Insider: Clampett's passions now include teaching as well as playing

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Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
Bobby Clampett will make his Champions Tour season debut next week in the full-field Allianz Championship.
January 30, 2013
Vartan Kupelian

Sometimes there is no telling where the next step will lead.

Bobby Clampett wrote “The Impact Zone” because he had a message to share about golf instruction. Little did he think the book and its theories would resonate like they have. But that’s not the same as saying he’s completely surprised. “More humbled than anything else,” Clampett said.

Clampett, who will begin his fourth Champions Tour season next week at the Allianz Championship, founded Impact Zone Golf in 2009 in response to golf professionals seeking more information on how to teach the system to golfers who wanted a more concentrated and effective learning path after reading the book.

Clampett and The Impact Zone Training System launched an online Teacher Certification Program last week, the announcement coming at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando where the PGA TOUR winner and longtime television analyst was busy spreading the gospel with a series of demonstrations and lectures. Also unveiled in Orlando was the Impact Zone DVD instructional series.

“The reaction to our new system of teaching has been amazing,” Clampett said. “We want to take the opportunity to meet the desire of so many professionals who want to join our mission to revolutionize the way the game is taught and learned.”

Clampett’s premise is that golf is being taught incorrectly.

“The message is this: We’re going about teaching the game in a way that’s hurting the game,” Clampett said.

The proof is in the declining participation numbers, he said, and one of the reasons for that is golfers take lessons, fail to improve, get frustrated and leave the game. So Clampett advocates substantive instruction instead of stylistic. And that means identifying what’s truly important and significant when it comes to hitting a golf ball and making it go where it is intended to go.

“Swing styles differ immensely,” he said, citing major champions like Lee Trevino, Fuzzy Zoeller, Jim Furyk and others with quirky actions. “But those champions have one thing in common – the impact zone. Impact is the most important element.”

Clampett’s book – co-authored by Andy Brumer – details what impact is all about, how it should be attained and feel, and never mind what it looks like. Clampett identifies the dynamics that create solid impact.

“It works,” he said. “It’s simple. It’s do-able. It’s quick. It’s transformative.”

Always a student of the game, Clampett had an epiphany one day while practicing.

“I was hitting balls when I had my, ‘Aha!’ moment,” he said. “I realized where my swing bottom (one of the dynamics identified by the Impact Zone theory) was. Everything should be about improving impact, not improving style.”

Clampett isn’t concerned about going against the grain and criticizing “the stylists” among the teaching fraternity.

“If it grows the game and helps the game, then, no,” he said. “The purpose is to help golf and the people who want to play it better. The game needs it.

“I want my legacy to be that I helped the game and improved people’s lives. What more can you ask?”

Clampett acknowledged that there might have been a time in his life when he might have been less willing to share such information. No longer is that the case.

Clampett’s success as an author and theorist aside, he remains most passionate about continuing his playing career on the Champions Tour.

“This gives me extra inspiration to play well,” said Clampett, who finished 39th on the money list last year. “I’m playing every (tournament) I can.”

Clampett, 53, has eight top 10 finishes in 52 Champions Tour events, four of those coming in his 20 starts last year. The top 10s came in his first six starts. A college phenom and the winner of the 1982 Southern Open on the PGA TOUR, Clampett stepped away from competitive golf when he joined CBS Sports in 1991.

His best finish last year was a T4 at the Insperity Championship and he had a T5 at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. He also had a T4 in his 2010 rookie season at the SAS Championship.

“It’s a challenge being away from competitive golf for 16 years to get back into it,” he said. “I think I’m real close. I’ve knocked on the door a few times and a lot of positives are happening.”

The Basic Certification Program includes standard certifications for Impact Zone Instructor, Impact Zone Coach, Impact Zone Associate Instructor and Impact Zone Associate coach. Only those who have completed the Basic Certification Program are qualified to take the Advanced Level I Program. For complete details about The Impact Zone Teacher Certification Program, visit www.impactzonegolf.com (Instructors & Coaches link).

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