A terrific story of resiliance and hard work- and doing the right things- has helped one of my pro students begin to turn his game around.

Remember- the golf ball DOESN'T know who is hitting it- it can ONLY do what the physics of the swing and strike are telling it to do. Anyone can play great or better golf with the proper information......

Battling Back
Brendon Todd Seeing Daylight After Dark Stretch
By Ron Green Jr. • May 4, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA | It took a moment to register, like a hazy memory that won’t quite come into focus.

Brendon Todd’s name was on the leaderboard at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Brendon Todd … hmmm, sounds familiar.

Oh yeah, Brendon Todd, won the 2014 Byron Nelson Championship and was ranked among the top 50 in the world for a while. Nice player. Quiet. Unassuming.

What happened to him?

It’s almost too ugly to talk about.

Here’s the short version from the man himself:

“Ball-striking yips. Hitting a 4-iron like 50 yards right out of play every round and I did that for like two years,” Todd said Friday afternoon after opening with rounds of 69-70 at Quail Hollow Club

That’s the short version. Any longer shot – putting doesn’t count – has brought potential disaster.

Todd, 33, knows the moment it began.

“I hit one in the BMW (Championship) in 2015 in the last group on Saturday and I didn’t stop doing it until … I haven’t stopped really, it’s just less,” he said.

"Last season, Todd missed the cut in all six PGA Tour starts he made. The year before that, he missed eight cuts in nine starts. Go back one more season and Todd missed 25 cuts in 29 starts.

It reached the point where calling what Todd has been through the previous three years a slump is being generous.

He has been lost in the game’s wilderness, his confidence shaken, his swing a mess, his career having flatlined. Run these numbers around for moment:

Last season, Todd missed the cut in all six PGA Tour starts he made. The year before that, he missed eight cuts in nine starts, scratching out a T70 finish the only weekend he played. Go back one more season and Todd missed 25 cuts in 29 starts, including 15 in a row.

That’s 39 missed cuts in 44 starts by a player who finished 46th in the FedEx Cup playoffs in 2015. Once ranked 42nd in the world, Todd teed it up at Quail Hollow this week at No. 1,562. That’s deep space.

“I would think about this time last year I got a couple sponsor exemptions into some (Web.com Tour) events and played poorly. I mean, I was beat up. I was like considering, you know, am I going to get it back, do I need to look to do something else?” Todd admitted.

Enter Australian-born Bradley Hughes, who had a long playing career on the PGA Tour and the European Tour. Hughes focuses on teaching these days and Todd, looking for anything that might help, called Hughes, who is based near Charlotte.

“He has a book on his website that I read and really loved. It talks a lot about his playing days, the history of the great players, how they swung the club. It has a lot of pictures and drills and models in there,” Todd said.

“That kind of resonated with me as a player, a feel player, somebody who doesn’t really want to go try and paint lines with my golf swing, I want to kind of feel like a pressure or a force and that’s what he teaches. He’s all about ground forces and pressures. So the book really hit home with me, and I went and saw him and it’s just kind of been a home run ever since.”

“He still thinks he can win and that’s half the battle.” – swing coach Bradley Hughes on Brendon Todd

Hughes bases his instruction on ground forces and pressure more than positions in the swing. Hughes told Todd to open the clubface as much as possible – a frightening thought to someone given to hitting it wide right – then club it at the ball.

Through an abundance of drill work, Todd saw results.

“It’s easier to teach good players because there is generally something you can point them back toward,” Hughes said. “When you start seeing better shots, it breeds confidence. He still thinks he can win and that’s half the battle.”

Getting to the weekend at Quail Hollow marked the third made cut in five starts for Todd. Small steps but big progress considering where he’s been for more than three years.

Todd feels like he’s a better player now than he was but his results rendered him irrelevant for years. Working with Hughes, he has begun to draw the ball more, has the ability to hit more shots with his irons and he feels his scoring ability returning. From where Todd has been, it doesn’t come back instantly, as his nerves while finishing the second round in contention reminded him.

He doesn’t have the luxury of picking his spots to play, which is why a sponsor exemption into the Wells Fargo Championship was meaningful. Todd has been through something similar before, working through a significant slump in 2010.

“At the end of the day I’m fortunate to have had enough success out here where I didn’t need to go get a job for money really. So my choice is to play professional golf and keep chasing it, keep competing, so that’s what I’ve done,” Todd said.

“I never really stopped working at it the whole time. I’ve chased Mondays, I’ve chased the Web tour, I’ve played mini-tour events, I’ve practiced, I’ve worked with different teachers. I’ve never really changed my game plan.”

When I was roaming the fairways of the PGA Tours of the world- as a player- I was always trying new equipment. Searching for that little bit extra that may help give me an advantage over the next guy.

Now as I roam the practice fairways and driving ranges as an instructor- and yes, still roam the fairways of the PGA Tours with some of my players I coach, I again am still  trying to plan out or look for some type of advantage I can gain for the players I help.

That's human nature- to try and evolve and to try and become better.

As a former player and now as a coach I also - just like always- look at golf from the perspective of the course itself.

The golf courses haven't had much opportunity to speak for themselves with the advancement of technology in recent years. Their voices have been muted- with the volume turned down pretty low.

I love all the arguments from all sides.

The players standpoint.

The equipment companies standpoint.

The governing bodies, probably less than sufficient standpoint.

And finally from the course architects viewpoint- for they are the ones who hold the worst cards in the deck and receive the most backlash- generally for something that is really out of their hands.

In all these arguments, rebuttals, provocative thoughts and insights and pursuit of a solution- there is one main argument that tends to be lost.

How golf courses were designed for not only certain clubs and shot shapes but for how they were designed for certain trajectories.

Read more: The Forgotten Aspect Of Technology & Golf Courses

The long putter debate still raises the temperature of golf aficionados who believe it isn't in the spirit of the game. With good reason really.

After all- is it truly a stroke?

We can't attach a crutch to our driver if we aren't good drivers of the ball. We can't run a stick up the shaft to keep the left wrist from breaking down if we aren't capable of performing the short chips and pitches necessary at the scoring end of each hole.

So how is it that we are able to anchor an extended shaft up the arm to lock it into place or use such a long shafted version of the putter that we can basically lock the top hand still and perform a pendulum with just the bottom hand?

Many of the older generation will remember that when I won the 1993 Australian Masters I did so with the "broomstick" putter. I swept my Titleist in the hole from every which way during a final round 7 under par 66 to ultimately catch Peter Senior in regulation and sneak by him on the first playoff hole.

Truth be told I did hit all 18 greens in regulation that final day so the putting didn't have to be too strong to be rewarded with a low score.

Read more: The Long Putter Debate- Still Rages On

Growing up only a few hundred yards from Rossdale Golf Club- located just outside the famous Sand Belt area of Melbourne- meant one thing. Practice. I practiced a lot in my formative years.

Not only did I spend 10-12 hours a day at the course in an effort to improve,  I loved it. I truly loved practicing.

I sometimes slept in a tent on the driving range having the birds or the grounds crew mowers wake me up at first light so I could be first there to dust the dew off the grass. Call me dedicated or stupid but I was infatuated with golf and learning how to control the ball and get it into the hole in as few a shots as possible.

Do you expect results because you put the work in? Do results come from loving what you do? It's a question for any form of life- not just golf.

How do you practice? Are you practicing to improve and practicing because you love it OR are you practicing because society says you have to if you want to become better. It may not sound much of a difference but there is a unjumpable chasm stuck in between those two ideals.

Read more: Practice For The Good- Not Just The Bad

Golf- particularly professional golf- is having a tough run at the moment.

Players are being called for penalties that are probably a bit harsh and have no bearing on the result of the shot. Players have been disqualified from events for temper tantrums. Guys are having to contort themselves into a praying mantis position just to drop their ball back into play. And now we have the ugliness of slow play again rear it's early head.

No matter how many hours are in a day the tortoise like play at yesterday's Genesis Open.. damn I hate calling it that (lets name it properly) -The Los Angeles Open presented by Genesis- the golfers would have had a hard time finishing before dark.

Plumb bobbing one foot putts. Reading green books to determine break rather than using instinct. Flag in- whoops hang on the next guy wants the flag out. All made the final round a real snoozefest for the viewer.

I always thought if I was going to miss it, I may as well miss it quick. Al Czervik of Caddyshack fame would've lost his voice yelling out at players "Come on while we're young" if he was at Riviera Country Club this weekend.

Read more: A Slow Game Is A Bad Game