had I succeeded in making the PGA Tour. I am sure some people are going to somehow find arrogance in this point…LOL.

Therein lies the irony. When you are trying to get there, anything
individual to you is a flaw…once you get there, anything individual to you is WHY you got there, so everyone else should do it too.

Now that I know more, I realize the swing fault was not the lateral move itself. The swing fault was when the lateral move became too pronounced and/or if I rolled on the outside of my right foot, which hurt my balance.

I let a few putzes convince me to take the lateral move out of my swing because it was “wrong”…a swing fault. I now realize getting rid of it ruined my rhythm, my feel, my touch from 50 yards and in and especially my ability to generate ridiculous club speed. Know how I know this?

I can still bust it past most anyone, but after I dumped the lateral move, I steadily lost the ability to be stupid long.

Last week I was hitting it fine, but felt terrible (as I have for 10 years or more even when shooting 65). Stiff, nonathletic and I felt like I was hitting it nowhere. A few minutes before the epiphany, I had shown someone my swing from the Long Drive on my ipod and I got mad and put a big lateral move on a 7 iron.

I didn’t hit it particularly perfect, but it felt great and natural, my balance felt perfect, I released it beautifully…and it felt…DYNAMIC.

For the last week I have done it and it has helped my feel more than I can describe…especially around the greens and I have been able to crank it up for an extra 20 yards when I want, which I haven’t been able to do for a while.

Look at the videos below and give me a good reason I needed to get rid of the lateral move…also take into account when I played tournament golf, the lateral move was smaller as I wasn’t trying to hit it as hard. It also got smaller the shorter the shot got, down to negligible around the green. When I do it right, my head hardly moves…if at all.

Look at that speed, balance, lag (LOL 😀 ), hip clearance, swing in sync. False modesty aside, that is an awesome display of power and athleticism. OK, now you can call me cocky. 😀

I want to kill somebody…and myself for listening.

My lateral move

(I will talk about Phoenix tomorrow since it finished today)

(More on the subject of today’s post Wednesday and Thursday)

Today’s post is about not relinquishing what feel drives your golf swing…and that can be tough to do because it is so individual and these things will almost always be classified as faults.

Ever since I have abandoned my lateral move I have felt stagnant, nonathletic and…like a terrible golfer.

There is a perfect analogy from a famous movie on what my lateral move did for me and what getting rid of it did.

Watch from 1:28-2:20 and you will know what I mean.

I took the PAT once.

For those who don’t know, the PAT is a play ability test to get into and stay in the PGA program.

Essentially they pick a course, put everyone on the 6300 yard tees and you have to shoot around 78-78 to pass.

In 2003, after missing at Q-school, I decided to do it and enter the PGA program. It was at East Valley, formerly the SCPGA Courses in Beumont, CA.

Typical of new courses. Elephants in the greens, lots of canyons and lost ball areas, but all in all a decent set of courses. From the 7300 yard tees, they can be quite a challenge. From the 6300 yard tees, I could honestly play with a 2 iron, 6 iron, LW and putter and shoot around par.

This particular day, it was cold for So Cal and windy. Low 50’s and 30 mph winds. The target score was 155 (77-78). Through 16 holes I was 1 over par with three 3-putts.

They suspended play because no one was less than 10 over par….except for me. The guys in my group were headed for over 90.

Actually, “suspended play” was the wrong term. They canceled the round to be restarted the next day. In front of my two playing partners, I told one of the PGA officials that I was going out of town the next day and couldn’t come back. They said I could use my entry fee as a credit to come back for another PAT.

Being the arrogant a-hole I am, I said that my resume as a player and my 16 holes in these conditions prove that I didn’t need to come back. One of my playing partners said…

“Monte doesn’t need to be here. You should just pass him.”

He actually rained even more praise on me, but false modesty prevents me from self aggrandizing further. 😀

Anyway, I never got around to doing it again…and that was stupid. I would be a PGA member by now and would have more opportunities.

One of many mistakes I have made in my golf career to my own detriment.

I am a bad ass kisser (go along with the program) guy. The phrase, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” comes to mind.

I was never a complete jerk to anyone who didn’t provoke me first and I have always been respectful to those that have earned my respect, but I would be much farther along had I sang the company line. It’s not my nature to do so and I just have to work harder to overcome it.

Shrink session over. Now back to our regularly scheduled program. Me making fun of swing systems, gurus, Tour Players who are dorks, range know it alls, people who play too slow…basically, everyone but me. 😀

David Leadbetter had the shanks

This was one of the first dozen or so posts I put up. It was enjoyed by all who read it, even those who like what Leadbetter has to say.

I would hope I could have a sense of humor if this happened to me.

—————-

I have seen David Leadbetter on TV many times talking about…well, nonsense.

IMO, he ruined the tail end of Nick Faldo’s prime with that stupid yellow bean bag with his name on it that you see at every driving range. If you swing into it too many times, it throws off the rhythm of your golf swing. Ask Nick what he thinks of the yellow bean bag if you ever see him.

Impact Bag? The only impact it has is to sprain your wrists and give you lumbago.

IMO, it is no coincidence that after Ernie Els started working with him, he was not seen on the top of the leader board in any majors. No more DL for Ernie, he is back on the leaderboard.

It is also my opinion that it is no coincidence that after Michelle Wie started working with him, she went from almost winning majors on the LPGA Tour, to not being able to break 80 for a while. No more DL, she gets her first win.

Several years ago, I used to live at PGA West where they have played the Skins game, The Bob Hope and Q-school.

I was playing the Palmer course one day and there was a film crew and several carts in the middle of the fourth fairway. I decided to go watch and found DL shooting an instructional video. I decided to listen along with 10 or 12 of my fellow members.

I won’t go into the specific technical nonsense he was spouting because I don’t want to expose you to what can only be considered the golf version of pornography. Needless to say, I disagreed with it, but I want to tell you what happened.

He spouted his nonsense, tried to implement it by hitting a shot to the green…dead 90 degree shank.

Take 2…same nonsense verbally, tried to swing that way…El Hozel about 4 feet from the first one.

Take 3…same nonsense into the camera…I would like to tell you he holed out door #3, but alas, it was another right turn special.

He slammed his club on the cart and it broke.

I would like to tell you what happened next, but I couldn’t contain my laughter and had to drive away.

Moral to the story. Why is much of the world trying to improve their golf game by listening to a guy who gives out info so bad, it gives himself the shanks?

Dave Stockton Sr.

This is the guy you should be listening to about putting. Jr. and I were friends for a while and lost touch after he got married, but my greatest putting success was after a 15 minute lesson from his dad.

I was stupid and abandoned that for the Dave Pelz shtick and was never a good putter again until about 6 months ago when I started to come out of my funk.