To me, the MSR credits are meaningless, so I go to the Metropolitan PGA’s educational forum each year because it gets the wheels spinning. It’s the official start of spring. And here’s what I came away with this year, good hair is not a requirement for player-of-the-year contenders.
Here’s the proof …
This is what happens when the hats come off. I would’ve zoomed in but there was too much glare. The panel included (from left to right) Danny Balin, Rick Hartmann, Greg Bisconti, Rob Labritz, Frank Bensel and Darrell Kestner. Only the old guys touched a comb or brush yesterday morning before the annual get together at the Westchester Broadway Theatre and nobody asked them for hair-care tips.
Seriously, here’s the story I wrote for today’s paper …
By Mike Dougherty
ELMSFORD - Brad Faxon and Jimmy Roberts didn’t have any trouble holding the attention of an expert audience for the better part of an hour Tuesday at the 50th annual Metropolitan PGA Educational Forum.
They sat around, talking about golf.
Faxon, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour who’s become a proven authority on putting, and Roberts, a familiar voice on NBC’s golf coverage who’s a member at Westchester Country Club, touched on the headlines and shared tips of the golf trade with more than 250 club professionals.
Naturally, there was some discussion of Master champion Bubba Watson, a natural who insists he’s never taken a lesson.
“I don’t know if he’s ever sat down and had a formal lesson with any PGA professional, but I’m sure he’s had a tip,” Faxon said. “He does some amazing things with the golf ball.”
And the gap wedge from the pine straw that hooked onto the 10th green during the playoff with Louis Oosthuizen came up.
“I’ve hit a 40-yard, left-to-right shot, I do that all the time,” said Roberts, a White Plains native who kept the conversation informal and informative.
Faxon explained his approach to putting. He’s not a technician and believes concentrating on the stroke alone can be a distraction. Faxon insists there are no fundamentals in putting since there are so many different approaches that have resulted in success.
The 50-year-old Rhode Island native thinks a player can learn to be a good on the greens.
“My stroke’s evolved,” said Faxon, who got statistically better in his 30s. “I spent a lot of time practicing. The mistake players make is they’re always working on their strokes and they don’t spend enough time making putts.”
It’s a thought many of the club professionals made earlier when discussing the importance of teaching a student how to play golf along with how to swing a club.
The conversation wouldn’t have been complete without some mention of Tiger Woods and his ongoing comeback.
“Tiger still has a lot left, but he’s got a body that’s broken down,” Faxon said. “My theory is he doesn’t have a phone call he can make at the end of the day. … It’s sad. It’s hard to call your 3-year-old and ask how’d it go today?”
Once the educational discussions were complete, the Met PGA handed out awards.
Robert Watson, a lifetime member who spent most of his career in the section at Wykagyl and Westchester Country Clubs, was presented with the Sam Snead Award. The native Texan has won tournaments in eight decades, and constantly emphasized the importance of playing and teaching. Watson also had a hand in creating the Sam Snead Award to recognize contributions to the game, the PGA and the Met section.
Danny Balin, a Burning Tree assistant, picked up a pricy watch for earning player of the year honors for the second year in a row. Tom Henderson, the head professional at Round Hill Club, was honored as the 2011 Professional of the Year.