John Renslow: It’s about more than game action |

John Renslow: It’s about more than game action

John Renslow
Get Into Golf

Attending a tour event is special. We get to view a world renowned course and for those of us in Northern California, the PGA Tour doesn’t stop north of Monterey more that a few times a decade.

It’s literally once in a “blue moon” (approximately three years, for your edification) that we have a reasonable opportunity to watch the world’s best. So, when the tour’s calendar does include an event to San Francisco, there are a lot of good reasons to make the trip and spend a few hours in the car.

Last week’s President’s Cup was just such an event. The City was the venue and it is just the fourth time the boys (OK, men) have teed it up there in the last 20 years. And, with the President’s Cup only played every other year in locations around the globe, this was likely a once in a lifetime excursion.

The United States team, led by Captain Fred Couples, took home the trophy in a convincing win. Tiger Woods (five wins) and Phil Mickelson (four wins and one tie) were undefeated against a star studded International team.

Not only does one see the world’s best in action, you get to see innumerable small things that add up to a large learning experience. Each day, participants are going through their routine. For some this might start in the locker room, a series of set, deliberate steps preparing their body and mind for a little friendly competition. For others, who may try to take all things lightly, the approach is a bit more random.

Consider several observations that should help your game. As Tiger and Steve Stricker were warming up on the range, a couple of things stood out. One, Tiger did not stay with the same golf club very long. Many players are progressive with their club selection, starting with the shorter irons and working their way up to driver. Tiger started with the irons, moved on to the driver and after several driver swings he returned to the irons, switching back and forth until he was ready to move on to the practice bunker.

The landing area of the driving range had plenty of flagsticks, but Stricker didn’t aim for them. He was hitting balls at a variety trees that lined the perimeter of the range. This is a great way to practice. Often we get caught up with concerns about distance or details. Golf is all about hitting a ball toward a target, mixing things up just may enhance your practice sessions.

Let’s go back to the practice bunker. How many of us hit chips or balls out of the bunker before play? Hmmm …

Interesting that when Mickelson arrived at his ball (usually hit farther than the others in his group and therefore last to play), he did not immediately discuss the shot with this caddy, Jim “Bones” MacKay. It wasn’t until it was his turn that he and Bones moved into a position near the ball and began to talk over the details.

Now, to clarify, if your golf score would be a better bowling score, this may slow things up a bit. However, there is something to be said for choosing a time to focus. A round of golf is approximately 4 hours. It may be more profitable to select optimal moments for concentration, then you can relax for the other 3 1/2 hours.

During the week, more good news for golf was announced as Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner, informed us that golf will once again be an Olympic sport as part of the 2016 games that will take place in Brazil.

Going out on a limb, how do you think Tiger will look with a laurel wreath instead of a hat?

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at

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