Saturday, June 25, 2011

20 Questions With Nick Clearwater

Nick is probably one of the two or three best instructors that you have never heard of. You just met John Graham who falls into that catagorie as well, and hopefully over the next few months you’ll get to hear from several more under the radar instructors.

For the last few years, Nick  has been a true road warrior. Logging thousands of miles on the PGA Tour  working with Stack and Tilters Charlie Wi, Troy Matteson, Bill Lunde, and Eric Axley among others.  Over the last few months he has been conducting 3D testing and analysis on dozens of tour players.  I would venture to say that he has as much  knowledge of what’s going on with the golf swings of the guys with their names on their bags than anyone that get’s paid to do that sort of stuff.  I have been fortunate enough to work closely with Nick at The Links and Tees Golf Facility in Addison Illinois for the past two seasons. A golf instructor might work his entire career and never have the opportunity to train with a coach that has first hand experience coaching and teaching PGA Tour professionals.  He has been kind enough to go under the 20 Questions knife for a little exploratory surgery. Enjoy J

1. Jack or Tiger?

2. What do tomorrows instructors need to focus on to be successful and will technology become more important or less important?
       Tomorrows instructors need to learn how to study, research, & understand how the golf    swing truly works. 3D technology is crucial to learning how the swing works, but I have only met a handful of instructors that can decipher the information well enough to use it correctly. Keeping up with technology is important in every profession; Golf is no different.

3. What will be the most relevant form of technology for instructors in 10 years?
       Most likely Doppler Radar, but I am still going to be reading 3d graphs every night ;)
4. Do you think the Golf ball goes too far?
       Only on the PGA Tour
5. What's the best golf course in the world?
          Pine Valley

6. What's the best golf course you have ever played?
          Pine Valley

7. Who was your brush with greatness with in golf?
       I have been fortunate enough to meet Jack Nicklaus & Arnold Palmer, but hanging out with “Big” Al Geiberger is by far the most exciting. Al has seen EVERYTHING in golf.
8. Who was your non-golf brush with greatness?
Probably ESPN President ,George Boddenheimer. He’s not only the most powerful man in all of sports, but one of the nicest guys I’ve EVER met.

9. Jack or Arnie?
      Jack on the course and Arnie off of it.

10. Greatest instructor of all time?
        Andy Plummer and Michael G. Bennett will ALWAYS be my heroes. I will never be able to thank them enough for teaching me how to study the swing and master a system of measuring it.
 11. Regardless of sport, who is the greatest coach of all time?
          Mike Ditka 1a and Phil Jackson 1b

12. How big a role will fitness play in the next decade and are swing flaws physical causations?
         Fitness and strength training are important for everyone’s general health. Golf pros are not doctors of physical therapy. It would be appropriate if all instructors could recognize that FACT. The last time I told a student he/she was not flexible and/or strong enough to make a golf related movement that was necessary to push and draw a golf ball was in 2003.
13. How well do you think an instructor should play and can you quantify it?
          Yes, an instructor should be able to play reasonably well. Teachers that cannot demonstrate their own material really do not understand how the swing works. A teacher should be able to demonstrate and articulate with some precision how to curve a ball.
14. Who is your dream foursome?
       Arnold Palmer, Don Rickles, and Gary McCord (you’re just an idiot if you don’t pick Rickles and McCord)
15.Would you rather qualify for the US Open as a player or play a role in helping one of     
    your current students that are non currently on tour make it out there?
    I would rather have a player make it out on the PGA Tour

16. Bob Jones or Ben Hogan?
     Jones had a better backswing
17. What rule or rules would you like to see changed or abolished by the USGA?
        The USGA rules are fine, but get rid of scorecards on the PGA Tour. Pointless.

18. Clubface or Path?
     Both, can’t have one without the other.

19. Do you think Tiger will catch Jack's 18 majors?

20. Prioritize these areas of the game in order of importance 1 being the most important and
       8 the least.

Putting                                      1.  Ball Striking
Driving                                      2.  Putting
Chipping /Pitching                      3.  Chipping/ Pitching
Wedge Game                           4.  Course/Game Management 
Ball Striking                              5 . Driving
Specialty Shots                         6.  Wedge Play
Game/Course Management       7.  Specialty Shots
Fairway Woods/Hybrids             8. Fairways Woods/Hybrids

    Bonus Question - Teacher or coach?
      Coach, but IMO it’s just semantics.

     Double Bonus Question - Zeppelin or Stones?
 I am 33 not 83, Ronnie! Ouch, That’s gonna’ leave a mark ;-(
Triple Bonus – Maddona or Gaga?
Brittany when she was still hot!


  1. Love this segment.

    Look forward to reading more.


  2. Fun to read. I disagree on #12, you don't have to have a doctorate in Physical Therapy to see a correlation between a golfer's hip and spine mobility and their swing. But that's Nick's opinion.