By Jim Wolfe
For the past two years, Greenwich resident Michael Breed has been teaching golfers how to add distance to their drives, how to stay out of the rough, and how to be a better putter -- and he has been doing it all on TV as the host of "The Golf Fix," an hour-long instructional show airing on the Golf Channel.
Breed, who began playing golf when he was 13, earned his spot on the show thanks to his vast experience as a golf pro. He is currently the Head Golf Professional at Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. and has worked as Assistant Golf Professional at Augusta National Golf Club. He is also the author of the book, "The Picture Perfect Golf Swing" and has earned many awards, including the Metropolitan PGA Horton Smith Award in 2007 and 2008, and was named Metropolitan PGA Teacher of the Year in 2000.
In other words, Breed knows his stuff -- and he's back to share his tips and techniques when a third season of "The Golf Fix" begins on Monday, Jan. 24. Greenwich Citizen spoke to Breed recently -- via e-mail -- and asked him about the show, his passion for golf and for advice on how to improve your game.
Tell us a little about your show, "The Golf Fix."
"The Golf Fix" is an hour-long, instructional show airing on Golf Channel every Monday night at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. beginning Jan. 24 and running through November. It will be beginning its third year.
You are a high-energy guy. Where do you get all of your energy?
Energy? I like to call it passion!! I love helping people, and I love teaching golf. I am very fortunate in that I love what I do for a living and I am given an opportunity every Monday night to assist more than 1 million people improve their golf game. Further, it is an opportunity to make sense of a sport that many people have a difficult time understanding. The only problem is I only have an hour every week. I wish I had more!!
What are some of the most common questions you are asked on your show?
Everyone wants to know how to hit the ball farther. They also want to know how to be more consistent. Those are the two primary questions that we get most often.
You offer a lot of tips on "The Golf Fix." What are the top five things any golfer can do to improve his or her game?
1. See a PGA professional for assistance. Simple as that.
2. Make sure your clubs are fit for you. Don't think that any clubs will be fine. It simply isn't so.
3. Work on one thing at a time. Don't think you are going to master the sport in one hour. It isn't going to happen. Learning to play the game is a process and takes time. Enjoy the journey.
4. Become a great putter!! Do I need to say more than that? Great putters shoot lower scores. I know. . . rocket science!
5. Tell yourself good things. So many people are telling themselves that they will perform poorly in a given situation and then, when they do, they act surprised. Tell yourself good things -- and good things will occur.
I know. . .more rocket science.
You review best and worst shots from tournaments on your show. What are some of the best shots you've ever seen? What are some of the worst shots you've ever seen? (Phil Mickelson has probably hit both!)
Best and worst shots -- that is a hard question to answer. I have seen so many great shots. The worst shots are shots that I have seen when teaching, and I wouldn't want to use any names. I need to protect my students!
You are ranked as a top-50 golf instructor. Who have some of your students been?
I have the good fortune to work with some great players. Some for an extended period of time, and some for just a lesson or two. Meghan Francella plays the LPGA tour and is someone I have worked with for more than two years now. Ron Whittaker, Darron Stiles, Joe Oglivy, J.J. Henry, Tom Byrum, Curt Byrum, Joe Durant, Chris Smith and Doug Labelle to name a few. I have also had the good fortune to help a number of Metropolitan PGA professionals, including Burning Tree Assistant Golf Professional Danny Balin. Danny is the 2010 Met PGA Player of The Year and someone I am sure will go on to do great things as a golf professional. There have been quite a few, and it is always rewarding.
What traits do you think make a for a good instructor?
I think the most important trait is passion. If you are passionate about something, you will work tirelessly to be successful at it. No matter what it is. Where there is passion, there is performance.
When did you start playing golf?
I started when I was 13, but I didn't get serious about the game until I was 17 or 18.
What advice would you give yourself to improve your own game?
Practice more! I need more time.
Last question. Say you're on the 18th hole at Augusta. You need a 10-foot putt to win the Masters. The pressure is on. Who do you want taking the shot?
I have stood on that green many times with 10-footers, having worked there as an assistant for three years. However, the Masters has not been on the line. If you are asking for someone to make the putt, I would say Tiger (Woods) or Jack (Nicklaus). I would, however, love to have the opportunity to hit the putt. To experience what the moment would feel like would be amazing. I don't think there is a golfer alive who wouldn't want to know what that feeling is like. To see all those faces and know that there are people all over the world watching -- some hoping for you to make it, and some hoping for you to miss. It would be unreal.