Jim Meehan talks to the pros
From time to time I check in with area experts for advice and opinions on golf topics.
The pros roundtable makes its 2014 debut with Manito’s Steve Prugh, the Links’ Darrell Hull and Dominion Meadows’ Andy Hite discussing the best round they’ve ever witnessed, Tiger Woods’ absence and putters and putting.
What’s the best round of golf you’ve ever seen?
AH: My oldest son, Justin, shot a 59 in the final round of the men’s club match-play championship when he was a senior in high school. He had a 6-8 footer on the last hole for 58 and it 360’d the cup. What a day.
SP: My son Corey shot 62 once and 63 three times during the Rosauers at Indian Canyon. One year Corey was in a close battle and didn’t have a perfect start to the last round. But by the end he had two eagles (including a hole-in-one), eight birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey. That added up to 63 and his second Rosauers championship.
My other son, Alex, was playing in the San Diego (PGA) tour stop in 2010 at Torrey Pines South. In the last round he makes the turn 1-under par and is probably in 20th. The 12th hole is a 480-yard par 4. Alex misses the green short right with his second shot. I’m thinking tough up-and-down. Well, he chips in for birdie. Goes to the par-5 13th, hits his tee shot in a fairway bunker, hits a 5-wood to 6 inches and makes eagle. He birdies 16 and ties for fifth. It was his second top 10 in his first three tour events.
DH: The greatest round of golf I witnessed was my final amateur event. I was playing in the Downriver pro-am. Dave Lowe was the pro for my group. Dave hit all 18 greens in regulation, including hitting all of the par 5s in two shots, and he drove five of the par fours. Unfortunately, Dave had trouble putting that day. Dave had 26 shots and 45 putts to shoot 71. But from tee to green that was as fine of a round as I’ve ever seen.
Can you offer a putting tip for players struggling with 4-5 footers?
SP: First, always focus on the ball when putting and never watch the putter. Second, trust your stroke, hit the ball on the line you have picked out and don’t care if it goes in the hole.
DH: I say to my students, “Keep the face square and listen for the ball to go into the hole.” So many times players want to see the ball go into the hole and they end up moving their upper body causing the face to go off line. Square and listen.
AH: Use a chalk line as an alignment and visual aid. Align your golf ball’s factory logo or draw a straight, bold line on your ball to align with the chalk line. After making a stroke, notice if the line on your ball rolls true, if not look at your putter’s finish. On short putts your finish should be low and the line on your putter needs to match the chalk line.
Any change in your TV viewing of PGA events with Tiger out of the mix?
DH: I can say I like what Tiger has done for golf in general. There are so many up-and-comers that nobody knows – there’s a different winner every week. I think it would be good to see Tiger back in the mix.
AH: Whether you like him or not, the fact is he drives the golf industry. When he’s not in the field there’s a part of golf missing. The best player in the world also donates more than any other athlete ever has. I am a huge Tiger fan; he’s not Jack, yet.
SP: Tiger not playing has not affected my TV watching at all. I’m probably watching more. From my perspective Tiger has/had a responsibility to be of good moral character and he has fallen way short in that area so I am not a fan anymore.
I once interviewed a guy who had 70-plus putters. How many do you have? How often do you change?
AH: I like the trends and different styles of putters. I only have one I use, but I try most that come in just to have an idea of the performance for my customers. I have collected a lot over the years and enjoy the art of putting.
SP: I switched to left- handed putting 20 years ago and since then I’ve had two putters. They are both basically the same. The one in my bag has been there for at least 10 years.
DH: I have a Taylor Made Spider Belly putter that I use right now, knowing full well I will have to change due to the rule change for anchoring in 2016. I have been trying to go back and use a Ping B-60 that I have kept from back in the early 90s. But I would not change from the Spider unless I have to.