**UPDATE: The sweepstakes is now closed. We'll be reaching out to our winners shortly.
Please continue to submit your short game questions for Claude and remember that copies of his new book, "Realizing Your Golf Potential: Unlock the Secrets of a PROficient Short Game!" are still available at www.mauischoolofgolf.com.
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If a better short game is on your holiday wish list, we have some great news. Titleist Leadership Advisory Staff Member Claude Brousseau has published a new instructional book titled "Realizing Your Golf Potential: Unlock the Secrets of a PROficient Short Game!", which is dedicated specifically to the wedge game and putting.
We're extremely proud of affiliation with staff members like Claude and though Titleist does not endorse any particular instructional philosophy or methodology, we hope you'll visit www.mauischoolofgolf.com, where you can watch some great tips from Claude and purchase a copy of "Realizing Your Golf Potential".
We recently caught up with Claude for some of his thoughts on the short game and to learn a little bit more about the inspiration behind book. We hope you enjoy our Q&A below.
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Q: Claude, how did you get your start in golf?
Claude: I didn't play golf as a kid. I grew up around 500 miles northwest of Montreal, the middle of nowhere. Little town with maybe 1,000 people in it and like everyone I played hockey. I call golf my third life. My first life I was an intensive care unit nurse. After that I earned an MBA and I had an investment management real estate company. Then I went to see a PGA Tour tournament, and I thought, wow, that looks fun, and that's what I want to do. I started to play for business, for fun, and with friends - this is around the age of around 30. Then I just got hooked.
So I sold everything, moved to Florida in 1992, and I worked at a hospital Saturdays and Sundays from 7 am to 11 pm so I could golf the rest of the week. I was about a 25 handicapper then. Three years later, I was pretty much a scratch player. I played some mini tour events and tried some Monday qualifiers at the Doral and the Honda but I realized I like teaching more than competing. So I quit nursing totally and in 1995 I started part time teaching. Then in 1998 I made the move to teach full time.
Q: You're a Titleist Advisory Staff member and also a member of Team Titleist. Tell us about your relationship with Titleist.
Claude: Absolutely, I love the core values of the company. That's how I choose people that I associate with and why I have a relationship with Titleist. I love the quality of the products, the quality of the people and the quality service. It's been fantastic. I'm good friends with Bob Vokey. He's from Montreal, too, so we've got a connection there.
Q: What are you currently carrying in your Titleist Staff Bag?
Claude: I'm really enjoying the latest addition to my bag, my new AP3 irons. Because of the added distance I picked up, my gaps have changed a little. I go from an AP3 6-iron to a 23° 818 hybrid. I play right-handed except for putting and chipping. That's why I carry four Vokey SM6 wedges. I use my left-handed sand wedge exclusively for chipping.
Golf Ball: Pro V1x #33
Driver: 917D3 (10.5º)
Fairway: 917F2 (15º)
Hybrid: 818H (19º, 23°)
Irons: 718 AP3 (6-PW)
Wedges: Vokey Design SM6 gap, (52-12 F-grind), sand (56-14 F-grind), sand (56-10 S-grind, left-handed) and lob (60-12 K-grind)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Select Newport 2, left-handed
Q: What inspired you to write an instructional book?
Claude: When I first started teaching, and maybe this is related to my background in nursing, I really loved helping people. When you're working with a golfer and you see the light bulb go on and wow, they get it, that's what hooked me. I had started writing instructional articles for Golf Magazine France in 2011 and I loved the challenge of that. The more I wrote, the more I liked the idea of writing a book to help the amateur golfer who might be struggling.
Q: Why did you choose to focus on the short game in "Realizing Your Golf Potential"?
Claude: If you shoot 100, you will hit two greens in regulation. If you shoot 95, three greens, 90, four greens, and 85, five greens. So the short game is something that everybody needs, even if you look at guys like Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. Justin, he says the difference between his first few years on Tour and winning five times last year is that first, he learned to be more patient, but second, he worked really hard on his short game.
Q: You mentioned France. Did you teach there, too?
Claude: Yes, I still do. In 2009 I got recruited by a French businessman who loved golf. He was looking for somebody to create the first golf school in France dedicated exclusively to the short game. He had some property around an existing clubhouse. I was living 6 months on Maui and 6 months in France. I have enjoyed the challenge of building Golf Court Academy from scratch - teaching bays, a learning center, practice greens, everything. We've worked with over 4,000 golfers. So that's another reason why I wanted to do a book on short game. So many golfers need help in this area.
Q: What's your approach to helping golfers improve their games?
Claude: First, golfers have to understand why they produce a good shot. It may sound weird, but most of the people when they come to see me or other coaches, they'll ask, "What am I doing wrong?" My way of looking at things is a little bit different. I tell people, "let's focus on the pure shot". We figure out how they executed that good shot and now they have a recipe. They have a frame of reference to produce it on demand.
In the book, I want golfers to have a system that they can go back to and say okay, when I hit a good shot, it's because I follow these steps. When their performance is not as good, they can go back and use the feedback exercises to feel what they're doing differently and how to get back on track.
Q: Where can amateur golfers improve most around the greens?
Claude: Three putts. That's what costs them. I would say that's probably number one and the easiest and fastest way for golfers to improve their scores. And second I will say that many golfers have no real concept of the 30-yard, 40-yard shot. What I'll call the pitching motion.
Ninety percent of the shot is missed before they even move the club, because they have a ball position and alignment that is not appropriate for the shot they want to play and the quality of the contact is compromised.
I say this all the time - people have so much golf talent, it's unbelievable! Because on the 30-, 40-yard shot, they aim 15 yards right, or left (but most of the time it's right), and they manage to put the ball somewhere close to the flag a lot of the time. Do you realize the number of compensations you have to make to have that happen?
Q: Do you agree with Bob Vokey that bounce is your friend?
Claude: Of course. Bounce on your wedge is your insurance policy, it gives you a margin of error. I like to use a Hawaiian analogy. The bounce on your club is like the front of a surfboard, which is curved up. If the nose was perfectly flat or angled down, the board would dig, it would dive down into the wave, not glide on top it. Same with the bounce on a wedge. When you use the bounce properly, the bottom of the club skims the turf or the sand like a surfboard on a wave.
Q: How about the golf ball? Is the model you play important in the short game?
Claude: I would say it's as essential as having the right wedges in your bag. You should select a ball based on how it reacts close to the green. Many golfers think, 'okay yeah, I will play a better ball when I'm better'. But I say, let's look at how many greens in regulation you hit per round. If you shoot 90, you hit four greens. For those other 14 holes you better have a ball like Pro V1 that will stop close to the hole and help you get up and down. Ten yards longer off the tee doesn't matter at all for the 90-shooter. Getting up and down a few more times each round does.
Q: You mentioned 3-putting. Can you give a tip to help us improve in this area?
Claude: Of course! The key is improving your lag putting, so set up about 30 feet from the hole. Keep your eyes on the hole while you make a few practice strokes. Now address the ball and keep your eyes down as you stroke the putt. Keep looking down until you feel that the ball has stopped. Now you call the shot. Is it five feet long? Six inches short? Is the ball left or right of the cup? Now look up and see the results. Validate what you feel. This is a great way to improve your touch and distance control.
Q: What do you hope golfers will take away after reading your book?
Claude: Simple. I want golfers to read this book and feel confident that they have a plan, their own recipe to play better golf and to have more fun doing it.
Thank you, Claude!
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Claude has been kind enough to autograph three copies of his new book, "Realizing Your Golf Potential: Unlock the Secrets of a PROficient Short Game!" to give away to three lucky members of Team Titleist.
HERE’S HOW TO ENTER - PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: Add a comment in the box below in the form of a short game question for Claude, then hit the "Submit Reply" button.
Sample entry: "Claude, how can I stop hitting behind the ball on my pitch shots?"
Yes, it's that easy.
We’ll randomly select three (3) winners from all approved entries that are submitted by Friday, December 15, 2017 at 11:59 PM.
A few more important details... Only one entry per person. If you send in multiple replies, you'll be disqualified from the contest. Don't forget to include all of the details outlined above or your entry will not be considered eligible.
After the drawing, Claude will respond to as many submitted questions as he can to help get our short games on the right track for next season.
Keep in mind, all posts are moderated and it may take some time for your reply to appear. We'll do our best to approve posts quickly but if you enter more than one reply, we have to disqualify you from the drawing (sorry to repeat this but we want to make sure it's clear).
No purchase necessary. View complete rules here: http://www.titleist.com/company/Community-Policy.aspx#sweepstakes
U.S. only. Here's some more info: Why are Titleist sweepstakes U.S. only?
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ABOUT CLAUDE: Claude Brousseau is a PGA Master Professional currently serving as the Director of Instruction & Coaching at the Maui School of Golf located at Kahili Golf Course, the only Golf Channel Academy facility in Hawaii. He's been twice voted the Aloha Section PGA Teacher of the Year (2008, 2015) and he's been recognized as one of the top instructors in the game by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine.
Team Titleist Staff