A day of golf cannot possibly be peace or poetry, can it? It can be hell times 18. Shanks. Chunks. Dribblers. Slices. Lip-outs. Lost balls and lost sanity.
Yet in the script of the golf romance “Tin Cup,” Roy McAvoy speaks of the golf swing as a poem.
“The golf swing is a living sculpture,” he says. “It’s a tuning fork in your heart … an unfinished symphony … a little nod to the gods.’”
Susie Meyers picks it up from there with words you don’t hear on the first tee at Your Local Muni.
“Golf should be peaceful,” she says. She uses words like “freedom” and “self-discovery.” She does not turn on a video camera — she doesn’t have a video camera — to break down spine-angles, the follow-through or the overlapping grip.
“I will not tell you what you did wrong,” she says. “I will never say, ‘Don’t do this.’”
A golf lesson with Susie Meyers is so refreshing, so revolutionary, that Golf magazine has selected her as one of America’s Top 100 instructors. That’s like being named one of America’s Top 100 Chefs.
It’s almost impossible to get on that golf list, an “Old Boys Club” that churns out the same old, same old, Hank Haney and Jim McLean, over and over and over.
Meyers, 23 years into the teaching business after her UA and LPGA playing days, worked for both Haney and McLean. She has chosen her own way to teach golf; those who chronicle the game at the highest level noticed.
More importantly, those who play golf at a lower level have noticed.
“My schedule book is full,” says Meyers. You want a lesson? Who doesn’t?
“She is definitely not an X’s and O’s instructor,” says Raytheon official Dave Lundeberg, who recently took two lessons from Meyers. “It changed my game.
“I saw immediate improvement. I’m at least 20 yards longer, maybe more. I’m more at peace out there than I’ve ever been.”
Meyers wrote a book a few months ago: “Golf From Point A.” There is not a fix-your-swing diagram on any of the 163 pages. Nothing about proper alignment and nothing to suggest you purchase a swing jacket or a subscription to one of those golf websites that dispatches a teaching video every 24 hours.
“I try to make the game very, very simple, very positive,” she says. “All a video camera does is tell you what’s wrong. I don’t want (my pupils) to find out what’s wrong. That’s a stigma you carry with you forever. You can’t play in fear.”
The subheads in her book are much less technical. Such as:
THE MARVELOUS YOU
YOU CONTROL YOU
LET POSITIVITY PREVAIL
“It’s not slapping 25 balls while she’s watching,” says Lundeberg. “The whole Point A thing is about forgetting your last shot and being in the moment.”
Meyers isn’t a name- dropper. She does not mention that she has been the instructor for PGA Tour winners Michael Thompson and Derek Ernst, or that her son, Chris Meyers, a sophomore golfer at Stanford, won the state championship while at Canyon del Oro High School, or that two of her current students, UA grads Brittany Benvenuto and Alejandra Llaneza, are on the LPGA Tour.
She chooses to speak of a 70-something gentleman she worked with last week at Ventana Canyon.
“He came here to work on his driver,” she says. “But I took him down to the bunkers and had him work on sand shots. I didn’t give him any instruction about his setup or any of that. I let him do it. When he left he told me ‘those were the best sand shots I’ve ever hit.’ I was so happy for him. When he comes for his next lesson, he’ll hit his driver with the same confidence.”
Golf is so difficult that it has been famously referred to as “a good walk spoiled.” Meyers would edit that. She would call it “a good walk.”
She grew up in Phoenix, the daughter of an Air Force fighter pilot, choosing golf as a career path at 14, breaking youth scoring records at the Wigwam Golf Course and becoming the school’s No. 1 golfer during her freshman season at Arizona.
She taught in New York, Texas and Florida before returning to Tucson, getting married to Arizona amateur champion Dan Meyers, raising two children and helping her mentor, former Tucson driving range owner Jack Conrad, write his 2011 book “The Golfer’s Guidebook to Inner Peace and Lower Scores.”
Conrad died in 2012; Meyers carries forth his voice.
“Golf instruction is too rigid,” she says. “The golf industry has falsely told us that you’ve got to do X, Y and Z before you can be successful. That’s wrong. There are no rules; it’s how you think that will bring the best out of your golf game.”
And maybe a little nod from the golf gods.
Contact sports columnist Greg Hansen at 520-573-4145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @ghansen711