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Chamblee Getting Some Heat for "Bitch-Slapped" Comment

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PGA of America leadership issued a forceful rebuttal of Brandel Chamblee's remarks on golf instruction, calling them "disgraceful."

The relevant section of his comments:

The teachers are being exposed for their idiocy, but I stood on the range with a prominent teacher who had acolytes all around him who then went out and those acolytes talk with acolytes and then they completely spread this flawed philosophy through all of teaching and all teachers stuck to that ideal and all teachers taught flawed philosophies and these philosophies finally got bitch-slapped by reality. YouTube, there it is, you’re wrong, they’re right.

Before that who had video of all these people? You had to really, really be a student of the game. And then even if you were you still had the periodicals that would post stories and you’d go to the airport and go to the grocery store and there they are touting that this is how you swing a golf club and you say, ‘Well, I guess I’m an idiot because here are these guys on front pages of magazines telling me that I need to set my wrists and swing flat and keep the club in front of me and stay balanced and have a compacted golf swing for more consistency.’ These are all packaged lies. They didn’t have malicious intent, but they just weren’t vetted out. Now those ideas get vetted out by social media. It’s peer review. Put those out there, the whole world goes to their computers and says, Wait a minute.

I don't think he's all that wrong. I do wonder if the people he was talking about in the first paragraph were Mike and Andy.

GW: It does seem like if you go by the rankings of instructors, all the best teachers in the country are working with PGA Tour pros. It seems farfetched that it could be that simple, right?

BC: Oh, the rankings are ridiculous. They couldn’t be any more inaccurate. When I look at those lists and the people that put those lists together, they’re my friends, and again there’s no malicious intent but they put them together based upon those teachers that are the most marketable, that are writing the most columns.

Agree there. 100%.

I think this was totally worth it for Brandel to do this.

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I read the first 2 parts of the 3 part piece on Golfweek and pretty much agree with everything Chamblee said. In the second piece, it details him taking out his phone and playing a swing video of Spieth and pointing out which move he thought Spieth should fix. The smartphone era, wow, lol. I'm not surprised he was called out for his choice of words, but the substance of what he said made a lot of sense. What Breed said about Chamblee taking it out on instructors because he didn't have better results on the PGA Tour (kind of like in the movie, Moneyball) was low though. Poor form, Breed.

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I think BC missed the mark a bit because he shifts some of the blame of sliding performances away from the players themselves. It is ultimately the player who has to perform. If I chunk a 9 iron, I’m mature enough not to blame my Evolvr instructor. But some are not.
 

We do this too. We see Spieth decline in the rankings and many blame the teacher and not Jordan. Or we blame the caddy for a missed shot. “Must have given him the wrong yardage”

Players play the game, not coaches or teachers. We must do the work. 
 

I had a terrific Calculus teacher in High School. He taught me well and Calculus was pretty easy for me in college. I would never blame him it I made an error on a Thermo test. It is on me.

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1 hour ago, boogielicious said:

 

I think BC missed the mark a bit because he shifts some of the blame of sliding performances away from the players themselves

 

But BC sited a specific example of a fault he was seeing and a failure by the coach to correct it/bring it to attention. He also mentioned false swing philosophies being spread from one to the other. This is the responsibility of the coaches. Of course it’s ultimately the player. But if you’re being paid to watch your player and detect issues in his swing, it’s on you, the coach. Yes?

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15 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

But BC sited a specific example of a fault he was seeing and a failure by the coach to correct it/bring it to attention. He also mentioned false swing philosophies being spread from one to the other. This is the responsibility of the coaches. Of course it’s ultimately the player. But if you’re being paid to watch your player and detect issues in his swing, it’s on you, the coach. Yes?

Things can be on the coach, of course.

But this also assumes he was right about what he saw, and that this would be the fix. I'm doubtful that he'd fix Jordan Spieth in "two minutes."


Here's how I feel in general about coaching.

On a good day, coaches deserve about 1-2% of the credit. This is just a guy who comes up through junior golf and has a steady progression and eventually achieves something on the PGA Tour. For that guy, 1-2% is about right. It's probably actually more, but coaches don't want more than that, because the player is the one who has to actually HIT the balls, put in the practice time, etc. The coach is there for a lot of it, but it's relatively passive.

For a guy who falls into hard times, and a coach saves or recovers his career, coaches might get upwards of 8-10% of the credit - for a short time. If a guy was doing great, but develops driver yips or something, a coach who can get him back to driving the ball well enough to contend or win on the PGA Tour has done a good deal of work. The player may literally have fallen off the Tour without the coach. But even here, 90% of the credit is to the player: he still has to be the one to actually work through it. And… this specifically does not include Tiger opting to re-work his swing for no apparent reason a few times. 🙂

For a guy who starts to falter despite putting in the work, this is again where a coach can deserve probably 8-10% of the blame, maybe upwards of 20 to 30% depending on the player. If the player is just a rube who goes along with everything the coach says, that is where you can get to 20, 25, even 30% maybe… but players need to be in more control than this, generally speaking, as it is THEIR careers, and THEIR lives. But, suppose a player was told repeatedly something crazy by his instructor, and because he trusts the instructor, he tried to implement it. Most of the blame goes to the instructor.

Here's a story where the instructor gets a lot of blame. Trevor Immelman was hitting fades and wanted to hit a draw. This was after he'd won the Masters. His coach at the time was David Leadbetter, and people were just starting to understand the D-Plane (i.e. so, years after Jorgensen's book came out). David, in an attempt to get Trevor to hit a draw, had Trevor beating DOWN on the golf ball HARD to attempt to shift his path outward some. Trevor would hit really low draws, like really low, and quickly developed a wrist issue that required surgery.

That's a case where I'd personally put a good amount of blame on the instructor. But, also, the player has to realize at some point… what in the hell? Nobody else who hits draws is doing it by hitting down like this, right?

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1 hour ago, boogielicious said:

I think BC missed the mark a bit because he shifts some of the blame of sliding performances away from the players themselves. It is ultimately the player who has to perform. If I chunk a 9 iron, I’m mature enough not to blame my Evolvr instructor. But some are not.

It goes both ways. An instructor could set a player down the wrong path and “ruin” the player’s swing to the point that they no longer can compete on a high level, make them more susceptible to injury, etc. In that case, being a stupid monkey ends up working against the player.

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5 minutes ago, billchao said:

It goes both ways. An instructor could set a player down the wrong path and “ruin” the player’s swing to the point that they no longer can compete on a high level, make them more susceptible to injury, etc. In that case, being a stupid monkey ends up working against the player.

Addressed (for me, from my perspective) just up above. I posted it after yours and then merged it with my earlier post.

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9 minutes ago, billchao said:

It goes both ways. An instructor could set a player down the wrong path and “ruin” the player’s swing to the point that they no longer can compete on a high level, make them more susceptible to injury, etc. In that case, being a stupid monkey ends up working against the player.

A6D253F9-D849-469F-9B01-E8A3E756F051.jpeg

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I think it foolish to think a coach/teacher who is proven has missed something so easy to spot in a couple of minutes. Unless you are there you don’t know what they have told the player. It happens in football all the time. A coach comes up with the game plan and the player does execute. It’s easy to say the coach should have told him not to do that. The player in the end has to perform. Of course with a shitty coach none of this applies lol. 

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47 minutes ago, iacas said:

I'm doubtful that he'd fix Jordan Spieth in "two minutes."

I’d invite him to do so. Put him to the test. If anything I’d like to see BC’s comments when he fails to do it.

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I've read the first two installments of the interview.  I think what Chamblee did poorly was to lump "instructors" into one big incompetent basket, and to suggest that Youtube and social media are an appropriate proving ground for "good" teaching.  When talking about Victor Hovland he says

Quote

but the errors in teaching have been kicked to the curb by social media and by YouTube and by people who had access to that stuff. 

Is he saying that the teaching available on Youtube is now the right way to learn golf?  If so, he's ignoring a TON of very poor instruction that's available right next to some good stuff.  

Quote

The teachers are being exposed for their idiocy, but I stood on the range with a prominent teacher who had acolytes all around him who then went out and those acolytes talk with acolytes and then they completely spread this flawed philosophy through all of teaching and all teachers stuck to that ideal and all teachers taught flawed philosophies and these philosophies finally got bitch-slapped by reality. YouTube, there it is, you’re wrong, they’re right.

This sounds as if he's claiming that one instructor has provided the (incorrect) basis for "all teachers" and that Youtube somehow exposed the flaws in what "all teachers" were saying.  I don't have any doubt that there are a number of instructors who have had followers, schools of thought, and that some of those schools of thought were based on principles that have been proven wrong by real data.  But to suggest that "all teachers" have been exposed by social media is silly.

In my mind, Chamblee deserves significant criticism for overgeneralizing in all these comments, and for holding up the fractured world of Youtube and social media as a positive authority on golf instruction.

And about the rankings:

Quote

That’s 50 out of the 27,000 that I know for sure are not the top-50 teachers in the world.

None of the teachers listed are among the top 50 in the world?  I do agree that those lists are based to a significant degree on exposure, on having your teaching available and promoted and noticed.  I don't know enough about the folks on the list to say that someone does or does not deserve to be considered "top 50", but its inconceivable to me that not a single one deserves to be on the list.  Perhaps there is a better way to determine who deserves to be on the list, some type of metrics to be considered, but in the end its going to be a matter of opinion.

In the second part of the interview, where he talks more of individual players and individual teachers, I don't have big issues.  Spieth hasn't improved, and its fair to consider whether that's his fault, or his teacher's fault, or some kind of combination.  It was interesting to me that BC chose to talk about Spieth as part of his response to a question about Rickie Fowler.  

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18 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I've read the first two installments of the interview.  I think what Chamblee did poorly was to lump "instructors" into one big incompetent basket, and to suggest that Youtube and social media are an appropriate proving ground for "good" teaching.  When talking about Victor Hovland he says

Is he saying that the teaching available on Youtube is now the right way to learn golf?  If so, he's ignoring a TON of very poor instruction that's available right next to some good stuff.

I think he's saying that because people have access to Instagram and YouTube, golfers of all levels can look at slow-mo swings of hundreds of golfers, or hear input from hundreds of instructors.

Before, only a few instructors had access to the swings of top pros.

18 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

This sounds as if he's claiming that one instructor has provided the (incorrect) basis for "all teachers" and that Youtube somehow exposed the flaws in what "all teachers" were saying.

I don't read it that way at all.

The "acolytes" example was an example, not "THE" singular instance.

18 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

But to suggest that "all teachers" have been exposed by social media is silly.

Did he say "all teachers" or did he just pluralize "teachers"?

18 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

In my mind, Chamblee deserves significant criticism for overgeneralizing in all these comments, and for holding up the fractured world of Youtube and social media as a positive authority on golf instruction.

I disagree.

18 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

None of the teachers listed are among the top 50 in the world?

Did he say none?

I think you misread that section Dave:

All I know is that when I get that list I know one thing: these for sure are not the top-50 teachers in the world. For sure. That’s 50 out of the 27,000 that I know for sure are not the top-50 teachers in the world. And by the way I go down all the lists and I get a (pad) out and I write down what they teach, what their ideas are and then I go look up all their (pro) players and then I see are they better or are they worse? I do it for all 50 of them. It takes me days to do it, but I do it just for giggles. I go online, I look at their ideas and some of them crack me up.

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28 minutes ago, iacas said:

The "acolytes" example was an example, not "THE" singular instance.

Did he say "all teachers" or did he just pluralize "teachers"?

I quoted the text directly from the Golfweek article, he specifically says:

Quote

they completely spread this flawed philosophy through all of teaching and all teachers stuck to that ideal and all teachers taught flawed philosophies 

To me, that doesn't read as an example, it reads as a generalization of all teaching, since he says "all of teaching" or "all teachers" repeatedly.  I understand your interpretation, that he's really talking about some of the instructors who haven't continued to revise and improve their instruction as more data becomes available.  Maybe that's what he meant, but its not the way it comes across to me.  Again, my issue is that much of this comes across as overly generalized criticism of "all teachers"

A lot of the problem is that in a short interview, its hard to completely cover many issues.  There wasn't a lot of back and forth, with the interviewer looking to clarify certain points, at least as far as the written article goes.  The thing about the best-50 list, the words say that the list has 50 people that BC "know(s) for sure are not the top 50 in the world".  Does me mean that none of them are in the top 50, or that the list includes a few that don't belong there?  A follow-up might have clarified that, but now its left to us to interpret.  "Brandel, of the 50 on the list, how many do you think deserve to be there?"

On the plus side, Chamblee is paid to draw readers and listeners, to get attention, and sell advertising for his platforms.  In that he has once again succeeded brilliantly.

Edit.  Mary Anne just walked past me, asked me what I'm doing.  I responded "Arguing with Erik" and she walked quickly away.  Smart woman I married.

 

Edited by DaveP043

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8 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Mary Anne just walked past me, asked me what I'm doing.  I responded "Arguing with Erik" and she walked quickly away.  Smart woman I married.

ha ha!

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23 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I quoted the text directly from the Golfweek article, he specifically says:

To me, that doesn't read as an example, it reads as a generalization of all teaching, since he says "all of teaching" or "all teachers" repeatedly.  I understand your interpretation, that he's really talking about some of the instructors who haven't continued to revise and improve their instruction as more data becomes available.  Maybe that's what he meant, but its not the way it comes across to me.  Again, my issue is that much of this comes across as overly generalized criticism of "all teachers"

I still don't take it that way.

The teachers are being exposed for their idiocy, but I stood on the range with a prominent teacher who had acolytes all around him who then went out and those acolytes talk with acolytes and then they completely spread this flawed philosophy through all of teaching and all teachers stuck to that ideal and all teachers taught flawed philosophies and these philosophies finally got bitch-slapped by reality. YouTube, there it is, you’re wrong, they’re right.

I take that as the "acolytes" of this one guy (of which there may be similar editions with different flawed teachings with their own "acolytes") spread it through "all of teaching," and then all of those acolytes or teachers taught those same flawed philosophies.

I also give him the benefit of the doubt as a smart guy who wouldn't say "all/every/none/never/always" type statements. This whole interview felt "off the cuff" and just spoken word, with little editing (hence "bitch-slapped"), so you've gotta read it that way, too.

Brandel very much likes some instructors, so again, I highly doubt and didn't read the "all" above as "all teachers," but rather, all teachers within certain instructional trees.

As another example… COVID-19 has spread throughout "all" of the U.S. but not everyone in the U.S. has it.

23 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

The thing about the best-50 list, the words say that the list has 50 people that BC "know(s) for sure are not the top 50 in the world".

Right, so if literally one or two of those people on that list are not the top 50, the statement is accurate.

You're reading far too much into what he said. I could say the list is not the top 50 in the world too, even though I could name 10 people who should remain in the top 50 after the other 40 are removed (I'm somewhat making those numbers up).

23 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Does me mean that none of them are in the top 50, or that the list includes a few that don't belong there?

I think it's a stretch to take it the way you took it.

23 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Edit.  Mary Anne just walked past me, asked me what I'm doing.  I responded "Arguing with Erik" and she walked quickly away.  Smart woman I married.

That's unnecessary.

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Hell just call it out. Use names. This isn’t an assault on someone’s character, religion or political beliefs. It’s f****** Golf. If you have facts to support that something being taught by John Doe is bs then call him out. All this pansification is so damn annoying. Let’s hear/read the debate. Erik gets people on here all the time who challenge golf mechanics and he defends his teachings with researched facts, data and stats. He also welcomes anyone to debate as long as they’ve done their homework. 
 

Let’s have Breed, Harmon, Ledbetter, in a podcast with some younger instructors, YouTube guys and BC. Talk it out FFS! If they all think they’re right it would make for some excellent listening/viewing. 

Edited by Vinsk

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While I think Chamblee could have used different language, there is one positive aspect to his comments.

In a world where professional and recreational (for the most part) golf has shut down, it does give all of the commentators, and even the PGA, something to talk about.

Being reduced to watching past golf tournaments, (and for me previous Stanley Cup runs), and movies, there is really nothing much to talk about.

John

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1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

Hell just call it out. Use names. This isn’t an assault on someone’s character, religion or political beliefs. It’s f****** Golf. If you have facts to support that something being taught by John Doe is bs then call him out. All this pansification is so damn annoying. Let’s hear/read the debate. Erik gets people on here all the time who challenge golf mechanics and he defends his teachings with researched facts, data and stats. He also welcomes anyone to debate as long as they’ve done their homework.

It's just not done in golf.

I have two videos sitting on my desktop right now. They're videos of lessons taught by top 50 guys. They're HORRIBLE f***ing lessons. They're atrocious.

And I think a lot of other very good instructors would agree.

But it's just not done.

Hell, look at how poorly some people on here who are NOT making their living teaching golf (or teaching how to teach golf) take things. Imagine how poorly someone who does earn a living doing this stuff would take it.

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