This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
brand-name swing coach, acknowledges the im- portance of golf ’s mental aspects, but believes that physical tools are what sepa- rate good players from the best of the best. McLaugh- lin is 5-foot-9-inches, 150 pounds. From Paul Runyon to Luke Donald, plenty of little guys have suc- ceeded on Tour, but size and strength are increasingly important in this era of longer, harder course setups. Says Leadbetter, “You can’t underrate the physical- ity that goes into the golf swing. Balance, hand-eye coordination, the ability to generate speed…a lot of this is God-given. Take Carl Pettersson”—the rotund five-time winner on Tour— “he has tremendous physi- cal gifts that I’m not sure can be achieved through training alone. His coordi- nation, his ability to repeat his swing, the marriage of his power and soft touch; they’re all the hallmarks of a world-class athlete, even if he doesn’t look like one.” Even physical savants


with a background in competitive sports bump up against the glass ceiling. As Leadbetter notes, “From Johnny Bench to Rick Rhoden to Michael Jordan, we’ve seen truly elite ath- letes who devoted countless hours to golf, but they were never able to achieve a stan- dard anywhere near even a struggling Tour player.” Of course, it’s impossible


not to wonder how differ- ent sports history might be if golf had been their first love. Another well-known athlete offers a primer on the challenges that are still in front of McLaughlin: Gabrielle Reece. Around the turn of the century, I spent some time with the


28 / NCGA.ORG / FALL 2013


model-turned volleyball player, who at 32 had taken up golf in a quest to reach the LPGA Tour. She was taller (6'3") and stronger than anyone else on the LPGA, and brought an obsessive work ethic and mental toughness that came with having spent her ath- letic career under a white- hot spotlight. For nearly a year she hit a thousand balls a day under the watchful eye of Gravity Golf founder David Lee, and then Reece spent two and half a half more years embarking on an equally intense training reg- imen with Claude Harmon. Eventually she could paint the sky with majestic shots, but she never developed the touch or course manage- ment skills to consistently break 80, let alone 70, as would be required to make a living on the LPGA.


Carl Pettersson’s coordination, his ability to repeat his swing and the marriage of his power and soft touch are all the hallmarks of a world-class athlete, even if he doesn’t look like one.


Rickie Fowler understands why so few succeed at the highest: “Competitive pressure is a whole different animal. It’s different when you’re out here, when you actually have to go out and post a score and it matters. “


PHOTO: DREAMSTIME


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76