Michael Breed had great fun working with several of his longtime friends in segments of his up-tempo instruction program. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Championship players take star turns on Golf Channel's 'The Golf Fix'
PGA Professional Michael Breed brought 'The Golf Fix,' his high-energy instruction show, to French Lick Resort, where several Championship contestants joined him in filming a variety of segments. What did the players think about their foray into TV?
By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer
FRENCH LICK, Ind. (PGA.com) -- For some of the 312 PGA Club Professionals competing this week at the 43rd PGA Professional National Championship, their chance for fame and glory wasn’t confined to their performance on the course. For a select few, their turn at stardom came due to their performance on camera, via The Golf Channel’s high-energy instruction-based show, “The Golf Fix.”
Host Michael Breed, who himself is a PGA Professional from Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale, N.Y., stated that in this particular instance of the show, he felt as much a student as a teacher when interacting with the PGA Club Professionals.
“Anytime I get a chance to spend time with guys like that, those that are really good players, and really good teachers, it’s a chance for me to learn some stuff,” Breed explained. “One of the things that I love about being a PGA Professional is the willingness of fellow members to share what they’ve learned, their knowledge and the experiences that have put them where they are. It all makes me a better instructor and that makes me a better host.”
Breed’s high-energy and passionate style was even more exuberant as he paired with each guest, all of which he had known prior to the taping, some going back several years.
“For me, the experience was probably a little different for the other guys because I’ve known Michael for like 25 years. We used to work in a bag room together in Greenwich, Conn., and he talked just as much back then as he does now. Always,” laughed Brad Lardon, the PGA Director of Golf at Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas. “But, in all seriousness, Michael is a great guy and was nice enough to call a few of us up and throw us a bone and get us a little press.”
Lardon, who spent his segment teaching methods on how to play shots in the wind, stated that being on the show was not only fun, but beneficial for his members back home. “It’s always nice for us to get a little airtime in front of our members. It makes them think we know what we’re talking about. It was great of Mike to do that and I appreciate it.”
Greg Bisconti, a PGA Professional from The St. Andrews Golf Club in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., displayed techniques on how golfers should escape fairway bunkers. And despite being the low PGA Club Professional in the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club, Bisconti overcame his inexperience in front of a television camera to work through a flawless feature.
“It was a lot of fun. It was great. I know Michael pretty well from back in New York. We work right next to each other, just a couple of miles apart. I’m looking forward to seeing it on TV,” he said. “I’ve never really done any instructional pieces on TV, so I’m interested to see how it comes out. Michael’s got great energy, so it makes it easy for us to help him out and to do a good job.”
One player who has been in the media spotlight before is Chip Sullivan, the 2007 PGA Professional National Champion, who joined Breed for a segment on how to draw and fade shots.
“Instruction is a little more basic when you are trying to give it to a mass audience, it’s not as effective of course as teaching one on one,” said Sullivan, the PGA Director of Golf at Hanging Rock Golf Club in Salem, Va. “But it’s still important to share the basic fundamentals. Everyone can learn how to curve the ball and learning it will only make you a better golfer.”
Sullivan, who has his own sharp wit, still didn’t to match the intensity of host Breed.
“Nobody can keep up with Michael,” he said. “We just try to do the best we can and let him direct us.”
Mike Miles, a PGA Assistant Professional at Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, Calif., taught a segment on fairway woods and hybrids. And though his instructional went well and he enjoyed his time on the show, Miles noted that his best performance was still to be found on the course.
“I could probably do a few shows, they might ask me,” Miles deadpanned, “but once the ratings started to drop -- everyone at The Golf Channel would get fired, so that’s probably not a good idea.”
Miles, who is making his second straight appearance at the PGA Professional National Championship, first met Breed at a competitive event nearly twenty years ago.
“We actually played together in a Ben Hogan tournament back in, probably 1990, in Macon, and he was an assistant pro at Augusta National. And I remembered him very well, he hasn’t changed much -- interesting guy who talked a lot. I’m not much of a talker, but we got along great. And he’s done really well for himself, it’s good to see.”
Mike Small, the PGA golf coach at the University of Illinois and defending champion of the event, joined Breed for a segment on driving the ball better.
“He was asking so many questions and we were having so much fun, I had to think quick on my feet,” Small, a two-time champion of this event, laughed. “I hope it made sense.”
Though Small’s efforts on the course are remarkable, he did share in the common theme of the night, one area he could see improvement by taking part in the show.
“If I could get Michael Breed’s intensity in my golf game, that’d be great,” he said. “His passion and energy are fabulous.”
The final participant in the show was Todd Smith, a local PGA Professional from the Rock Hollow Golf Club in Peru, Ind. Smith’s efforts concentrated on hitting shots out of the rough and out of difficult lies.
All six showed great insight and passion for the game, even enough to impress its frenetic host. “The Golf Fix” airs live on Monday nights.