Gary Player: A Game For Life DVD
Teacher’s Comments: I think you would be hard pressed to find a player with more enthusiasm and energy, or with stronger communications skills.
I love Gary Player. Several years ago at the Ford Senior Players Championship in Dearborn, my eldest son (then about ten) and I spent the day following Player and Chi Chi Rodriguez through a round. After about ten holes, Player left his caddy and ball and walked from the fairway to the ropes where we stood. He introduced himself to my son, shook his hand and asked how he did in school. He then asked if the boy liked golf. My son replied somewhat tentatively, but Player said: “Son, it doesn’t matter what you do. But whatever you want to do, you must practice, practice, practice.” Then he went back to his play.
My son was flabbergasted. I was even more so.
I had always liked Gary Player for his commitment to excellence. After that experience, Player became my all-time favorite.
Player won’t remember the incident, of course, but it made a big impact on a little kid. He doesn’t play golf, but does work hard at everything he does. He sometimes quotes Player: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”
Player’s concern for the average golfer and fan was evident that day; it also is evident in his new DVD collection, Gary Player: A Game For Life.
The focus of A Game For Life is on improving the game of the average golfer (Indeed, the terms “average,” “recreational,” and “weekend golfer” is probably at least once a minute.) The focus on “average” is important because too many books and videos are overly technical and are frankly beyond the ken of the recreational golfer. Player’s focus is on things that will help you lower your scores, not to developing a “textbook” swing.
The mantra for this DVD is to “turn three into two.”
A Game For Life has an interesting format; it is essentially an extended interview between Player and “host” Peter Kessler. Player begins with a discussion of, say, putting and heads into the topic with his usual breakneck enthusiasm. After listening to his explanation for a while, Kessler then steps in to ask questions that the average golfer likely has at this point. Kessler is very good at this:
“Because anchoring is going to be outlawed, what do you recommend older players do … especially to combat the nerves.”
“When is the center of the cup not the center of the cup in terms of the break.”
“So now we have a shorter shot, which the recreational golfer feels as though he ought to be able to get up and down. If you have ten yards, show us what club the recreational golfer ought to use.”
Player responds to questions like these with clear and helpful advice, such as:
“I’m very anti weekend golfer pitching with wedges. I takes a lot of talent to do that. I recommend that they learn to use a nine iron.”
“The claw grip (which he then demonstrates” can help you keep the wrist from flipping.”
When standing in the fairway ten yards short of the green, Player takes a four iron and says “you play this exactly like a putter.”
The first of the DVDs begins rather oddly, with Player in a sand trap. It made me think that I had missed something, and I kept going back to the main menu to find the lead-in. There is none. The first DVD just covers sand play.
The second disk of A Game For Life covers pitching, chipping and putting. Player notes that 70 percent of all golf shots are inside 100 yards.
Finally the third DVD goes into health, nutrition and fitness. Player argues that if you are fit and health, you will be truly able to enjoy golf for your entire life.
I loved watching these DVDs. Player’s enthusiasm and energy is infectious and his advice immediately useful.
At some point, I’d like to talk to him again to pass on how much he impressed a certain GolfBlogger’s young son.