Your show, 'The Golf Fix', airs live on Mondays at 7 p.m. on the Golf Channel. You kicked off your second season on Jan. 25. What’s been the reception to the show so far? How does it feel to be a Mr. Fix-it?
First of all, there is a different energy when you’re shooting the thing live. I got 770 emails this week. It’s any question that you could imagine. A large part of the viewing audience is those that don’t have the financial resources to get a golf lesson. But it’s not any one thing about the show. It’s nice to be talking to people who want to play better golf.
Your critics might say that you’re not really helping players, but simply offering a quick fix that isn’t sustainable.
Like I said, many of my viewers can’t afford a lesson in the traditional sense of a session with a pro on the range. Or for whatever reason they find my format more convenient than getting a formal lesson. But I have never said that my show should replace a traditional lesson with a PGA Professional.
What’s the future of the golf swing?
Speed. Distance is a really big thing. Guys are going to swing faster to hit it farther. For so long people have been concentrating on hitting the ball straight. Now people want to hit it as far as they can and go find it. Particularly at the junior level, kids are just going to be encouraged to hit it as far as they can.
You were an assistant pro at Augusta National from 1989 to 1992. How was that experience?
It was everything that you would hope that it would be and then some. Getting to know those members and the caddies and the staff was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Who would you take a lesson from?
Butch Harmon. I think he’s the best. There is no question. His understanding of the swing is phenomenal. His delivery is great. If I had to trust someone with a swing, I’d go with him.
Other than your own golf book, The Picture-Perfect Golf Swing, published in 2008, what golf book should people read?
Everyone can get something from Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book. But you should also have The Golfing Machine by Homer Kelley, the father of golf instruction. It’s a tough read but it’s too important to ignore.
Which player on Tour would you love to give a fix?
Sergio Garcia on his putting.
What would you tell Sergio?
That’s for me and Sergio to figure out. I think he’s very talented, but I think that I could make a difference.
Your viewers have created a golfcabulary. Give us some of your favorite examples?
A drive right down the middle is a steak sauce called “A-1.” A “Rush Limbaugh” is one that is way right.
What happens when people recognize you on the street?
They all want to describe how the tip they got from the show helped them. I get mothers, the agent at the car rental, people I run into in airports.
What are some of the things you can’t teach about hitting a golf ball?
There is nothing that you can’t teach. I couldn’t do this for a living if I believed otherwise. I believe that you can train the brain to do anything.
At Sunningdale, your club in Scarsdale, N.Y., you once gave a series of golf lessons to a blind man.
You take things for granted about the game. I learned a lot about myself as teacher through that experience. Imagine having to teach someone through trial and error how to do what is a seemingly basic task like placing the clubhead behind the ball. Eventually, I was able to teach this student how to feel where his head, hands, feet, arms and shoulders should be at address and through the golf swing.