Some things we like to do before and after the round
The Bookshelf The Pros speak by tom bedell
Tom Watson has added more than 20 new lessons in a revision of a two-disc instructional set he released in 2010, now called “Lessons of a Lifetime II.” The lessons are biased toward the short game, with the new disc available at $24.95 or the complete three-DVD set for $49.95 at Amazon, TomWatson.com or select golf and sporting goods shops. Among Watson’s suggestions -- “The 40-yard wedge shot puts fear into a lot of players, because they can’t take a full swing. I actually suggest trying to hit the shot with your right foot off the ground. Most players don’t start with enough weight on the left, so they hit it fat or blade it. So it’s a simple concept: More weight on the left foot, right heel off the ground.” Is Lessons of a Lifetime II worth it? Well, consider that as I write this the old warrior has just made the cut at the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. Watson continues to amaze, and the DVDs cement his niche as an unimpeachable source. More than 70,000 copies of the first iteration were sold, and learning how to hit a half-wedge might be worth the price alone. But there’s plenty more here that is as pleasing to watch as it is useful, thanks to the participation of producer Terry Jastrow. Watson said he’s not likely to put the discs into the hands of his players when he steps into the captain’s role in Septem16 •••••• www.golfoklahoma.org
ber at the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, although it surely couldn’t hurt them. “The majority of our customers are beginners and high handicappers for obvious reasons,” said Watson, “but I think the discs could service the experienced player as well.”
A Game For Life One of the most experienced and surely the most traveled player in the history of the game has his own three-DVD set out, one clad smartly in black naturally, “Gary Player: A Game for Life.” This one’s available for $59.95 at www. agameforlife.com, and it makes for a nice contrast with the Watson series. Watson focuses on technique, although keeping it fairly straightforward. Player suggests thinking a little outside the box. There is, to be sure, ample technique, but the Black Knight puts greater emphasis on on-course play — tips more on how to score than how to swing. One of the most fascinating segments is when Player starts dissecting the swings of players past and present — Hogan, Trevino, Palmer, Nicklaus, Woods, John Daly and the player he thinks has one of the game’s soundest swings — Tom Watson. Thanks to the participation of Peter Kessler, the “Voice of Golf,” the production has as much an interview as tutorial feel (and actually ends with a sit-down interview with the career Grand Slam
winner). True, it can be said that Player is one of the easiest interviews in the world. Kessler can pose one question and Player is off and running for 20 minutes. The byplay becomes downright entertaining, and is particularly effective and almost comic in the section on Player’s physical fitness routines. As the 75-yearold goes through eye-opening exercises, Kessler looks almost alarmed. Player isn’t expecting viewers to do 1,000 sit-ups each morning, luckily, but he makes a strong case for at least modest efforts toward fitness and good nutrition.
The forbidden game I had the pleasure of playing at the 12-course Mission Hills Resort in China a few years back. The golf was of a consistently high order, almost as high as my level of amazement. The sheer scale of the place might have been dazzling enough, but it was also a little surreal imagining golf in China at all, since the government had apparently condemned it at the same time courses were spreading like wildfire. And, in Mission Hills’ case, surrounded by multi-million dollar homes as well. Although there’s nothing instructional about Dan Washburn’s “The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream” (Oneworld Publications, $18.99), it’s plenty instructive in explaining the seemingly inherent contradiction of such