Friday, February 10, 2017

Flashback Friday - Sam Snead and Celebrity Golf

Here's a bunch of videos from the TV show Celebrity Golf which featured Sam Snead playing 9 hole matches (giving strokes) to celebrities like Dean Martin, James Garner and Harpo Marx.

There are several more of these videos available on YouTube.

IMDB has the series starting in 1960, when Snead was 48 years old.

Some of my observations:

1.  Sneads pre-shot routine was 1 warmup swing that probably served to get the blood flowing, loosen the joints and get a feel for the club and then he stepped up to the ball, took a few waggles and ripped it.

2.  His driving was disappointing for the most part.  He could certainly pound a golf ball and hit some beautiful drives, but he missed to the right...a lot.  I'm guessing that is what cost him a victory at the US Open.

3.  Sam was noticeably bigger than all of the celebrities.  You probably don't think of a person with their pants pulled up as high as Sam did and wearing a fedora as an athlete, but watching him play golf and move around you could see the athlete in the man.

4.  I thought Snead's iron play and short game (around the green) was hit main strengths and they were exceptional.  He repeatedly stuck his irons close despite having many unfavorable shots due to a poor drive.  His bunker play was spot on as well.

5.  Interesting to see how he didn't use a SW around the green and opted for the PW instead.  Of course, back then the lofts on PW were more like today's GW.  But, he was still very adept around the greens.

6.  I thought his putting was better than expected.  Snead always complained about his putting and eventually switched to a style where he putted between his legs (which was later outlawed).

We see Sam make a good amount of putts, rarely miss short putts and leave a lot of putts just on the edge.  With today's technology, a Tour player can look at putts gained and get a good ballpark for how well they are putting.  In Sam's day, it could be easy for a golfer like him to hit so many approach shots close and just miss some putts and have the mis-perception of being a poor putter.

I believe it was Byron Nelson who said that Snead was a very pessimistic thinker and that he thought it carried over into Sam's putting.  I tend to agree with Mr. Nelson in that regard.

7.  Comedy doesn't age well.  Oof.



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