I’ve just returned from the PGA show in Orlando and I’m loaded with ways and stories to improve your game and expand your horizons.
The PGA show has a truly international flare and I want to start with part 1 of my interview with the PGA of Sweden’s Director of Education, Johan Hampf. Johan is that rare breed of person that is extremely intelligent, but has the ability to boil down complex concepts to their basic elements and make them tangible and easy to understand for the rest of us. He is also a true gentleman and eager to find new ideas and ways to help the Swedes teach and enjoy golf. (Jr’s note: Johan is the Tiger Woods of joke telling in Sweden, so if you’re ever in Malmo, make sure to stop by the PGA of Sweden for a good laugh)
JR.: Sweden has produced one of the greatest women players ever in Annika and has 2 of the top 10 male golfers:
JR.: How does a small country like Sweden with long winters do it?
JH: It is a complicated question; I think it is a combination on many things. First we have grown a general mental stage where Swedish players “think” they can win or shall I say know that they can win. We have a great education (programs) for our Professionals all the way from the basic training programs to the more advanced programs. We are constantly developing our education and staying ahead of the curve. We are a relatively small country and have a very flexible organization where we can adopt new things and implement it in our system very quick. This gives us a staff of PGA Professionals who are very up to date.
We also have a “life long learning” culture among our Professionals which helps. In addition, We have a great structure with a well functional PGA working closely together with the Swedish Golf Federation in many areas.
Golf is relatively easy to access in Sweden and also relatively inexpensive, which helps recruiting new young golfers. Maybe our long winters and short summers also helps with the motivation. After spending a couple of months indoors hitting golf balls in to nets 30 feet away it feels extra fun coming out on green grass.
Finally, When working on a golfers swing technique, I wonder if it isn’t better to do a change during a winter indoors, away from the tournament season and taking away the ball flight. In some cases the change is easily made.
JR.: What is the mindset of a Swedish golfer?
JH: I am sure we have many different kinds golfers with all different mindsets. Swedes are in general had working and take information from many different areas before making up their mind. Swedes tend to be afraid to stand in the spotlight and are very afraid to make a fool out of themselves. I know a few examples of Swedish pros being so afraid of winning so when they were in a winning positions with a few holes to play they unconsciously or consciously played under their normal standard just so they wouldn’t win and therefore have to give the winning speech. (Jr.’s note: if you “Every shot must have a purpose” you can get more insights into this, I’ll have book report coming soon…)