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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Meehan: Pros roundtable features Jordan Spieth, amateur’s flaws and cart troubles

For a column more than a decade ago, I did a ride-along with course marshals to see how they interact with customers and keep pace of play moving at an acceptable level.

Somewhere down the line, I’m going to get behind the wheel of the driving range picker and see what it’s like to be a moving target. For now, I asked area pros Bill Ross (Wandermere), Darin Vaughan (Twin Lakes Village) and Kit DeAndre (Liberty Lake) to recount their funniest ventures operating the range picker or the beverage cart.

Their responses, and more, in the latest edition of the pros roundtable.

Q: What’s the best part of Jordan Spieth’s game, and why?

Bill: The best part of Jordan’s game is his putting from 20-30 feet, but everybody knows that. I personally think the best part is his ability to stay in the moment. He has an uncanny ability to not let things get to him and bounce back from a bad hole with a couple of birdies.

Darin: Jordan is an exceptional mid length putter, but I think the best part of his game is lack of any weakness.  He also makes great decisions and always seems to choose the right shot at the right time.

Kit: He thinks very well around the course and his short game is very good. He’s demonstrated himself this year by accomplishing just that, playing himself into contention to win the first three major championships, although falling short last week in the Open Championship he has given himself the opportunity to win.

Q: Most common flaw you see in amateurs’ swings?

Darin: It seems like most of the flaws in golfers’ swings are the result of poor fundamentals. The two things that I see the most are alignment that is off and open-faced (or weak) grips.

Kit: By and large the players’ swing path usually needs adjustment. Now, how we get there may take some different swing thoughts and practice. If we can create a consistent correct swing path we can control the club face and ball flight much better.

Bill: Probably the most common thing I see would be the weight shift. Most amateurs use all arms and upper body, or when they actually do a weight shift the majority end up with all their weight on the back foot leaning away from the shot direction.

Q: Yea or nay on Fox’s coverage of USGA events, and why?

Kit: I say yea. Fox tried some new, innovative ideas at Chambers Bay for this year’s U.S. Open. I enjoyed the on-course audio, I thought the ball-tracing was used effectively and for the most part the coverage was fine. I’m sure Fox will improve on their techniques in the areas they deem necessary for their viewers. (This was their first U.S. Open).

Bill: I would have to say nay. What I noticed is they were having a hard time following the shots with the cameras and the analysts seemed to be struggling at times with rulings and just normal conversation filling the down times during the telecast.

Darin: Nay for me. I’m not a huge Greg Norman fan and I didn’t think they did a good job of following all of the players that were in the hunt.

Q: Assuming somewhere along the way you’ve had to drive the beverage cart or the driving range ball collector at some point. Funniest story from one of those ventures?

Bill: We didn’t have a cart to shag balls so we had to do it by hand. One day a couple of my range kids were heading out to shag the range and I specifically told them not to drive through the mud puddles on the dirt road. Needless to say they drove into the first one and it was actually a sink hole from a broken pipe. It was pretty funny as they tried to explain how they completely sunk the cart to the roof.

Darin: I don’t have one specific event but it is absolutely no fun to get hit when you are running the picker. You can see the ball coming and it still just about gives you a heart attack when it hits the cart.

Kit: I’m sure it was not funny at the time but I was operating a picker cart that I ran out of gas. No big deal, just put in more gas. Shortly thereafter, the golf cart ran out of oil, I seized the engine and the range dispenser never got re-supplied with range balls that night. That meant no range balls for the course the next day, no range cart for picking balls the next night and an expensive engine overhaul.

I think we picked balls by hand for at least a week before the cart got repaired. I never ran another golf cart out of oil!

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