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The result of consistency

by Donald Crawley

Recently voted Top-10 in Best Teachers in State of Arizona by Golf Digest. Also, contributing Golf Writer and Director of Instruction for The Boulders Club Voted as a TOP 100 Teacher in Golf Magazine, and Director of Instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy, Carefree, AZ.

Donald Crawley (Sports Network) - The big C word in golf is Consistency. We, as golfers, have a hard time of achieving that but, now, we can put a picture beside consistency in the dictionary. His name is Luke Donald.

As 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel told him: "You took consistency to a new level."

Luke, and I think he deserves that one-name title, like 'Tiger' or 'Michael' the basketball great, has improved to lead so many golf stats categories.

#1 in the world, first time ever #1 on both the US and European money lists, #1 in the top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour, #1 in putting, #1 in scoring average.

Some of his other stats don't seem so great, mostly quoted due to his lack of length. On the European tour he is 145 in distance averaging 282 yards, 30 yards behind the longest Spaniard, Alvaro Quiros. In the States he is 147 averaging 284 yards. His driving accuracy isn't brilliant either, #57 hitting only 64.29 % fairways; and, consequently, he only hits GIR greens in regulation 67.3 % placing him #41.

Luke Donald
Luke Donald became the first golfer to win both the PGA and European Money Titles in the same calendar year.
So, how did he dominate this year? And, he did dominate in a quiet way ... #1 putting, #1 scoring average day in day out, and 14 top 10 finishes out of 19 events! That's unbelievable on the US PGA Tour.

Let's look a little closer as to the recipe for success. #1 putting, #8 scrambling, 75% sand saves within 10 yards. So the answer is the short game. How much do you practice your short game? Are you consistent? I suspect the answer to both questions is no.

A lot of you reading this may be holed up in the winter months with no chance to get out and hit chips, pitches, sand shots around a green. But, what you could do is putt. Indoor putting is one of the best things you could do to work on your mechanics and stroke. You need good smooth carpet, not a shag rug from the 70's. Use an alignment tool, even a golf shaft lying parallel to the target line, to help you line up the putter face square. You'll need a cup, so an old tumbler will do. Spend time getting in the correct posture. A mirror is helpful here. The key points of putting posture: upper arms attached to your rib cage; eyes over the line; hands under your shoulders. The stroke is a pendulum but it is on a slight arc. The longer the stroke, the bigger the arc, but it is a slight arc. My research shows only two degrees of arc to be necessary. The putter face must be square to that arc.

OK, engineers, let me be specific. If your putter moves back six inches, the putter face will have opened two degrees to the target-line. Move the arms and shoulders together ... the hands go along for the ride. The follow-through is longer than the backstroke. Work on rhythm. Count "One-two"; ... "One"; is the backswing and two is the finish. In other words, the putter head is accelerating through impact. A smooth, accelerating stroke. Visualize and think Luke Donald.

To help keep your focus, play games. Make six in a row, then down a six-pack. Just kidding! Winter nights can get long. Try to make putts of various lengths, as long as the room will allow. I like the 'foot drill.' Make them from one foot, two feet, three feet, four feet, etc. and see how far you can go until you miss. Seeing the ball go into the hole is important. Luke Donald must have great putting vision....change that to he has great putting vision.

Youngin Chun
Youngin Chun (R), seen here with her father and Donald Crawley, won the World Junior Championship - as an 11-year-old.
On a side note, celebrating Luke Donald's great achievement in 2011, I got to play with a world champion last week. She is Youngin Chun, born in the US but living in Korea. The last two years she won the girls 10-11-age world junior championship. This year, she won at Pinehurst, by 9 strokes! An 11- year old playing the course at 5600 yards! Youngin shot 68, 70, 66. Shortly after that she was flown to England to play an 18-hole exhibition match with Rory McIlroy, because he had won world junior at the same age. I played with her and was amazed at the poise and concentration. We had a film crew recording her every shot; camera shutters going off in the backswing. It bothered me, not her. The media won't faze her when she turns pro seven years from now.

It's also worth mentioning she hits it 250 yards straight, a 155 yard 7 iron, has a soft touch around the greens and a solid putting stroke. Now I realize why the Korean girls dominate the LPGA. We probably won't be able to find this article in 7 years, but I speak out and say, "She is the real deal!"; If you find yourself in Korea or China, look for the most popular golf show called "World's Greatest Teachers."; I recorded 16 short game sessions, to be aired in 2012, and Youngin was one of my 'models.'

From one world champion, Luke, to another, Youngin, I wish them the best of the holiday season and to all you golf loving readers as well...for the whole of 2012.

When Scottsdale beckons and golf awaits, a call to Donald Crawley at The Boulders is a must.

Donald Crawley

Donald Crawley, Director of Instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy at the Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa in Carefree, Ariz. Crawley, a veteran of 35 years of teaching experience, is the newest contributor to The Sports Network with regular features that range from tips on improving your game to etiquette at the course. He has established 40 golf school sites in the United States since 1980,previously as vice president and director of instruction at John Jacobs' Golf Schools.

Crawley is recognized among the "Top 100 Teachers in America" by Golf Magazine and one of the "Best Teachers in Arizona" by Golf Digest. As both a Class A U.S. PGA member and a British PGA member, Crawley has been recognized for his outstanding teaching abilities. In 2002 & 2005, he won the Southwest Section PGA's Teacher of the Year Award. He also received the Horton Smith Award for education in 2000. In addition to teaching over 60,000 students, Crawley has co-authored video instruction tapes with John Jacobs and BBC/ABC golf telecaster Peter Alliss.

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