In the Spotlight: Kyle Stanley

Today’s post is dedicated to Kyle Stanley.  Congratulations to him on his first PGA Tour victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open yesterday!  In a time of adversity, Kyle dug down deep to find greatness.

Who is Kyle Stanley? Kyle isn’t just a young kid that won a PGA event in Phoenix,  he has a record of excellence and will be someone that we will hear more and more about as he continues to shake up the PGA Tour.

Kyle Stanley has always possessed an incredible amount of talent.  When Kyle was 17 he went to TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) for the first time and his ball speed 186.  His ball speed today is 175.  In high school Kyle won 4 AJGA events and won the Southern Amatuer two times. When Kyle was a freshman at Clemson University he established 18 individual scoring records.  During his college career, Stanley was the only Clemson golfer in history to finish in the top 10 at 3 different NCAA National Events.  He joined DJ Trahan and Jonathan Bird in the Clemson history books as one of three to win 3 consecutive First Team All ACC awards.  As a sophomore in 2007,  he played on the Walker Cup Team.  In 2009, as a senior in college, Kyle won the Ben Hogan Award as the best amateur player.  After completing his last year of college golf Kyle turned Professional in 2009.

Last Sunday, 24-year old Kyle Stanley was brought to tears at Torrey Pines after a devastating loss after leading the Farmers Insurance Open by seven shots in the final round.   As he stood on the 18th tee box, he had a four shot lead and preceded to make a triple bogey and then lost in the playoff to Brandt Snedeker.   Did he crumble under pressure?  Not necessarily…

Though he could have and maybe should have gone for the hole in two shots,  he laid up which most would say is the right play in this situation.  He put a little too much spin on his approach shot which would have panned out differently if it landed a few feet further.   Instead the ball trickled into the water.   He ended with a three-putt from 45 feet away from the hole.  On his playoff hole, he lipped out his putt that would have kept him in the hunt.   It wouldn’t be fair to say that he totally blew it or that he wasn’t ready to win.  Kyle Stanley was READY TO WIN and he had a few tough breaks at Torrey Pines.

This week, Stanley got his redemption at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, our local PGA tour stop at TPC Scottsdale.

Similar to the change of events last week, the recovery from being 8 strokes behind is an unlikely occurrence.   At the 18th tee the mood was much different.   This time he was not trying to protect his win; he was determined to capture it.   As the group stood ready to address their shots a lunactic fan decided to swim across the lake and into the fairway.  He was tackled by 3 officers and dragged away.  After a few laughs the tour professionals, had to focus in and finish strong.   Kyle sank a 4 foot putt on the 18th hole to capture his first win on the PGA Tour.

Facts About Kyle Stanley 

(Resources:  The following information I got from and my friend Andrew Black, PGA professional from Mayacama Golf Club and Clemson PGM Graduate)

At the beginning of the year Kyle Stanley’s world golf ranking was 148th

Today’s World Golf Ranking is 52nd

FedExCup Ranking: 1st   with 846 FedEx Cup Points

Kyle earned an exemption to play his favorite course Augusta National in the Masters this  April.   His first opportunity to play in this major event.  

Kyle is also exempt to play in the Accenture Match Play Championship Feb. 22-26th at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Marana, Arizona.  

Scoring Average 68.47

Turned Professional in 2009

Born in Gig Harbor, Washington and still lives there 

College: Clemson University

Earnings from the Waste Management Phoenix Open: $1,098,000

Career Earnings:  3,492,361

Career Victories: 1

Height: 5 ft 11 inches  Weight: 165 Lbs.

Kyle Stanley’s Golf Instructors:  Mike Taylor and Dr. Milt Lowderas

Kyle has one sister and thanked his Mom and Dad during his victory speech at TPC Scottsdale.  

Other Fun Facts about Kyle Stanley 

Favorite Pro Team: Seattle Seahawks
He is superstitious about wearing the color blue
Favorite TV show is ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
Favorite Athletes to watch: Kobe Bryant and LeBron James
Dream Foursome: His Dad, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus
On His Bucket List: To win all four major championships
Has made 4 hole in ones.

Check out What’s In Kyle Stanley’s Golf Bag


Megan Padua is a PGA Certified Instructor, LPGA Member, TPI Level 2 Junior Golf Certified, a TPI Level 1 Golf Professional, Coutour Certified Putter Fitting Professional,  and a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix


Last week the Jeff Ritter Golf Tour Striker Academy went to Orlando to take part in the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show.   This event includes the latest and greatest in the world of golf.  Personally, I have gone for the past eight years in a row and each year I discover something new and exciting.   Here is a list of my favorite finds for the PGA Show this year.


Birdee Golf  (click to view website) –  This is a new product making its first appearance at the PGA show.  It’s a fun game of badmitton golf that is great for juniors and adults.  It even floats in the water!   The founders of the product use it at their lake house in Minnesota.   I can see it being a hit at the Penn State Tailgating parties.


Mini Zoo Covers-

This was a find that I can’t wait to bring to junior golf.   I actually got one of these for my own golf bag.   They have a large selection of animals and can make ones specifically for you!  The next item I get from them will be an Alligator duffle bag to carry all of my junior golf teaching aids.


New Products by Tour Striker  (Click to view Website)

This week Martin Chuck introduced more innovative products by Tour Striker including the Educator, the new Tour Striker Driver and the Tour Striker Impact bag.   The impact bag is not like any you have seen before,  attached to it is a plane board with impact visuals to show the objective of striking it like the tour players.


The New Belly Putter Fitting Tool by Coutour Golf–   I ordered one of these and can’t wait to get it at The Raven in a couple weeks!   Todd Sones has changed the game for many and slowly companies are beginning to strive to meet his standards on putters.   The new belly putter tool will help find the correct length putter for the individual either in conventional length or anchored to the body.


iPAD/iPHONE APPS for Swing Analysis- There were several new products including the Swing Byte,  Swing Smart and the ES12 (by Earnest Sports) that will give you data of the club or swing and send it to your iPad or iPhone. If you haven’t seen it yet,  the Ping App is great for putting analysis.   These products will revolutionize the game is the data is found to be accurate.


Congrats to MIKE MALASKA for winning the PGA National Teacher of the Year!

It was great to catch up with my old college golf buddy Sara “No H” Brown at the PGA show.   You may have seen her from her appearance on the Big Break.  Now she is playing on the Ladies European Tour and will be playing on the LPGA this year.  I’m proud of her for keeping her bright personality while having such success on the golf course and in the media spotlight!   Keep it up Sara!

These are my new shades from Sundog.  Every year I seek out the latest in the Paula Creamer Collection.   I have a hard time finding glasses that I really like and as golfers we need to protect our eyes and skin.   Click here to take a look at the women’s collection.

That’s only a glimpse at some of my favorite finds from the PGA show.  With hundreds of vendors it is always tough to sort through but I felt very satisfied with the products I came across.  Enjoy these new products in 2012!

Megan Padua is a PGA Certified Instructor, LPGA Member, TPI Level 2 Junior Golf Certified, a TPI Level 1 Golf Professional, Coutour Certified Putter Fitting Professional,  and a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix

The Five Pillars

Keep Golf FunThis past spring I was fortunate enough to coach the boy’s golf team at Eau Claire Memorial High School in Eau Claire, WI.  I truly enjoyed being around the players and their families and hope they got as much out of the experience as I did.  Around the mid-season point, I started to notice that many of our players looked tired, easily frustrated, and were becoming very hard on themselves on the golf course.  I decided to give them an evaluation form using 5 elements I had read about in a book by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott from Vision 54 golf.  I had each player rate themselves from 1-5 in these areas:

1.  Physical – Fitness, Posture, Nutrition, Rest, Warm-up

2.  Technical – Golf Swing, Fundamentals, Contact

3.  Mental – Focus, Motivation, Decision making, Self-talk, Course Management

4.  Emotional – Are you nervous, fearful, angry, anxious?

5.  Social – Interaction with playing partners, coaches, teammates, family

I think filling out this form helped some of my players realize that they were being too hard on themselves, worrying about things that were out of their control, and most of all not having enough fun playing this great GAME of golf.  It’s important for young players to realize that their families and friends don’t like them any less if they 3-putt, or miss a layup, or strikeout on the baseball field.

Rating yourself in these five areas can benefit anyone as it relates to their lives, not just teenage golfers.  At the JRG/TSGA we have put together programs that integrate fitness, nutrition, golf psychology, and instruction to not only improve your golf game but also your well being.  Many of these programs are set to launch in January, and we are excited to offer them to everyone from beginning juniors to professional golfers.

Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

So You Wanna Be A Tour Pro?

Nothing is more fun than dreaming about your future, especially as it relates to achieving peak performance in sports! As a kid, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood on the putting green of my home club pretending I had to hammer down a 10 footer to win the Masters. I believe that is a fun mental drill that most players who have the hopes of one day making it big put themselves through! If playing on the Tour is what your dreams are made of, I want you to dig a little deeper and ask yourself the question, “What’s it going to take to be champion?” Click here for the full story as seen in this month’s Golf Infuzion Magazine!

Jeff Ritter is National Director of Instruction for Nike Golf Schools and Junior Camps as well as site Director for Nike Junior Golf Monterey Peninsula. Join Jeff in Monterey this summer for the world’s premier Junior Golf Experience! Click here for details!

Which Athlete Plays Better Golf?

I hope the guy on the left can putt!

Some people say golf is merely a game and that athleticism plays only a small part. I say golf is a sport and the better athletes will win the great majority of the time. Which of these two world-class athletes would make the best golfer? Hmmm.

There is a lot that goes into becoming a fine golfer. The best players comprise a blend of physical and mental gifts. If the athletes above had zero golf background and if I had to pick one of these guys to become an elite player, I would most definitely take the guy on the right! Why? It is pretty obvious. This fellow has the raw horse power to move the club quickly. From that “talent point,” it’s my job as the coach to teach him the finer elements of the swing, shot selection, decision-making, etc. With dedication from both coach and student, a fine golfer is born.

The reason for this Blog post is to get you thinking about your physical condition and the way you want to train your body. The fellow on the right is NOT running miles and miles at slow pace in an “aerobic” state. He’s the type of fellow that does quick burst exercise and gets into an anaerobic state during his workouts. His efforts tear down the muscle fibers so they build themselves back up to be bigger and stronger. All the swings of a 90-shooter are completed in less than two minutes of time.  Burning the miles on the treadmill might get your pants to fit you a little better, but it won’t do much to help you with your club control and distance off the tee.

If you find yourself in Phoenix, Arizona, I invite you to join us at one of our Fitness Boot Camps at The Raven Golf Club – Phoenix. The Boot Camps take place every Saturday beginning in January, 2012. This style of workout is great for golf and fun too. The movements “release” energy unlike simply lifting weights and best of all it is at your own pace.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

My Afternoon With Moe Norman

This video features “Pipeline” Moe Norman, the straightest striker the game has ever seen. On this particular afternoon in September, 1998, I was in Toronto with some of my club members from Southern California. I grew up in Toronto and had many encounters with Moe. During that period, he was the “buzz” of many avid golfers as he was featured in Golf Digest Magazine. Even at Moe’s elevated age, he could still strike the ball purely and with good distance. It was fun to hear him ramble on about the game and its players while hitting balls “rapid fire” as he was known to do.

Enjoy the video, it is long, but well worth the time to watch and take in some anecdotes from one of the game’s most interesting and talented characters.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Juniors Excelling At Golf

JuniorsWhat is the key to developing a junior golfer? As a PGA professional, it is my personal goal to grow the game and introduce as many new players to the game as I can. Juniors make the most sense because once they get hooked they tend to stay lifelong players. I remember the day I fell in love with golf. The first time I “flushed” an iron shot and actually felt like it wasn’t a fluke. I was hooked. It didn’t take long before I wanted to be the best junior golfer in my area and then compete on a regional and national level. I was a motivated little kid.


1. I had the support of my parents. My mother wasn’t a golfer but she was very supportive. My father loved golf and played to a 15 handicap. He knew enough to set me up with lessons rather than to try to teach me himself. I was seven or eight when I took my first formal lessons. I couldn’t wait to take a lesson. I wanted to learn.

2. I had some friends who played golf and we thrived on the daily competition. We played almost every day and often more than 18 holes. After a round of golf we would chip and putt and challenge each other to different games. If “the gang” around, I’d get paired with adults. I enjoyed playing golf with anyone and everyone. The golf course was a safe environment.

3. I had easy access to golf. There was a “Muni” a few miles down the road and I could get  a ride or take the bus. The annual cost for golf was $200 or so. I probably played 100 rounds, so that is a pretty good price per round. The golf course was a great “baby sitter.”

Some of you reading this post have kids that are thinking about playing golf or are already jazzed about the game and you are trying to find them the right place for fun and development. The Raven Golf Club is where my partner, Jeff Ritter and teaching associates, Aaron Olson, Megan Padua and I coach. This is the place where we have the opportunity to help “kids like me” and provide the environment to elevate their skills in both golf and life.

Please check the website soon as we will post our Junior Programs. Some will be geared towards kids wanting to excel on a regional and national scale. While other programs target introductory skills and development. The future of the game depends on today’s youth and I can’t think of a better place to bring your child than to the Raven to spend time with this coaching staff for which I’m proud to be associated.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Fitness Friday – Hamstring Exercises

The hamstrings play a huge role in increasing your clubhead speed and maintaining your posture. Check out what our good friend, Golf Digest Fitness Editor Ron Kaspriske has to say about what exercises are best to strengthen and lengthen your hamstring region.

Follow Ron Kaspriske on Twitter for daily fitness advice!