This week on our Secret Golf Podcast, Elk and Knoxy are joined by University of Houston Director of Golf , Jonathan Dismuke to talk about Coaching. Jonathan is also coach of the Men's Team at the university, the team on which Elk's son Sam plays. Hear Elk and 'Dis' discuss old school methods versus the new school coaching tools and technologies as they break down what it takes to be the best.
[THEME MUSIC] THEME SONG: It's Secret Golf. It's what I'm looking for. It's why I get up every morning, good times with friends, keeps me coming back for more. Secret Golf. We're headed down the road. We just loaded up, Big Show, going looking for the heart and soul, humming to the wheels fall off, it's Secret Golf. Shhh-- it's a secret.
DIANE KNOX: This is Secret Golf with Elk and Knoxy. And it's another one of our podcasts. Hello, welcome. My name's Diane or Knoxy. And Elk's going to be here in just a little while. This podcast today is going to be about coaching. And it's something that Elks wanted to do a podcast on for a little while now.
We're going to be looking at kind of old school coaching techniques against all the new skill stuff of today, with all the technology, and, I guess, even the advances in the clubs, equipment, trackmen, that kind of thing. So we'll be getting Elk's opinion on that. And, also, he's going to be joined by a coach that he knows really well.
I love this, actually, because it is the coach that is working with Elk's son, Sam, at the University of Houston. So, well, any way, Elk coaches Sam, as well. It's going to be an interesting dynamic to hear the two of them talking about it.
And this guy that we have on today, as well, his name is Jonathan-- we'll do him properly later-- but he also went to Auburn University with Jason Dufner, and played on the golf team alongside him. So we'll be getting an interesting insight into Duff, when he was at college, too.
So, this week, FedEx Playoffs continue. It's the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Illinois. If you're a little bit confused by the whole FedEx Playoff system, we did a podcast on that a few weeks ago with Colt Knost, so you can go and listen to that.
If you want to hear any of the previous podcasts that we've done, then you can find them at secretgolf.com. We have everything on our web site. Also, if you go into iTunes, click on the podcast section, and search for Secret Golf, you can find them all there, too.
So, obviously, today we are talking about coaching on our podcast, you know, the pros and cons. Does it work? Does it work for everyone? That kind of thing. And, there are, of course, the one person that we're going to talk to is our very own Steve Elkington. Hello, you.
STEVE ELKINGTON: How are you today, Diane?
DIANE KNOX: I'm good. How are you?
STEVE ELKINGTON: Great.
DIANE KNOX: And, with you being a player-- so you've got that side of it taken care of, but we had to get a coach on, as well. And, on the line, we're joined by Jonathan Dismuke, who's the Director of Golf, and the men's coach at the University of Houston. Hi, Jonathan.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Hey.
DIANE KNOX: How are you?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: I'm doing great. Thanks for having me.
DIANE KNOX: Good. Right. So, player and coach, we're going to get both perspectives here. So, Elk, take it away.
STEVE ELKINGTON: So one of the things, Jonathan, you and I have been friends for a long time, of course, my son, Sam Elkington, plays at the University of Houston. And, you know, the-- the luxury we have today with Jonathan is he was a good player, as well, at college. He went to University of Auburn, of course, with our own Jason Dufner.
Before we get into this, because you've coached a lot of good players that we've mentioned already on the podcast, Jonathan, today, what-- what is the breakdown of guys that need, you know, all the bells and whistles, and the guys that don't? Is there still a distinct cut?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: You know, I think it's-- I think it really depends on how you use the technology. I think everybody, at some point, can benefit from some of it. And I think what you see sometimes is people become a little-- little more reliant on it, and-- you know-- and-- you know-- the game of golf has always been about ball control.
So that the guy who has the most shots, who can control the ball, in any given circumstance, or in the most given circumstances, is the guy that's got the best opportunity to play well the most often. And-- you know, I think there's a lot of technology out there that obviously helps with that, that gives you maybe some predictors, and maybe can give you a roadmap to how to maybe develop your skill a little bit faster.
But, you know, it's still-- you know, performance is still situational. So, you just got to be able to apply, you know, the technique, at the right time, and know how to make the adjustments off your base line. And-- and, like I said, the people who can do that will always play the best, no matter if the technology is there or not.
STEVE ELKINGTON: And, of course, you and I both know that there is these guys that play really well that don't score as well, right? So, there is the argument that plays the other side of. And that's kind of my job, as always, to play-- play the other side of it. You-- you were lucky enough to go to school with Jason Dufner.
And Jason Dufner was a walk-on at University of Auburn, when you were there. You probably-- well, you were probably a better player when you first got there. Is it true, false? Or how did-- how was the emergence of Jason Dufner, what did you see in him when he first got there that made you think, hey, this has got potential?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah, so, Jason and I were on a little different time line, so we overlapped, but he is a little older than I am. So, but he was a walk-on when he showed up. So, we were-- we were probably fairly similar skill sets. I mean, he was not a-- wasn't one of the best players, by any means. You know, neither was I.
But-- you know, over the course of his career-- you know, I think, by the time that I showed up, Dufner was a little bit more established, obviously, and was one of the better players on the team. But, you know, just the things that I remember-- just-- just going back to what I said earlier about ball control. I mean, we used to play a game called worst ball all the time. And Jason would hit two tee shots and you could throw-- you could-- you could damn near throw your glove over his two tee balls. And, as you know--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Well, you're taking the worst ball. You were taking the worst ball of the game?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah, you had two shots and you play the worst ball. So he would hit two two balls right down the center of the fairway, you could-- you could throw your glove over, you know, his two and I'd hit one in the right rough and h one in the left rough and I'd have to spend five minutes figuring out which one was worse. Umm. You know, it's just a-- little games like that really-- that really up the ante on-- on you know, how precise you are.
You know, he was-- he was always ahead of the curve. Even-- even though we had a lot of really good players, I mean, you'd-- you'd put him in a situation where he, you know, you had to hit two good shots in a row. You know, Jason was always, always more advanced.
STEVE ELKINGTON: How did he do that? Because, as you said, he was bypassed coming in, then he was a walk on. How did he get so good so quick. And-- and didn't you tell me that he had this enormous self-belief? Didn't he used to tell you that he was going to be one of the top players in the world before he even was like even on the team at all and this kind of stuff?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, we-- I mean, I'll never forget, we were-- he had-- he had actually, was-- was, you know, in the middle of his senior year and we were hitting some pitch shots around the green and, you know, he was like, no, dude, that's-- that's not how you-- that's not how you do it, that's the-- world class is not-- that's not how they do it, you know, they go up in the air here. You know, we don't go on the ground. If you want to be world class in this situation, you got to go up in the air. And, he goes, that's why I'll be a top 20 player in the world, top 15 player in the world in a couple of years.
I guess everybody else--
STEVE ELKINGTON: And what were you thinking when you heard that?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Well, I mean, when somebody telling you they're going to be the top 20 player in the world, they can display, you know, adequate skill sets. I mean, it's still hard to believe, but, you know, when you listen to somebody talk that-- that-- that-- that you have faith in and-- and then, you know, you see their way they operate and you see the way they-- they work to their business. I mean, yeah, I didn't have any experience to know at the time what a top 20 player in the world looks like, but I do now and, you know, obviously he wasn't there yet, but it was-- he was always gaining on that. He had that self-image that he was-- that he's continuously big-- has been gaining on for-- for a long period of time.
STEVE ELKINGTON: So, as you know that we've filmed Jason, of course, we did a show with you and he down at Auburn, they can see that at Secret Golf any time they'd like. But how did he do it because I know we've filmed him now and what he does, as you said, in the on-- in the onset of this interview, you said that some people lose-- use, you know, technology, a/k/a, Track Man video, whatever it is, to look at this swing. But I know that Jason looks at it for a split second to see what he's doing right or wrong. And then he drops it and goes over and does it manually.
What does manually mean and how did he do it back then, because you didn't have Track Man, you didn't have-- how did he get so good so quick?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah, I mean, he's had-- he's had some coaching throughout-- throughout his career. When we were in college, he worked with a guy named Wayne Flynn in Birmingham that, I think, is a tremendous coach and-- and, you know, someone I've always had a lot of respect for. You know, he worked with Layne
STEVE ELKINGTON: What did he coach? What was his specifics?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: I-- you know, I think-- I think he did mostly a lot of downswing work with Jason, you know. Most good young players have issues downswing wise, just in to out, too much in to out, too much draw for the most part. I think he did some really good downswing work with Jason and then, you know, later on Layne Savoy, he's a good friend of ours and was on the team with us to Auburn. Did-- did a lot of good work with Jason. And then, you know, the past several years he's worked with Chuck Cook. He's-- I've got, you know, a tremendous amount of respect for his coach, you know, Tom Kite, and his coach Payne Stewart and several other major champions.
And, you know, I think, you know, I-- and I don't think it's a-- you know, all that's obviously not a 100% technical. A lot of it is just organizing your-- your skills and organizing your practices and-- and-- and attention to detail, though, to what needs cleaned up and, you know, I always-- always tell our guys nobody really wants to learn how to swim till they're out of the boat.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: And sometimes a coach can help you, you know, get you out of the boat a little bit and help expose you and then help also coach you up to the-- to-- to where you need to be. So I think he's had obviously a lot of really good influence. Our-- our-- our coach at Auburn, Mike Griffin, was always really good at putting us in situations that forced us to be competitive, and forced us to be outside the box. I mean, his-- his-- his
STEVE ELKINGTON: You talking about qualifying or playing against one another or-- or just--
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah, it was-- it was-- it was-- yeah, it was always something. And, you know, coaching didn't necessarily have to do that, we were already very competitive. I mean, you know, it-- it-- it-- you know, the-- the landscape's changed a lot. I mean, gambling's obviously frowned upon now. But-- but, you know, back in the day--
STEVE ELKINGTON: It is? I haven't heard that, I haven't read that memo. Oh, we're talking about college, I'm sorry. Sorry.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, you know, just-- just playing for lunch, or just something-- something as simple as that, I mean, you know, when you get a group of guys that are hyper competitive that are all trying to get that alpha by their name, those-- those environments create good players.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Coach, nothing-- nothing disrupts more than anything other than talent, having talent. We've always said that you can't turn a mule into a racehorse, but we can make him a racing mule, right? I mean, that's-- we've always said that.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Absolutely.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Now, you left Auburn and you didn't-- you didn't-- your-- your path and your life did not turn to the tour, you went to coaching. And you already had some success over at Texas A&M when you were on the-- you were the assistant coach in the-- what was that, the '09? Texas A&M won the national championship and then you came to University of Houston and you've-- and we've noted in this podcast all of the good players you've coached.
Who are the two outstanding young talents out of all that group so far that you-- that you've liked the most talent wise? And tell us what they do.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: I mean, from a-- a sheer physical standpoint, the two guys that made it look the easiest have been Bronson Burgoon and Roman Robledo, by far.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Let's talk about Bronson. Where-- why was he so good and how did he get good?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: You know, I think-- I think Bronson-- Bronson's very athletic. This-- his-- his father was a professional baseball player, and it's genetically like he-- he-- he just brought a lot to the table. I mean, physically hitting the golf ball, he hit the golf, you know, at that time, as far as anybody, and he hit the golf ball as high as anybody, you know, and he-- and he just looked like a guy that could walk out and play a major championship when he was in college, you know, he just-- he just physically had a lot of presence.
STEVE ELKINGTON: And what did he need-- what did he need? Did he need any, you know, did he need to go tech or was he low tech?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: The-- the-- you know, at that time, you know, we-- we didn't have a Track Man at Texas A&M so-- so all we had was a little bit of video. But, you know, we worked a lot on, you know, obviously paying attention to the golf ball, you know, and-- and-- and, you know, we-- we had some good indicators. I had spent some time with Track Man at the time and I knew that obviously, you know, that-- that the-- the-- and I had a background at the golf machine, also, so I always believe-- I always believe that the ball started off clubface, which was, turned out to be, 75% to 85% true. True enough. So-- you know, so--
STEVE ELKINGTON: The ball doesn't lie.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I think-- you know, even though we didn't necessarily have all the technology that we might have today, we-- you know, we didn't get our-- get anybody 3D tests or anything like that. We had an astute understanding of why the ball did what it did. And, you know, he had a-- he had a very neutral path, you know, probably, you know, one degree left and-- and a very stable club face. And he hit, you know, absolutely bomb straight balls. And when he missed it--
STEVE ELKINGTON: So when we talk about, you know, path, we're talking about a measurable thing from, say, everyone knows over the top, all that turn, in to out. You're saying he basically was zeroed out. His-- his-- his natural swing didn't go in or out or over the top, it was kind of-- stayed straight.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Like, you know, it was-- it was pretty straight, like I said. It was-- if anything, it would have been a little bit left and, you know, he-- he controlled the bottom of the arc very well. I mean, he-- he-- you'd never see him stick a club in the ground. It's always very shallow and, like I said, just watch the golf ball, it hit just absolutely some of the most beautiful tee balls I've ever seen. And--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Now, let me ask you this question. What has stopped him? Because we know that there's this-- there's this impenetrable layer of where does it break from the physical to the mental, or whatever, psychological, whatever, the life, and all that. Why hasn't he done what you thought he would do? Is there a-- a thing you can point to?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Absolutely. So-- so, I mean, the biggest things that we worked on were-- were just, you know, just self-control and-- and-- and, you know, the understanding that you don't have to be perfect. Perfection is the enemy of-- of really good. And I think, you know, he had a lot of success-- he had a lot of success as a junior player and-- and didn't have as much success as-- as, you know, he probably thought he would have in college. Because, you know, he didn't win a golf tournament until the first tournament I was at, Texas A&M, and he won by 12 shots, and he missed about, you know, I-- I can probably count on two hands the putts he missed inside of six feet, and he won by 12.
I mean-- so just-- you're just managing his golf ball. Not, you know, just-- just really understanding that-- that-- that, you know, there are a lot of variables in the game, and you don't have to be perfect. But what you have to do is you have to be pretty precise, and you have to be able to control yourself, especially when you're uncomfortable. And you have to be able to keep a clear head, make good decisions, and you've got to be able to detach from the situation. The tension, I think, is-- is really hard for really good college players because, you know, they get in these situations that means so much to them and they-- they can't remove themselves from it. And I-- and I know that happens in professional golf and-- and-- and, you know, anytime something is--
STEVE ELKINGTON: When you-- when you-- when you say remove, I'm-- when you say remove yourself, you mean, you know, just-- I'm assuming this because I've obviously played, but it's just another seven iron shot on the range, right? It's not any-- there's no-- there's nothing attached to it other than just this-- it's just another one of those seven irons I hit all day long, right? That's what you're saying?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Right. Right. Right. Absolutely. It's-- it's-- it's a-- you know, it's a seven iron at this tree, no matter if it's-- if it's--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah. You walk up on the 18th hole with water everywhere and the team needs you to make par, it's just another tee shot. That's the detachment that you're talking about, right?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Absolutely.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Being able to repeat that swing that you know without really being emotionally attached to that shot. Now, we know you are, but you're saying that's-- is that the hurdle that he has not been able to get over to be top player?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: I think-- I think-- I think it's got a lot to do with it, you know. I think-- I think also like, you know, early developers, I think they have a-- a harder time because they-- they're used to beating everybody in the dirt when they're 14, 15, 16. Everybody around them gets really good and-- and-- and, you know, they see people catching up on them. And it's really easy for them to look in the rearview mirror in the past and-- and say, all right, well, I was better than this guy, now he's better than me, you know. You know you never used to beat me.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah. Roman-- Roman Rubio, he was-- he was a different cat. He-- he won a lot in college, right? He was also-- I already know because I know him well, I've played a lot of golf with Roman. He's also in that realm of extreme, you know-- you know, superior ball strikers, right? Roman.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah. Yeah. So Roman-- Roman had an interesting-- interesting, you know, path through golf. I mean, he-he played-- played early, you know-- you know, eight, ninth grade. And his mother got sick with cancer and-- and-- and-- and suffered from cancer for two years before she passed away and-- and during that timeframe, he really didn't get a chance to compete a lot other-- other than maybe just high school golf.
So we were extremely fortunate to-- to stumble across him because, I mean, the-- the moment I laid eyes on him, I'm like, this guy could be one of the best-- I told several guys, you know, he's got no, like, real experience, I was like, but he could be one of the best players at the University of Houston all time. All time.
And I believe that to this day like, I think, you know, if-- if a couple of things had gone a little different here or there, you know, he could have won a national championship as individual. He could have won four or five more times as-- as an individual and-- and really been in that elite category at University of Houston like yourself or Billy Ray or Keith Fergus, you know, I think he-- he-- he's-- he's just kind of on the level below there. But, you know, that's-- that's pretty high cotton you're treading through when you throw those names.
STEVE ELKINGTON: I remember the first time I saw him, you brought him out to Champions and we stepped on the fifth hole, a par five around the corner, and it's about 290 to the corner so you can get a look-see around the corner par five and I-- you know, I-- I could belt one down there and get it just past the corner where I could see the green and go for it in two. And Roman hit it straight over the corner out there to where most guys would lay up to and just flipped it on the green with about an eight iron and, I'm like, oh, my God, where has this-- where has this kid been.
Now, he did qualify-- he has been playing-- to me and, you know, my feedback on Roman is he's comfortable beating the sort of a-- he beats up on all these miniature guys, he wins all those events, he gets on the-- you know, makes a qualified, gets in the US Open, then he doesn't perform at that next level yet. How are we going to get Roman over that level--
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah.
STEVE ELKINGTON: -- that next level to play against guys like me when I was out there? How could he perform-- in other words, we don't ask you to perform better, we just want him to do his deal, right?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Right. Right. Right. And I think that's-- you know, I think there's a-- it kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier, knowing-- knowing that your-- your pretty good is good enough is a big deal. And, you know, it takes some, you know, probably getting chewed up and spit out a little bit to-- to-- you know, for you to realize that maybe you just don't-- you know, maybe-- maybe you backdoor into a situation and you have a little bit of success and-- and all of a sudden you're like, you know-- you know, it's-- it's-- it's not as hard as I'm making it out.
You know, but that-- you know, to me for-- for-- for Roman, and I haven't seen him as much-- I haven't really-- I haven't seen him play--
STEVE ELKINGTON: He lost a bunch of weight.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: -- um, in probably about a year.
STEVE ELKINGTON: He lost like 50 pounds, right?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah, he lost a lot of weight his senior year.
STEVE ELKINGTON: That seemed to change a little bit.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah. So-- so he went-- yeah, he went from a situation where he was what I would consider maybe a little restricted as far as his range of motion at times to a guy that was hypermobile.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: You know, his backswing he-- all-- all of a sudden like he had a tremendous amount where he needed some extension in his backswing before, he needed-- he needed some thoracic extension to get the club up enough. You know, after he lost the weight, he just-- he just had like-- it was like he was Gumby, I mean, he-- he had--
STEVE ELKINGTON: He had-- he had new air to move into.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Absolutely. And--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: -- you know, so I think it really affected his-- his-- his timing for-- for delivery at the club and-- and then he just lost a lot of-- of the precision because, you know-- you know, outside-- I've never seen anybody that-- that the-- the-- the stress of golf that he played in-- in early 2014 was-- I've never seen anybody drive the ball as well as he was driving the golf ball. I mean, he said--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah. Basically, he had taken the biggest bite out of every hole on the course, right? I mean, he just kind of--
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah.
STEVE ELKINGTON: -- whacked it out there 320 and just put it in the fairway, right? And then the whole--
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah, yeah, I mean--
STEVE ELKINGTON: -- just chipping on the green.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: I mean, he-- yeah. I mean, where-- where he was playing from like-- like, you know, it-- it-- it was-- it was-- there-- there wasn't much golf course left.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Especially, like when you get in certain situations like if he ever got the wind down and left to right, I mean, the ball would not stop. I mean, he could hit it as far as he wanted to hit it. I mean, you know, like I said there's just not much of the golf course left and-and-- you know, I just think-- like I said, I think there's-- there's, you know, just understanding that when you get in a situation where everybody around you starts to look more and more and more similar, you just have to really, you know, get focused on your deal and-- and not worry about anybody else and-- and just do what you do, and know that you're pretty good is good enough and, you know, you're going to have your opportunities if you-- if you keep your head down and keep trudging forward.
STEVE ELKINGTON: I would tell him, Coach. I would go over and tell the guy I was better than him, that was what-- it worked for me. I mean, Billy Ray would just-- no, I'm kidding.
Let me remind you of a story because--
JONATHAN DISMUKE: No, you're not. No, you're not. I've heard-- I've heard the stories and I know you-- you're telling the exact truth. You-- you would-- you would-- you would let him know that-- that-- listen, you know, you're better than they are--
STEVE ELKINGTON: We wanted to make sure that they were there today so they could see that this ass whipping they were fixing to take is what we used to tell them.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah. And we did.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah. Don't feel bad about it. Gosh.
STEVE ELKINGTON: I want you to recall this story because the best player that-- you'll know this team very well because right now we're in the middle of-- you know-- Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas. There's another Alabama player that's on that team, and I know there's another one that just got on the tour from that team.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah. Bobby Wyatt. Bobby Wyatt is on that team.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Bobby Wyatt just got on.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah. Tom, the Lovelady is actually--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Tom Lovelady just got on that team.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah.
STEVE ELKINGTON: There was one guy, and you'll know this guy, that beat them all every day, all of the way, and his name was Cory Whitsett. Bud Cauley's on that team.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah.
STEVE ELKINGTON: So let's-- let's review here. On that Alabama team, there was Justin Thomas, Bud Cauley, Lovelady, Corey Whitsett. Corey Whitsett's from Houston.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Bobby Wyatt.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Bobby Wyatt.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah. Trey-- Mullinax--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Corey Whisett was better than them all. Who?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah. Corey-- Corey coming out of high school was probably the most accomplished player-- well, was the most accomplished player.
STEVE ELKINGTON: And Corey went left-- left college and they told him that, you know, he-- some coach he went to-- this just drives me crazy, and this is the way I want to finish a piece with you. It Drives me crazy, Coach, that these kids say to themselves, if I'm going to get on tour, I've got to-- I've got to change everything. And Corey's done that, I talked to his dad who works on my eyes, and he's had a struggle. He hasn't been able to get on any kind of tour, he's really struggled with his game, he had to quit golf for a year. I mean, he just changed everything.
What is it about guys that, and I know you've already touched on this, well, you've got to believe that, you know, your best is good enough. But it must be brutal for Corey to sit there and see all the guys that he killed all the way, right, with what he had. Because I tell you what.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Two things I like about Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. They both have had the same coach, they both have not changed their swings, they both love golf very much, there's-- there's such-- they got a lot of energy, they know they're going to be out there for a long time, but to me, Coach, they just don't seem like they're changing a lot of things. Am I wrong there?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: I mean, I've seen them enough to-- to-- to see the difference-- well, what I will say is their games are cleaner. And I use the word clean just in-- in the sense that, you know, they-- they've just maybe-- I mean, they've-- they've-- they've tied their ball fly, you know, their overall shot's gone up a couple of percent over their career, you know. -- they've tightened their trajectories so their stock shot, you know, is appropriate, but they have the ability to go higher and can go lower on command. And, you know, around the greens they-- they've developed, you know, maybe more shots, maybe a little bit more precision.
When-- when you really-- when you look at the science of it, I mean, our accuracy-- our accuracy is tied to our neurology, you know, so a lot of-- I think the mistake that a lot of coaches and a lot of players make is saying that it's-- it's-- it's a physical thing, it's-- it's-- it's me moving the club differently. But in reality the accuracy tie-- you know, is really tied into our perception of where our target is and how in tune we are to that, and building on that over time. I mean, you know, you get those neural pathways really lined with a lot of mile and-- and your 1%, your 2% increases over the course of-- a good player make all the difference in the world.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yep. All right One last-- one last question for you before I let you go.
Is there still room out there for the unortho-- an orthodox swinger? Will he-- can he make it? Can he-- can he navigate his way through the jungle of-- of coaches trying to help him with his swings like a Furyk or a Couples or a Stadler, the guys that-- can he still-- can he still navigate his way out of the jungle?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah. I-- I-- I think the thing-- I think the thing now is-- I mean, because the ball doesn't-- the ball doesn't shape as much, the equipment doesn't allow for it. So, what I will tell you is there's always room for a guy that's got orthodox ball flight.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah. The guy that can hit the ball, doesn't matter what it looks like, correct?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Right. Right. I mean, there's the-- I mean, when you start to look at-- when you start to look at all the different ways, I mean, an orthodox ball flight always works, whether the-- the perception of the mechanics are orthodox or not. A orthodox ball fly will always work.
STEVE ELKINGTON: I'll never forget a story. I was at a clinic one time and Jim Furyk were all on this green, and Peter Jacobson asked Jim Furyk to come out on the green and describe his swing. And, he said-- he was very, very nice and he was very truthful. He said, you know, I don't look at my swing for obvious reasons, he said. He said when I close my eyes and I think of my swing, he said, I think-- I think of that guy over there and he pointed to me. And, he said, I think my swing looks like his swing. Now, how is that even-- I thought to myself, that-- that's-- that's amazing. I mean, he-- you know, he moves that club all around in the sky and-- and I guess I learned right there and then that it's what you think it is, right? And if the ball says it's orthodox, it works. Is that right?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: I think so. I mean, you look at other sports, you look at other-- I mean-- I mean, there's a term-- I was reading a book the other day, there's a term in breakdancing called buying. And buying is you trying to imitate like a mentor of yours, somebody that does something that-- that-- that you like. You know, and-- and-- and-- and--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Funny you say that because that's how I look-- that's how I look when I swing. I copy it.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Right. And what they say in breakdancing is if you don't buy it, you can't eat.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Uh-huh. I see.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah. So, I think-- I think this-- I think this is fundamental to have that-- that image of whatever it is. Like I said, I mean, Furyk thinks he looks like you. You're-- you're-- you're scratching your head over the deal but-- but, you know, it's-- it's a-- but I think everybody--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Just for the record. I don't look anything like him and I don't swing anything like him, OK? So don't be talking-- don't be texting me and telling me about this stuff, OK? I got lots of-- he has wavy and stuff and my swing's smooth, OK? I don't do that.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: Yeah.
STEVE ELKINGTON: OK. I shouldn't have even brought it up. Damn it.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: No, I think it's a-- I think it's a great thing to bring up.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Listen, I'll see you probably Saturday at the game. You'll be in my box watching the University of Houston coming down on Rice on-- heavy on Saturday night, is that right?
JONATHAN DISMUKE: That's the plan.
STEVE ELKINGTON: OK, Coach, thanks for the time, mate.
JONATHAN DISMUKE: I appreciate you.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Now, Diane, that-- Coach Dis is now-- we go by Dis.
What did you learn from that discussion? Because I just saw that recently you got a new set of clubs and one of my people here wrote to me on a question this week was, can we see Diane hitting shots in her bikini? What-- that-- we can't have that-- no, you can't have her hitting balls in a-- in a bikini.
DIANE KNOX: Oh, stop.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Sorry, carry on about what you--
DIANE KNOX: There's more chance of you hitting balls in a bikini than me hitting balls in a bikini, I'll tell you that.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah.
DIANE KNOX: Yeah, I got a new set of clubs, [INAUDIBLE] clubs not long ago. And my dad has been coaching me. My dad's played golf since he was young. And you obviously understand that because-- well, I think you and Sam, that's an interesting point, maybe we'll touch on in a minute, because you've coached your son since he was a little boy as well.
But, yeah, my dad's coaching me and he's specifically said to me, do not take coaching tips from anyone else. So, I'm like, all right, OK then. But from my point of view, my golf game is still pretty basic and it's still pretty new. And he's-- from working with my dad, he knows what to tell me, he knows what I'm working on week in, week out. And in that respect that's great. But I still-- the thing I'm struggling with is him-- there's that-- I think the natural ability that a lot of these guys have and they have to kind of stick with that and maybe not divert too far from it.
STEVE ELKINGTON: You're going back to the other term of we can turn you into a racing mule, right?
DIANE KNOX: Yes, there you go.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah. Of course, your father is the father of Russell Knox, the tour player from Scotland that plays on the PGA Tour, winner and hired for the course. And, of course, I know your father and he, of course, has taught your brother ever since he was a wee lad and would really like to tell him how to hit every shot, I know that. Is that true?
DIANE KNOX: Yeah. You guys had a great chat but that's one night in the big shore and there was more bourbon flowing and I thought, oh, my dad's getting loose lipped here. But, yeah, he obviously-- he got Russell out on the golf course when he was little. And then when Russell went to Jacksonville University, Russell's-- the coach that recruited Russell at the time's a guy called Mike Flemming and he used to work with Vijay Singh as well.
And when Russell left JU and then joined the tour, Mike Flemming stayed on as Russell's coach. Now, he sadly passed away about 3 and 1/2 years ago, and Russell hasn't replaced him as a coach, he just, you know, kind of thinks Mike taught me enough, that I'm just going to go with it and keep working on that.
But you're right, my dad would love nothing more than to say to us all, let me give you an advice on this or if-- he will-- every now and again, he'll be like, Russell, you made a stupid mistake on this hole, this hole, this hole, and-- but, you know, I think that father/son relationship maybe-- it works for some people, like Justin Thomas, look it, his dad's been coaching him forever. But, yeah, I think for others it's maybe not the best idea.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Sometimes I will spend the whole morning practicing on the range on Sam's, what I need to help him. I'll go and do his fault, what he's-- what I see wrong in his swing and I'll-- I'll repair it myself with my swing and-- and break it down and see where-- you know, fix it all up and then I'll meet him at the golf at 2:00 o'clock when he gets out of school, and I'll go, Sam, I got-- I've-- I've-- I've got it. And he goes, dad, I don't want to talk about today. So, I literally get just pushed to the side and-- and that's the way it is.
Now, are we going to dig into our little letterbox that you-- you've got a couple of-- you wanted to ask me?
DIANE KNOX: Yeah. There was a good tweet that came in last night, and I've been working on our Gerina Piller Player Channel. And it's something that she talks about quite a lot. So I wanted to get your-- your view on this.
STEVE ELKINGTON: OK.
DIANE KNOX: But that came from Paul Regali on Twitter, and he said--
STEVE ELKINGTON: I know who he is.
DIANE KNOX: Oh, good. OK.
STEVE ELKINGTON: I bet he's the ghost.
DIANE KNOX: Yeah, the Ghost of Hogan is his Twitter name. But he said, is teaching more beneficial on the course than on the range assuming that the goal is to shoot lower scores? So what do you think about that?
STEVE ELKINGTON: Well, I have a tremendous problem aiming on the range. I-- I've never put any clubs down and I don't think you should. I-- I sort of-- if anyone had ever seen me play, it'll always appear like my stance is open to the left, which it is, and my shoulders I-- I try to keep square. But I have a-- I have a really hard time on the driving range aiming at something, so I-- I just hit them into Never, Neverland. Usually work on my rhythm and I just sort of hit big curving shots and pretend the flag's out there.
I never really get anything done until I get onto the course where I can really focus in. And I don't know whether it's that 10 pin mentality where like when you go bowling and you can practice your bowling thoughts at home but until you get the pins out there where you actually have to really aim at something, then it never really-- that's the only time I ever evaluate myself is when I actually get on the course. Because essentially for me I'm not really hitting a straight shot, I'm usually making the ball curve a little bit.
My favorite shots are to hit-- my favorite shots are to hit left to right a little bit, but because I'm so good at hitting left to right, that makes me-- when I'm off, I try to practice my right to left shots more. And I'm not very good at those, so, I finish up practicing most of my right to left trying to make the ball curve right to left on the-- on the golf course. It gives my body a different feel, it gives me-- it gives my swing a different feel. It-- it just feels a little different and it-- and it's fun to me to make the ball go right to left. But, if somebody wants to come gamble with me, boom, it's straight back to left or right.
DIANE KNOX: That's funny. The reason I mention Gerina Piller is because she, when we fell into our Players Channel, and it's coming at the end of this month, she was-- we had her coach with her on the range for a little while and we were talking to him. Mike Wright, do you know him? He's--
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yep, I do know Mike, yep, at Shady Oaks in Fort Worth.
DIANE KNOX: Yeah. So-- so Mike features on Gerina's Player Channel but she had said, na, you know, you do all the work when you're on the range, when you're at a tournament she's like, nope, don't want to hear it. That's it. The work is done behind the scenes before you get to the tournament.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah, you know I remember one time I was-- I've had these tremendously pitiful rounds like in practice and in Pro Ams where I, like, knew I was-- I'm almost going to, like, go ahead and rent my ticket to fly home on Friday because I know I'm just going to miss the cut. And the most-- the most famous one I think for me was the first tournament that I won in 1990 was in Greensboro.
And I-- I played so bad in the Pro Am, I mean, I was-- I was like hitting them low on the ground and the sky, the most crazy stuff. And I had a great day that day with the guys, and they were like, hey, Elk, you know, hey, good luck in the tournament, you know, whatever. You know, they're laughing at me because I'm-- I'm almost a rookie and I can't do a thing. And I finished the finals and I finish out winning that tournament. So from then on I just sort of-- I just threw it out. I just threw it out. Try to get prepared--
DIANE KNOX: Uh-huh.
STEVE ELKINGTON: And, of course, today we're talking about, you know, coaches. For me, I always hit so many balls that I-- I wanted to make sure that I could hit the ball exactly-- you know, keep hitting it until I knew I could hit it and then I would just get out there and repeat that swing. That was-- that was what I did.
DIANE KNOX: One other thing I want to talk about today, which is very much on the topic of coaches. Coaches and caddies, two big issues right now. Is the news that Jason Day has parted company with Colin Swatton, his caddie. So, the thing about Colin is he has caddied for Jason Day for 11 years, but he's also been his coach since Jason was 12 years old. Now, he did say in a direct quote, "Sometimes the chemistry just doesn't work." So, he's not going to be caddying for him anymore. But Colin is staying on as Jason's coach. Elk, what do you think about that?
STEVE ELKINGTON: Because it all gets down into-- you know, down into the tabloids now, right? It's got nothing to do with golf, right? Because if Jackie Burkes says, I want my-- he said the caddie stands over there. You know, he'll get tipped handsomely if he stays over there. He's not allowed to come on the green. He's not allowed to talk to me, you know, so-- because they've all changed that right now.
They actually get their groceries and everything for them and massage your feet and so on. You know, the interesting thing about that is it's good players nowadays is that they're taking a guy like Colin Swatton, who's the top of his field, very top of the caddie field and replacing him with someone who's in the bottom of the field.
So, Jason's replacing him with this-- a kid that he went to high school with, his room-- I'm sure he's-- I'm sure he's a great kid and all that but, to me, if you're the top 5 player in the world, there's a 150 other caddies out there with 30 years of experience or more. Why would you go hire another top caddie or do you need someone-- or do you need to go out there to someone to hold your hand?
DIANE KNOX: Yeah, well, Rory McIlroy did something similar just a few months ago.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah, he did the same thing. And I think-- I think it gets to them. I think they get-- they get burnt out with being in the limelight and they just-- they're just under-- under a lot of pressure, even though they've-- you know, they've got big contracts, they got to play well, they're on ads, they're-- you know, everybody's after them.
And, you know, I've been there to a certain degree and, of course, my relationship with Bullet, my caddie, you know, he had the disposition of a-- of a-- of a crab fisherman. I mean, he was cranky, he was always mean. So, it was perfect because I could yell at him and he could yell at me. There wasn't any-- we didn't want to-- I didn't want to say anything nice to him, he didn't want to say anything nice to me. I said just give me the yardage.
Now, Bullet, of course, he's famous for-- he could give you the yardage from your house to Scotland. I mean, he's instant yardage guy. So, I wanted the yardage. I don't want to read the put, I don't want him to ask me if I had a nice dinner, I don't want to see what movies-- I don't want any of that. I want the yardage. I'll handle the rest.
DIANE KNOX: Yeah, exactly.
STEVE ELKINGTON: And, of course, every once in a while I'd call him in to help me read a put, and he'd grumble, you know, and the caddie later, he said, he always brings me in to read the impossible ones, the ones he can't read. How can I win? How can I win with this guy? So, I think it's all-- I think it's all down in the tabloids. I mean, these guys cry when they go down the-- go down to the supermarket if they change the price on the cereal, these guys. It's unreal.
At the Memorial Tournament that Jason Dufner won, they had Jack Nicklaus in the box, and Jack-- Jack made a very interesting observation about Coach. And he said he thinks that the coaches today are coaching the players all wrong. He said they all snap their left leg at impact, he said. We didn't do that, he said. We-- we played softer knees and-- and the softer knees created a-- in his-- in his words, not mine, his were they made more shock absorbers for the shot, kept the ground-- kept the-- kept the pressure off the back, kept the pressure off the knees, and kept the clubface a little square, or longer through the hitting zone. And Jack, you know, you can't argue with Jack, of course.
But Tiger Woods wrote in his books famously that he snapped his left leg to get lots of power. Well, yeah, he did it. Shit, he's had seven surgeries on it, so he really did snap it. So, and I'm not-- I know a lot of guys, you know, have backs and, you know, and Jack's point was, I think, that these guys withdraw, you know, so easily and his point was, did I ever play with a sore spot or a bad neck or a-- yeah, I played all the time with stuff like that. But he said these younger players today said that unless they feel perfect, they're not teeing it up.
DIANE KNOX: Yeah.
STEVE ELKINGTON: But anyway, I think today's been a very interesting podcast, Diane.
DIANE KNOX: Yeah, really interesting. I learned a lot. And, yeah, I specifically enjoyed the comparison between you and Jim Furyk, I have to say.
STEVE ELKINGTON: Darn you. You've waited the whole way to the end of the podcast to do that.
DIANE KNOX: I picked up on that. Did you say you're going to the football this weekend?
STEVE ELKINGTON: I'll be going to the University of Houston verse University of Rice at my home stadium where we've never been beaten in two years. Brand new stadium. So, we haven't been beaten there in two years. So, yeah, I'm all University of Houston. My wife went there, our son goes there, and we love-- we love it down here watching our sport. And it's going to be a big crowd because we're getting over the Hurricane Harvey. I know you've been involved with Irma.
DIANE KNOX: Yes
STEVE ELKINGTON: And I think the whole town is ready to come out and have a couple beers and watch the home team.
DIANE KNOX: Good. I'm going to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
STEVE ELKINGTON: They beat us the other day.
DIANE KNOX: Oh, yeah, they did. I don't even know who they're playing on Sunday. I'm just going for their--
STEVE ELKINGTON: You're going for the-- you're going for the entertainment. Yeah.
DIANE KNOX: Exactly.
STEVE ELKINGTON: OK. Thank you, Diane, fantastic.
DIANE KNOX: Thank you for listening to another one of our Secret Golf Podcasts. You can find them all on our website, secretgolf.com. And also if you go to iTunes and go to the podcast section, search Secret Golf and they will all come up there. We'll be back with another one soon.