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.
Everyone’s talking about Rory McIlroy right now with his big win at the British Open. He even got the coveted Sports Illustrated cover, which is rare for any golfer other than Tiger Woods. Here at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, we like to teach golfers how to improve their game and love to take a look at some of the pros’ best techniques.
According to our Director of Golf Instruction Doug Weaver, Rory McIlroy is known for his rotating swing. When you look at the completion of his swing, his right shoulder is over the left leg and past the left shoulder rather than stopping the rotation.
How can you learn that technique? Weaver suggests naturally tossing a ball toward to the left of the target line almost at a right angle to get the feel of it. He says it translates into better compression of the ball, which you’ll hit clean and far. Watch this video of Weaver demonstrating:
In a recent article, Golf Digest also noted McIlroy’s outstanding putting at the British Open where he made 20 birdies and two eagles and one-putted 34 out of 72 greens. The article notes that his putting coach Dave Stockton teaches players to “begin to set their stance while looking out at the line -- not at the ball.” At the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, we offer eight hours of putting instruction every week to help you work on that aspect of your game.
The Daily Mail’s Tony Jacklin says, “Rory’s technique is fabulous, showing that golf is nothing to do with size but all about speed and balance and rhythm and skill. It’s magical to watch.”
Weaver offers some tips for putting like McIlroy in this video filmed at the oceanfront 10th hole at the Robert Trent Jones course at Palmetto Dunes:
Of course, if you want to be like Rory, it doesn’t hurt to use Nike clubs and wear Nike apparel, too. ThePalmetto Dunes golf pro shop at the Robert Trent Jones golf course is one of only six Nike Golf TTC Concept shops across the U.S. where you can find plenty of Nike gear.
If you want to learn to play like Rory, look no farther than the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. Call us at 866-650-4130 to schedule your private lesson today!
According to Palmetto Dunes professional club fitter Rod Thompson, going through a club fitting is a “no brainer.”“It’s like a custom suit,” he says. “A $1,000 suit from Brooks Brothers will fit different than a $100 suit off the rack from Joseph A. Banks.”
Thompson is actually one of an elite group of Plane Truth instructors throughout the nation, meaning that he had to serve an apprenticeship under Jim Hardy of the Plane Truth Golf Institute in Houston, Texas. Thompson has been certified for 10 years and he’s up to a level 2 out of 3.
“I do the fitting and always start with the irons because the ground is going to give me a lot of information,” says Thompson. “Also my eyes will show me the ball flight and my ears are going to tell me how it sounds. A lot of information comes out of a club fitting.”
Thompson feels it’s better to get a person’s swing a little oriented before starting a fitting. He also prefers doing it outside where true ball flight analysis can be calculated. “The tall and short golfers are very likely going to need something,” he says. “Golf clubs right off the rack probably won’t work for them because their bodies aren’t normal in proportion, regardless of their swing shape.”
Thompson, a native of Orchard Lake, Mich., turned professional at the age of 18 and eventually became a head pro at Burning Tree Country Club in Michigan. He started making golf clubs in 1986 while at Kenwood Country Club in Maryland, which is where he honed in on ball flight.
“If I saw that a swing was working but the ball flight told me something different, then that threw up a red flag,” Thompson says. “That’s what got me into fitting. Golf clubs are expensive so it’s important that they fit. I like to say, ‘clubs that fit better hit better,’ and they really do. Women, juniors and seniors in particular usually need fittings and I do the fitting complimentary.”
According to Thompson, it’s all about ball flight and impact. “It’s fun for me,” he says. “But I also know it’s especially fun when you are the person who is getting properly fit!”
Palmetto Dunes offers free club fittings based on availability at the Robert Trent Jones Hilton Head golf course. To schedule your fitting with Thompson or for more information, call 866-650-4130.
Several members of the Palmetto Dunes golf staff recently attended the 61st annual PGA Golf Show in Orlando to check out the latest and greatest in golf gear, apparel, accessories and services. More than 1,000 companies demonstrated their wares to some 41,000 people who attended from 80 different countries. Our team learned a lot and wanted to share their findings and favorites with all the golf lovers who visit Palmetto Dunes!
Doug Weaver, director of golf instruction at the resort, made the rounds at the show, interviewing many of the company reps on the details of their new equipment. He particularly spent time with Nike Golf on their shoes, drivers and balls.
The Lunar Control II shoe, which will be highlighted at this year’s Masters(no apostrophe) by Rory McIlroy, is known for being very lightweight while providing full support using the latest in Nike technology. More from Doug:
Doug also got up to speed on the new Nike Covert 2.0 driver, whose technology is designed to provide more stability, less resistance, straighter ball flights and faster ball speeds. Here is the full interview with Nike:
All of the Nike products from the show will be available at the Robert Trent Jones course pro shop, one of only six Nike Golf Concept Shops in the country.
While at the PGA Show, Doug logged over 30 hours of training with the inspirational Peter Jacobson! Classes focused on one plane and two plane swings, exercise, mental, junior golf and club fitting. Peter is a friend, Ryder Cup Player, Senior Tour Champion and TV commentator. At the age of 48, with his game falling apart, Peter took to a program that revived his game so much so that he became a Ryder Cup Player.
Get these and more tips from Doug with a private lesson, clinic or golf school at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy this spring!
Doug also caught up with the Golf Channel’s Michael Breed, host of “The Fix.” He and Doug were PGA tour players together and Doug encouraged Michael to go into modeling. He took Doug’s advice and later combined his love of golf with modeling to become a TV show host.
View all of our videos from the PGA Golf Show on our YouTube playlist and let us know if we can schedule a tee time for you at one of our three beautiful championship Hilton Head golf courses by calling 866-744-7558 or booking online.