Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 1 year ago

Debbie Doniger

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Joining me in the Huddle this week is Top 100 golf instructor Debbie Doniger. Debbie picked up her first set of clubs at the age of seven in Greenwich, Connecticut and became a dedicated student of renowned golf instructor Jim McLean, who has been her mentor for more than 20 years. As a junior and amateur, Debbie won every New York Metropolitan tournament in the area and went on to play at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she captained the golf team both her junior and senior years and led the Tar Heels to an ACC Championship in 1992. She was later inducted into the ACC Hall of Fame.  Selected as one of five college seniors to represent the United States in the World University Golf Championship, Debbie was the only American to medal that year, taking home an individual bronze. After college, she went on to compete on The Futures Tour, The Gold Coast Tour, and then in 1993, The European Tour.  It was very interesting to me that she picked her college around the fact that the coach would not try to change her swing or coach her differently then her current coach, Jim McClean. Her college experience created lasting friendships and shaped her future in golf.  Debbie is a Lead Master Instructor at The Jim McLean Golf School, where she has worked for over 10 years, and Director of Instruction at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford, New York. For more on Debbie and how you can reach her please visit her website.  http://www.debbiedoniger.com     See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Welcome everyone to huddle up with guests. I'm your host, fifteen year NFL quarterback gusts. For Up. We are here in the new thirty one digital news studio. If you want to learn more or listen to previous shows, you can check us out of our website. Huddle up with guestscom or you can listen to us on the new RADIOCOM APP or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. While in the huddle, our guests describe how sports shapes their life. Now let's join the huddle. Hey, everyone to another episode of Huddle Up. Let's guess on your host guests for rot, you could find US literally anywhere today. You know, if you are a radiocom person, you can find us on read of the new RADIOCOM APP, but wherever you listen to your favorite podcast, you can also find us on a new thirty one digital news down and Watchington DC and you can find us on huddle up with guestscom. I'm not joined by my hope cohost Dave today. I'm going Solo today, but you know Dave's not a big golfer, so I was running this one all by myself. Today we're joined by somebody who is known as one of the top one hundred golf instructors overall, out of every golf instructor in the country. She's also has many highlights, many accolades, many awards. One Super, super knowledgeable about the game, loves to teach it and is super excited about the game of golf. And I'm really excited to talk her ear off about golf because I'm not very good. So any tips I can get to day I will be thrilled and hopefully I can use that to improve my game. But joining us today is Debbie Gaunt donnager. Debbie, how are you doing? I'm so excited to have you on. Huddle up with gusts. Thanks for having me. I'm happy to be here. So we usually start way back when you know, it's hard for us to think about back in the day, but I was when I was researching and studying some of you your past. You know, there were some great pictures of your golf swing when you were when you were young. So tell me about you know, how you got into the passion of Golf. Was it a family or a member, or was it you know, an uncle, or did you just fall in love with it. Well, for anybody out there that is wondering during the pandemic, what's for, it would be off my parents are not golf first I grew up on a golf course in California because that's where we went on vacation. My grandparents lived out there. I am from the Northeast, I'm from Connecticut, so my parents just let me play golf and I started when I was seven. I played other sports, I skated, I played tennis, I swam and then by the time I was twelve years old, I turned to my parents fell in love with the game for five years. Instead, I want to go play the tour. So that's a different animal than just bringing your kids out to play. Yeah, with you and your family during the pandemic, but that is a way to get kids started. You know, your parents don't have to play. Just pull the trigger and get your kid out on the golf course and hopefully they fall in love with the game as well. Yeah, so what was it about golf when you were young, if you can think back to it, that really made you fall in love with the game? I think intrinsically I like individual sports versus team sports. I love being outside, I love I guess when I was a kid I love the challenge of it and fortunately I was pretty good. So when you're good at something and you know that you can even be better at it, and luckily my parents found Jim mcclaine when I was twelve years old and for those of you that don't know who he is, he's arguably top three in the world now as a teacher. And so when you find the right coach, the right teacher, you have a mentor and then you start to surround yourself with like minded kids and other teachers that are also passionate about the game, then you know it can propel you too, however good you should or couldn't be, but at least you're surrounding yourself with likeminded passions and I'm just fortunate that I've had that since the outset. So your I take your parents were very supportive. You did play other sports when you were young and you know now, as you got into golf lader life, did ever go back and ask your parents? It's like, okay, which one did you like sitting at and watching me and which ones didn't you like sitting at? You know, because sometimes, like even in swimming, you know it's you're underwater. They don't get to see you. You know you're in the pool. It's different than other sports. You know where, and golf is even hard to because they're not like that, super close to you. You know, it's not like you're just stuck in a little square field like I always was. Yeah, you know, there's that's a loaded question. So it's a load of question. My Dad would...

...take me mainly to my golf tournaments, drop me off and and not watch and pick me up at the end. Also, you know, within what you just dast is the constant battle of parents now and kids that I teach. Do you specialize early on? Do you play other sports so you're really athletic and all the planes of motion? And so the answer to that from one of my good friends would be I believe that you can emphasize early on, maybe not specialize, but everything is happening earlier in terms of recruiting and how good you can be, and and so I think all of that has bumped up earlier than when I started playing. But in terms of my parents being pushy, they pushed enough because they found the right teacher. They took me to my lessons they took me to my tournaments, they organized every thing. I had a schedule, but a lot of it is also dependent upon the kid and being selfdiscipline and and being passionate and having goals and and again, I really do believe now that I have kids in my own who play a different sport at a very high level. You know, there there's a line as a parent that you cross in terms of pushing, pushing too much, specializing, doing the right things, scheduling, no burn out, no injuries, and you know you really have to do your due diligence and and know your kid, because your kid could be different than another kid. And you know, it's interesting my journey and how I got it done and and it's, you know, my own path. It's not the same as my other friends took by it worked. Yeah, I know it sounds like it worked out really well for you. So if you think about it, your journey and your Patt you talk about when you were twelve you started working with Jim Mcclain, and what was that like, because a lot of kids don't get those kind of opportunities. Where the other kids there with you or were you buy yourself so McLean in my area. My mom had the foresight, when I was playing local junior tournaments, to ask the number one junior girl golfer at that time, who's one of my closest and oldest friend friends. Who, who do you take lessons from? And Jim mcclane was mentioned. And again, for the golfers that out there that no, no of him. That was in the early s and so I started with Jim at a place called quaker rich when I was twelve and Jim was one of the best in the met sections. Certainly not known nationally as he is now, but he was starting to make his move and and every year got better and better and he started to teach the best players in our area, amateur professional junior golfers. And know, there weren't other kids around. Again, this is an individualized sport and some kids just want to be around other kids. And so the PJ of America with the idea of the PJ junior league, which I didn't have as a kid. I think that that's amazing and I have tons of juniors that claim it and it's so fun. It's just like they borrowed something from soccer. And so you play as a team and you play around the country and you have to qualify to join the team as a golfer. But in my days it's a very solo based sport. But that doesn't mean you don't have practice rounds with friends and you don't make games in the afternoon. But you got to like to be alone and and on your own path a lot in the game of golf, which I'm totally fine with. Well, you know, my water is twenty five. She's in bed school now and I when she was growing up, I've coached her and all sports, all right softball to basketball. She played Lacrosse and then she end up playing field hockey in college. But I know when I was coaching her basketball team when we live in Cincinnati Ohio, and you know, I have trying to get all these girls together, you know, around that kind of twelve thirteen year old age. A lot of them they want to listen. They wanted to do their own thing, and I know that golf is a huge mental game, right. And so when you were twelve and you were a Jim, how did he help you go from you know, hey, I'm just playing, I really love this, I want to do this in the concentration has to be. So they're right and I just wonder, I because I've never my daughter never got into golf. I wish I would have gotten her in the golf because I love playing with my boys and I wanted to play with her. But now it's I feel like it's maybe too late, but I don't know. But that to me is like the it's golf is probably, at that age over a super hard and mental game to focus.

So how did you get through that and what did Jim teach you at that young age? First of all, most of my field hockey girls that I teach are good golfers. So it's never too late. That's easy. She's for she she was a goalie. Okay. You know what, though, Brook Henderson on the LPGA, she's one of the top top players. She was a goalie in Canada. Really. Yeah, yeah, I don't know how she can have that ball and out of that like that speed. It's crazy field hockey to me. I know, I know, I know, but there's hope and you should start early. You should start now with her. But in terms of see, this is where the coaching and teaching comes into play and you helped your basketball team. So Jim instilled the right, I think, practice protocols, the right game plans to make sure that I I already fell in love with the game before I Stud Jim Right. It was up to mcclane to to have the wherewithal and the foresight to say, Hey, this kid's got talent, let's go about it methodically and let's see how good she can be. It's different if you have kids that play that don't have a lot of talent, then it can become frustrating. So sometimes if I have those kids, it doesn't mean that they can't fall in love with the game and they just have to have a different mindset. When you have kids with talent and they have different goals and passions, then you know you can maneuver the game plans and their future in a different direction. But I think the overall arching theme is you can ride the highs and lows of the game of golf and there are more lows and maybe that it's in all sports. I'm thinking that's in all sports there are more lows than highs. But if you intrinsically love the the game and the practicing and they getting better and the constant you know, reevaluation of things you can absolutely overcome all the emotional hurdles. I mean, I've cried so much over this game because I wanted it bad, which I'm sure and be watching with a child who plays a different sport can totally empathize with what I'm saying. So with the right coaches at some point, if you need a sport psychologists or mental performance, I mean there's so many avenues to go and research to you know, alleviate some of those down times. But it's just you have to have the passion to override those lows. So then you get into high school and you go to high school and you've been working with Jim now for a few years, I take it, once you get into ninth grade and you get into that and then you're automatically probably on the golf team in high school as well and you have a different coach. So it you know, and I've done that where I've had, you know, coaches outside of the sport I was playing and they teach you one thing and then the coach are with teachers do another thing and sometimes it doesn't mix. Did you did your coaches kind of have the same philosophy for you? Well, I don't want to date myself, but I did go to high school in Connecticut and I did not play on the team because it was only boys and they wouldn't let me play, and so I never had to deal with that. And also, though, I did play in college and I happen to have chosen a coach that would not be intrusive in that way. But I played nationally as a junior because we have it's the same tour, the AGGA. I love this tour, I love the people that run it and I didn't have to deal with what you're saying. Jim Has always been my main mentor my main teacher. I play as well as I do today as I did then solely because of this man and his tutelage. One hundred percent of are none. I never sought out another teacher or another coach. I've obviously had some kids that have come to me, taken lessons from other teachers and come back. I think it's okay if you want to get a second pair of eyes, but you're in the same I don't want to say method, that's not right, but same liberal, I'm saying Liberals System. I think if you go to a different coach, that overhauls or believes a certain way and wants to see certain thing. Maybe that will work for you. Not Saying, but it might also really...

...hurt. So that's a different discussion as well and and it's when I have with other teachers, my peers, because it's an interesting one. When you see top, top players leave their coaches and their teachers and go to somebody else who decides to really make a change. Are you ruining the DNA of that player or are you enhancing it and and is it the right move? So it's a it's a really interesting discussion and we see it all the time on the tour. So it's a valuable question. I just never had to deal with it. So do you feel like so when you're in high school, you know, and you don't have a team. They're like a golf team. Do you feel like that has changed a lot since you've been in golf since high school, like you, obviously you played a lot of tournaments. You still got an opportunity to go and play in college on a great team. You were an ACC champion, all those things and you know, you still got recruited. So do you feel like golf in high school, four girls should be, should be more of a fit, you know, more of a sport and all high schools across the country. Or is it okay if the schools don't have them? I yeah, Um, well, look, there's a lot of colleges that are canceling some golf programs, which I completely vehetmently don't side with as nothing to do with title line. It has to do with these are kids that work their ass off to be graded something and you had the opportunity, and I so much believe in the student athlete and everything they have to overcome and go through in time management, everything that is so wonderful about athletics, and then pair it with academics that I am fullbor on golf teams, I do think most high schools have actually my high school from both my kids. My daughter will play on the golf team, but it's it's mixed. So look for me, did it. was I wanting that and yearning for that at Greenwich High School? Not in the slightest. I was so happy playing on the Aghda and some other tours with like minded kids. I mean to be honest, I felt like a total loser growing up in Connecticut Playing Golf. This was a long, long time ago and a lot of kids thought I was like ridiculous, and why aren't you playing field hockey and soccer and acrosse? And here I am falling in love with a sport that was not popular. So in that respect for me it was like she's a big loser. Meanwhile, you know, I got recruit it early. I went to Chapel Hell and circuitously now I teach the parents and the kids that thought I was like what are you doing? And now it's all cool to play golf. So you know, again it's a different experience for me, but I love student athletes and I hope schools find it as valuable. I'm sure as you you played football. I'm sure we are on the same peach with not dropping programs and doing everything we can to support the student athlete because they bring so much value to the school. Well, yeah, I I am in total support of that, because I think schools, if you have the programs and you've recruited kids, you should make the effort to keep those programs. Because what are you? One of those kids have, then that's what they went to your school for, that's what you recruited them for, and then all of a sudden you drop the program and it's like good luck. You know, it's terrible. My friend with the William and Mary, yeah, and they dropped three or four programs this year and it's just, you know, what are those kids do? They get to automatically transfer, transfer, you know, and then all of a sudden they're they're uprooted from where they've been. It just it's a terrible situation. So so to drop a program I don't think it's an easy thing and I think schools really need to reevaluate. You know, where money goes, and I'm sure that the reason they're dropping is because of money, you know, and it's kind of sad, but you know. And so when I think about what you're talking about, you know, all of a sudden you go to college and you're now you're on a golf yeah, like you haven't really played like that before, and then you become captain. You're junior and senior year. Was that experience? Was it to death? Excite you every day. Now you're on a team with all girls and like we need to go compete together, and it's you know, it probably be different. Greatest time in my life, the greatest blessing and maybe it just worked out that way because I didn't have it in high school and some of the girls and...

...boys that I teach to do play on a high school team. They feel like I did in college. So I'm so happy for them. Yeah, I wish my kids that. I again, I told you, play a different sport. They don't have their high school doesn't have their sport, and so I always say I can't wait for you guys to go play in college. So you can feel the way I feel. It was the greatest four and a half years in my life at North Carolina and those are my friends till the day I die, and I just I happen to have picked the right school the right team and I was very fortunate and Lucky. I've had a few kids, not all, like one or two kids, that picked the wrong school team wise, not necessarily academically, but team wise, and it was a struggle for them and it was the dichotomy of what I had. So I always felt bad for their those those two students in particular, and they went to high, high level do one teams, high talk and top five teams, and so that's a shame. So what is the percentage of people that go play golf in college that make it to the professional ranks. What do you think? That is nothing. Yeah, must up. Yea five percent. Yeah, that's kind of what the NFL is right like you make it. There's a lot of people to play college football and you know they try, but the percentage to go on to play in the NFL is very small, and I'm assuming golf is a lot like that. Yet becoming on the LPGA earlier and earlier, like maybe you should just go to college for two years. Remember, there's a whole South Korean contingent that they play. They turned professional early on. They have to play the Korean LPGA than another Korean tour before they're allowed to come over to the LPGA. There's only a certain amount of spots to make the tour. So it is increasingly competitive. Much, much younger, younger than you're going to see on the PGA tour. But when I literally say these are the best in the world, this is the top one percent, I mean that's all there is to it. So it's a goal, it's a dream. It's for many, many girls and boys, but the likelihood of it happening is not high. Yeah, so can you explain? I me. Obviously you've played in you want an in, you know, championships in college, and then you go on and I think, what is the tour called you were on after college? I'm trying to think here. I got it right here for the Golden Bear, the gold cloths, and then I played the European tour, right, so, so and then, but you were on the I think it was world university matches or something. Is that a big that seems like a lot of fun. So tell me about like, because I know when I'm playing my first game in college or my first game in the NFL, the butterflies and how nervous I get. So when you get ready, like even when I go golf now, I don't really get nervous right, because I'm not. I'm like I've been hit by the biggest lineman out there. Like if iding Shank a drive, I'm I'm fine with it right. You know, I've been through other things, but now I but I've never competed as like a like that, like you have competed. So are you nervous? You get nervous when you when you know in one of those situations. Um, that's a good question. I get asked that a lot. I think if you play enough, like you did, from a junior golfer through college, through Amateur Golf, High Level Amateur Golf, yes, of course you're nervous, but you've been doing it since you're twelve, thirteen, fourteen years old at the biggest stage. So you learn how to deal with nerves and you know everybody's nervous on the first team. So if you have that logical sense, that will everybody he's nervous, and you learn for yourself how to calm down, how to get into your routine or the process, whatever the case may be. Then you know all systems are go. But you learn that and you continue to learn it as you go through the stages and the protocols. I was listening to a sports psychologist yesterday on a different podcast and he brought up a good point that I haven't thought about in a while and I do think he's correct, and I've seen this with my own kids, that if kids can learn to win at the appropriate level versus skipping levels, I think that that's also valuable. And if you learn to learn to win at every stage, you're supposed to learn to win that also helps with, you know, part and parcel of what you're saying, versus skipping levels and then maybe mentally or emotionally, you haven't already been there, done that,...

...and that can hurt some kids that are growing up playing as well right right now. Yeah, I definitely understand the game of golf like because not at your level. I mean I've never been able to play at your level, but I mean I've played a lot of golf in my life and and it it can be very emotional and mental and and most amateurs, like I am in the wheel fall off, the get fall off and you're never getting back on. But I think professionals like you know how to put the wheels back on. You know, fix the flat. Will get back on the road. Not all the time, not all the time. So like, for the love of you know who, get me off this golf course. Just get me out of here. I mean you be nice. Sometimes clan B doesn't work, clan see doesn't work. Your Short Games often you just call it a day. You know, it's just but that's the game of golf. And again, he learned that early on. I mean, if it is what it is, which is why put a number at the end of the score card and that's that's what she shot. Yeah, now I get you. Hey, everyone, we're talking to Debbie Doneger Golf instructor extraordinary top fifty women's golf instructor, you name it. She has a list as long as you can imagine. We're going to take a short break and then we'll be right back to join it back here on hottle up with Guff Hi. This is former NFL quarterback gust far at. Six thirty one digital advertising is your onestop shop to promote your business and get new customers. For Award winning creative to getting as online in display video, Ott connected TV and streaming audio. Go to six thirty one digital ADVERTISINGCOM. Welcome back everyone. Thanks for joining us in the new thirty one did little new studio produced by amp TV. You can find us on huddle up with gustscom. Now let's join the huddle everyone. Welcome back after a short break. We're talking with Debbie today and I think that it's so interesting speaking with her about her career and her path, and we all have a different path to take in her transitions have been amazing. We just learned a little bit about her college life. So, Debbie, let's get into more about that college experience for you and really what you took from college, and maybe not what Jim taught you, but what your college coach taught you a little bit to let you go into the pros and be a pro. So my coach was more I chose Carolina and I chose my coach because she just let us be us and trusted that we had a team back home that would make us play the best we could in terms of technically and then that she recruited kids that and eventually women that totally got along and and we're likeminded and so we could work as a team and we had the same goals. I mean we wanted to win a national championship period. So I was with, you know, five travel and golf, but there were about eight to nine girls at a time qualifying and you know, like I said before, had the time of my life and these women now are just, you know, they're part of my heart and my soul. That's how much I love them. And so that's how much I made. That's how good my decision was, right. But in terms of turning professional, look, you know, it's like what I said before you have success in college, you need that. You go play very high level amateur tournaments. Again. Now you're playing a not only against the best in the country and Gal College, but then amateur wise again, you're playing all summer and if you have success and the better you play, the cool invitation to get to play in other tournaments. Like you mentioned the World University Games. I was with five or six other girls, if I remember correctly, from around the country who were the best seniors. So all kinds of teams are going to state Simon as I state like we had the best time and we traveled to Spain and we played against other countries, and so I think if you see success and you see you can hang with ostensibly the best at that point in time, the wherewithal to say if you've if you've got money, because it takes money right, you know, maybe you could try and and so I did. So it's not necessary cerrely that. My coach at college was like go dad, you can do this. It's just that you have...

...the right opportunities in front of you, the right tournaments, you play well, you show that maybe you can do this. You see what's out there. Were already and you can compare and contrast stats and data acquisition was not prolific at all when I created is now, so now you can start to measure. Well, do you even have a chance? That's and you know so for me it was just like everybody else at that point in time. Are you playing well? Do you have success? Are you one of the best, or is this just a wishful thinking kind of thing and you're going to spend two years on the mini tours and nothing's going to happen? Right? So, you know, you you hit a little bit on what I wanted to ask you about, like self scouting and kind of maybe if you're growing up against opponent, you have a scouting report on them. You know, most sports, if you're going to play somebody, you have a scouting report, whatever it is, where their weaknesses are, where their strengths are, and I don't know in golf if there is anything like that where you can you know, do you film yourself a lot? Do you know to check on your swing, or is it just going out and play and have somebody else watch you and kind of understand where your strengths and weaknesses are? And then if you are playing against somebody, do do. I mean there's a big mental game to it that I can, I could put pressure on this person in certain areas of the game that they may fold or I may have a chance to be better than them. Okay, so it's interesting. So you don't you really don't know why in golf so now and if you're if your viewers and listeners are the same, it's completely changed. The landscape has totally changed. There's many stats and data platforms that have track not only the PJA TORP but also the best in college and and it is so delineated. It's from five feet in in twenty feet in in zero to twenty yards. How not just how far you hitting the golf ball, but how far is the number one college golfer hitting the Golf Ball? So every facet of the game that can be tracked, except for the inside. You know, the five footer for Bertie, or are you wait faced with a five footer to save par and makes a cut? You know. So your heart necessarily is not being measured. There's now really good technical stuff that's measuring the brain and how it's functioning. So that's that's the newest platform. So there's so much technology and golf. I think because it's a non moving ball, that there's so much we can track off the course and on the course. You know there's launch monitors, which I'm just going to mention because you may not know just based on your question, that can spit out from a D perspective exactly how the ball is flying and spinning in the air, but also the dimensions of the golf club halfway down to impact, the halfway through. Then we also, in the game of Golf, have force plates and pressure plates. So again, though, you're in the studio, which is easier than your sport because you're running around, but we can measure in a studio your force data. Is it in the right time? Is it in the right space? How much force are you producing? Everybody has lateral, rotary, in vertical force. Is the timing correct? which is more than another? Should it be more than the other? And then we also have tons of D that we can put on somebody to really see not only the forces, so the Kinematics, but also the kinetics. So the kinetics are the forces, the kinematics are the motions. So when you see still pictures, it doesn't really do anybody a service anymore. Because it's a still picture. You don't right know when the force has happened to create that still picture. So right, you know there's there's so much technology. I think our sport is the most in terms of using technology than any other sport. But again I think it's because it's easy. We can put you into studio and you grab all this data and then we put on the golf course and grab all this data and it is so valuable. Nah, it's all information. So what the coach, the teacher, the strength and conditioning coach, the PT, the Cairo, the mental performance coach, the stats guy, the nutritionist,...

...what you do with that information is probably even more important than gathering the information, because it's just information. Now, how you apply it is really the art of it. And so when you get to this kind of rabbit hole, yeah, with a student, you better have a team around you that can extrapulate what's important what's not. What's you what's not? Is it important? You know. So it's there for us and it's amazing, but then the application of it is the key. Do you ever? Do ever see all this new technology, because I'm sure with what you do, you see it all coming at you everybody want you to try. Hey, we just got this new thing we're put on the end of the club. We can major and monitor every inch of every like you said, rotation, you name it, if you ever seen anything, and you go. Man, I wish I would have had that when I was playing back in high school. A hundred percent. I would sorry the why AMCA doing some crazy exercise thing that I saw in golf digest now right. I mean it's a joke. I mean the fitness trailer on the PJ tour is literally a joke. My best friend, or one of my best friends, is a trainer on tour and so he and I talked all the time. I mean the the amount of incredible information to build a workout program for said individual is not only paramount, it's imperative. And again, those people, I'll be it, not as many as one would think, but but those people are out there and oh yeah, yeah, if you have to be strong to play this game, you have to hit the ball far to play at a very high level, and so that information, I wish I had that. The equipment now versus when I played is awesome. And then, like I said, it would be awesome to have had force plate data. That would have been cool. It would have been awesome to have like all kinds of stuff on the golf club and D data. I mean, I don't know, would have been amazing, and so I just think it's so cool in our sport that we have all that at our fingertips. Again, though, it's the application of it that is the most important thing. Yeah, it's so amazing to me that that how the people can zoom in and they just they just know their distances and you know they're reading everything. I don't even hardly even use a you know, if I'm a hundred fifty out, I just kind of have a field for it and I'd say I'm a hundred fifty out. It feels like the winds blown a little bit. I'm going to hit my nine instead of my pigeon edge, you know, something like that. So I'm kind of old school. I don't use a lot of the technologies and everything. That's probably why of my games not so great right now. But you know, how do you feel like because because do you see like players that have played back in the day kind of use that, or are a lot of the older players really taking the technology to heart? And using it to their advantage. I would say the ladder. It would be odd for me to see somebody at the very top of their ladder, top of their game, not using some sort of technology to measure. There's no reason to guess if you can measure nowadays. I mean, that would just be ignorant the players and and the coach is and the teachers. I mean there would be. It would just be ignorant and if you're trying to gain an edge on another player, I don't know why you wouldn't use technology. Doesn't mean that there aren't great teachers out there that have incredible eyes, which Harmon you know, Jim let said, Chuck Cook, Crandy Smith. These are guys that I now, thankfully, can call friends. They're at the top of the food chain in terms of instructors. Mike Adams, he's amazing. He's become a mentor of mine. They have incredible eyes, they have thirty years of experience on me. They've taught the best of the best, but they use technology. So if you can marry both, that's where the art and science comes in and that's where those guys are brilliant. And there are many more that you know just they're just brilliant teachers. So, like when I coach you on quarterbacks, I can kind of see if their mechanics are off. You know what I mean by how they're doing certain things. How fast you recognize that when you're teaching somebody like hey, you're not your swings not the same as it was last week when you came in. Good question. I think you should go with ball flight. What their ball flight? What's the ball doing? You know, just me personally, like, for example,...

...when I would play on the European tour and come back after four weeks, I mean I definitely had my setup was different, my ball flight was different because I'm playing in the wind, in the rain for four weeks and you know, at that point in time, Jim, I would come back and see Mclean and be like, oh my God, what's happening here? But the conditions I was playing in, that that can start to alter the geometry of your swing, the ball flight. So you always work, in my opinion, off of barring that you haven't injured yourself and you're okay. They you work off a ball flight and what it should be for you. Everything is individualized. It's end of one and that's becoming more and more prevalent engulf to it's not this broad picture. It's definitely end of one. You are who you are. This is what you do, these are your anthropological measurements. This is what your body can and can't do. We've had you physically assessed in the gym, by the way. I'm making this very simplistic. And this is how your grip should be and this is how your body should move and and this is the ball flight we're going after. Those are those are swing DNA things that you know, slowly begin to learn for yourself. Nothing it's easy to self correct. But the broader picture is its end of one. Right. Yeah, no, I agree with that, because everybody has a different swing. I mean you got and play with New People all the time and you see it's like, you know, we're all different, but the balls getting the same spot somehow, some way. So let's go back to when you're playing professionally. Now you're on the you're on a few different tours, you're doing different things. When did you have the idea that you know, like for me, I knew I was like enough to play a long time in the NFL, but I knew it wasn't going to last forever. So I had to figure out at some point my transition what was going to be. And you obviously have become a great coach, a great teacher. When did you think that that was going to be your path? I know it's a good question. You know I my mom doesn't love when I say this, but I came home from the European tour was fully prepared to qualify for the LPGA and I missed it by one or two shots. And this was my fourth time missing q school and I was in my mid s and again, very emotional. I'm a woman. And Yeah, I wanted it so, so bad and you know, there were there were a few factors. One, I had a few friends that left the tour. I didn't hit it very far. I'm going to say far enough, but not far enough. You know, when I played against Lord Davies, I mean she would hit it fifty by me. So does that mean I'm not as good with my seven wood as she is with her seven iron? No, because I had to compete. But Right Day out on a major tour, the odds are she's going to kick my butt more often than not. And then also financially at that point in time. It's very it was very top heavy. So how much money was I really going to make? And I want I wanted to make money. I have to support myself. So there were a few factors. Also, you know, if if you have a dream of having a relationship and having a family as a woman, it's not the easiest lifestyle. Yeah, reguardless of which, whatever side of the aisle you're on, it's not an easy lifestyle. You are on the road and if you want to have children, eventually you're on the road. So I talked to Jim because he he also played for living and then left the tour and we both decided let's take a little break, need to figure some stuff out. And I took a little break and he suggested that why don't I just look into teaching. I mean I know I've been with him my whole life and I could put on a fast track within his system. At the time, the McClean school, we were one of the number one golf schools in the country. There were other ones competing with us, but like led and like Adams and a little bit no butched. I'm not sure it's sure. Bich had a school back then, but I fell in love and poured as much passion as I did for playing for a living. Well, and I wanted to you know, Jim was my mentor and now my boss, and I wanted to you know, I was I was twenty five of twenty six. I wanted to show him that I could do this. So, you know, some of it was that, some of it was I loved now teaching and coaching. I loved what he did and I just poured...

...my heart and soul into that, which makes sense given my personality. And so I've been teaching and coaching ever since and that journey in and of itself is so interesting and I'm very fortunate and, you know, very lucky. I mean golf has given me a lot. So I'm I'm super lucky to be doing what I'm doing. Yeah, I feel the same way about my career as well. So do you remember the first person you actually like? This is my first student that I'm going to coach. You know, that's good question. No, I don't. Yeah, but McClean, I saw. I went on a fast track with him a draft. Then he sent me to Pja West. We had a golf school out there with some top one hundred teachers as well, and and I spent a ton of time with somebody named Carl Weldy, who is one of Jim's mentors nonetheless, and and I was teaching there and I remember that. You know, I had a good basis for what I was doing by I never really you know, I hadn't really taught a lot before I was assisting in golf school. So I was watching Jim all the time, watching other top a hundreds. But I feel like I was very much a cheerleader at that point in time. Like did I get people better? Yes, but I was very like, oh my gosh, you did it, you know, fast for you know, twenty five, thirty years later. Yeah, I have no problem saying look, Dude, this is not okay, this is not you know, we need to get on a plan here in a peach here that makes sense. So we're not going to get any better. So you know, that just comes from years and years and experience and watching. But I don't remember that first student. Well, it's funny. How about this one? Have you ever had a parent come up to you and say I think my son or daughter could play in the PGA tour? Right now. I had that I was at coaching my son's youth team and I had a dad come up to me. Our kids were eight years old and dad said, Hey, did you meet my son? I said Yeah, Andrew was a really nice kid and he goes yeah, yeah, he's nice whatever. I said, yeah, what do you want, Rick and he goes, do you think he has a shot? I said a shot at what? What are you talking about? Well, do you think you can plain in the NFL? And I said Ricky's eight right there, you know, like, I don't know, he can never grow again, he can fall out of love with the sport. You might want to play something else. How can you ask that? So I'm how has that been like when you have to deal because the kids are one thing, the kids are always usually great, but the parents are did a whole nother story. Yeah, I mean just I think it's an every sport. I know it's my sport all the time. What's worse is I get parents who want their kid to play at a very high level DNE program and you know, I think you and I can tell by the time they're fourteen, fifteen, whether that may happen or may not. And so that's a hard conversation to bring a family back to reality, and sometimes it's just too late, sometimes it doesn't happen, sometimes they don't want to recognize it. But then I have a ton of families who are like, let's just see how good she can be. I mean that's one of the things Dr Rotella, he's a noted sports psychologist, told one my students whose family had other ideas and he just pared it down. Let's just see how good she can be. And the other cool thing, and I think you'll like this in particular, I won't mention the school. It's a very I would say, let's just say top three program in the country for men's College Golf. Okay, that coach said to me Debby, if they're good, we will find them. So yeah, that whole that stuck with me and that has turned out to be one hundred percent true, because we have had kids who haven't quite played a plethora of agga tournaments or national junior tournaments. It's been sporadic, but they're good and we have gotten inquiries from top, top coaches said tell me a little bit about this kid. They do find you. Oh yeah, they do. I mean I went to a tiny, tiny school here in Pennsylvania. We had nineteen kids my senior year. You know, we didn't know how to get recruited or anything. And they find you. I went to University of Tulsa and and, you know,...

...just having a good career and they just find you. And I tell kids at all the time. These kids want to go to yeah, I know, I was just I was just saying that. You know, if you're good enough, they find you. I tell kids that all the time. No matter where you are, just be who you are, enjoy your experience, play the game that you love, play the sport that you love, and if it's meant to be, it's meant to be, and I truly believe that. So, Debbie. Now, now you're you've been doing this for a long time. You have plenty of experience. You travel probably all over. I know you've been. I've seen you on, you know, whether it's in a magazine or on the golf netwhere, or the you know, golf channel, different things. You're always you're always doing a great job of promoting the game. What excite you about the game of golf? And to excite I think really to bring more people involved in it. I think we missed the crowds this year and a lot of the tournaments. But what excite you right now about the game of golf? Well, I think the game of golf, unfortunately, because we're in a pandemic, has grown because of the pandemic. So I can't stand what's happening in the world. I mean I can't. I physically and emotionally can't stand it. But having said that, people have come to the game of golf. I mean I've taught I don't know, twenty people knew to the game that would have never taken it up at all. So that excites me because now we've got New People in the game. Junior golf is growing, junior girls golf is growing. We had a woman president as the PJ of America. She have to be one of my close friends. I hope that golf is becoming the only reason I brought that up with Susie is I think golf should be an example of just maybe changing with the Times that were. We're all inclusive. I don't want people to think that golf is just what the connotation was years and years ago, that it's it's for a certain person or a certain class of people. It's not. It's for everybody. I teach kids that play at the public golf course. I mean it's it's there for the taking for everybody and it's a fabulous sport that you can play for the rest of your life in business, you're outside. I have never had more fun laughing, crying hysterically then with my friends on a golf course. So I just hope more people take up the game and and there's so many coaches and teaches at teachers out there across the country and at the same passion as I do, that just want to teach and have you love the game as much as all of us have. And I think it's universal that my peers, people, even mentors that I look up to, that I go and watch teach, even them. So peers and they and also those people there's among the best. We all want to learn, we're all striving to get better. That's universal and we are all so thankful for the game of golf and what it is brought to us in terms of relationships and friendships and connections and networking and all of those wonderful things about this game. So if anybody's out there and has never taken it up or want to. If you just remember those valuable tenants, I can't imagine that that somebody wouldn't take it up right right, and I think that even you know, as you hear about the old country clubs, you know, and there their private and these people, I mean I live right by one. That's that. Sometimes I even feel like that when I go in there because I'm not a member of that club and and it. But as you get in there and you realize that that golf has from become way more progressive, kind of right, and I think that that's that's been great. There's still some old rules and understandings that this is this is how things were done, that's how we're always going to do them. And I've played a lot of golf courses over the country and I think you're right about that. We've seen the inclusion and agress. Let us know how everyone can find you and you know what you're up to next, where we can see you, what you're doing. I mean you've helped author books, you've done all kind of stuff. So please let everybody know how they can find you. So I guess just follow me on Instagram at Debra DB R a age dona, Guarddo and IGAR and I don't use twitter that much. It's at Debbie donegar. But I do a bunch of stuff for Digest and Golf magazine and I'm trying to put out some valuable drills and you know, hopefully we'll...

...see what happens in terms of serious and the pandemic. Maybe I'll be out there again next year, which I loved, and we'll see what happens. You know they be golf media landscape is ever changing. So who knows that there's an opportunity out there on I'm happy to give it a go. Of given it so, but thank you so much for your support and thank you for all those questions. Very interesting and if it inspires anyone with a anybody with a kid out there to take up the game, then then we did our job. Yeah, that's that's what it's all all about, getting more people to play, because it is a fabulous game. So one last question for me as an amateur, I'm like an aid handicap. I'm I'm what. I just have fun playing. But if there was one thing you would tell me to go work on right now, but even know my game, what would it be? Well, givring your background and that you played football, I would go get a physical evaluation just find out where you're mobile, not mobile, stable, not stable. I'm you have enough mass so that's not going to be a problem and hitting the ball far. But I would be armed with that information on a simplistic level to take to a teacher and say, Hey, I have no hit mobility, what do I do about that? Or because you can have a swing that can fit your body. But you need to be armed with that information. Yeah, so is that like? I mean, I've done the track man before, but that didn't give me any that information. No, you literally have to go see somebody to be physically evaluated. Just if we're can I movement? Just go to your local gym, but I would go to somebody who's, you know, smart and trained and has done this years and years and can just give you look. It can get as details and crazy as you want, but if you just like to know how your body functions, then a simple human movement screen would be very valuable to take to your next lesson. Awesome, awesome. Well, Hey, debby, I really appreciate you joining us. Sorry that we cut out a few times, but I know this is this is a crazy day and you know we're all excited to see what happens. So and probably we're all excited to see to have it over with as well it's been. It's been an insane process the last few months. So I appreciate you taking the time to join us on huddle up with gusts. Thank you so much for having me all right. Thank you, debbi. There she is, Debbie Donegar, one of the greatest coaches out there. If you want to see her, obviously follow her on Instagram at Debor donegar. So, everyone, I really appreciate you joining us another episode of huddle up with gusts. You can find us on RADIOCOM or wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. You can also find us on huddle up with gustscom and the new one thousand six hundred and thirty one to join news. Have a great day. Hi, this is former NFL quarterback gusts far at six thirty one. Digital advertising is your onestop shop to promote your business and get new customers. For Award winning creative to getting as online in display video, Ott connected TV and streaming audio. Go to six thirty one digital advertisingcom.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (161)