What Ben Crenshaw Can Teach You About Golf

By: Robert Partain

I was lucky enough to catch a little television interview with Ben Crenshaw the other day and the 3-minute video feature on him that followed. I'm glad I did.

If you've been watching the Masters this week, you already know that Ben is holding his own, and holding it against some much younger players. True, he isn't leading, but he's doing very well. And this isn't too surprising. He already has two green jackets and years of experience. But during the interview and the feature on him, I learned a few things about his current style of golf and I thought I'd share that with you.

First of all: I had only admiration for Crenshaw when he said (with a straight face) that he can no longer drive as far as the younger players. He can't match a Tiger Woods drive and he knows it. What I admired about him was that he didn't let this get him down in any way. He accepts the fact that he's older now and not capable of doing what he did in the past, but even so, he won't allow that to dampen his spirit or his competitiviness.

Second: Knowing he can't drive the ball as far as the younger guys, he concentrates on making the best drive he can and keeping the ball in play, while trying to set himself up for his next shot. In other words, he's playing "smart" golf rather than "power" golf. This comes with years of experience and (more often than not) it shows.

Third: Now, this is the part that I enjoyed the most. Again, knowing he can't out drive the others or even stay even with them in distance, Crenshaw is concentrating on his short game, and this is especially true with his putting.

It's amazing how "equalizing" a course becomes once the players leave the tee area, and Ben Crenshaw is proof of this. Once they leave the tee, it doesn't matter how old he is. Doesn't matter if the other players are stronger, faster, or more agile. In fact, I'd even go so far to say that Ben Crenshaw has the advantage (because of his many years of experience) over the younger players once those drives are made!

Time and time again, Ben has shown us how important it is to stop and think as you read a green. He understands the importance of geography and how a ball will roll. He made one putt last week where it looked as if he was aiming five feet to the left of the cup. He hit the ball, it rolled waaaaaay off line and then turned and dropped into the cup. That was an amazing putt!

So, if you're one of those players who cannot power off a 300 yard drive, don't sweat it. Keep you drives straight and under control. Play them for positioning your next shot and practice, practice, practice your short game, especially your putting. No other club in your bag can save you more strokes than your putter. Just ask Ben Crenshaw.

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Robert Partain has been an avid golfer for over 40 years. He publishes a golf blog that is updated 4 times a week with golf tips, techniques, and information.

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