With an amazing streak of Major surprises, maybe you can become the next Y.E. Yang and narrowly beat Tiger Woods. Pro-golfer and instructor Scott Szybowicz shares his golf expertise with us. He runs the Winning Edge Golf School in the Chicago area. Check out the Golfing Blog or take a lesson with him to analyze and improve your swing.
F: When did you start playing golf? How has the sport evolved since then?
I started playing golf at the age of 13. The evolution of the game has been vast! Equipment is light-years ahead of where it used to be, and there is a better understanding of how the body moves during the golf swing. This greater understanding has led to more intelligent teaching methods.
F: In your experience, is there a certain body type or demographic predisposed to be good at golf?
No. There are outstanding golfers of all ages, shapes and sizes.
F: Besides practice, do you do any physical training to improve your game?
I actually work out more than I practice. Throughout the year I spend a great deal of time stretching and doing cardio on my road bike. In the winter, I add more strength training to my workout – core strength is extremely important.
F: What is your secret sauce to teaching beginners how to play golf?
I wish I did, but I do not have a secret sauce. Everyone learns a little differently so you need to focus on what is best for the individual.
F: Do you ever get frustrated when students aren’t able to hit the ball or don’t listen to you ?
Honestly, I have never gotten frustrated with a student’s performance; if anything, it makes me focus more, to help them. If a student is unwilling to use my knowledge, it is silly for them to be my student and I will politely make that point clear.
F: How much of golf is science versus art (since it seems that every move is more calculated and deliberate than most sports)?
Golf is a blend of both. In any sport there is a lot of science and calculation involved before you can make it look like art. When I played baseball in college, we used a lot of motion analysis – it just wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now.
F: What is your favorite area golf course?
My favorite golf course is Shore Acres Country Club in Lake Bluff: it is a wonderful place if you have the opportunity to play on occasion.
F: What was the best golf course you ever played on? What was your worst shot on that course?
I don’t like to use the word ‘best,’ but my greatest experience was playing the Old Course at St. Andrew’s in Scotland. I missed an easy putt to shoot one under par.
F: How do you practice or teach golf in the winter with snow on the ground?
I teach indoors at a health club in the city and at White Pines Dome.
F: What sport would you say is most akin to golf?
There are a lot of similarities between golf and tennis and baseball.
F: How would you suggest livening up the sport for say, coverage by a national news network?
I have never thought about that… maybe by featuring a wider variety of players, rather than just “You Know Who.”
F: If you could advise the US PGA on attracting more young talent to the sport, what would you tell them?
I would make courses more kid-friendly. The USGA should not base rules about equipment on tour players. The USGA needs to base more decisions on what is best for the average player and on growing the game. (I will now get off my soap box.)
F: Why does the scoring system uses bird names?
I will have to get back to you on that.