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March 21, 2024 45 mins

Shane and Marty welcome PING Brand Ambassador Andrew Rice to the pod to discuss his mission to help people play better golf so they enjoy it more. They talk about the tools and technology that have changed his approach to teaching, common equipment mistakes that high-handicap players make, the importance of knowing your carry numbers, and the best ways to practice.

 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
The guys from paying They've kind of showed me how
much the equipment matters. I just love that I can
hit any shot I kind of want.

Speaker 2 (00:06):
We're gonna be able to tell some fun stories about
what goes on here to help golfers play better golf.

Speaker 1 (00:11):
Welcome back to the Pink proven Grounds podcast. I'm Shane Bacon.
That is Marty Jerts and Marty. We're gonna tackle a
topic that I'm assuming people that listen to this podcast
are gonna be excited about today. I mean, who better
to chat about high handicap golf than us with Andrew Rice.

Speaker 2 (00:28):
Absolutely, Andrew's been an ambassador for us for a number
of years now, and I think, Shane, what what comes
back to me when I think of Andrew is when
we were in the archives with Rob Griffin, our historian,
and he said that Carston Solheim's mission was to help
the average golfer. Well, I think that, really, you know,

(00:48):
I think embodies Andrew and what he's what he's trying
to do on the teaching and coaching side. I could
be more excited to talk to him about it.

Speaker 3 (00:55):
Guys, Thanks so much, Andrew.

Speaker 1 (00:57):
When when you dive into the world a high handicap golf.
I mean as somebody that is awful at instruction and
really doesn't have any idea of how to help any
golfer in the world. I try to help my buddies,
and it doesn't go so well. Where do you start, Like,
what's the first step to someone that is struggling to
break one hundred or struggling to break ninety.

Speaker 3 (01:16):
I think for me, you know, I regard the foundation
of golf as the hitting of the golf ball. I
often say to people, it's not that the short game
and putting doesn't matter, but if we're getting the ball
up and down and we're holding these twenty foot PUDs
for doubles and triples, that doesn't make a whole big
of a difference. And so it's really ultimately about the

(01:39):
hitting of the golf ball. I like to look at
the ball flight, what's the golf ball doing, how far
is it going, how high is it flying, how much
is it curving, and then back things up from there
and say, okay, let's talk. I like to interview my students,
talk to them and say, tell me what's ailing, what's happening,
what's going wrong, and how can I help you? To
start to have more joy out on the golf course.

(01:59):
That really what it's got to be all about.

Speaker 2 (02:01):
I think Andrew is going to be one of my
first questions too, is what brings you? What kind of
motivates you to teach golfers every day? What brings you
the most joy or excitement when you wake up? I mean,
I've never seen you lack excitement and enthusiasm when you're
interacting with other teachers and then your students. What is
that motivating factor for you?

Speaker 3 (02:23):
Party people are coming to me because there's invariably something
wrong and they're looking to leisure time. We all greatly
value our leisure time, and for most of us, golf
is a big part of that leisure time, and we
want to be able to go out there and take
advantage of that opportunity. We've got to be out enjoying
the game, and the better we play, the more fun

(02:45):
we have. And so I really want to help people,
just like I said earlier, enjoy themselves, have more joy
when they're out on the golf course. And you guys
both know it. If you're playing well, it's a lot
more fun out there.

Speaker 1 (02:58):
Yeah, I mean, it's just when I you know, I
think about when I'm struggling with my golf game, like
I'm currently in a bit of a funk with my
golf game right now, and you feel very lost, like
nothing really makes a lot of sense. And of course
the scary part is then your brain gets in the way.
Right now you're thinking is it golf swing? Is it
my alignment?

Speaker 2 (03:16):
You know?

Speaker 1 (03:16):
I mean, I'm I hitting the right club? You start
to question everything when you have people approach you for
a first time. I'm assuming that all of those characteristics
are coming with them. It's like a lot of baggage, right,
I mean they've got two or three bags they're checking
on the flight. How do you a focus on bag
number one, which either is golf swing, brain, whatever the
case may be. And then what is a when from

(03:40):
a first lesson or a first experience with somebody that
comes your way, is it just clearing the clouds? Like
what is a victory for you off the bat?

Speaker 3 (03:50):
One of the questions I ask all of my students
when I meet them for the first time, Shane, is
what would you be happy with walking off this lesson
tea today? And so they're going to tell me straight away, Okay,
gives me insight as to what's ailing, what they're looking
to achieve, and I've linked over the years give them that,
do everything I can do to give them that, and
so what would they like to achieve? And then spend

(04:14):
our time together working towards that. If we've got extra
time and we can get that done very quickly, then
we're going to look at some other things that might
add to this cherry on the top, so to speak.
But I really want to help them achieve their objective.
It's oftentimes bullflight. They want to hit it longer, they
want to hit it higher, they want to hit it straighter,
they want to strike it better. And I'm going to

(04:35):
get them there and then do what I can to
provide them with the tools necessary so they can start
to revisit that space more often.

Speaker 2 (04:44):
Andrew, how has golf instruction changed since you first got
into it? I think you kind of I admired before
we got to know each other, seeing how you were
an early adopter of track Man using it to do
research projects. Quite frankly, when it first came out, it
was a fancy tool, and the golf instruction they kind

(05:06):
of out crowdsourced the you know, research projects to golf instructors.
You latched onto that early and did some research with it.
How has tools and technology track Man, for example, maybe
some more contemporary tools change your approach to teaching. What
has that kind of journey or evolution been like for

(05:26):
you already?

Speaker 3 (05:27):
A lot of teachers will say, well, so and so,
Butch Harmon was my mentor. David Ledbetter was my mentor,
and I suddenly started teaching working for David Ledbetter. I
would have to say that golf technology most importantly, track
Man was my mentor in that it taught me what
causes the ball to fly a certain way and what

(05:49):
numbers to look for. And I know this might sound
a little technical, but it really isn't. I look at
track Man as a great field machine, a great piece
of field generating technology, and so I use track Man
early on to gain some insight as to what causes
the ball to make that great sound, fly that beautiful

(06:10):
little tight draw, what are the numbers that are affiliated
with that? And if I've got a student and there
are long ways away from that, we're almost always trying
to neutralize what they're doing and work them back to
a straight or ball flight. A more appropriate trajectory, and
we don't want anything to extreme. And so track Man
that teaching technology has been really integral for me as

(06:32):
a teacher to teach me what really matters. It's not
so much the look of the golf swing. It's far
more about the function of the golf swing. And I
think of Jim Furick and Aim and Dorcy and some
of those classic unique golf swings. Kelvin Pete and those
players could really make the ball sound great, fly straight

(06:54):
down towards their target, and that's ultimately what we're looking for.
It shouldn't necessarily be about trying to get every golfer
to look like Adam Scott. I want everyone's different, everybody's unique.
You guys are both fantastic players. I was thinking, if
there ever is a podcast open where they invite two
players for each podcast, I know where I'm going to

(07:15):
put my money. You guys would be a pretty strong
squad there. But just to give people some insights as
to how can you take your golf swing and start
to use what you do to hit better shots. That
doesn't have to be this revamp. You don't have to
build this beautiful Adam Scott looking golf swing. It can
be with what you have, just perhaps a little change

(07:38):
out address, some ball position, maybe even some equipment upgrades
to get that ball starting to obey what you're trying
to get it to do.

Speaker 1 (07:46):
Yeah, Andrew, it's a great point, because the idea of
an overhaul to the golf swing for an adult golfer,
you know, somebody that's got a job and they've got
a day, a weekly game they play, and they've got kids,
they've got a family. The idea of a complete overall,
which maybe some golfers need, is very intimidated and quite frankly,
something most people are not going to be that interested in.

(08:08):
So you have to almost push that to the side
and focus on very very small tweaks to help a
golfer out, and that is not a very easy thing
to do. One thing I do find so interesting I've
already already mentioned it is attitude is such an important
part of instruction. I mean, if you show up to
the first t and you're in a bad mood, or

(08:29):
you're not having a great day, or you don't seem
like you want to be there, then the player is
not going to get adequate advice or at least what
they feel like they're paying to get and you seem
like someone that brings the positivity, you know, brings kind
of an upbeat personality to that first tee and at
the same time understands that not everybody's showing up is
down to change their entire golf swing like Tiger did

(08:51):
five times.

Speaker 3 (08:52):
Correct, correct, what you know, Tiger, what Tiger is? We
all know this amazing and he is here's the outlier,
exactly right, exactly right. And so people would love to
have the ability to do what Tiger has done on
multiple occasions. But that thing called life gets in the way,
and it's family and its work, and it's I've only

(09:15):
got so much time that I can dedicate towards golf.
Give me what you can so that I can fit
that into my little window, my little golf window. I
can go out and practice, maybe even hit fifteen balls
before I go out to play. What can I feel
and think and maybe do something at home in front
of the mirror to start to help me hit some

(09:35):
better shots.

Speaker 2 (09:35):
And got it.

Speaker 3 (09:37):
It's taken a long time, but I think I finally
realize why you look at all those golf digests and
golf dot Com top teacher lists, and there's not a
lot of twenty five year old teachers on the list.
And I realize why, because it just takes a long
time to be able to interpret and understand people, not
so much golf swings, but just people. And I'm going
to talk and I'm going to ask my students questions

(10:00):
and hopefully that's going to give me some insight as
to who they are and what's going to help them
and how I can best help them.

Speaker 1 (10:07):
Marty, I was thinking about this in terms of ping
and a lot of the technology that we've talked about
on this podcast, because something you've done such a great
job with, you know, so many of the tools and
AI and things like that, is to try to get
people to feel comfortable making a change without having to
go to the golf course and change it on the
range or on the golf course, or spend those months

(10:29):
maybe even introducing to equipment, you know, via the popularity
of the seven wood or the crossovers booming popularity over
the last few years. The technology that you've worked so
hard on has made this easier for golfers to feel
more comfortable just putting a new golf club in their bag.

Speaker 2 (10:45):
Yeah, I mean, I think that's a magical thing, Shane.
When you can go out and let's say golfers never
hit a seven wood, they hear about it on the podcast,
they see tour players using it, they go get one.
They can make their same swing with those characteristics and
trades to start hitting good shots immediately. I think that's
our own way of kind of bringing some immediate joy
into this game. Andrew, on the topic of equipment, what

(11:11):
are some because you see a lot of folks come
through through your clinics and your schools that you do,
and you have seen you've one of your biggest roles
with us as a brand ambassadors to represent the people.
And what are you seeing out there in terms of
what does their bag look like? What are some equipment
mistakes they are making? And then you know we can

(11:32):
design into those gaps or better message those gaps fit
those gaps. What are some big mistakes you see common
mistakes you see in the high handicaper everyday golfers golf bags.

Speaker 3 (11:42):
Right now, Marty, I must say, over the last few years,
I think you guys have done an excellent job in
getting longer irons out of golfers bags. That's a great thing.
They've been replaced with some nice hybrids that can help
the bull get up in the air. But I must
say I still see three woods. I still see, in

(12:03):
my opinion, too many three woods, and the average golfer,
a certainly male golfer out there. Lady golfers most often
do not need a three wood, but the average male
almost feels like they need to be a man and
they need to I need a three wood, you know,
Give me a driver and a three wood. I'll have
some other things beyond that. But far too many golfers

(12:25):
still have three woods in their bag. And that's a
load line drive type ballflight. And I just see golfers
getting so much more out of You mentioned the seven
out of the five, perhaps something they can get up
in the air. And I still see far too many
golfers with that traditional fifteen degree three wood that they're
trying to hit off the deck and really not having

(12:47):
much joy with.

Speaker 2 (12:48):
Shane, we have some very interesting data on that, so
Andrew brings up the three wood. We mind our Arcos
data and found that golfers who hit the ball hit
their driver two hundred and fifty yards hit the threewood
off the tee fifty percent of the time and off
the ground fifty percent of the time. But Andrew, if

(13:08):
you hit your driver two hundred yards, you're hitting your
three wood or your lowest lofted fairrywood eighty percent of
the time off the ground twenty percent off the tee.
But if you drive it three hundred you hit it
eighty percent of the time off the tee and twenty
percent of the time off the ground. So I think,
you know, we use that in fitting because if you're

(13:29):
a fast clubbed speed player, you want to focus on
your three wood more as a t shot club. You're saying,
you're seeing the everyday golfer hit you know what, need
to play a three wood, and we know the data
shows they need that thing getting off the ground very
easily eighty percent of the time, right.

Speaker 3 (13:45):
Yeah, yeah, I would if you can perhaps work some magic, Marty,
and please build this amazing fairway wood club. You can
even put a big giant three on the bottom, say
everyone feels good, but just give it like a five
or seven. Would love to shoot that thing up in
the air. That would be awesome.

Speaker 1 (14:04):
Yeah, I mean, just the approach shots. I mean, you
know you're hitting shots into par fours, and I mean
you're hitting these, you know, in theory, hitting a fairywood
on a lot of par threes. I mean, why not
make that easier on yourself versus having to absolutely make
the perfect swing with the three wood?

Speaker 2 (14:17):
For sure. Yeah, and I think our sft andrews a
great option there. You know, by a standard loft sixteen degrees,
you can obviously tweak it up with the sleeve turns
over a little bit easier. But yeah, we've been doing
some things to make our fairwoods get up in the
air a lot easier, moving the center of gravity lower,
et cetera. But I'm so glad you highlighted that that

(14:38):
three wood is an area as we've seen recently last
five years, probably as a trend, more folks being comfortable
getting those long irons out of their back.

Speaker 3 (14:47):
Yeah, and I really do think I think golph is
starting to be okay with, particularly the man golf is
that I teach, they're starting to be okay with something
with more loft as they're primary fairway would But there's
still so many people out there who believe they've got
to get a driver and a three wood, and that

(15:08):
really isn't the.

Speaker 1 (15:09):
Case Andrew, you mentioned equipment and a big mistake that
high handicappers make in terms of their equipment. What would
you say is the number one thing you feel like
high handicappers struggle with that is almost consistent throughout people
that come to see you. What's the is it? Is
it alignment? Is it not understanding their own distances? What
do you feel like is the number one thing you

(15:31):
almost see every single time you have a higher handicap
come your way.

Speaker 3 (15:34):
The universal thing. I'm glad you asked this question, Shane.
I think it's a goodie. The universal thing is how
far do I hit the golf ball? And I love
you know, I'll have someone on track, man and they've
hit five or six seven irons, and I'll go, so,
how far do you normally hit a seven itro And
I'm looking at the real data, and they go, uh,

(15:55):
one sixty five? And I know that I swing, you know,
ten to fifty miles an hour faster than them, and
my carry with a seven iron is like one sixty four,
and yet they hit it one sixty five. And I'm going, oh,
that's weird, because I've just seen you carry your best
one carried one thirty eight, and I think it's twofold.

(16:16):
Number one is golfers seem to have latched onto how
far they hit a seven nine in a total capacity,
what the land plus role is and total is dependent
on course conditions. The golfer is responsible for the carry,
the golf course is responsible for the total, and I'd

(16:38):
love for golfers to start to get a better idea
as to what the actual carry number is. It might
be a hard pill to swallow, I know that, but
you will play better golf. And ultimately you're listening to
this because you might want to pick up a nugget
or two to help you play better golf. Find out
what your carry numbers are first and then second, and

(17:01):
let's get rid of the ego. Let's we know that
back in nineteen ninety one you used to hit a
seven arn a lot further. But today is today, and
we're happy to be playing golf. If you can have
a carry number that is accurate, you cannot help but
play better golf. And we all know this. If golfers

(17:23):
can start to hit more greens, they simply have to
score lower. They have to have more fun out there.

Speaker 2 (17:29):
Oh, Andrew, I absolutely love that and that's what the
you know, I think we hear and when I've played
in tour events, it's all about that carry number, like
you know, where do you want that ball to pitch?
That's absolutely what you can control. I love that. I
think a couple of tools out there for the listener
that they can use. One, you can measure your actual

(17:51):
tendencies on course with a tool like our ghost number one,
and that's been really fun to showcase. Andrew, we've seen
some of all the data. I'm sure you've seen it
for your individual students are on the big data of
what percentage of the time golfers come up short on
the golf course, right and it with their irons. It
is a party.

Speaker 1 (18:09):
Do you have a number on it? Do you have
an idea of what the number is?

Speaker 2 (18:11):
Well, it's just kind of a heat map, and I
guess for the listener out there, maybe picture the shape
of like a pair, you know, where the pin is
at the top and the rest of the heat map
is down there underneath. That's kind of what it looks
like for everybody, you know. So that's a fun one.
And then number two, Shame with our gaping app and
co pilot are folks who come in and get fit.

(18:34):
This is kind of an unintended consequence of that tool
is we give you a projected carry distance of all
your clubs, and we have our folks can can come
get fit and use that copilot and they get their
carry distances and then you can go play golf and
double check them. But Andrew, that's a way we can
really help that golfer without them having to go because
it takes a long time to go do it full

(18:55):
gaping and hit all your clubs and enough good shots.
We can kind of calculate that estimate. That forum has
been super duper helpful.

Speaker 3 (19:02):
That is massive. And to me, Marty, that's like the
low hanging fruit.

Speaker 2 (19:06):
You know.

Speaker 3 (19:06):
That makes my job as an instructor easier. I'm helping
my students save strokes without really changing their golf swing
at all. It's just let's get a better understanding, let's
get some good accurate information, and you can straight away
go out for the next round you play. You can
start to hit more greens, save some strokes.

Speaker 1 (19:24):
Yeah, Andrew, this is one of my biggest complaints about
golfers in general, is you spend so much of your
life focused on the game of golf, whether it be
you know, wanting to travel with your buddies and play
golf trips, or you're grinding to get that handicapped down.
Yet you don't really understand anything about your own golf game.
And this goes through a couple things we've talked about,

(19:46):
a equipment understanding what best is for you, and it's
maddening running into people that aren't getting fit routinely for
golf equipment because again, you're investing so much your life.
I mean, imagine a country club membership. You know, you're
you're these days you're laying down at minimum twenty thousand
dollars at maximum. I don't even know how much a

(20:06):
million dollars for country club membership. Yet yeah, you're you're not.
You don't totally understand what your bag is about. And
then your point about the actual carry numbers is not
having a total grasp of how far you hit every
single club is just doing yourself a disservice. Right. It's
like driving a car and this phenometer being off right
and you're like, I think I'm going fifty five, officer,

(20:26):
I don't know, you know, like it doesn't make a
lot of sense.

Speaker 3 (20:30):
It really does. And it's easy stuff. It's the problem
is it's not sexy, it's not appealing. It's not like,
Oh I saw you know, John Rams downswing and I
want to get mine to look like that. Well, John
Ram's done a lot of stuff to know how far
his clubs go, to get himself fitted, to get himself
in the right equipment, and then he gets up and

(20:52):
hits the ball. Let's start there and we can really
have a good hits start on playing better golf.

Speaker 2 (20:58):
Andrew, let's go back to track Man a little bit,
and the listener of the Ping proven Grounds podcast, there's
some techi's out there, so it's okay to talk a
little techy here. What are some of the maybe key
club delivery and or ball metrics you really hone into.
You could pick maybe a seven iron andrew or a driver.
You know, are you looking at path face? You know,

(21:19):
horizontal swing plane? And how how do you kind of
manipulate those things? What you know? How what numbers are
you kind of using as your guideline for those metrics
you're looking at?

Speaker 3 (21:30):
Marty? Firstly, I don't really I'm not overly concerned with
the shape of somebody shot as long as it's appropriate,
as long as it's not too much, it's not extreme.
If fades work just as well as draws, and I'm
sorry to let everybody know that, but that's a fact.
You don't necessarily have to hit a draw in order

(21:51):
to play good goal fades can work just as well.
I'm looking for something club pathwise three degrees out to
end three degrees into out. When we're hitting shots off
the ground, I'm looking for a mild downward strike anywhere
between one point five and five point zero ish. If
we're talking irons being struck off the ground, I'm going

(22:15):
to An interesting thing is the dynamic loft. What is
dynamic loft? It's the loft of the face at impact.
What does the golf ball experience the dynamic loft? And
a lot of golf coaches and golfers don't really get
and understand the role that those two need to play,
the two being club speed and dynamic loft. And I

(22:38):
do believe we've got to match those up. The higher
the speed, the lower the dynamic loft needs to be.
I know that, Marty. If you hit a seven iron
that launches at twenty degrees and I hit a seven
iron that launches at twenty degrees, your ball's going to
go significantly higher than mine because your club speed ball

(22:59):
speed is higher. And ultimately, if you launch a seven
at twenty degrees, that's not a good thing for you
because You're ball is going to go too high and
it's going to be out of control. You know that
better than everybody really. But for the golfer with that
slower club speed, they need to launch the ball at
twenty and so that's something that I'm going to look for. Yeah,

(23:21):
club path, attack angle, club speed, but I really want
to tie that club speed to an appropriate dynamic loft
because that's going to be that trajectory factor. So many
golfers that I teach will typically hit the ball too low,
and if I run into somebody who's hitting it too high,
it's just weak and ineffective. Well, then we're going to

(23:42):
try to bring the loft down, but we are going
to I'm certainly going to try to marry their club
speed with that club to an appropriate dynamic loft because
that gets the ball to a playable hype where it's
not overly high and gets out of control, and it
gets up enough to where it can land and stuff.

Speaker 1 (23:59):
On a Andrew, I wanted to ask about practice, especially
for high handicap golfers. I mean, so much of the
time we hear just focus on one hundred yards and
end focus on pitching and chipping and putting. What do
you tell people that come your way about practice if
they have an hour to practice? How do you break
that down for high handicap players?

Speaker 3 (24:19):
Shane? Firstly, I'm overjoyed if they have an hour that
they can practice, that's a good start, Okay, if you
want to get better, you simply have to practice. You
cannot listen to a podcast or watch an instructional video.

Speaker 1 (24:31):
Telling that answer.

Speaker 2 (24:32):
Yes, they can, they might not subscribe.

Speaker 3 (24:34):
This is where they're getting the gold that they've got
to get out there and go and practice. Firstly, I
would say this, I think driver practice is underrepresented. I'd
like to see golfers hit a lot more drivers. I'd
like to see golfers actually practice generating more speed. How

(24:56):
do you do that? I think at the end of
your practice session, reserve anywhere from a dozen to twenty
golf balls and you're loose, you're ready to go, and ideally,
if you've got some kind of feedback device, helping you
with club speed or ball speed. You're going to get
up there and try to rip those golf balls as
hard as you can, just to see what you can do.
There's also another great teaching aid that Marty might know about,

(25:19):
called the stack. That's fantastic. This is not meant to
be a plug for the stack, by the way, I
think it's a fantastic tool and it's invaluable in helping
golfers hit their golf ball closer to the green. If
you think about what golf is, it's what are we
trying to do on irons. We're trying to get the
right distance so we can have our ball finished closer
to the hole when we're chipping, pitching, closer to the

(25:41):
hole when we're putting in the hole. The same goes
for t shots. Let's practice our driver so that a
we can make it go a long way and b
we can work towards keeping it in play. I'd love
to see golfers spend more time practicing with their driver.
And then I don't think that block practice has received

(26:03):
much of a good rap over the last few years,
and it is my opinion that every golfer needs to
do some degree some amount of block practice, and then
work from block. And what is block practice. It's a
seven iron. You're working on your swing and you're just
hitting a bunch of seven irons all to the same target.
You're trying to get a feel for that motion, that strike,

(26:25):
that new change that you might be working on. Spend
some time doing that, But then I would love for
you to go, okay, I need to take this and
change this, work this over into the golf course, because
so often golfers will say, Andrew, I'm good on the range,
I'm horrible on the course. I know, if you're listening,
there's a lot of people nodding their heads right now.

Speaker 1 (26:46):
Marity and I are not.

Speaker 3 (26:49):
How can we possibly make well, make it better. We
can never recreate the golf course on the range, but
we can get closer. And instead of just hitting fifty
seven irons and going I think I got this, Today's
going to be a great day. And you step on
the first d and that thing's in the water off
the first t. That's because the manner in which you

(27:10):
practiced had very little to do with what is required
on the golf course, and so spend a portion of
your practice time hitting golf course style shots, pick out
a target, rotate clubs frequently, try to hit to the
sides of targets, use your preshot routine. And then I think,
now you're practicing. Now you're preparing to go out and

(27:31):
play ultimately better golf. Some block practice, some random practice
where you're trying to mirror imitate what you're doing out
on the golf course, and throw in a couple of
speed shots at the end, I think you're in good shape.

Speaker 2 (27:43):
I love that, Andrew. I think that was one of
my biggest regrets in hindsight looking back in my own
golf career is overpracticing the fifty yard shot and underpracticing
my driver. So I love that idea, Marty.

Speaker 1 (27:57):
I mean, the saying we heard for years was drive
for show and putt for doe. And I always said, well,
if you don't drive it in play and you're putting
for no dough, right, I mean, you know you've got
to at least get it in play. And I mean,
obviously we've seen how important the driver is in modern
golf in the way modern equipment has made it is
the most important golf club in your back. I'd say,
even over the putter for a lot of players, especially

(28:19):
players that struggle to get it off the tee. Because
I was playing golf with a friend of mine in
the media a few weeks ago, and he's hitting his
driver a lot better than I'd seen it a few
months ago, and he goes, Shane, I realized that if
I can hit it two thirty off the tee and play,
I can be a guest anywhere in the world, you know.
I mean, if I can hit it two thirty off
the tee and relatively straight, I can be invited any

(28:41):
golf course in the world and not be embarrassed. And
it's so true, right like that lends itself to positivity.
You feel better about yourself. You're getting the ball in play,
you're in the hole if you're playing a match. I mean,
the driver is so much more important than I think
we used to give a credit for.

Speaker 3 (28:55):
Yeah, I say this to a lot of my students.
Over the last twenty years, Strokes gained. The best statistical
putter on the PGA Tour has been a player by
the name of Denny McCarthy. And I say this, I
think Denny would trade some of his putting dough for
some of Rory's driving dough. You know, Rory, Rory's got

(29:18):
a lot of driving dough in his bank account. And
that's I mean, that's a big reason why Rory is Rory.
Not that Denny's bad. Denny's done a lovely job and
he's a fantastic putter, but the old drive for show
putt for dough is not one by any.

Speaker 2 (29:36):
Means, Andrew. So far, we've talked a lot about ball striking,
which I think you framed very well. That's kind of
the foundation of golf. But you have done a lot
of tremendous work on short game, short game technique, helping
us with our wedge designs, evaluating our grinds, friction, spin generation.
You know, using track Man is a is a kind

(29:59):
of a research engine for a short game. I know
when you first did your Wedge video, was it called
the Wedge Project.

Speaker 3 (30:06):
Andrew, the Wedge Project, Yeah, the Wedge.

Speaker 2 (30:09):
Project almost ten years ago. Ten years ago, we had
a bunch of we got a lot of golf junkies,
engineers around the office. I remember there right when it
first came out. They all bought it downloaded. They're watching
at their desks and still geeking out over it tell
us a little bit about the Wedge project, what you
kind of learned in that video and what would you

(30:29):
do over differently, what knowledge or insight do you have
about short game technique now that if you if you
refilm that or re edit it, would you would you
put in there party?

Speaker 3 (30:39):
Firstly, the whole idea came to fruition because I wanted
to understand why when we're pitching, especially when we start
out pitching, we can hit that let's let's call it
a fifty yard shot, Okay, forty to fifty yard shot.
Why is it that sometimes we hit that shot and
that bull comes out nice and low, and it feels

(31:00):
great on the face, and it's got tons of check
on it, and then on the next swing we can
strike it and it feels quite similar. But the ball
seems to fly twice as high it launches up, it
seems to plummet out of the sky, hit and roll,
and I wanted to better understand that, and track Man
being what it is, I was tremendously helpful in being

(31:22):
able to gain some insights, as have a lot of
your friends. The engineers at PING been tremendously helpful in
helping me understand that as to what makes it work.
Why does that friction between the ball and the face
work sometimes and not others. And really, ultimately it's we

(31:42):
get matter trapped between the face and the golf ball.
Be it moisture, be at grass, those green dots on
the face. Whenever you hit a pitch shot or a
chip shot and you look down and you see that
green dots on the face, I promise you that golf
ball flew higher than you intended, it had less been
than you intended. And most often it is not your fault.

(32:03):
You didn't do anything wrong. It's just that matter got
trapped between the face and the golf ball. And the
moral of the story is this is clean your club.
Play a nice fresh wedge and a eurothane covered golf ball.
Spend the little bit of extra money that you need

(32:23):
to spend to get a quality golf ball, keep the
club clean, play a nice fresh wedge. You're going to
hit more of those low spinners. But understand, if you're
playing early in the morning and it's dewy out and
the ground is wet, you're going to launch the ball
much higher than anticipated. It's going to spend significantly less
than anticipated. That is, unless you're using a hydro ferb

(32:45):
hydrophobic ping wedge, which really does once again not a plug,
it just happens to be. It makes a tremendous difference
in spin rate anytime that coating that ping wedges have
really displaces the water, and the spin rates are actually
quite amazingly consistent from wet conditions to dry conditions.

Speaker 2 (33:07):
Yeah, I think yep, go ahead, go ahead, Marty. I
think that's the big thing we're trying to solve is
just that we want to provide the predictability to the golfer,
right and that and that low launch, high spin pitch
shot is quite fun to hit. But you nailed a
lot of the the key ingredients, and that's where you
have been super helpful of giving this push and pull

(33:29):
to us. Hey guys, I'm seeing this. Why does this happen?
I'm seeing golf my golfers do this. I'm seeing this
and testing why does it happen? That's helped push us
to answer those questions, innovate on better groove designs, better
finishes and things to help you and the ultimately the
everyday golfer and golf ball is a big part of that.

(33:49):
No doubt about it. I'm glad you brought that up
and being able to pull on all those levers to
create create spin.

Speaker 3 (33:55):
Yeah, player best. We're both on the same train. The
golfers play their best.

Speaker 1 (34:02):
Andrew, I'm glad you mentioned the cleaning the face part
of the wedge experience because when I was when I
saw that on track man one time. You know what
a wedge, How a wedge reacts when it's totally clean
versus even a couple of shots in Yeah, I mean
it is. It is mind blowing. And I don't think
golfers quite understand how much they're giving up when they

(34:24):
don't clean their clubs every single swing. This goes back
to putting the time in right. Clean your clubs, have
new grips. I mean, these are things you can do
at home to help yourself out.

Speaker 3 (34:35):
We did, I'll never forget we did a fairly significant
wedge test a couple of years ago and we had
players hit four shots with a wedge, hot hand them
another wedge, and they'd hit another four shots, and they
didn't really ever clean the club between the four shots,
and at the end. This was not the objective of
the test, but it just happened to be some information

(34:56):
that we could pull out, and I said, let's take
a look at spin rates from shot one where they
had a clean club to shot four, and there was
a nineteen percent lowering of spin rate from shot one
to shot four. So you hit three shots, your spin
rate on average is going to be twenty percent less.
And that's not a really dirty club face by any means.

(35:20):
I know people who haven't cleaned their clubs in four
months than of mind four shots.

Speaker 2 (35:25):
One of my favorite little little golf tools is that
little retractable. I clip it on my belt loop now
and when I go chip, I'm pretty diligent. Now. It
takes a little bit of work, but you got to
go in there and scrub that club face clean when
you're chipping, because it's not only spin Andrew, but you know,
as we know, when the spin goes down, the launch

(35:46):
pops straight up with it.

Speaker 3 (35:47):
Yes, yes, And we like that low launch because it's
almost like throwing darts. You know. We want that more
direct approach because we can when we get the face
to grip the cover of the golf ball, the ball
launches lower, it spins more, and both of those factors
provide us with the ability to have more control, we
can regulate where that ball lands, and we can really

(36:10):
stop that ball that much more precisely when we've got
low launch, lower launch, higher spent.

Speaker 1 (36:16):
Marty, I have a question for you and dealing with
kind of something you guys were chatting about a moment ago.
We've talked a lot about this on the podcast as well,
but I don't think I've ever asked you this question.
You reach out to ambassadors at Ping for information and
for you know, I mean feedback right from their players
or you know, anybody really that's in your umbrella, right,

(36:37):
How does the engineer team reach out to the ambassadors.
How does that conversation go? I mean, are you sending
out new clubs to Andrew, new wedges to Andrew and
saying let me know what you think, Like, how does
the back and forth work? Because it feels like such
an open dialogue at Ping amongst everybody involved, And I
don't think I've ever kind of got the answer on

(36:57):
how you might get something from a vice versa.

Speaker 2 (37:01):
Yeah, great question, Shane. I think we what's fun about
our ambassador team is they're so diverse, so we can
go to Sasha McKenzie and he could run an academic,
boxed in highly stringent PhD level study in his biomechanics lab. Right,
and then we can go to Andrew. We've done this
with Andrew, and we'll send him a couple of different

(37:23):
wedges with different grinds on him. He'll run a test
with high handicappers or ladies, you know, lady golfers. Andrew
have done some work on you know, different weights, schaft weights,
total weights designed and that's more of uh, you know,
with the with the real visceral performance type of hann On.
So we've done some very detailed formal player tests basically

(37:47):
that Andrew has conducted for us, Right Andrew, which has
been super fun. We have Stan Uttley on our team.
He might be working with you know, elite or average
golfers on short game specifically short game specifically putting how
does the golfer respond to it? So it's been fun
about our team, Shane. To answer your questions, they're all

(38:08):
so diverse, they all have unique strengths. And Andrew's been
a major part of doing some fun research with us
when we've reached out on WEDG studies and some ladies' projects.
And Andrew. I think one thing I want to talk
to about here as a follow up to that would
be kind of teaching and coaching both ladies and juniors

(38:30):
and how that varies from you know, your everyday high
handicapped male golfer Marty.

Speaker 3 (38:35):
I'm just started with juniors. I think the this one
young guy thirteen years old, he's quite a small guy
that I teach. That comes to mind, and all he
wants to do is hit it longer and he wants
to get long. And he's like, and every week I
created this thing where we have a six bull speed

(38:56):
challenge and so we measure we track his bull speed
from week to week when he comes out, and it's
keeping him patient and he's only growing at this speed.
And I'm like, don't worry, trust me. In three years time,
you're going to be driving at over three hundred. And
it's hard for him to buy into it. He wants

(39:17):
to get good, he wants to get long now. And
the big challenge I try to paint, the big picture
I try to paint for my juniors is we've got time.
Let's look at the future. This is where we would
like to be in three years, in six years, in
ten years. And oftentimes it's a case of do you

(39:39):
want to be the best thirteen year old golfer in
the world or the best twenty three year old golfer
in the world, because have you ever seen a picture
of those really big checks, those big checks, You don't
get it.

Speaker 1 (39:51):
Thirteen's you make a lot more money at twenty three.

Speaker 3 (39:55):
Exactly. You'd much rather be the best twenty three year
old golfer. So let's be patient, Let's stay the course,
let's keep working. We're going to work on a lot
of good things over the years. We're going to have
some good days and some bad days, But it's just
really keeping their mindset patient and not getting too up
or down based on how the last round went. For
lady golfers, I teach a lot of ladies, thankfully, and

(40:19):
oftentimes the ladies that I encounter are fairly new to
the game. They haven't played a lot of golf, and
they would like to feel comfortable. They don't want to
be overwhelmed with five wedges in their bag and the three, five, seven,
nine woods that oftentimes their husbands have put in their
golf bag, and they want to know, okay off the tea.

(40:43):
This is how high I t it, and I got
a swing hard. Okay for my second shot. This is
going to be my club of choice, and I go, okay,
these are the two I want you to work between.
One is a seven wood and one is a five hybrid.
You can fall in love with either one, but I
want you to fall in love with one of them,
and that's oftentimes going to be your second shot club.

(41:06):
And then from there we're going to go, okay, eight
RN nine iron wedge and a sand wedge. You're gonna
pick one of those and we're going to play those next.
To get the ball on the green, Let's get good
at that shot. Let's pitch the ball to the middle
of the green and then two putts and go from
there and really start to have some fun. I try
to downplay the importance of score score card competing. Let's

(41:28):
go out, have a good time, try to hit some
shots that get up in the air, and just enjoy
it first, because once a junior can learn to love
the game, once any beginner can learn to love the game,
they'll come back to learn it later. Let's get early
to the game, golfers. Let's get them to love it

(41:48):
first and get them to have a great time and
hit some fun shots. My goal in every beginner lesson
is I want at the end of the lesson, we've
got this ball teed up really high, they've got driver
in hand, and they're hard and I want them to
hit a shot that makes them go Wow. That was amazing.
I can't wait to do that again.

Speaker 1 (42:06):
Andrew, can you tell us a little bit about coach
Camp how it got off the ground?

Speaker 3 (42:10):
Thanks for asking. Coach Camp is something my wife and
I have put together. We've been doing it for coming
up on, coming up on eight years now. I actually
got invited to be a presenter at a fellow golf
coaches event where he was doing a day and he
brought some other coaches in and I said to him,
I said, this is fantastic. I'd love to, with your permission,

(42:33):
have the ability to be able to recreate this just
on a little bigger scale. And that's where I got
the idea. And it's really been so much fun over
the year, Shane, and we've had just about every coach
certainly in the top twenty has presented at coach Camp.

(42:54):
We've had some great stories, some great experiences, ranging from
Gigi flings off the stage to anyone who was willing
to catch one, to Joe Mayo pontificating and holding court
at night, and Sean Foley presenting on Bruce Lee, and
just some things that come to mind. But it's been

(43:16):
a very fun event but also tremendously educational. I know
I've learned a tremendous amount, and the coaches that I
invite are typically the ones that I would like to
learn from, and I feel I've like I've got a
lot to learn, But it's getting harder and harder to
find fresh new coaches. I would always I'd love to

(43:37):
find somebody who's a coach, But outside of the sport
of golf, I think there's a tremendous amount we can
learn there in so many different ways, be at the
mental side, or the physical side, or just the coaching
of young people. So many different avenues that we can
look at. But it's been a great journey so far, and.

Speaker 2 (43:56):
I've loved going to coach Camp. A couple of times
i've been, and our team's been going there. I just
love everything you've done to help. In the golf coaching community,
all wants to help each other, right, everyone can have
their own identity, their own expertise, their own philosophies. But
I just love that you've brought everyone together with coach
Camp to share share those ideas. I know certainly we

(44:17):
come away from there often with more questions unanswered than answered,
and that is a beautiful thing. It kind of keeps
us going on this journey to try to investigate all
of the little mysteries of this game, whether it's design, coaching, fitting, performance,
golf science, you name it.

Speaker 3 (44:36):
And Martie, certainly thank you to you and everybody at PING.
You guys have been a big supporter of coach Camp
and certainly been a big reason why it's continued to
happen each and every year. So thank you for your
support and pull and Eric and Chris and yourself and
everyone comes out and shared some amazing information. It's very
cool to see actually over the last few years how

(44:58):
Poll and Eric pulled, doctor Paul Wood, doctor Eric Hendrickson,
who are engineers here at PING, and how their information
has really improved them. They've gotten to the point now
where I know certain people who come to coach Camp
they're not really interested in listening to the coaches. They
want to listen to the PhDs and learn some new

(45:19):
nuggets what those guys are going to be sharing. So
it's great to see.

Speaker 1 (45:23):
As long as somebody is learning, right, Andrew, listen, we
could talk to you for another hour and a half,
I think, and we were definitely gonna have you on
again because I think this is just scratching a surface
on all that you do for golf and all that
you do for ping. So we appreciate the time. Thanks
so much for the insight, and let's schedule another pod
at some point because we'd love to get you back on.

Speaker 2 (45:43):
Let's do it.

Speaker 3 (45:43):
Thanks Chance, I appreciate the opportunity. Cheers.

Speaker 1 (45:46):
That's Andrew Rice. This is the Ping Proving Grounds Podcast.
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