A Great Way To Learn, Improve

There were plenty of eager learners at the Get Golf Ready clinic at Princeville. David Simon photos

The U.S. Ryder Cup team suffered a historic collapse on the final day of this year’s biennial competition. The Americans had built a 10-6 lead over the first two days and needed to only acquire 4.5 of the 12 points available in the singles matches to reclaim the international prize, but the home team fell flat in front of the Illinois crowd and the Europeans scorched Medinah Golf Club for 8.5 points to carry the Cup back overseas with a 14.5-13.5 victory.

It was equal to the biggest final-day collapses in the event’s history and compounded by the fact that the Americans had led 10-4 at one point on Day 2, only to see the Europeans outpoint them 10.5 to 3.5 the rest of the way.

Still the biggest name and biggest draw in the game, Tiger Woods was a shell of his former dominant self as he and partner Steve Stricker lost all three of their foursome matches before Woods managed just a half-point in the ultimately meaningless final singles match of the event.

That makes it five out of the last six for Europe, who have dominated since having their own epic collapse in 1999 when they also surrendered a 10-6 lead on the final day.

With the Ryder Cup following the completion of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the 2012 PGA season is on its last legs, but the golf season is still in high gear at Princeville’s Makai Golf Club.

Golfers practice their short games

On Oct. 6, Makai hosted a two-hour clinic open to the public for just $20 that was part of a nationwide initiative titled “Get Golf Ready.” The day involved a number of the club’s PGA professionals giving participants tips on all aspects of their game.

It seems like anyone who has ever swung a club feels they are qualified to dole out golf tips, which are usually both unsolicited and unremarkable. I have heard tips from players that are completely contradictory to one another, so having capable and knowledgeable pros giving two hours’ worth of advice for $10 an hour seems like a pretty solid investment.

Men and women of all ages worked on their approach at the tee box, their short game just off the greens, as well as addressing the ball for their putting stroke. I don’t believe there was a block dedicated to the mental approach required to maintain a seemingly insurmountable lead in a prestigious international competition, but maybe there will be.

Up next at Makai is the Warrior/Wave Intercollegiate Golf Tournament, hosted by St. Regis Princeville Resort. The three-day college tournament will feature 15 Division I golf teams competing against one another Nov. 5 to 7. The public is invited to come out and watch some of the top up-and-coming talent in the nation, including our own University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. It will be the third and final winter event for the men’s team, so it’s the last chance to see UH on the links until February.

Other teams scheduled to play will be coming from all across the Mainland, including University of San Diego, Pepperdine, Cal State-Fullerton, North Carolina State, Indiana University, East Tennessee State and Baylor.