By: Arlen Bento, WGCA contributing writer
For the next 12-18 months, I am going to be writing about what it takes to get to the highest level of of golf – the PGA Tour.
As many of you know, I have been coaching golf for many years and have built a very nice elite-player program in my area, and the only thing I do not have is a bona fide PGA Tour player that I can say I developed. So, here is my truly first attempt to see if what I have been teaching to my top high school players and college players will carry to the professional game.
My new student to coach is a great young man from Indiana. At the time we started, he was 30, and had been playing professional tournament golf for a few years when he came to see me in my training studio in Florida. He had played a lot of golf during high school and some college and a lot of money games in his hometown, where he became one of the best players in the area.
He had some good scores as a pro, notably a 67-73 in a recent Florida mini-tour event, but no consistency.
On our first conversation over the phone, I asked him some basic questions. At the time he did not know I was interviewing him, but I was. At my current stage of my career, I know the kind of player I like to work with and I am not interested in players that are full of themselves or think they know everything.
He was not like that at all. He was well spoken, a former athlete, and according to him, a great putter. He had taken a job delivering pizzas at night so he could work on his game and play tournaments on the weekends. The more I spoke with him, the more I liked him. So, I invited him to my lesson studio in Stuart for our first swing session.
Once we meet, I let him do most of talking, giving me his life story, telling me about his golf, his successes, his struggles and frustrations. I took a close look at this clubs, which were in need of some TLC and upgrading. It is tough on mini-tour players who have to pay for their equipment to keep up-to-date on products. His clubs were good, but the could be better.
He told me he was having a terrible time hitting the ball solid; all of his contact marks were on the toe of the club. We went through his bag on video and launch monitor and he had some very interesting numbers. He had developed a very inside attack from a very upright take away that required a ton of hand action at impact to keep the ball online. His swing was on plane, but the club was very closed that the top and he had learned to really drop the club under the plane in the downswing, causing all kinds of issues.
He had developed a very low hand setup at address and was doing everything that he could to try to keep the ball online. Because of his issues, he was standing up at impact, getting his hands up and in front of him to keep the shot from hooking and hanging on. After he hit a lot of shots, my first impression was, WOW, this guy must be the best putter in the world if he can shoot 67 with that move.
His clubhead speeds were good, but he had a weak smash factor because of his angles, which is why he was not hitting the golf ball nearly as far or as hard as he should for the speed he was generating. He had potential.
Master Teaching Professional Arlen Bento Jr. is a golf coach, golf sales business owner, golf product developer and golf writer living in Jensen Beach, Florida. He is a former professional tournament player and is a national award-winning head golf professional at the PGA Country Club at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, FL. He can be reached via Facebook at www.facebook.com/arlenbentojr or on his blog http://arlenbentojr.blogspot.com or on his business website www.abjgolfsales.com.