By: Doug Weaver, Director of Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy
Golf Digest Magazine's 2015 #2 Golf Instructor in South Carolina and Hilton Head Island's 2012 PGA Teacher of the Year
Much like Michael Jordan redefined basketball; defending Masters champ Jordan Spieth scores on many fronts.
Jordan Spieth has won the hearts of many as he has conquered the game of golf. Spieth left college early after dominating NCAA Men’s Golf as a freshman at the University of Texas, where he captured the individual national championship.
Just one year later, in 2013, Spieth was PGA Rookie of the Year and he became the youngest player to earn a PGA Tour Membership, play in the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and win on the PGA Tour. In 2015, Spieth was named Player of the Year after winning the U.S. Open, Masters, The Tour Championship, and two other PGA Tour events.
One attribute that makes Spieth successful and sets him apart is the fact that he is an incredible putter who does it differently. How so? By employing a cross handed grip. This allows him to make a better, squarer stroke, resulting in more solid impact and ball control. When you place your lead hand lower than your trail hand it can adjust your shoulders, which controls the direction of the stroke. Many golfers unknowingly open their shoulders, giving them a natural stroke that scrapes across the ball, which makes the ball spin and roll away from their target … but not Spieth.
Another interesting characteristic of his play is his tendency to putt with his eyes on the cup. This allows him to relieve tension and focus. Many golf instructors, myself included, encourage students to do this so they learn to trust their mechanics and play golf on a more unconscious level. Have you heard of “paralysis from analysis”? Analyzing and mulling over all the 1,000 variables in a golf shot can stymie your execution of the shot and steal your joy. Jordan Spieth enjoys the difficult moments in golf because he has learned to react to the target, like in baseball, which was his first love as a kid.
But Spieth hasn’t just found success in his game of golf. Inspired by his sister Ellie, who as born with a neurological disorder, he launched the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation, a charitable endeavor focused on providing financial assistance and support to children with special needs, as well as military families and junior golfers. With all of the opportunities he was given, Spieth chose to serve and help others in the community, which is one of his biggest dreams — to give back in some of the biggest ways possible.
Some things can’t be taught, but technique and respect are teachable qualities that end up not only shaping a golfer’s game, but also their outlook and attitude.
Stop by the Robert Trent Jones Golf Pro Shop at Palmetto Dunes Resort and get outfitted like Jordan at our Under Armour Concept Shop.