Bill Strausbaugh is a swing doctor, a healer golfers seek when their game is suffering an acute case of the blahs.
Strausbaugh, 52, is the head pro at Columbia Country Club. For 14 years he has been a teacher at the PGA business schools and teaching workshops. Among fellow instructors are Bob Toski, Jim Flick and Paul Bertholy.
Strausbaugh claims to hold the keys that unlock one of the mysteries of the universe, a sound golf swing and its components.
He gives 12 to 16 lessons a day, three days a week. He directs his teachings toward one basic theme: the golf club should be pulled, rather than pushed.
"The influence on the club should be greater from the front of the shaft than from behind the shaft," he said. This forces powerful back and leg muscles to act on the swing.
Strausbaugh offers five points to help convery a sand-in-the-face pusher into a he-man puller, for right-handed golfers:
TARGET PROJECTION - Determine in your mind where you want the ball to go. In other sports, like baseball, the pitcher focuses on the catcher's mitt. In golf, you can't do this so your "mind's eye" should be sensing the target while your eyes watch the ball. "Conceptualizing the ball flying and not conceptualizing the ball sitting."
MOTION - "A combination of an arm stretch away from the target, and a knee spring back to the target."
POSTURE - A sturdy foundation for the motion.
ALIGNMENT - Aiming club correctly. "Ninety-nine percent of golfers focus their eyes on target but the clubface is actually aimed to the right of target."
POSITIONS - Grip. Angles between back of left hand and back of left wrist should be convex; angles of right hand and right wrist should be concave. Right arm should be bent in "crabclaw" fashion.
Complicated? Perhaps, but Strausbaugh insists that his "whole, part, whole" approach is "frankly the most concise way of explaining the golf swing. When those five keys are executed and interwoven, the golfer has to be in the pulling church, he has left the pushing church."
With Straushaugh, there is always hope. Even if the golfer can't break 120 and writes his initials with the loop in his backswing, Strausbough offers a ray of light.
"If a person is patient and tenacious, I feel he can meke an improvement."
He would never say what Sam Snead purportedly told and exasperated hacker when asked for advice.
"Why don't you lay off golf for about two weeks," Snead is allegedto have said."And then give it up for good."