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Friday, December 13, 2019

The Story of a Trophy Called "The Chicken"

This is the story of "The Chicken" and how he came about.  Jeff Cooper, then head professional at Sunset Grove CC in Orange, TX, and his assistant professional Kerry Lamb, were playing weekly rounds together and wanted to play for something meaningful.  Playing for cash is one thing but playing for a significant trophy is quite another.

The Chicken in Austin, TX
Thus, "The Chicken" was born.  Engraved on the chicken is "Who's Your Daddy".  To win the chicken was a sign of achievement.  Whomever won the chicken had it in his possession until the next challenge match.

About 7 years ago I was playing in an event at Sunset Grove CC and I saw the chicken for the first time.  I had heard about the legend of the chicken and was quite jealous of him.  But living in Austin didn't give me an opportunity to play for this prestigious trophy.

Move forward now to July of this year (2019), Jeff had moved on to become the head professional at Beaumont CC and Kerry moved up to head professional at Sunset Grove CC.  Their weekly matches became a thing of the past.  But the chicken remained on display at Sunset Grove.

Then in July, Kerry and I were playing in a STPGA event at The Traditions Course in College Station and he brought the chicken and I finally had a chance to play for this famous and handsome trophy.
Well, over the two day event my score was good enough to win ownership of the chicken and take him to Austin where he belongs!  He presented me the chicken at dinner after my victory.

Now Who's Your Daddy?
I knew the chicken would love living in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  I brought him home and gave him a nice place to perch.


The very next week after winning the chicken I was competing in an event in Houston, the STPGA Senior Championship.  I thought the chicken would love going on a road trip.  I also thought he might enjoy a little fresh air so I let him ride up front...way up front.  Although he enjoyed it for a bit he didn't like catching bugs at 70 mph!

The Chicken always liked the fancy hood ornaments on expensive cars...don't tell him its a Chevy
So about half way to Houston we made a pit stop for gas and kolaches.  Just by luck he met one of his ancestors and was impressed about how large he was.

The Chicken meets a chicken for the first time
So when we arrived at our destination, The Golf Club of Houston, he had to have a picture.  After all this was the home of the PGA TOUR event known as the Houston Open.

The Chicken is moving up in the world
But that wasn't the only picture he wanted.  He couldn't wait to see the championship trophy and his new daddy's name was on the trophy as winner in 2006.  He was so proud to be as shiny as this historic trophy.

The Chicken posing with the STPGA Senior Championship Trophy
So for now the chicken is residing in Austin, but our first event is in January 2020.  Kerry and I and maybe Jeff will be competing to see "Who's Your Daddy"!  After that we will be competing in approximately 5-6 events over the year for this prestigious trophy simple known as "The Chicken".

The Chicken right at home!
The legend of "The Chicken" to be continued...

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

For your Favorite Golfer on the Shopping List

          

The gift of instruction will make the golfer on your list MERRY! 


I offer private and group lessons covering full swing, short game and on course instruction. You may purchase a two hour full game analysis, one hour lesson or multi lesson package.


Whichever you choose, I will email you a gift certificate to present to the golfer on your list.  It can’t be any easier!


Call or email me at 512-974-9353 or garryrip@sbcglobal.net for more information and pricing.


Garry Rippy, PGA
Staff Instructor, Barton Creek Golf Academy
Player Development Instructor, Golf ATX

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Pre-Shot Routine...Aim at Something!


I am at that point in life in which I could actually shoot the same score as my age!  With that goal in mind it has motivated me to get back to playing better golf.  Without giving away too much about my age, I was on my way to accomplishing this feat about three weeks ago.  I had it 4 under par going to the ninth hole and made a double bogey.  This was partly due to poor execution and a hole location on the severe side of playability.  I still managed a 3 under par back nine which got me close.

The reason I bring this up is I had discovered I was getting very lax in the aiming part of my pre-shot routine.  The one part of aiming which brought me back to hitting more greens was getting really focused on an intermediate target between me and my destination.  For some reason I had quit paying strict attention to this detail.  Since increasing this focus, I am hitting more greens in regulation and making less bogies. In fact, my last four rounds my greens in regulation is averaging about fourteen.

Missing greens, particularly on the wrong side was producing more bogies than birdies to off set them.  I have also started aiming at targets which may not include the flagstick or the middle of the fairway.  In other words if a hole location is near the edge of the green, a bunker or water hazard I am now aiming at a safer target.  I have been tracking my misses and discovering I do tend to miss more shots to the right of the flag than the left.  I am factoring this in to my aiming process.

In the picture below, the hole location is in the back right side of the green.  As an example, the orange circle would represent my shot dispersion with a pitching wedge, the burgundy would represent an 8 iron and the light blue would represent a 6 iron.  With this dispersion pattern, one can see with my tendency to miss shots to the right, I would be missing the green some with an 8 iron and more so with a 6 iron. In addition, being long or short is just as important, but I find direction is more of an issue than distance control for me personally.   I am now adjusting my aim so my misses will still either be on the green or much closer.  It was an easy fix, I just have to have the will power to not look at the flag when aiming.


Now that I know the general area I want to aim, I choose an intermediate target with precision.  I do this by using my club as a aiming rod of sorts.  I am on the practice facility in this picture and aiming directly at a flag about 80 yards away.  I try to line up the left edge of the shaft from the ball to my target and find my intermediate target.

 


In this case I have found a piece of grass about one foot in front of my ball as my aiming point.  Even when hitting a tee shot, I use this same philosophy.  The difference is I may be looking at something in the distance such as a tree, antenna or house as the target.  I then do the same process as above although when on the teeing ground, I find divots to be an easy intermediate target.  

When practicing you may want to use alignment rods to assist you with aiming.  Just remember the ball is on the target line and your feet will be aiming parallel to that line.  For right handers, you will feel your feet are left of the target and that is OK.


Obviously when practicing you will move the rod on the target line to about 1" to the right of the ball, but keep the line for your stance so you get comfortable with the feel of your feet in this position.  I will say you need to perform this process for every shot you hit on the range so you can repeat it with confidence on the course.  I recommend you leave the practice balls in the container they are in and hit one ball at a time with complete focus.  I find if you pour all the practice balls out, golfers tend to hit them rapid fire with no focus on target.

I am in no way promoting you to play slower!  Once you get your yardage and factor in the conditions, the entire process from pulling the correct club to striking the ball should be under 30 seconds.  In the video below I have already pulled the correct club and it took me about 15 seconds to hit the ball.  Do not wait until it's your turn to play to figure your yardage, etc.  When it's your turn to play, be ready.  





Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Couple of Oldies in my Collection

As I was organizing my Ben Hogan Collection of golf clubs I came across these two clubs from Spalding.  The first is a Spalding Tour Model Dynamiter sand wedge.  From what I can obtain it is circa early 1940's.





The next club is an AG Spalding Bro's Cash In putter which is circa early 1920's.




I actually played both of these clubs in the late 1970's with success.  The putter in particular had such a soft and solid feel.  There was one player (Gary Hallberg) on the PGA TOUR that putted with this same type of putter in the 1980's with great success.  It's always fun to pull these old clubs out and hit a few shots.



Wednesday, November 13, 2019

My Ben Hogan Collection (Golf Clubs, Prints and Misc.)

As a former assistant golf professional at Shady Oaks Country Club, in Fort Worth, TX, I was fortunate to meet Mr. Hogan.  In fact I saw him almost every day from 1981 through 1984.  

He would come from the locker room into the golf shop and the conversation would go something like this:

Me:  "Hello Mr. Hogan"
Mr. Hogan:  "Hello sonny, do you have a bag boy today?"
Me:  "Yes sir, he will load your clubs on a cart right now"

He would then proceed to the Par 3 Little Nine with the bag boy to hit balls for 2-3 hours.  The bag boy was his target and would collect the balls.  In the middle of the hottest summer Mr. Hogan was still hitting balls almost every day.  He kept three staff size golf bags (all full of clubs) in the bag room and his shag bag full of Ben Hogan golf balls.  One of the staff bags contained his "play" clubs and the others had as assortment of irons and woods.  Mr. Hogan claimed he could tell if someone was handling his golf clubs by the feel of grips.  I looked at his clubs everyday and yes, I would take them out of the bag and give them a waggle.  It was the oil from my hands he was feeling.

When I was first employed there I couldn't wait to get "on staff" with the Hogan Company.  This meant I would get a set of irons, woods, staff bag, gloves and golf balls each year.  My first year there was 1981 and I received a set of the Apex II irons and they were my favorite of all the Hogan irons I played over the years and I still have them in my collection.  I stayed on the Ben Hogan staff throughout my employment at Shady Oaks Country Club and Ridglea Country Club.  I admired everything about Mr. Hogan and I loved his devotion to making high quality equipment.  

Following are the sets of Ben Hogan irons I have in my collection.  It was fun to pull them all out of the garage and give them a look and a waggle.

I have arranged these in chronological order:

 
                                            1974 Director Irons 2-PW

                                            1982 Apex II Black Cameo Irons (missing 7 and 9)

                                            1999 Apex Irons 2-SW

                                            2003 Apex Golden Anniversary Irons 3-PW

                                            2004 Apex FTX Irons 3-PW

                                            2006 Apex Plus Irons 3-PW

                                            2016 Fort Worth Irons with Scor Wedges

                                            Odds and Ends

This was one of my favorite staff bags, I wish I still had the first one I received in 1981.


Over the last few years I have also collected various Ben Hogan Prints which I have on my office wall.  If I had more walls I would have a bigger collection!  I love all of these however.





This is my collection of Ben Hogan books.  Power Golf is the oldest and contains some really great action pictures of Mr. Hogan.  Ben Hogan, An American Life is one of my favorite books.  You really get an appreciation of the work he put in to become one of the best.



These last two items are really cool.  The first picture is a Hole in One Certificate from the Ben Hogan Company.  I made an ace on the 7th hole at Shady Oaks while I was an assistant there.


The next picture needs explaining.  Occasionally Mr. Hogan would practice on the driving range before going out to play a round.  And to his credit, he always signed a ticket paying for his practice balls.  I was always to afraid to ask Mr. Hogan for an autograph so I paid for his range balls on this day and kept the ticket as a souvenir.  That was me teeing off on the 17th hole at Shady Oaks in 1982.


So I have many memories of my stint in Fort Worth, Texas, at Shady Oaks Country Club and Ridglea Country Club.  I met many important people through golf at these facilities which influenced the way I ran my golf operations and the way I teach the game.  I hope you enjoyed viewing my Ben Hogan Collection.







                                                


Monday, November 11, 2019

Player Development Golf Clinics for November 2019

All of my Player Development Golf Clinics are held at Clay/Kizer Golf Course.  



Jeff Maggert Wins Charles Schwab Cup Championship

Congratulations to Jeff Maggert for his exciting win at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.  Jeff is from The Woodlands, TX, and I met him while I was the head professional at the TPC at The Woodlands during the 1990's.  We played a few rounds together during my time there and he is a class act!  

The reason I posted this video is for my students that compete in tournaments.  None of us has a crystal ball and can predict what is going to happen next on the golf course.  All we can control as players is to have a consistent process of hitting a shot.  In other words, you cannot worry about the outcome of each shot.  You simply go through your pre shot routine for each shot at hand and execute.  

It also works both ways.  If you bogey the first hole, it doesn't mean you are going to have a bad day.  If you birdie the first hole, it doesn't mean you are going to play great.  All we can do is take each shot for what it is.

In Jeff's case, this was the third playoff hole.  Reteif Goosen had already put his second shot on the green for a makeable birdie putt.  Jeff went through his process and executed the shot right into the cup!

So for all my tournament players, never give up, because you just don't what will happen next.


Click on this link to watch the shot.