Bobby Clampett’s College Days
Bobby Clampett is one of the primary reasons I became a PGA Club Professional. In my final year of college at UNLV (1978) I was already struggling with my putting but I thought I was a pretty good ball striker. I always felt that if I could fix my putting I could play with just about anyone. Clampett was playing for BYU and we were paired together for two or three tournaments that year. I had played with some pretty good players but never a player with Clampett’s pedigree. Between 1978 and 1980 Clampett would earn All-America honors three times and be named collegiate golf’s player of the year twice. In 1978 he won the California Amateur, Western Amateur, Sunnehanna and the World Amateur Individual Medal. He was also low amateur in the U.S. Open in 1978 and low amateur in the Masters in 1979. I was hot off a 2nd place finish in the Broadmoor Invitational (that’s the 9 hole Broadmoor CC in Nampa, Idaho). The first time I played with Clampett I was astonished that after three or four holes his game was very similar to mine. Fairway, Green, 2-putt and an easy par. If this is the best amateur on the planet then I must be pretty good. Well along came the fifth hole… BOOM… a five iron to two feet BIRDIE. Sixth hole par 5… BAM… a 3 wood to one foot EAGLE. Seventh hole …SHAZAAM…. a 7 iron to 4 inches BIRDIE. When he found his slot it did not matter whether he was hitting a two iron or a wedge...the golf ball took off dead at the pin and went the perfect distance on a perfect line. Each of the times I played with Clampett he would have two or three streaks of this ball striking that was almost supernatural in nature. He was also a completely fun guy to play with. Now in a 4 day event these ball striking Blitzkriegs by Clampett would leave me 10 to 20 strokes behind, that is if I was playing well. The thing that made me realize it would be smart to pursue a life as a PGA Club Professional rather than compete with the likes of Bobby Clampett was that although he beat my 20 shots in four rounds he would typically miss two or three putts under four feet each round. I truly believe that Clampett had to go nuts when he started playing the PGA Tour and would get beat by guys making six 20 footers a round. Although he won 1.4 million on the PGA tour most people classified him as underachieving. In the past few years Clampett has gotten involved in an instruction program called the Impact Zone that details his ideas of how to strike a golf ball. I use some of his principles in my teaching and so I can now thank Bobby Clampett for pointing me toward a great profession and providing me a teaching tool to help people enjoy the game.