Episode 13 - TrackMan

The Secret Golf's Steve Elkington with his son Sam talk golf with the legendary Jackie Burke and work with Trackman.

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NARRATOR: On this episode of "The Rural Golfer."

-What Sam has going for him is he's getting that training from Jackie Burke. You can give your daddy two [INAUDIBLE] with that swing.

NARRATOR: We meet Elk's son, Sam, and discover how he was taught the game of golf from both his father and legendary Hall of Famer, Jackie Burke Jr.

-Being around Jackie has taught me patience, let the game come to you--

-That was perfect, wasn't it?

More in a sense than you go get the game.

-Anything else you want to know?

NARRATOR: We take those lessons and years of old fashioned training and put them to the test with modern day technology.

-TrackMan, for those who don't know, is a device that's going to measure the way that you deliver the club.

NARRATOR: And see how that technology can help the everyday golfer.

-The number you want is between 2,500 and 3,000, is the number you want that will keep the ball in the air the longest.

NARRATOR: And Rural Golf rolls your way next.

ANNOUNCER: One, two, three, fore!


-We're having a week off. I wanted to bring you out here and show some people about all the things that you and I have worked on for all these years. We want to teach the rural golfers about how I taught you when you were a youngster. But the main thing today is we're going to go inside later and we're going to put you on the TrackMan and measure to see if we've done any good with the way we've coached you.

NARRATOR: With 10 PGA tour wins comes highs and lows, the daily grind, hours on the range. We're going to practice just like we've always practices.

NARRATOR: And the sweet payoff of victory. But there's no greater experience for Steve Elkington than being home with his son.

-You know I love playing golf with Sammy, any time. He's my favorite guy to play with because he's my son. I only took Sam to the golf course when he begged me to take him. I never took him one time when he didn't want to go. I didn't want him to have a bad experience at the golf course. Some days we'd go to the golf course when he was real little, the day was, maybe three bunker shots, him maybe rolling around in the sand, and go over and get an ice cream from Rags at the halfway house. That was his golf day.

And he thought it was awesome. So I just kept that idea. My tip to parents is you can force your kid to do it, but it's better if they like it.

-Put your club down like I showed you. On the golf course. it's so great. It's so fun. We're almost like the same person in a sense. It's like, we both talk a little trash. We both can back it up with our swings. It's 100% competition. And we both thrive on competition.

NARRATOR: Sam hasn't gotten the best of his old man on the golf course yet, but they both know it's just a matter of time.

-Wow. That's a pretty good putt.

-That's the goal. That's why I play against him every day, is to beat him.

-And that's the one we like right there.

-That's what keeps me going, is that I'm still trying to beat him.

-He's not going to beat me by one shot one day, he's going to beat me by about seven. He's going to go off.

-I'm going to like those days.

-But if he gets wound up and starts getting on top, it's no contest.

-It might be a little run around dance or something. It's going to be something, because most of the times when he makes 118, it's hand up, leg up, putter up, mouth open. So he's going to receive a fair bit of lip. But it won't be the over the top because I feel finally I've slayed the beast. I finally have beaten him.

-How many strokes do you give your dad?

-How many do I give him?

-Two a side?

-I'm not giving him any yet.

-When I told Sam when he was a youngster, and I would teach every kid the same way, is, we have to know a couple of important positions that make the ball fly, doesn't matter if you're old, young or in between. The address position is not the same as impact. The impact position, show me where the impact is. Impact, the hands are much further forward.

They're directed to the inside of the ball. And the hips are all the way open there. Show me address. Show me impact. Open your hips up more. Hands further forward. Go back to address. Show me address. Show me impact.

The line of compression is the principle of golf.

So we can use the shadow here. I put my club hand, you can see when I put in, there's impact right there.

That right there is the line of compression. That's where the ball has to take off from the club. Very scary for a kid to feel like he's got to get his hands that far forward to hit it, right?


-When people understand that to play great golf, your hands will far forward, but they don't feel forward once you get it.

That's where you've got to be. That's your job, isn't it?

-Yeah. And it looks like, from your view, that the club's way up here.


-So let's have a look at your swing.

There's only one thing greater than the principle, would be sustain the principle. So in golf, the principle, you have to hit that line of compression, whether or not you think about it or not, you have to learn that position. You've got to rehearse that move. You know you've got to go there. If I hit it from here, like here where everyone thinks this is, it would be like this. Top it. Magic happens when it's there, right? Bang.

NARRATOR: Being the son of a 10 time PGA tour winner certainly brings advantages to 17-year-old Sam as he hones his game. But so too does having a surrogate grandfather, who also happens to be a golfing legend.

-Do the old waggle. The old Scottish to say, so ye waggle, so ye play. The waggle is jut to get yourself balanced.

-Everything that he does from the moment he wakes up, till the moment he goes to sleep, he's old school. And you're just going to have to know that about Jackie Burke, is that everything that he does is the old fashioned way.

-If you can't teach it, you sure can't do it. I don't care what you're doing. You have to be able to teach it. That's perfect.

-Jackie's been in my life ever since I can remember, so it's kind of more of like a grandpa to me.

-Because your hips started the swing, and then the hip brought you out of it.

-When I was younger, I was terrified of Jackie. Not so much as terrified, but just kind of afraid of what he might say.

-You tell him that if I get up in the chair, I'm want to tear your little butt up and whoever sent you down here bring him with you.

-I didn't really understand some of the things he told me either. But now as I've grown older, and I've matured, I feel like I understand more of what he's trying to give me , his message before he goes on. And he's changed me in a lot of different ways. And I think that he really just wants me to do what I can do the best.

-And there's no easy way. It's not an easy way. Golf is not easy. If you want to go out, trust yourself.

-But Jackie Burke is a wonderful mentor for Sam because he knows when to pummel him. And he knows when to love on him.

-He's going to tell you what he wants to tell you and if you don't do it, he'll tell you to do it.

-And don't think about anything else. That's it. Swing it back and then throw it.

-It's either his way or the highway.

-Is that any good?

-That's just kind of how he was raised I feel, and that's how he kind of raised me.

-I've tried to teach Sam to concentrate on what he's doing and not on what he's not doing. I mean, only a fool will go out and try to win.

-He's mainly taught me to be well-disciplined and mainly play by the rules. If you don't play by the rules, you shouldn't be playing. He taught me that at a very young age. And I guess I've just stuck with it.

-I've never seen them give a trophy away in the middle of the fairway. They always give them away up here on these greens. So let's get good up here. Perfect. Oh man, you don't need to go to college. We got it made.

-OK, Sam. Mate, we're inside. We're finally going to get you to get on TrackMan. They wanted you to do it for ages. TrackMan is going to measure the way you deliver the club. We're going to get to see the big dog here. We've been, every club in the bag, ideally, we want to be down on it.

With a driver, the model is different. We want to hit up on it. The reason it's on a tee, it's pretty simple in your head to think that it's easy to get up on it. But you can effectively hit the ball higher off a tee, and keep the spin off of it. 10 degree launch, shoosh, at 2,500 spin rate, mathematically holds the ball the longest in the air. If you go with too less a spin, the ball won't get up and it will go down and roll a long way, but it won't carry.

We get the spin up over 3,000, it goes up higher and drops. The furtherest ball that you can hit in the air, just from a mathematics standpoint, it reaches its apex and then has an angle of re-entry so to speak, is less than 45 degrees, gives it the most chance of running out. So what we're looking for is, we don't have to really know about this. What we want is a 10 degree launch and 25 underspin is the honey hole.

Just looking at the stats, there, Sam, I don't think you need to hit up on it more, because I think it'll take spin off, which won't give you the carry. Low, hands further, shallow.


Check that one. Look, there's the ball speed there. 181. 12 launch. That flew 310. Congratulations. 181. That's a very elite club. I don't know who else is in it, except maybe you.

We've got him almost to tour level.

-181 ball speed's pretty fast at 17. And I am extremely happy with my number at 181. That's Dustin Johnson. That's Tiger Woods. That's Gary Woodland speed. That's right there. He's 17. Flies the ball 320 yards in the air. That's very rare. That's a guy that can like dunk it from the free throw line almost.

The number you want is between 2,500 and 3,000 is the number you want that will keep the ball in the air the longest. And the optimum launch would be around 10, 11, 12 degrees. So that means it launched at 12 degrees and stayed at a certain spin rate. And that mathematically cannot hold the ball any longer in the air than that. So those are the two numbers that I want you to think about.

This is the tent pole of Wood Forest Golf Club. What number's your ball?


-OK, I'm a three. I want to make sure that you know, when we get out there, make sure we know who's who.

-We'll know.

-That's good. Well, he flies it so far, whatever he flew it, whatever 300 whatever. I knew he was going to lay up. And he knows the course very well.

-He doesn't know that way. As usual, the throw is in the really tip top spot over there. Super angle.

-I roasted it by him about 25 on the first tee. So I'm just going to go in there and flex my muscles.

-Oh, no, he's hit it in the hole. And then he took that blind shot on with the three wood. He just--

-I'm just going in there, because I've got the length and I can get on the green too and he can't.

-Damn kids.

-I knock on the green. And I'm feeling good, you know.

-Pretty safe shot.

-I'm there for eagle. He's got 25 feet for birdie.

-You know where the green is? I'm not telling you. You had the fastest putt you've ever seen. He's thinking I'm going to make four here and put the pressure on Dad. The old pro might sneak something out here. You never know. How big would a make be right here? Wouldn't that be something?

-He's in there about 12 feet. But he's above the hole.

-Sam let me have his putter last night to go to Calgary next week because I'm making everything with this putter. If it sneaks in there, fine. But I'm planted higher with less speed. Softly. How come you're not talking much? What happened? Birdie if you go one up.

-And I get a nasty lip out. And I'm thinking, oh, that's not so great. But we're all right. We're definitely OK.


-Tie. The old superlift.

-You know, I had a perfect putt, I thought. That was a hard lift too.

-It was. He put the early walk on it. That's the kiss of death. You don't want to get in trouble off the tee here.

-Let me just play. You run your race, I'll run mine. You stay over there.

-All right. 11 tee shot was no big deal. We both hit our three woods down there. I have a real hot three wood and he has like six gears on his three wood. I mean he can hit it-- but anyway, he just floats one down there. And he didn't hit a very good shot. He blew it up in the wind. The wind kind of was coming across. Got a gust. Uh, oh. Wind got you.

I hit mine nine iron in there, pin high, whatever. He already knows that I've made mine. That's what he's thinking. So he's somehow figuring out how he's going to make this. And he's already going back to where he should have two putted the last hole. He's confused right now. The whole goal is you try to get the guy, the opponent, off balance so he didn't feel right. I want him off balance because that's the only way you're going to beat someone, is get him off his game.

If he smells a little blood, it's over. You're already too late.

-I'm going to reiterate that if I make this, I know that he knows that he could be one down. And so I want to get him off track with that. See what I mean? He's completely thrown off. His game's off. He was one down here, and he's like what just happened?

-It was just one roll short of a nice long birdie.

-Where did that lead go? Oh, yeah, put that right in. Boom. Where, what just happened? It did knock him off of his high horse here.

-I'm not mentally done until the match is over.

-See, he gets to where he won't talk to me now.

-Don't touch me. Don't touch me. I got one more hole.

-One more hole?

NARRATOR: There's a special place just up the Fish Creek from Houston, not because he won there, but because Wood Forest Golf Club was built by Elk.

-It's a well known course for public. It has a great reputation for having really super fast greens.

-When I was two years old, I was on the tractor with them, moving around the dirt on the greens.

-Sammy Boy used to sit on my lap over here and used to go bmmm. We would drive that tractor around. It's just a very interesting piece of land for Texas. Look how much hill for Houston. This is the first hole on the golf course where you actually cross this creek. You cross it about four or five times on the back nine.

Look at that setting back there. Good looking second shot in there.

-Looks like five [INAUDIBLE] that look.

I'll let you drive on the fairway on this course, but, mate, you've got to have some good iron shots if you're going to make birdies.

You've got room off the tee, et cetera. But if you hit it over here, that gives you the best angle. Those are the courses that turn me on the most.

-It was just really cool that he designed everything. Everything that went into the club was built by him or he had a say in it.

-What does make great courses is the architect makes it where you can't see everything. That bunker there is about eight yards short of the green, so that it creates an illusion that it's green sized. But when you take yardage here, that's a 150. Looks like you can throw it on here from here. I wanted to copy Augusta bunkers, Royal Melbourne bunkers, you know.

-All that's more of Augusta right there.


-185 from here up 10. 175 to the hole from here.

-I don't know if I'm buying that.

-I got the honor. I got a red glove now changed. That's a nice little chip safely in the middle of the green.

-Nice fat.

-Oh, ho, ho, ho, ho.


-You hear that noise? That's Sam's stomach. The three put at 10.

-That's your ego actually. If I hit it anywhere on the green, I've got a chance.

-OK, you got a greenie. He also knows that the tables can turn quick, like it did at 11. You're pretty much going to have to make it, huh? Oh, no. Don't do that. Good putt.

-Put it on a good line. Just a little low, which is never good, never gave it a chance technically.

-It's a two putt situation.

-It is indeed.

-Ooh, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick. You gotta concede.

-He is putting with my putter, which we had a little bit of reverse karma for me.

-I did it to your own putter.

-You know, you win some, you lose some. I lost today. But I might not lose tomorrow.

-What do you think of the course? Good?

-Yeah. Didn't know that I liked that you beat me. But it's all right.

-Won't be long before I won't be able to beat you, don't worry.

-I know.

-I've seen Byron Nelson take it right off the ground with a driver, because he didn't want to hook it.

-This week we had a unique opportunity to show a 17-year-old and a 91-year-old with Jackie Burke. And then we also went over to TrackMan where we saw some statistics. You've got to remember that Sam, he's never been on a TrackMan, his whole life. He had 180 mile an hour ball speed. That was great for me to see that, that we have taken our old lessons from a 91-year-old man and I, over the combination of his 17 years of life, we've got him almost to tours level.

You were five miles an hour slower and you carried 166 yards, which is your longest ball so far.

Sam can do whatever. He's got the power. Everyone's going to see he's got the power. So now it becomes hey, you just need to play golf really. I mean, see if you like it enough.

I ask him every day if he wants to go play with me. And some days he does, some days he doesn't. Some days he goes to golf and says, no, I don't want you to play with me.

See, he gets to where he won't talk to me now.

-Don't touch me. Don't touch me.

-You know I feel great when we do go play together, but it's up to him. It's his game. I help him and all that. But we're going to be able to play golf forever.

NARRATOR: On the next episode of "The Rural Golfer," Elk moseys into West Texas to reunite with an old partner, who also happens to be a 69 time world champion horse trainer.

-With my friend Ross [INAUDIBLE]. Ross and I have been friends for 15, 20 years. And I've never been here.

NARRATOR: And witness kind-eyed quarter horses transformed into champions.

-Start working him a little longer, feeding him a little bit more, getting him stronger.


-Yes, sir.

-They don't mess around here.

NARRATOR: He saddles a black beauty to get a buckle of his own.

-I got my buckle. This one. That's Big Black.

-That' Big Black.

NARRATOR: And learns of a quiet 13-year-old's passion.

-Today was his first lesson he's ever had. Ross has been mentoring him. He's handing down second information from Ross to JT through me, and it's working. And that's healthy. That's good. I mean, we're growing some golf out here in [INAUDIBLE].