Life on Tour...

A fellow poster from another site asked me about Todd Hamilton…

When I was on tour, Todd Hamilton was always a good player, but he wasn’t dominating or anything. Just really another guy that if he was playing good that week would be in contention. I played a lot with Todd, and for a fairly big guy didn’t hit the ball very long. I would say I hit it 10 to 20 by him back then with us both on persimmon.

We were at PGA Tour school one year, and were paired together, and he shows up with this high tech driver he picked up in Japan, and now he’s hitting it 20 by me! He was telling everyone how that saved his game, and he was able to win over in Japan with the new gear. It was at that moment I knew that golf was going to change.
I knew that I would be literally forced to have to go the lightweight titanium jumbo heads at some point. The original metal woods, I’m thinking Taylor Made stuff from the 80’s didn’t really do much for distance, guys used to carry them so they could hit driver off the fairway easier, that was really about the extent of it.

Todd Hamilton winning the Open was great to see, we were all rooting for him, as we were for Brian Watts a few years earlier.
All those guys including Rocco came out of the same era I was in.

The guys I would have picked to win majors that I played with in College were Cory Pavin, Duffy Waldorf, Sam Randolph, Billy Ray Brown, Chris Perry, Davis Love, Scott Verplank, Willie Wood, Steve Pate, Louis Brown, VIc Wilk. Those guys come to mind first. I’d have another 10 names if I thought about it again.

You have to remember, that with 144 players teeing off on Thursday, somebody by the weekend is having the best week of their life, every week. There is always some guy who is making everything, holing shots from the fairway, whatever, I mean every week someone is playing way out of their minds! So no matter who you are, if you are going to win, you are going to have to deal with that!

The thing that makes the greats great, is that they DON’T have to be having the career week of their life to win. When Greg Norman was in his prime, he just needed to play average for him to be in contention. If he played good he would win easy, and if he was playing great he would win by 12! Same with Tiger and all the greats.

Todd winning the Open, he was having the best week of his life, and it happened to be the week of the Open! That’s what makes golf great! Now would he have won with persimmon and blades? I would guess not. Of course I might be wrong, but I can tell you that he is a perfect example the new gear really making a difference in his game.

I know some would argue that with the new stuff, it’s the same for everyone, but I would tend to disagree, because some guys don’t really need the extra distance, and some guys that are really pure ball strikers hit it dead solid almost all the time, so making the sweet spot bigger doesn’t help them as much, and may even hurt them if you take into consideration the feel and feedback they lose in their practice sessions, and on the course.

Golf is really a different game now…
I’ve hit the new stuff and I can’t work it like I can with persimmon.
I don’t have the pin point accuracy with the new irons when I am ON.
I will be better on the bad days, but I would rather be better on my good days personally. The new stuff just brings more guys into the game, especially around the cut score.

One thing is for certain, you don’t have to be as good as you used to be to shoot the same score.

When will Mac O’Gradys’ book come out?

Hopefully someday…

Mac sure is taking his time. I remember back in the late 80’s one of the guys on tour was working with Mac, and had some photo copies of some of the pages of Mac’s book or “findings” in his briefcase, and invited a couple of us up for a look at it one night in his hotel room in Vancouver. Apparently he wasn’t supposed to show this to anyone, because it was “top secret”! I remember feeling like we were in some espionage spy movie or cracking the di vinci code! Back then before the internet and Youtube, it was a big deal to have video of Mac, or
other great ball strikers. We used to trade stuff like we were kids trading baseball cards or something. Moe Norman let me film him at Red Deer CC in 1987 at a clinic he did there, and he was in a good mood that day and let me get all kinds of great angles, and he was hitting all kinds of shots, bunker shots, drivers off the ground, all his usual stunts. I had this great camera that would shoot at 10,000 frames per second, so I probably have some of the best footage of Moe around. He still hit it pretty good then. He didn’t really become a household name till later when they put him on the cover of golf digest, and then the “Natural Golf” thing, which I have never looked at. By the mid 90’s I think his body was starting to give out a bit.

Mac, I did run into several times, and was able to pick his brain on a few things. I also had a lot of his lessons on video that were circulating in the underground. I would imagine all that stuff is on Youtube now. Most of what I learned about Mac’s theories was very
TGM of course, but he did make some really good points about rotational speed, and compared a figure skater pulling in their arms when they would go into a spin to increase their speed. Of course by doing that you could lose swing radius if you took that to an extreme and stood too close to the ball.

I have always been more interested in what people actually do in their swings, than what they say they are doing in their swings. Both Mac, Hogan, and Moe for that matter are some of the games purest strikers ever, but they don’t always do what they say. What they do and what they feel often seem to be different.

Hogan starts with his hands higher at address, and then his hands come in lower and tighter to his body at impact. Mac does the opposite. Which is better? I would think Hogan’s would be better personally. I like an out to in motion, and I have seen a lot more good golf played that way that in to out. I’m sure Mac has his reasons for what he does and if Mac ever comes across this forum I won’t be surprised to find a dead goats head on my doorstep in the morning for even questioning his application! lol

I do hope Mac gets his book out someday. I would certainly buy it and learn a lot I’m sure.

Mac will never publish his work… Never sorry ain’t going to happen. Why?

  1. It would be open season on him once the material was published and he is very eccentric and not one that likes for others to question him, if you do you are out of the Mac O’ secret society. 2. By not publishing but, only threatening too he can create an illusion of a secret that only he knows and that is power and with power comes a lot of things like money don’t believe me attend one of his clinics some time and see how many people are willing to pay for the secret of MORAD. 3. He is never happy with material and is constantly changing it, I would hate to be the publisher.

Now if he ever does I will be one of the first people to buy a copy.

If some has taken his course or meet him I would like to get your feedback.

Mac played his best golf in the late 1980’s… a fantastic ball striker…

I suppose the real secret to Morad is that he understood the golf swing very completely,
and grinded a lot of drills and balls for many years… and really committed himself to
the pursuit of excellence… He came down and played in the Australian Open one year
that I was playing in it too, and we talked about a lot of things… good stuff…
I agree with most of what Mac says… and I think anyone who has a chance to work with him
would be wise to do so… I always admire a teacher who can also walk their talk.
That’s one reason I like to stay active to some degree as a player… I think it’s important.

When you are on tour, your swing tends to go to the motion that will get the ball in play that day or week. When you are playing for a living you wouldn’t be wise trying to swing like “your model” …whatever you choose that to be. Most of the guys on tour have a ton of compensations and manipulations going on in their swings. Stuff only they can feel and understand. Even the best players rarely have perfect golf swings based on “plane simplicity”, and direct motion dynamics. Most pros grew up with less than perfect instruction, but with a huge zest and desire for success, a player can learn to find what works for them, what repeats, and fits into their body. Playing tournaments is not always the best thing for your golf swing. I was always amazed how different my swing would look after 6 to 8 weeks of touring. After a while, your brain just gets too overwhelmed with compensations and you will see a lot of pros on the range looking quite lost at times if they have been out there for a long stretch. When you go home, you go back to your model, and the cycle starts all over.

One of the amazing things about golf is that a player with less than perfect swing photos can assemble a strange looking action that is able to repeat and produce a consistent “shot pattern”. I have seen it over and over, a player who just gets it around, has a one trick pony tee shot, and a five yard fade with an iron… you can combine that with a world class wedge and chipping game, and then the whole thing just comes down to putting. A lot of fantastic careers in golf have come about with such a simple formula.

That all being said, I believe a great golf swing can do much more for an amateur than a pro. You could teach a “15” a great swing and get him or her down to low digits pretty quickly if done right.

On the other hand, a touring pro with a great swing might get the ball inside 20 feet 4 more times a round, but with a 25% conversion rate with the putter that would only make for a one shot gain.
The pros know that they would be smarter to master a five wedge program inside 130 yards, chipping and putting is going to do so much more for the score than trying to have a Ben Hogan type golf swing. This is why you don’t see that many great swings out there.

I’ll go out on a limb here say that Tiger’s swing is not the best the game has seen. He hits his driver way off line (usually right) too often to put him in a category with the likes of Hogan or Nicklaus as far as ball striking. You would never see those guys hitting it 40 yards off line coming down the stretch like Tiger does so often.

With the modern gear, trees and rough are much more manageable with short irons than with mid and long irons back 20 to 50 years ago. Back then you had to hit is straight. Golf courses would need to be 8000 plus yards to put a proper comparison in place. The long irons are the acid test of the golf swing, and until courses have 570 yard four pars, (driver 320/ 3 iron 250) it’s not fair to compare.

Interesting you would mention Craig Parry. Craig and I turned pro at the same time, I think within a month of each other, and we both went through the 1987 Q School together in Toronto. I came across a photo my caddy took of the leader board with Parry and I on the top in our rookie season at the Victoria Open.

My trip down to Australia in Sept of 1987 was a very exciting time for me, and I remember Craig winning the first tournament I played in “The Australian PGA” at the Lakes. The papers were painting this story of this kid from nowhere who was sleeping in his panel wagon and winning this great tournament. It was funny because I am sure he was not sleeping in the car as the media would have led the readers to believe, but it did make for a great story. I’ll never forget it!

Craig is a classic example of the inside out looping motion that traces the plane line with visually equivalent circles (backswing to downswing)

Posted August 18 2008

There were so many factors in choosing to retire in 1993 I couldn’t go into it here. But I did make a clean cut from the game, and chose not to follow it in the press and so forth. As you might guess, I have a bit of an obsessive view towards the game, so it would have been difficult to just kind of toy with it on the weekends, and it would have been very distracting from other ventures I was involved with.

My recent return to the game has surprised even me, and it was an unusual turn of events that would lead me back to playing again.

The biggest factor was literally stumbling across a course that peaked my interest. Built in the 1800’s, it naturally rolls across the lay of the land, never a level lie, tight, with trouble everywhere, small postage stamp greens, a stiff wind coming off the San Francisco Bay
and in fair enough condition. Not many players out there either…Somehow I have been so blessed to feel the magic of the game again. I really mean this. I play persimmon, and rotate through 10 different sets of irons. I really look forward to each new set in the rotation. Tomorrow I will be back on the 1953 Tommy Armour Silver Scots. They are so buttery and just have the softest feel. The next day a set of 59 Dynapowers.
I carry a 1 iron, 2 or 3 through pitching wedge, and different persimmon drivers and 2 or three woods are also in the rotation.
I have a couple nice wedges, R 20 and right now two putters I change up, a Bullseye, and TPM 3.

I have now played 20 rounds since my first day back April 24th.

I have always believed that scores on the tour will be about 3 shots higher per round than what you do on your home track. So if you want to average 70.5 on tour, you need to be averaging 67.5 at home… and I mean that for real. I have seen a lot of local players who shoot the occasional round in the 60’s decide to go out on tour, look for sponsors and so forth. They have no chance. You just can’t imagine how tough it is out there. So looking at my scoring so far,
I am still a long way off in reality. My average of 71.3 at home would be 74.3 give or take on tour.

So when I get my scoring average down to around 67.3 on the home track, we’ll put up a thread on here called “Lag’s return Journey to the world golf tour” and I’ll come over to pick you up and throw you on the bag, and we’ll really do it this time! lol
realistically on tour.

I can only base things off what I know.
If I remember right, my stroke average was around 69.5 at home back in the late 80’s, meaning on my home or local courses. I averaged I think around 72.5 on tour, say on the Canadian Tour, where I played most of my career. I would typically place best on long courses, or the tougher tracks, not because I was extremely long, but because it wasn’t a wedge and putt circus. I liked the courses where I only had to pull wedge out say 4 or 5 times a round. About as many times as I would 1, 3 or 4 iron.
The rest would be 5 through 9 iron. The strength of my game was always my driver, iron play, and I would say I was certainly a better than average putter. Excellent lag putter from long range. My wedge play was far from stellar. Chipping pretty ordinary, and sand play average at best. (all this by tour standards) Combined drives (distance and accuracy) I would be near the top on any tour.

There were a lot of tour players who struggled in the long game…
but had brilliant wedge play (that had wedge looking golf swings)
The first guy that comes to mind is Kirk Triplett. I can’t tell you how many times I would get paired with Kirk and he would hit his driver all over the course, and not long either, and he would pitch it out of the trees within 110 yards of the green, and wedge it to within 10 feet or closer, and make the putt to save par. He would often do this 4 times a round. Kirk has had a great career, but I can say this… if the game had gone the other direction, meaning, the USGA and R and A banned metal woods, cavity backs, put a cap on shaft weights, lengths and kept the balls balata… there are a lot of guys that wouldn’t have had the careers they did… and there would be guys that didn’t fair so well with the new stuff that would be taking their place.

I got out just before the new game really took place. But I did see it coming. Todd Hamilton and I played together at PGA Tour school in
1992, and he had just come back from Japan with the new Callaway Bertha, over length titanium thing and was hitting it 40 yards farther.
I remember I just couldn’t believe this was allowed and legal. After Ping won the 250 million dollar lawsuit over the USGA a couple years before, they just lost their teeth… they literally were railroaded by the manufactures and the power just shifted from the governing body to the gear maker…. and it’s still going on today with no end in sight.

The changes in the game would have played away from my strengths, and more into my weaker areas not doubt… so I am really fortunate I got out when I did, because I would have probably had a rough decade trying to convert my game over to the 5 wedge system, and would have had to make swing changes that would gear my swing more toward a less dynamic action, slower hand speed, and set things up for a stronger wedge protocol, and given up my strength of being a good long game player.
That concept doesn’t really excite me, even now.

The problem is that the new gear doesn’t really help the pure strikers all that much. They already hit it dead center most all the time. Great ball strikers like Greg Norman, Woosy and Faldo lost their edge. It just brought their competition closer, and opened the door for a slew of guys that only had wedge and short games to match. I might sound like sour grapes, but I don’t think I would be too far out on a limb if you talked to other guys that were playing around that transitional era or before. I would love the hear what Bob Shearer would say, or David Graham. Even Norman if he would really be candid about it. Billy Dunk?

It might be fun to go to US Open qualifying and see if I could get through and be the only guy to tee it up with persimmon and a set of 59 Dynapowers…! If I could make the cut and get to Saturday, I might get as much coverage as Tiger… really…! Now that would be fun!

I am not sure modern equipment would help me much, other than the driver of course. An additional 40 yards off the tee would put wedge in my hand on every hole at my home course.

I have hit the new stuff, not the irons, but if I do hit a modern driver, it’s 40 yards farther no doubt.

It all really comes down to intent.
I have just come out of a 15 year golf induced coma lol!, so I am still in the shock stage I think.

Do I have intention of playing again professionally now? I mean Rocco and I are the same age, and he nearly won the US Open this year.
I can assure you I am in better physical shape than Rocco. I would not have one once of fear or intimidation playing head to head against him if he had a set of 50’s blades and persimmon in is bag and we were on equal ground there…standing on the first tee… let’s go…

I don’t know the new game, or any idea about hitting a wedge 150 yards. I don’t see that shot shape in my mind. I DO know that I can’t work the ball off the tee left and right like I do off persimmon. Every drive I hit I am either shaping it left to right or right to left…sometimes quite a lot!

I don’t believe for one second that today’s players are one ounce better than guys 20 years ago… or even 50 years ago given the same gear and ball. There are more decent players, but not better.

I don’t believe if Tiger was playing persimmon and blades, he would dominate Greg Norman in the late eighties.

Greg Norman wins 1987 Australian Open

I was there, yes with my consistent four straight 74’s lol!
I can’t even tell you how tough that course was that week. I’m a pretty good player, and believe me I didn’t walk away from there with my head down on Sunday shooting what I did under tough windy conditions at Royal Melbourne with hockey rink greens, and “Open” rough. Norman wins this by 10 and beats me by 23! and then someone is going to tell me that no one has ever played golf like Tiger can? NO!

Dart just posted about how Billy Dunk won the Australian PGA at Castle Hill with 65,65,65,65 by 20 shots. Would Tiger have waxed Dunk that week with persimmon and blades even if he was “on”
How about Padraig?

Before I could even consider playing again, I would have to get my scoring average at home down to around 67.5 with the old stuff.
That would put be at about 70.5 on tour set up courses, pressure, travel, and of course circa persimmon blades and so forth.

Now I am hearing different opinions, but the majority of players I know (that would know) are saying the new gear is taking off 3 shots a round. So when I see a PGA guy shoot 67 on any tour, I add 3 shots to compare what that score would mean to me the old way.

Another view would be that if I did use the new gear, I would then have to average about 64.5 on my home course… and that might be true, as I would expect top world players to do that if they are going to hit the ball 315 yards dead straight out there. It would be a day full of wedge shots from various distances, and chipping from the fringes and so forth… and as good as these guys are now with wedges (5 wedges in their bag) it would be expected that birdies would be nearly automatic.

All I can really say is I like hitting a 1959 Dynapower 6 iron from 165 out…to 18 feet from the pin working it off the wind and a sidehill lie, then rolling in the putt. Golf’s a lot more interesting and exciting that way.

I have to say I do not go to watch the now BMW Championship at Wentworth much anymore even though I only live a few miles away, but watching guys at the Open in 1991…

I spent hours watching the ball flight, the curve, the sound!!!

The greastest shot I ever saw on tour was Davis Love III hit a 1 iron off the deck at Royal Birkdale in 1991. An amazing sight

I really do think there will be a tour for that stuff, I have no interest in Bomb and gouge golf an I’m not the only true golf fan who thinks this? Golf on TV is all putting these days as it’s all bomb the ball up in the air from the tee and fairway.

The revolution is coming :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp:

I was thinking about short hitters, and how they have all but vanished as a potential dominating force…

As often as you see tour players hit a “one shot” game, it is a big advantage to be able to draw and fade at will.

The most impressive display of working the ball at will left and right was Corey Pavin in the 80’s. I played with Cory many times and I just can’t say enough about how he could shape a golf ball. Back in the days of persimmon drivers, he could only drive the ball about 230 yards. He was really short off the tee. I would drive the ball 30 yard by him, but when the round was over, he would shoot 66 and I would shoot 72.
He would play an entire round and not miss hit a shot. His short game was deadly and he would not miss fairways. He was always in play all day all the time. If he could reach the green in two with a 4 wood from 210 it was a done deal. Not uncommon for him to fade a 4 wood into the green 20 feet from the pin and knock in the putt.

His senior year at UCLA he won 7 out of 12 college tournaments individually and was the Collegiate Player of the Year. I think the new gear really killed his advantage… although he could hit if further, so did everyone else, so nothing gained there, but with the new ball and driver, he couldn’t work the ball as well with the same control he could before off Wood and Balata balls.

Guys like Corey and Willie Wood were great players that drew big galleries because people found it interesting to see a guy who hit it only as far or less than they did, and could still post such amazing scores consistently. A lost art I don’t think we’ll ever see again.
It’s really ashame.

Great pictures of Mac O- both caddy and DTL view. His shadows are so spot on with shaft alignment it’s crazy. I guess I’ll have to find a planet with a better sun 'cuz my shadows are well…lets just leave it there. Place smiley here!!!