31 December, 2017 by Bobby Clampett

Why Tiger and I could never find a golf coach?

News of Tiger’s departure from his most recent coach, Chris Como, should come as no surprise to anyone.  Tiger’s growing list now includes the so-called world’s best instructors:  Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, Sean Foley and now Chris Como.  It’s also worth mentioning that Tiger has spoken to so many more and gotten their feedback over the years.  After the “interviewing” process, he chose not to hire many of them.  I’ve gotten to know many that Tiger has hired and interviewed over the years.  They all share a common passion for teaching and genuinely wanted to help Tiger.  But why would Tiger end up firing all of them?  Why were they not able to provide for him what he needed?  What is it that he needs?

Watching Tiger go through this process brought back memories, and not good ones.  After winning back-to-back Northern California Junior Points (Annual) totals, winning back-to-back Fred Haskins Trophies (Heisman Trophy of College Golf), being the #1 ranked Amateur in the world and having back-to-back years on the PGA Tour where I finished in the top 20 money winners, I got talked into trying some new coaches, as I was told that was the only way to become the #1 player in the world.  Ben Doyle had been my coach for 10 years and I felt my game had reached a point where my game had plateaued.  Never wanting to look back and regret that I didn’t at least try a new coach, I went for it.  Like Tiger, I would talk to my Tour friends whom I trusted and get their opinions on who were the best coaches.  Of course, they all advocated the coach with whom they were working.  That’s part of the ethics of being on Tour and having a coach.  As a player, you want their success too, just like they wants yours.  Like Tiger, I dabbled with them for a while before I committed.  Some I committed to longer than others, just like Tiger.

Like Tiger, I got differing opinions from different coaches.  The one thing they all had in common is that they wanted me to make some pretty significant style changes, some I just wasn’t capable of doing.  The changes were all different and some even conflicted with one another.  One coach wanted my swing plane steeper in the backswing, the other wanted it flatter.  One coach wanted a slight cupping of the left wrist at the top of the backswing, the other wanted the wrist to be flat.  One coach wanted my hands low at address, the other, high.  One coach wanted me to have a shorter backswing with a smaller hip turn, the other just wanted to change my setup posture, etc.  Tiger has been experiencing the very same things that I did.

Not once did I ask the one question I should have asked.  This is probably my biggest regret I have of my 15+ years on the PGA Tour and could have changed the outcome of my career.  Though the question is fair, I sincerely doubt any of the coaches could have given me a satisfactory answer.  But I would have really enjoyed hearing the answer.  So what is the question?  “How is this style change you want me to make going to affect my impact?”

Impact is the only thing that really matters in golf.  It is 100% responsible for sending the ball where it goes.  Where the ball goes is 100% due to the conditions created at impact.  Like I used to joke with my caddie Cliff Robinson on the Champions Tour, “The ball goes where I hit it every time!”  Sure, things you alter in your swing can affect your impact, but the real key to understanding golf lies in answering the question “How”?

I didn’t mention my other coaches, because I don’t believe in throwing them under the bus.  They genuinely wanted to help me, were gracious with their time, but they were all looking in the wrong direction.  I believe Tiger is experiencing the very same thing.  Tiger was the #1 ranked player in the world with each of his three coaches and also was #1 without a coach.  One of his coaches, who had been one of my new coaches for a while confided in me that he actually taught Tiger differently that he did me and others.  He let Tiger determine the direction the coaching would go.  I found that very interesting a certainly a departure from how he coached me.  I think that was wise on his part and kept Tiger playing well.  But did it improve him?  He wouldn’t have left if he had kept improving.  Tiger likes playing his best.

I am perturbed by the vast array of so-called “experts” in the field (golf announcers), who give their opinion about how much they like or dislike the newest swing style changes of Tiger.  Some are a little better than others about expressing thoughts on the air, but I’ve just got to say that Brandel Chamblee drives me nuts!  How I’ve witnessed times that Brandel would argue with Frank Nobilo (who has a better understanding than most announcers) about why this new position looks good or not.  How many times has Brandel had to back-peddle his way into having to admit he was simply wrong about Tiger.  Brandel’s confusion stems around his “Style-based” philosophy.  Brandel needs to learn that golf is not a game of styles of swing like he thinks it is.

Style-based methods are changing as often as new religions, new ones seem to be born every day.  You can have your smorgasbord of style-based methods, from:  Stack and Tilt, Square to Square, The A Swing, The Connection Swing, The True Plane swing, One Plane Swing, The Two Plane Swing, The Gravity Golf Swing and so on.  Then the biomechanic experts chime in about postures and rotations and how they improve your swing.  All are subjective opinions without evidence that the styles they are advocating actually works to improve your game.  The crazy thing is that the avid golfer is consumed with all this mumbo jumbo and is so easily sucked into the frenzy.  My gosh, how many times have you seen instructors teaching during a television show and watched how they completely contradicted eachother and themselves in the same show.  Never have golfers been so confused as they are today.  No wonder 4 million quit every year.  It’s a style-based epidemic that has duped golfers into thinking change your style of swing to theirs and you’ll be a better golfer.  Instead, they get no where, their games don’t improve and they get frustrated.  I hear way too much how they had lost hope.

What I think Tiger is beginning to discover is what I discovered many years ago that led to my creating “Impact-Based” Instruction.  What else explains why Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Eamonn Darcy, Miller Barber, Corey Pavin, Bernhard Langer, Jim Thorpe, Fuzzy Zoeller, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and countless others have had such great careers with such unorthodox and even in some cases, ugly swings.  It certainly isn’t their swing style!  The common ingredient of all these great champions is “impact”.

Tiger has proven this!  He’s been #1 in the world with countless different styles of swings.  In my opinion, Tiger doesn’t need a coach.  He knows more than they do anyway.  At least he doesn’t need a coach that’s going to try to improve his style of swing.  Improving his golf, Tiger needs to stick with his style that he’s comfortable and feels that he can repeat in competition.  He then needs to fine tune his impact, consistency and cause/affect understanding.  If he can keep it simple, it will allow for the brilliant artist that exists to come out and paint the pallet of great shots.  The world waits with anticipation.

I developed the only teaching system that focuses on golf’s moment of truth, impact.  Understanding proper impact and how to achieve it is the most important element in improving one’s game.  Discover Impact-Based® Instruction for yourself.  If this makes sense to you, then so will www.impactzonegolf.com


Eamonn Darcy’s backswing

Categories: News Newsletter Articles


  1. Awesome!..and Thank You!..Your articles are great..God Bless You!…from Joseph Allen Golf instructor at Avalon Lakes in Warren Ohio

  2. Very well said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Earlier in my career I lost potential students because they asked what method do I teach. I would always answer basic fundamentals never go out of style work on impact the rest doesn’t really matter that much!!

  3. I agree with everything you say and teach. Please get someone to proff read your articles to correct the typos. ????. Keep up the good work of helping us, the weekend lovers of Golf.

  4. Wow. This is great stuff, and one of the top two reasons I started with Impact Zone training. My top reason was that I had been pursuing the “perfect swing”, and continually stalled my long term improvement. It seemed I could catch “lightening in a bottle” and play better for a awhile, but long term I reverted back to my old habits and personal swing style. Now I spend little time on my style (it’s not going to change much at this point), and more on bettering myself at impact. The great thing about it is that, living in the Northeast, I can use my “off season (re: WINTER) to work on my indoor putting and better impact! My second reason for going impact based was to change from becoming an “idea dujour” guy to someone who worked on basics and principles that made me a better golfer. I would see something on tv, or read an article, and say…”That sounds good”, and try and put that into practice. The problem with that is there is seemingly always a “better idea coming down the road”. Now… I simply go back to the “basics” of IZ when I am off a little bit… So nice to have a plan!

  5. I’m a 11.6 index at age 76. My lowest handicap was 7 when much younger. I’ve had more lessons than Tiger Woods and Bobby Clampett put together. I have so many swing thoughts when I’m playing bad, it difficult just swinging the club. I feel I can play better even at my age, if I could limit my swing thoughts to just one thing.

    I have all your tapes, and just recently bought your new snap tool with the yellow ball. (Not sure what it’s name is).

    I’ll be in fort Myers from 1/6 thru 3/31/18. Maybe your 1 or 2 day school would help.

    Also the instructions for the above mentioned tool is confusing. Any videos on it?

  6. Mr. Clampett, your impact comments have always resonated with me. I took up golf at 54 years of age even though I played a few games in early 20’s. Now at 75 I have focused mostly on impact over the last 10 years.
    I totally agree with you on Tiger. Fellow Canadian Mike Weir always went his own way.
    Good luck and good health in 2018.

  7. Well said. You know the old saying the player has three swings with the instructor and if one doesn’t work he never goes back.

    Dave Ryan
    2016 Us Senior Am Champion

  8. Thanks for the interesting comments Bobby. What Tiger has gone through, as well as you did in your PGA Tour career, only highlight that style based teaching methods probably only work for a limited number of individuals.
    The main reason that I came to “Impact Golf” is because it IS the only teaching method that works for the overwhelming majority of golfers. You are “spot on” when you advocate that the impact zone IS the moment of truth and what determines the flight of the ball. The rest of a players’ “style” is for show.
    Thanks for the comment about Brandel. I could not agree more.

  9. Finally, the voice of reason. I have spend so much money on instruction only to be disappointed and show no improvement. I believed what you just said but was thinking it was not possible. I have seen the ugliest golf swings produce much better results than my attempt to emulate the new swing methodology. As a new player at 63 years old and in good physical condition, my body still cannot do what they want me to do. All I want is to hit the ball and have fun. Now I want to attend one of your golf schools. God bless you Bobby!!

  10. Tiger sealed his fate when he left Butch. Butch only was trying to get him to change drivers. Tiger thinks you can reinvent the wheel; he thought he knew more than Butch. Once a swing is fundamentally sound subtly improving impact is a great idea.

  11. This is an outstanding, well written, article. I personally experienced the same in my golf career. Too much information leads to many different swing thoughts. Impact is all that matters.

  12. 1st time i read a golf article and laughed
    Re brandel chamblee.
    Thank you.
    I am in cold canada so cannot play as yet
    Thanks for saying what millions of us said
    Too bad tiger will not look at video of his last tournoi follow it and not try to improve or change that. Impact swing.
    I have never seen him swing that well in 20yrs
    He must stop listening to chamblee

  13. Bobby, I couldn’t agree more. Simply looking at the guys who succeed on tour with “ugly” swings should be a clue that it all comes down to impact.

  14. I took lessons from Ben Doyle for 10 Years. He knew and taught all you needed to know. Throughout my career as Teaching Professional I referred to him and his golf cart full of teaching aids. I enjoyed watching you play Pebble as the Nations best Am, and understand wanting to get better, but chasing the latest hot coach certainly stifled your career. You already knew more than them. Glad to see your success teaching correct fundamentals, but still wish you were dominating the Champions Tour.

  15. Like you my ball always goes where I hit it. After taking Impact Zone lessons my contact is so much better and I love where the ball ends up. Thank you Bobby and staff it was such a great experience

  16. Bobby, I think you are right on the money with your teaching method of Impact Zone swing contact. I watched your video and went out and actually tried the process. To my amazement, when I actually tried the 4 inch impact zone, it actually worked. I then kept trying to implement it into my swing. I am an 82-88 golf scorer, but I actually shot a 78 a week or so after I started to implement your method. I did not shoot in the 70’s each time after that 78, but when I conciously try to implement the technique, the ball goes much straighter and more solid than in the past. I am 72, almost 73years old, and I just wished I would have known about this method 30 years ago. Thanks

  17. Could not agree more Bobby. One thing I would add is this. I will never forget the hour I spent with you “diagnosing” your swing when you were intentionally hitting like me.” The fact that you take the time to help us “self diagnose” our swing is a definite value add and keeps our “lesson time” fresh….keep up the great work Bobby and team.

  18. This is “spot on”. To be certain, certain positions movements create more leverage and power during the swing. However, if more golfers would try to emulate the impact positions of great golfers (my favorite is Mr. Hogan) and concern themselves more with striking the ball “dead soild perfect” their games would improve dramatically. Once they master contact, they could then look to maxmize speed up to the point that contact is still solid. Lee Trevino and many others did it this way and won plenty of major events.

  19. Thanks Bobby! These are good thoughts but doesn’t your backswing, downswing,etc have something to do with ones ability to reach a solid impact zone? Maybe that’s what these other teachers were trying to have Tiger achieve?

  20. Avatar
    Steve, a happy graduate of IZG

    Obviously this is an area where you have a vivid memory. Great advise and I hope Tiger reads, even spends some time with you. You will remind him what he does best!

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