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THE INSIDE TRACK | THE HOT CORNER

June 04, 1997|LARRY STEWART

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: "High Performance Golf" video

Producers: NBC Sports Ventures and High Performance Golf

Price: $19.95, plus $4.50 for

shipping: (800) 761-0606

In a golfer's mind, there is no such thing as a perfect round. A golfer may shoot a career-best round, but he still visualizes how it could have been better. It is this mind-set, the quest for perfection, that has made golf teaching such a thriving industry. Instructional shows dominate the Golf Channel, every golf telecast includes a tip segment and instructional tapes get their own shelves in video stores.

In every tape, someone claims they can change your game--and your life--forever. They show you the evidence. You see one golfer after another hitting great shots. You never see anyone hit a bad shot in a golf video, unless it's for demonstration purposes.

We watched this video, then went out and played as badly as usual, maybe worse. But this 60-minute video does have some selling points. One is that the host, Ben Crenshaw, a part-time CBS commentator, does a fine job on this NBC video. The main selling point, though, is that this video offers tips from five reputable golf instructors.

They are Hank Haney, coach of Mark O'Meara; Butch Harmon, coach of Tiger Woods; Jim McLean, Golf magazine's instruction editor; Phil Rodgers, short-game guru; and Dr. Bob Rotella, one of America's top sports psychologists. Kevin Monaghan of NBC Sports Ventures calls this "our dream team of instructors."

OK, a little hype.

Mickey Holden, president of High Performance, says, "Give us an hour of your time and we'll cut strokes off your score. We guarantee it."

Same old line.

The difference here is, there is some useful instruction, from the basics to the finer points of the game. And it's an entertaining 60 minutes. But cut strokes off your score? Don't count on it.

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