Doug Weaver knows golf, particularly Hilton Head Island golf, as well as anyone. A former PGA Tour professional, Weaver has served as the highly respected director of instruction at Palmetto Dunes for years. His free Monday golf exhibition every week is one of our most popular attractions.
Improving your golf game is something very important to Weaver, a man once best known as the answer to a trivia question. As a PGA Tour rookie in 1989, during a breathtaking span of just under two hours, Weaver became one of four U.S. Open contenders at Oak Hill Country Club to ace the sixth hole. (Nick Price, Jerry Pate and Mark Wiebe were the other three; Weaver got his first.)
The event became the highlight of a what-might-have-been professional career for Weaver, who first moved to Hilton Head as a 17-year-old prep athlete to attend Sea Pines Academy. He later played at Furman University alongside a guy named Brad Faxon, but when graduation rolled around, Weaver wasn’t confident about his chances on the PGA Tour.
He moved back to Hilton Head, manned the bag drop at our Robert Trent Jones golf course and pondered his future. “I would play in amateur tournaments, get frustrated and say, ‘I don’t want to play anymore,’” Weaver says.
Instead, he helped found the Hilton Head Island Intercollegiate Golf Tournament at Palmetto Dunes, which later grew to become the Golf World Intercollegiate, one of the then biggest amateur tournaments in the country. During that time, Weaver mustered the courage — and the game — to tackle professional golf. “At first I couldn’t break 80 because I was so nervous,” he says. “But gradually I started to work my scores down to where I was in contention against veteran players.”
His mini-tour breakthrough came in 1987 at the Zell Wood Country Club Open in Florida, where — despite playing in a final group with three former PGA Tour pros — Weaver birdied the 72nd hole to capture his first title. “I knew then that I could play with these guys and beat them,” says Weaver. And beat them he did, winning 14 mini-tour events and earning his PGA Tour card in 1988.
Once he reached the professional Mecca, Weaver flirted with success, making about a third of the cuts in tournaments he played and missing a number of others by a shot. But a PGA Tour victory eluded him and his full-time status on tour only lasted a year. Nevertheless, it was an experience that Weaver firmly believes trained him well for his ultimate calling.
“I didn’t fulfill my potential, but the mistakes I made are ones I can help others from making today,” he says. “Hey, I played a practice round with Tom Watson at Pebble Beach. I played with Lee Trevino at the Buick Open, and was in the top-10 after Saturday’s round. I played in two U.S. Opens and practiced with greats like Vijay Singh and Payne Stewart for many long sessions.
“Today, I ask my students, ‘How much are you willing to invest?’ I know what it takes, and if you aren’t willing, I can help you with another game plan. But let’s be realistic and enjoy the journey,” says Weaver. “That’s what I want to bring to the table at Palmetto Dunes: Here’s a little mental stuff, here’s the workout stuff, here’s the top-notch technology to teach our students how to reach their potential and have fun doing it.”
To sign up for one of Doug Weaver’s free Monday clinics or any of our other golf clinics, call us at 866-650-4130 or visit www.palmettodunes.com.
How can you hit the bar farther on your next Hilton Head golf round? We’ve got some tips:
First, our Director of Golf Instruction Doug Weaver recommends warming up. Try a brisk stroll around the neighborhood and a few stretches to loosen your muscles, especially the hamstrings, hips and shoulders. Then, head to the course, but stay active and loose.
When you’re ready to practice your swing, Weaver says to relax your grip, lengthen your back swing and keep in mind that your power comes from your hips and thighs. He quotes Sam Snead who said, “Golf is like dancing - it is all in your legs." Get ready to dance!
Take a few swings and see if you get more distance each time.
On About.Golf.Com, it notes that “golf strength” is an often under-recognized, yet key element to any golf swing. It has to do with how well your body is conditioned to swing a golf club, which does not mean you need to look like a body builder! You need to have a good combination of flexibility, balance, strength and power.
PGA.com has a video where they demonstrate several drills to help improve the power of your swing, including tossing a ball across the body in a bounce pass and driving the ball up in the air from a laying down position. Watch the video below:
We hope to see you on our three championship golf courses soon making some powerful shots! For more information about private golf lessons or Hilton Head golf clinics to improve your swing, view the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy schedule or call us at 866-650-4130.
On first glance, it may not look like the sports of baseball or tennis have much in common with golf – aside from hitting a ball – but according to Palmetto Dunes’ Director of Golf Instruction Doug Weaver, the sports actually do have several things in common.
After attending an Atlanta Braves baseball game recently, Weaver noticed that the way a baseball player hits the ball with the bat is not so different than the impact of a golfer hitting a ball on the PGA tour.
In imitation of baseball players, he offers these tips to keep in mind for hitting a golf ball effectively:
Weaver also says that tennis players tend to make great golfers, because tennis players develop the same muscles stroking a forehand that are required for a proper golf swing. These are the oblique muscles, the same ones used for laughing and coughing.
Says Weaver, tennis superstar Rafael Nadal emphasized building his obliques to increase his racket speed. He also notes that other tennis greats who’ve pursued golf include Ivan Lendl, Leyton Hewitt and Stan Smith. Golfer Jack Nicklaus was also known for playing tennis and even built a tennis court in his backyard. Weaver has seen plenty of visitors to Palmetto Dunes play one sport in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Says Weaver, “the bottom line is you’ll play better tennis if you play golf and vice versa.” So we invite golfers to give tennis a try and tennis players to give golf a try. In fact, wouldn’t that make a great New Year’s resolution?
Here at Palmetto Dunes, we have outstanding facilities for both, making it easy to enjoy both sports on yourHilton Head vacation. Let us know if we can help you select the right golf or tennis clinic to help you get started or if we can set you up with private lessons at the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center or with Doug Weaver at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy.