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Readers Letters - July/August 2010

Help us get our game into better health...

I always enjoy your magazine, along with one or two of the others. Each one is guaranteed to be packed full of golf drills, tips, hints, and bitesize lessons designed to improve various aspects of your game. Each will also feature the latest equipment to hit the market designed to bring your score down. It’s now commonplace in most magazines to find a half-page spread devoted to the psychology of the game. All of the above I feel are vitally important to anyone wanting to improve their game, and improvements can always be made at any level.

However the one thing that strikes me as missing from your magazine (and the others, too) is a regular feature on fitness and nutrition. We’re forever hearing about how many hours Tiger spends in the gym, and of the peanut butter sandwiches he eats out on the course; Lee Westwood saying how much his fitness has lifted his game helping him to become Europe’s #1; practice drills featured in the magazine go on to say how important it is to have a ‘solid core’, and ‘strong legs’ for balance and so on.

Now I’m not suggesting for a second that we all need to get ‘ripped’ and give Mr Villegas a run for his money, but I think that some basic exercises and fitness drills that are golf specific, along with nutritional advice could really make a difference to all of our games.

If all of your readers approach this with the same enthusiasm as they do for trying all manner of practice drills, or buying the latest equipment as soon as it hits the shelves, then we may be able to benefit from some of the improvements we hear all the pro’s talking about. At the very least we could have a nation of healthier, fitter, more agile golfers – regardless of age, sex, or current golfing ability. Can’t be a bad thing, can it?
Dan Deakin, via email

Editor’s note: Valid point. Look out for features on golf-related fitness training in future issues...

Emily shows us all the way forward

As someone who has been trying to encourage a 9 year-old daughter to take more interest in golf may I just say how impressed I was with your recent feature on the incredible Emily Price. What a talent – and what a golf swing! I am 100% certain we will see a lot more of Emily in years to come.

While I’m not ordinarily a fan of instruction in print, I must say that the way you design and put across your instruction content is first class. The tone of the article and the advice coach Stuart Morgan imparted through it certainly made me sit up and take notice. And when I showed the magazine to my daughter, Sara, she was more than impressed at the grace and athleticism of Emily (and, I hope, just a little envious that this remarkable young player had her photos in a glossy magazine!).

Such a piece of journalism and design deserves recognition and I hope that many readers around the world found this feature as inspiring as we did. Sara has even taken the magazine to school to show a couple of her friends what a potentially world-beating 10-year-old golf swing looks like. Thanks to your efforts – and to Emily’s for her love of and dedication to golf – we look forward to a summer playing as a family.
William Jamieson Malaga, Spain

Editor’s note: At a recent teaching seminar with the Titleist Performance Institute several leading instructors praised Stuart’s article – anyone who missed it can enjoy it online at www.golfinternationalmag.com

They missed Emily’s driving lesson!

Upon reading your latest issue (May/June), my daughter Bonagh Murphy insisted that we head straight out to the golf course where she was itching to try for herself the swing drills featured in your wonderful teaching article with young Emily Price. And I have to say she played some wonderful golf, so thank you for a very useful – and I must say – colourful series of photographs displaying some real golfing talent.

However, the reason for this letter will be apparent from the accompanying photograph. While playing the 18th hole at Moyvalley Golf & Country Club in County Kildare, we came across a golf buggy in the lake, with two sets of clubs still strapped in place. My daughter found this hilarious and insisted we take a photograph to send in. I guess the gentlemen involved were not playing with so much fun as we were – they should have read the article!!
Diarmuid Murphy, via email

Intriguing Ryder Cup ahead

As we approach the run-in to the Ryder Cup, increasingly the media spotlight will fall on the two captains, Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin. The way they react and the signals they give out will be closely scrutinised and there is no doubt that battles can be won and lost in this period.

It is hard to quantify the extent to which a captain can influence the result, but since he makes selection and pairing decisions his is certainly not a token role. Apart from having the skill (luck?) to get his decisions right it is vital that he creates an environment where the players feel comfortable, motivated and can perform at their best.

This was something which, in recent years, the likes of Torrance, Langer, Woosnam and Azinger all seems to have achieved with some distinction but in different styles. It seems to me that an important part of creating this environment is for the captain to recognise how important the players are and avoid getting too focussed on himself.

When Nick Faldo gave his opening speeches last time there were early indications that he hadn’t computed this point. The speeches were a lot about Faldo (and his family) with the team as something of an afterthought. In fact, as I recall, he didn’t even manage to get all the players’ names right and he had to ask Graeme McDowell which part of Ireland he was from.

In retrospect the Valhalla Ryder Cup was largely influenced by the fact that three of the best players in the European side (Harrington, Westwood and Garcia) were not firing and contributed just 2.5 points between them. Was Faldo simply unlucky to catch them in poor form or, like poor old Hal Sutton in 2004, did he fail to connect with his troops? Only the players would know how the chemistry worked between them and Sir Nick. Some observers might defend Faldo by saying that it was apparent after the match that his team all respected him and were loyal to him. But did he actually do a good job as captain? Player for player his side was not obviously weaker than the USA, and yet it lost quite heavily, so the jury has to be out on that one.

And so we turn to the 2010 contest. In Corey Pavin the USA have an astute and steely competitor who was a formidable Ryder Cup opponent. He is something of an over achiever as a player and is rather in the mould of Azinger. Pavin has already shown that he understands what this contest is about. The “will Tiger play?” issue was dealt with in a beautifully laconic manner. The gist of the response was that there will be no special treatment and if he’s playing well enough he’s welcome in the team.

Good answer – after all is said and done the USA won last time without Woods so why does Pavin need to be concerned if he plays this time or not? On the European side, Colin Montgomerie has received unwelcome attention as a result of his private life. He’s never been slow to pass forthright opinions in public and his comments earlier this year about the reception Tiger Woods might get from the US Ryder Cup wives and girlfriends do now look a tad hypocritical. And, as far as European selection is concerned he has, it seems, cast Sergio Garcia as a “special case”. Is it not dangerous to create “special cases” in the lead up to the Ryder Cup? Surely it puts pressure on the player concerned and creates dissention amongst other players competing for a place.

Monty does appear to be seeing himself as the focal point of the Ryder Cup, in much the same way he did when he was playing in it. But he must remember that it’s not about him. In the months before the event he needs to keep a watching brief on the players and consult, as he sees fit, in private. Most of all he needs to be very careful about what he says in public. Let’s see how it all pans out. The pre-match build up could be almost as telling as the shots hit in the contest itself.
Stuart Mott, Via e-mail

 

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 


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