GoldenTeeFan hooks up with Brian Bernhardt for some games!

By • Category: Miscellaneous

I wanted to add a post summarizing my experience with Golden Tee pro Brian Bernhardt, who I met on Jan. 5, 2008. Brian and I met and played at 21 Club in Galesburg, IL, which is a pretty short drive for both of us.

First, Brian gave me a summary of his incredible Golden Tee career, much of which can be found on his site here.

After that, we plowed through all 5 Golden Tee 2008 courses in order, and we played 2 more for good measure before I had to hit the road!

Playing with Brian was incredible. You can tell how he has all the holes memorized, and he hardly has to think before winding up and cranking a shot. He plays super fast, which is very much to his advantage when playing in tournaments so that his competitors can’t get a good read on how much angle or power he put into his shot. Consequently, it was hard for me to follow him at times, although I did my best to mimic most of his shots. As you can guess, near hole-outs for him would be missed greens for me when I tried some of the things he has mastered!

I learned two very big lessons from my session. First, I had no idea that the machine reads only your initial pullback of the trackball, and not any adjustments you try to make after it unless you reset your approach. I have always been in the habit of pulling the ball back once, and then pulling it back several more times until I have the angle I want. Little did I know that it only reads the first pullback and what I was doing had no effect at all! That one realization alone should greatly improve my game.

Going along with that lesson was the habit of overcompensating for trackballs that don’t come straight back. For instance, if a trackball gets dirty, a pullback you think is straight may actually tail off to the left or right at the end. I figured the machine read that last movement before the ball quit spinning, but it really only reads the pullback until your golfer’s swing is fully cocked, ignoring what happens afterward. How about that!

Secondly, I learned a lot about distance when hitting out of the rough. I was aware that curve shots lose a lot of distance when applied from the rough, but I didn’t realize how far straight these 180 degree shots can go! I never really had these shots in my repertoire, but now I use them quite a bit — an A3 or C1-type shot is a great way to maintain distance while also fighting wind or slope by coming in at an angle! Also beware of how far woods travel in relation to high-lofted irons — I missed quite a few greens long before I realized the impact this kind of shot has.

Brian pulls back almost ALL his shots to come in at the optimal angle to the pin. I’m nowhere near I need to be with this experience, and I still thumb several shots without pulling them back. Still, I could see how incredibly close to the pin he can get by mastering the angle of approach.

And just for good measure, he got an ace while playing a Hole-N-Win. As usual, I’m sure, he holed out a couple more times, and he racked up incredible Great Shot Points for always being right by the hole.

I will have my course write-ups adjusted for the extra tips on specific holes I learned as well. It was a great experience for me, and I hope a lot more visitors to this site can use the Golden Tee Player Locator to find a pro in their area to show them some things!

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is a Golden Tee addict from Chicago, IL, thirsty for tips and tricks!
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