Golf Professional 2.0 – Redux

December 20, 2011
December 20, 2011

I was speaking to a longtime colleague / mentor of mine not too long ago and he made a comment regarding the new crop of candidates who just successfully passed their playing ability tests. He said, “Well they’re one step closer to being OUT of the golf business”. I was floored at first but afterwards I thought a little deeper about this statement. The sad thing was he was exactly right.

Golf is a wicked game. Demanding, hard and almost unconquerable. But her softer side is the real wicked one as she provides a potential or the allure of a career working in & around a game that you love. She teases you with images of wealth, endless supply of golf, and it has a certain  “cool” factor when you say it out loud, “I’m a golf professional”. The dictionary defines a professional as: “Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally” . So the idea of being an “expert” in an athletic endeavor holds a lot of weight in decisions of young men and women. 

I bet you can name at least 1 or 2 individuals who have left the golf profession in the past 12 months. Don’t worry, there is a wave of young guns ready to take their place. Fresh with PGM graduate certificates in hands they leap into the world of the golf industry to apply what they have learned. Some expect full time positions and because they have spent the past 3 – 5 years going to school in the winter, when suddenly faced with the need to “find a job for the winter” many fall into the pit of despair. Why? This is nothing new. The temperature has not changed here in Ontario or Canada for that matter, our golf season is a limited one.

Well the fingers start pointing: “The Association (PGA of Canada) doesn’t do enough for us”, “My head pro doesn’t do anything to help me find a job”, etc… But the real issue is not waiting for a hand out but working to  get a hand up. Figuring out what it is exactly you want to do as a professional and focusing on creating your career path can create the right method required to achieve what it is you want. The unfortunate part is that a lot of us have absolutely no clue.

But How Do You Find Your Path? 



Douglas Adams said:

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

This path finding mission is not rocket science. There are individuals / coaches who can help you reach your goals. However they are available at a cost far outside the income of 90% of those who really need it. So who can they turn to? It should be the Head Professionals and General Managers, but rarely do they have time to do this properly. Now don’t get me wrong as there are some terrific mentors and individuals who DO practice this. The sad truth is many do not. Why? Time, effort, insecurity, egos or they don’t know how. This is not me taking a shot at my own profession but more of an exposure of what the Golf Business has morphed golf professionals into. So how do we change this?

I  challenge my fellow PGA of Canada Professionals to make more time, listen more, ask questions, and by all means take genuine interest in those working the front lines for us. They need help in navigating their path. We should be there to help them every step of the way helping them construct the map for their journey. Would you not feel amazing being able to change the stigma of more people leaving than entering the golf business? We are in the “experts” category of our Association, we are looked upon to be the leaders, mentors and spark plugs to ignite the passion in those following behind. Job security is not dependent on how many professionals you can put forward into long lasting careers, but it feels awesome when you do!

If you don’t know how to, or maybe you think that you need to set your path, drop me a line at: , follow me @FocusGolfGroup on twitter, or ask to be friends on Facebook.

– Doug

A Networking, Social, Relationship Building, Motivational, Influential PGA of Canada Golf Professional, Coach, Instructor, Mentor and lastly a really great DAD! Doug Lawrie is the CIO (Chief Influencing Officer) of the Focus Golf Group, and has been a proud member of the PGA of Canada for 20 years. 

Stack & Tilt is the New California Condor

December 19, 2011
December 19, 2011

Lets dig into the back issues of Golf Digest for a second and pull out the June 2007 issue. The cover headline: “Hit it Flush Every Time: 20 Tour Pros switch to a Radical New Swing”

Inside you’ll find the original Golf Digest Stack & Tilt article. Since that article was published, reactions from all corners of the golf world have been mixed to say the least. Strong opinions have surfaced on both sides, both in favor of the swing system and against it. It’s no longer debatable that the system works. Stack and Tilt principles have helped golfers the world over to hit the ball better and lower their scores.

To me, what’s interesting is how Stack and Tilt …..Read More by clicking here:

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

December 13, 2011
December 13, 2011

Found this WONDERFUL article through my fellow PGA of Canada Teaching Professional – Jason Helman.

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself


As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

The Best Path to Golf Improvement

December 13, 2011
December 13, 2011

How do I get Better? 

See this reprinted blog post from


What a great answer to a great question!

 It is the ultimate question any player should be asking all the time, “what is the best path to improvement?” and John points out that there isn’t much focus in the magazines on the journey of golf improvement that the player experiences and how to continue along a progressive road to betterment. Everything is focused on quick tips which have never proven to impact golfer’s level of skill.
A framework I developed in recent years to assist me in how to think about this process with the Golf Progress Pyramid, which involves the following four elements of performance:
1. Physical
2. Technical
3. Strategic
4. Mindset
The model is illustrated below:

The Golf Improvement Pyramid

All four elements are involved in every aspect of our golf, but different areas are critical for a player’s development at various levels of abilities. I see the physical element as the base because you can only do what your body is capable of doing. You then apply a technique with the physical capacity that you have developed. Next up the chain is the decisions you make as to how to apply the technique, and at the peak is the mental game, which I see as developing the capacity to bring out the best in your ability when it matters, and also having the attitude and mental approach to training and practice that allows for the improvement of the other three elements: your body, golf technique, and strategic thinking.
The irony of the pyramid structure that I have in mind is that in the long term, the pyramid is best built from the base up, with improvement layered on top of the level below. But in the short term, such as when you have a 175 yard shot over water with bunkers to the right of the green, the tip of the pyramid proves most influential on the outcome of the shot.
Why is Physical at the base of the pyramid? Because no matter how good my decision making is, if I’m unable to bend at the hips and establish rotary stability in my swing, I won’t be able to make the club do what I want and my choice of shot becomes irrelevant if I’m not hitting the golf ball solidly. Touring professionals have embraced golf fitness in recent years, in great part due to the work of Dr. Greg Rose and Dave Phillips at TPI. Golfers on the tour are playing for a lot of money so staying free of injury and improving their conditioning can really make a difference. But I don’t believe golf fitness is something that’s ‘for the pros’. I believe the opposite is true. The reality is that the mid handicapper has much more to gain from implementing a program that addresses physical limitations because he is very likely to have them.
To get back to the question at hand, my answer would be that answer we all hate to hear:









My perception of the path to golf improvement is as not a mountain to be climbed but a series of gates to be unlocked. This is why some players get to scratch in two years and some spend forty years unable to break 100. Here is a common ‘locked gate’ that prevents progress in each of the four areas.

1. Physical: Hip and Upper back restriction

2. Technical: The lead wrist is bent, leading to a glancing blow on the golf ball

3. Strategy: Lack of Self-awareness of ability and of what equipment to use

4. Mental: Stuck thinking, ruled by fear

Try unlocking these 4 areas and you will find your golfing success will become easier.

Great Article by Karen Palacios Janzen

December 1, 2011
December 1, 2011

Stretch Your Body in December

Posted on December 1, 2011 by Karen

December is Cardiogolf Flexibility Awareness Month

There is only one month until we ring in a New Year.  For many of us, this is the time where we resolve to finally get into the best shapes of our lives. But waiting unitl the New Year to start a fitness program and then going ‘full blast’ lifting heavy weights could lead, not only to loss of interest in program, if it is too difficult, but to injury too. Sign up for my blog to see different flexibility exercises all this month to improve your body and golf game.

Click here for the rest of this article:


KPJ Golf Blog - Banner







Who Coaches you?

November 28, 2011
November 28, 2011



Top athletes and singers have coaches. Should you?

by OCTOBER 3, 2011

No matter how well trained people are, few can sustain their best performance on their own. That

No matter how well trained people are, few can sustain their best performance on their own. That’s where coaching comes in.


Stack & Tilt – From a unique and lefty view (Thanks Sara Dickson PGA)

November 27, 2011
November 27, 2011

Stack & Tilt ® Presentation Review – FGCU 11/17/11

November 27, 2011 By  1 Comment

Stack and Tilt Seminar at FCGU Review (from 11/17/2011)

Last week Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer made their way from the LPGA National Summit down the highway to Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers.  I understand there may be a wide ranged audience reading this; therefore, this post will be an overview at some times and will go into more specific detail at other times. As an attendee who saw them in Ft. Myers, I would like to relay some factual information from their presentation regarding Stack & Tilt ® as a whole. Second, rather than go into too much swing detail of their system (we’ll talk about the word system too), I’d also like to share my own experience past and present regarding this topic.

Here is some background information that was relayed during the presentation:

1) As tour pros searching to put some order to all of the information they had heard throughout the years Mike and Andy sought out to find the fundamentals that were essential to effective ball-striking.  With the influence of learning from Mac O’Grady they set out measuring different aspects of the golf swing looking for answers as to how certain moves promoted certain outcomes.  Mike and Andy found the common concepts of grip, alignment, and posture to be quite varied amongst tour pros and therefore could not include them as fundamentals.  The fundamentals they found that were consistent with good ball strikers were:
(1) hitting the ground with precision
(2) hitting the ball with enough distance to golf effectively, and
(3) hitting the ball with a predictable curve.

2)  Mike and Andy’s system measures how much certain characteristics happen during the golf
swing that would promote the three fundamentals listed above.

3)  Therefore, Stack & Tilt ® is not a method, it is a system of classification.

4)  The word system sometimes connotes “one swing” in some people’s minds. TrackMan has proved that not many people, not even tour pros, swing the same way twice in a row. Thus, teaching and expecting overall golfers to have “one swing” is not logical or rational.  Mike and Andy individually address the biggest problem first when diagnosing a swing and initially prescribe the change that would have the most benefit.  Refinement continues to occur when necessary from there.  When doing their research Mike and Andy went through thousands of golf swings. Interestingly, the ones that exhibited the best ball striking looked to Mike like they “all took the same lesson.” While there is not one swing nor is it realistic to expect a golfer to swing the same exact way every time, Mike and Andy found that certain characteristics were considerably more effective for playing golf in line with the three fundamentals.

Here are some points that may be of interest that were also relayed during the presentation:

1)  Stack & Tilt ® was a name made up for a Golf Digest Magazine article. The editor could not see certain moves so they were exaggerated in the pictures until he could “see” them.  The exaggerated pictures were the ones published.

2)  From my written notes: The longest hitters of the golf ball straighten their back leg the most on the backswing.

3)  From my written notes: Mike and Andy teach what they teach “not because of the old guys or the new guys, but because of what it does.”

4)  Heard near me when Andy was introducing himself expressing his thankfulness for the opportunity to speak, “Those guys are genuine. That was nice.”

5)  Heard near me when Mike was explaining the changing tilt and extension exhibited by the spine during the swing in order for it to stay centered, “I never thought about it like that. But it makes so much sense.”

6)  Heard near me before the presentation started, “I hate Stack and Tilt.” [Why’s that?] “I hate Stack and Tilt.” It’s here that I’d like to switch gears and do two things.  I’d like to explain my personal experience with Stack & Tilt ®.  I’d also like to address some of the comments like these that are sometimes heard within the golf community, regardless of what topic it may be about.

As I picture it, there are two main options that occur if a golfer is to hit the ball well.
1) The golfer may move off the ball in the backswing but (keeping with the pretense of effective contact) would then have to move back towards the ball on the downswing. There are pros who exhibit this option; they are the fastest and most consistent at getting back to and through the ball.
2) The golfer can stay centered and over the ball during the backswing.  There is still weight transfer forward on the downswing in this option but the weight does not have to move forward to first get back to the ball; it is already there.  Tour pros exhibit both of these options.

Speaking of those two options, I will never forget the evening on a range in Iowa after a round of NCAAs in college. I did not have the best round and sought out some time on the range to figure out a way to make the next two days of the tournament a bit easier. All day I had struggled with inconsistent contact.  I worked slowly from slow and short swings feeling what had to happen in order to make crisp contact and compress the ball. In a few minutes I realized I did not have a choice, I had to feel like I stayed on my right side (I’m lefty) and that my right shoulder went down on the backswing.  At the time had no idea if anyone in the world ever “had” to do this because I vividly remember thinking how bad of a golfer I was.  In my mind I was “bad” because I could not hit the ball well using the common cues and visuals I had grown up hearing.  Those common cues and visuals must have been what “everyone else” was using but I was “bad” because I had to feel something different.

The next day I did much better (…OK this is humbling but I shot 14 shots better…there are only 18 holes in a round). =)

How relieved do you think I was years down the road when I learned that many golfers past and present exhibited those components of keeping weight more forward and having a steeper shoulder turn?  Very.  But why should that have even happened? Why was it that I had a picture of the golf swing that made me fight against what I had to feel to hit the ball well?

Is it that every golfer has to do exactly what I felt? No way. But perhaps the overall picture of the golf swing would be better suited if everyone viewed it as different components that happen in different amounts for different golfers – termed classifying.  Naturally then, a certain degree of each component would be the most useful for effective ball striking – termed prescribing. From what I heard at the presentation, Stack & Tilt ® does just that; it classifies and prescribes.

Since participating in online forums and teaching groups, I started seeing numerous pictures of good ball strikers – from Hogan, Snead, and Nicklaus to McIlroy, Mickelson, and Bubba (sorry being a south paw those last two stick out). Even being blonde it was very hard not to notice and see overwhelmingly obvious similarities when measuring certain parts of their swings. One that stuck out the most was something very opposite of what I read and heard growing up. These players listed all have straighter back legs and bent front legs at the top of their backswing. That is exactly what I had to feel like on the range in Iowa to make better contact. Maybe I am to blame for not doing adequate research growing up and finding out this information on my own. Or maybe the information was not readily available due to technology differences.  Or maybe the information was not promoted because it was different than the common thought.  I do not know.

Finally, I’d like to address the comment listed above that I heard before the presentation began.  I am sure I have made similar statements about topics at times because I did not understand the topic enough.  I realize now that any strong statement against something that has good intentions (no matter what the topic) can be a tricky one to consistently defend well and with accuracy.

An observation I have made throughout the years is one of how Stack & Tilt ® is sometimes portrayed (or rejected) by those who may not know as much about it as necessary to make an educated opinion.  Many times I would see a shrug, crinkled face, and an attempt at a neutral comment like “well, whatever works, but I’m an open teacher.”  Interestingly I would think those who consider themselves open teachers would jump at the opportunity to learn everything they can about the system thereby increasing the material for their open approach.  Stack & Tilt ® is a system of classification.  Everyone who swings a golf club theoretically Stacks & Tilts ® because they would all then fit somewhere within the system of classification.  Sure there are some things that are more efficient than others. The amount of a measured move a golfer makes may be different than what the best ball-strikers exhibit, but it’s still within the system.  Secondly then, Mike and Andy do not teach the same thing to every one of their students.  As stated earlier, whatever component that would most help the individual golfer to start achieving the three fundamentals would be the component addressed first, and so on and so forth.

A very relevant comment I saw in an online group recently was from Melainey Gunning, a registered Stack & Tilt ® Instructor: Stack & Tilt is a system, not a method. It is a way to measure a golf swing for the teacher. It is a system simple enough for the beginner and detailed enough for the most sophisticated player. It’s all how you explain what you are doing….redefining the fundamentals of golf to be more effective for golfers to improve at a faster rate, when they improve faster, they play more often and longer, thus spending more money on green/cart fees for the owner of the course. We should be proud of the name 🙂

I wonder if the system were never named if it would be thought of by those unfamiliar in the same way that it sometimes is today. Or, would Mike and Andy be the great teachers on tour that they are who have players who happen to swing a golf club in a way which happens to be classifiable for such a purpose that happens to promote (1) hitting the ground in the same spot, (2) with enough distance, and (3) with a predictable curve?  I do not know. But I do know those fundamentals make organizing and progressing a golf swing feasible and realistic. That’s certainly something to be proud of.

Fred Couples Swing

November 7, 2011
November 7, 2011

This swing by Fred Couples has not changed and has won a lot of tournaments on the the PGA Tour.


Powerchute Golf: You gotta try this!!!

August 21, 2011
August 21, 2011

I have been teaching for nearly 20 years, and I have tried many instructional training aids. I was always a little skeptic and not really convinced that they work or provide the necessary feedback to you the student to see the benefits.

That is until now! Watch this video and then see for yourself.

Click HERE to gain access to your very own Powerchute. Type in the code: FocusGolfGroup in the affiliate box to receive your INSTANT $20 rebate and the lifetime warranty.