Hale Irwin's Smart Golf: Wisdom and Strategies from the Thinking Man's Golfer

Hale Irwin's Smart Golf: Wisdom and Strategies from the Thinking Man's Golfer

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Overview

Hale Irwin's Smart Golf: Wisdom and Strategies from the Thinking Man's Golfer by Hale Irwin, Robin Mcmillan, Jim Hartley

Hale Irwin will be the first person to tell you that he has never mastered the mechanics of golf: His swing isn't flawless, he isn't the best putter on the green, he isn't the most powerful driver — but the one thing he has perfected is the art of winning. With more than twenty career victories and the only player since World War II to win three consecutive Senior Tour Championships, Irwin has consistently won where technique-driven players have not. In Hale Irwin's Smart Golf, he shares his invaluable tips and strategies, focusing on the practical and tactical methods that have helped him win time and time again. Concentrating on physical conditioning, equipment, tournament play, the short game, preparation, and practice, Irwin's advice will make any golfer better at the one thing that really counts: winning.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062720689
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/03/2001
Series: Harper Resource Book Series
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.45(d)

About the Author

Hale Irwin has been a major force on the PGA and Senior PGA Tour for 30 years. He owns three U.S. Open titles and is one of only 32 players in PGA history with 20 or more career victories. At age 45, he became the oldest player to win the U.S. Open. In 1995, he carried nearly three decades of success on the PGA Tour over to the Senior PGA Tour with instant results. Last year, he became the first player in half a century to capture three consecutive Senior Tour Championships, and only the fourth player in tour history to win the same event three straight times. Today, Irwin is regarded as the premier player on the Senior Tour.

Robin McMillian is Editor-in-Chief at Golf Magazine Properties. He has been a gold writer and editor for 16 years, and has written or edited seven golf books.

Jim Hartley is a lifelong amateur golfer who began incorporating many of the principles found in this book into his own game with instant results, more than 10 years ago.

Robin McMillan is editor in chief of Golf Magazine's Custom Publishing Division. Scottish by birth, he has lived in New York City for the past twenty-five years. He is married with two children.

Hale Irwin has been a major force on the PGA and Senior PGA Tour for 30 years. He owns three U.S. Open titles and is one of only 32 players in PGA history with 20 or more career victories. At age 45, he became the oldest player to win the U.S. Open. In 1995, he carried nearly three decades of success on the PGA Tour over to the Senior PGA Tour with instant results. Last year, he became the first player in half a century to capture three consecutive Senior Tour Championships, and only the fourth player in tour history to win the same event three straight times. Today, Irwin is regarded as the premier player on the Senior Tour.

Robin McMillian is Editor-in-Chief at Golf Magazine Properties. He has been a gold writer and editor for 16 years, and has written or edited seven golf books.

Jim Hartley is a lifelong amateur golfer who began incorporating many of the principles found in this book into his own game with instant results, more than 10 years ago.

Read an Excerpt

Capter One

Getting Off to a Smart Start

Setting Out

One of the smartest things I did on joining the PGA Tour in the summer of 1968 was to jot down some goals. Given that this was the start of a whole new career, it was important to be clear about what I wanted to achieve and felt I could realistically achieve.

The first goal that appeared on the list was to play on weekends, which is another way of saying "make cuts." Winning a tournament was important, of course-that was another goal-but, with very few exceptions, no one has ever won a PGA Tour event, at least in the modern era, without first making the cut. It's not unlike playing a golf hole. In order to achieve one thing, you first have to achieve something else. To give yourself a good chance of par or even birdie, for example, you want to hit the green with your approach, and to give yourself a good chance of that you have to hit a good drive. First things first.

A related goal was to make a lot of cuts, because that way you learn to feet the pressure of contention. The idea is to strengthen everything about your game-swing, mental process, nerves-so when the clutch arrives you don't collapse. That comes only with a lot of experience.

And, finally, I wanted to make a few bucks. This was the professional tour, after all, and a tour pro who doesn't list making money as one of his goals is wasting his time.

You'll notice that "win a major championship" (as opposed to a regular Tour event) wasn't a goal, despite the fact that I went on to win three U.S. OpenChampionships. Why? Because it was important to be realistic, and what was very, very real in 1968 was Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper and Gary Player and Tom Weiskopf, and a bunch of other great players. My time would come.

So what happened? Well, after turning pro in the spring of 1969 and winning my tour card at Qualifying School that summer, I made the cut in the first tournament I played, the Memphis Open. I didn't make any money, however, because in those days you had to finish in the top 50 to cash in and I just missed out. Next up was the Canadian Open; I made that one, but again finished out of the money. But, beginning with the Cleveland Open the following week, I made the cut in each of my next 10 events. That was worth a shade more than $9,000 In prize money-as noted, it wasn't enough to make the cut to make money-good for 129th on the money list. That's not great, but making cuts helps you improve, and that translates into bigger checks. Ask anyone who plays or has played on the PGA Tour and they'll tell you that the quickest way to feel your confidence drain is to have to leave town Friday evening when many of your peers are still in the money with two rounds to play. It was something solid to build on. It was a good year.

Once you have achieved your goals, the smart thing to do is to make a new list. Now making cuts wasn't enough. My goals now included top-ten finishes, top-five finishes, and victories. I also split my goals into two lists: short-term and long-term. A year was short-term, five years was long. Nineteen sixty-nine saw my first top 10, the following year my first runner-up, the year after that my first victory. And in 1974, one year beyond my fiveyear plan, I won the U.S. Open.

So you can see, making new goals as you progress is as important as setting realistic goals to begin with-and not only in golf. Take a football coach who inherits a 1-15 team. His first goal is to surround himself with the personnel-players, mainly, but also back-office staffthat can give him a winning record. If he can swing a deal or two he might think of making the playoffs. If he can do that, then next year he's definitely thinking of playoffs, and a few good signings could put the Super Bowl on his list. Once you're there, then, as Lee Trevino once put it, It's just, baby, how bad do you want it?"

Or take the business world. The head of a major company that's been down on its luck first wants to get it in the black. Then he (or she) wants to make a profit. Next he will want to increase the profit margin and become number one in the field. And, meanwhile, the ultimate goal will be to get the share price up to reward those who invested in the company in the first place. It's all about setting realistic goals and reaching them, and then moving on from there.

Setting Goals For Yourself

How do you set golf goals for yourself? Well, first you must make a very real assessment of your abilities, because before you can get anywhere, you must know where you're starting from. joining the tour, I thought of myself as a tough competitor who didn't make many mistakes. That was the foundation.

And your own foundation? It depends. You could be a complete beginner, who has to work on every aspect of his game. You could be an experienced player who wins some tournaments but can't win the big one. You could be a player who hits the ball a long way but also hits it a long way off target. If you can honestly determine where your problems lie, then you will know what sort of goals to set.

Because it's the aim of every golfer, no matter his or her style, to score better, whether during a casual round or a local major championship, it really doesn't matter what sort of player you are; it's just important that you know...

Hale Irwin's Smart Golf. Copyright © by Hale Irwin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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