Born in Spokane, Wa., graduated from California State University at Northridge with a B.S. Degree in Physical Education/Sports Kinesiology.
I began playing golf after returning home from the service with the U.S. Army. Probably the biggest influence in golf was my younger brother Randy. Randy was 10 years younger than me and was already an outstanding player. The major contribution Randy made was the fun he had playing golf and introducing me to the "Game". Randy also was the one that suggested I try Putting Right Handed even though I play Left Handed. After Putting Right Handed for a few days, I decided never again would I Putt Left Handed.
Within a short period of time I met the Head Pro at Los Robles Golf Course in Thousand Oaks, Ca. His name was Angelo Ruggerio who taught me the Diagonal Swing Plane. Angelo worked with me for over 3 years, but the greatest thing he taught me was how to work on one thing at a time. Once you have mastered the move or position you are looking for then and only then can you move on to the next thing. What an important lesson to learn and I have followed that philosophy in my own practice and in teaching others.
Over the years I have been very fortunate to have been coached and mentored from some very good people.
Ben Hogan - When I first started learning the "game" I wanted to learn from the best. Ben was my size and what a player to watch. Even though there was quite an age difference I enjoyed watching him practice. I read everything I could that he wrote and watch whatever videos were available at that time. I learned how to think, practice and play just like he did. But the most important thing I learned from Ben was how to train my mind. Just learning how to visualize shots before I hit them helped me improve faster than working on anything mechanical.
Bob Bayer - Bob played on Tour in the 30's and 40's and he taught me the importance of Ball Striking
Paul Runyan - Paul taught me how to make those all important Short Game Shots
Ralph Guldahl - Ralph taught me the mental side of the "Game" and how to visualize every shot
Bob Roseburg - Bob taught me how to practice and why practice is important
Bill Cullum - Bill was the Golf Coach at CSUN and taught me how to have an "eye" for the Golf Swing
Roger Dunn - Roger was very important in my development from the equipment side. He had a set of Stan Thompson Blades made for me which allowed me to go to the next level of play. Properly fit equipment does make a difference. Playing at a competitive level or at any level you need the best and that is what he did for me.
Randy Henry - Randy taught me how to do a proper club fitting for golfers of all talent levels. He also taught me how important having the proper club not only fit the player, but that player's swing style. Randy is the Founder of Henry-Griffitts Golf Clubs.
Chuck Hogan - Chuck taught me how to think. He taught me the importance of making sure I communicate properly exactly what I want players to do with regard to golf instruction. Say it in a simple way and make the mind visualize the task. This is so true when it comes to transferring one's "game" from the range to the course.
Gary Player - Gary taught me how to have a positive attitude about this "Game". How to approach each shot as the only thing that matters and however it turns out, it turns out. Never give up on a hole, something good will always happen. Also never to think of your score or what you are going to shoot. Just one shot at a time.
Tom Watson - Tom taught me what it was like to play the course as you want to play it and not let the course play you. You are not going to hit perfect shots all the time. Tom told me one time that he thought he would only hit the sweet spot on the face of the club 20% of the time. Now that was amazing to me that he thought that.
Dave Stockton - Dave taught me the importance of Putting. Early on in my career Dave worked with me in Westlake, Ca. He taught me some grips and how to set up to the ball. But the most important thing he told me was to take about 2 to 3 hours on the Putting Green and find out what grip, stance and ball position will work for me. I did just that and that is how I have taught Putting my entire career. I have not changed my Putting Style since those early days to today. I have also only had 3 Putters since I started playing. My first Putter was a Bullseye, next was a Ping Zing that Karsten gave me and the Putter I now play which is a Dandy designed by Alan Strand who was the Founder of Dandy Golf.
Allan Strand - He was a major influence in my life when it came to being a better Putter. Alan and I work for hours on my Putting Stroke, but when he introduced me to the Dandy Putter it changed my world. I finally had a Putter to my style of play. The secret, it was faced balanced. What a revelation! I will miss Alan greatly.
Mickey Rooney - The one thing he taught me more than anything else was how to laugh at life and have a good time. Golf was really fun for him and he enjoyed playing the game. But he was always asking me how do you do this shot? Even though I told and showed him how to do the shot he never really got it. But we had a blast playing off each other.
Tim Conway - The best time I ever had with Tim was playing in the Tim Conway Celebrity Golf Invitational at North Ranch Country Club. He would make fun of me in ways you can't even imagine with thousands of people watching. However I got back at him by coming in First Place with our team one year. Dennis James was our Celebrity and Tim did not want to give the Trophy and Prizes to us. He claimed we cheated and that there was no way a Left Handed Pro who Putts Right Handed should win anything. This Tournament was so much fun, I really miss times like this.
Whitey Mitchell - Whitey not only was one of my students but the Co-Host on my Golf Radio Show. He kept it light and funny plus you never knew what he was going to come up with next. Whitey's background was so diverse, he was a musician, a writer in Hollywood and one of the joke writers for Bob Hope and the list goes on. His stories could entertain you for hours. He is gone now but his memory of all of the good times we had lives on.
Moe Norman - I have met a lot of great golfers through the years, but nothing has impressed me more than when I met Moe Norman in the middle 90's for the first time. Watching Moe strike a golf ball was unbelievable! I had not seen anyone like him before, even Ben Hogan. I had to learn what Moe knew and how he did it. So for the next several years until his death I learned as much as I could about how to strike a golf ball perfectly each time. Thanks Moe!
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