Super Student Shots
This page of our website is to celebrate some of the remarkable golfing accomplishments of our golf school students.
November 14, 2012
This is the latest success story from another one of our fantastic students, Cody Learmonth. In his words, please read below:
“I started working with Shirley Furlong in July of 2009. At the time I was a 7 handicap and was looking to improve my game to the point where I could become a CPGA professional. Over the past 4 years I have been practicing and playing as much as possible, using Clear Key and the simple practice thoughts that Shirley designed for me to improve. I have noticed a vast improvement in my ball striking and my course management after working and playing with Shirley. My putting has gone from mediocre at best, to the point now where I feel like I should be making every putt within 20 feet. My mental and mechanical approach to putting has completely changed, along with it becoming much more enjoyable.
This year my handicap is down to a 3. I have had some great scores and a few close calls in almost breaking par. Most notably on Sunday at the 2011 invitational when I was 1 under after 17 holes before making a double bogey to finish with a 73. As all golfers know, we have an amazing ability to put a huge emphasis on certain milestones for our game even though all we can control is the next shot.
On July 13 of this year I rushed away from work to try to squeeze in 18 holes before dark at the Redtail Landing Golf Club just outside of Edmonton, Alberta. I had been playing decently all day and was at 2 over par coming into the par 5 14th. I made a routine, two putt par on 14 and on 15, I played my approach shot to about 2 1/2 feet for an easy birdie. Shirley has been coaching me to stay in the moment and to keep focusing only on the next shot, but walking off the 15th green I couldn't help but notice that I was 1 over par now and had a reachable par 4 next. I quickly re-focused and went through my Clear Key on the tee, then placed my drive just short of the green and made an up and down for birdie. Now I was even par for the round.
The 17th hole is a long and difficult par 3 and the 18th an even more demanding, par 4. I played a poor tee shot that left me on the front of the green. My approach putt came up 15 feet short of the hole. Because it was getting dark I quickly read the putt and took a firm line to the hole. Watching the ball disappear into the hole for par immediately got my adrenaline going and I could feel the physical change in my body. Many people talk about adrenaline when you are playing golf and how it can affect your swing and your shots, but until this moment I had never really experienced that before. As I walked onto the 18th tee I could just feel that I was going to make a good swing, a sense of confidence that I had never before had on the golf course. It completely took over and I knew that I was going to birdie this hole.
I played my drive on an aggressive line over the bunker and couldn't see it very well because of the fading light. The hole plays approximately 440 yards and when I got around the bunker I couldn't see my ball where I thought it should be, I knew that it had followed the line and had very little fade or draw spin on it so I kept walking towards the green until I finally caught site of it in the right center of the fairway just short of the 100 yard marker. My drive was 340 yards long! At this point I really understood what adrenaline could do!!! Although I was excited about the result, I went through my Clear Key to stop the nerves from creeping in and hit my approach shot 5 feet below the hole. I went through my putting routine the same as I always would and calmly rolled the right to left breaking putt into the hole for a 71, my first under par score!!
I couldn't have done it without the guidance and positive encouragement of Shirley Furlong. I look forward to working with her more and getting better. I cannot thank her enough for the past 4 years. Also the incredibly positive experiences I have had at the yearly Invitational, being in the presence of so many amazingly positive people. who have all influenced my development so much.
Thank you Jay for all the encouragement you have given me over the past 4 years.
BIG CONGRATULATIONS, Cody. This is a testament to all of your and Shirley’s hard work and is a very significant milestone indeed! We are very proud of you and we also think that this is just the first of a great many more incredible rounds for you!
May 4, 2012
We are thrilled to relay news of more triumphs from one of our incredible students, Chris Cagnolatti. You may remember (see the posting on this page of February 27) that Chris won one of the Golf Channel’s Major events in their Am-Tour, at the Trump National at Rio Grande.
Turns out that was just the start of things to come for this very talented golfer. In the ensuing two months, Chris has won three more Am Tour events! On March 11 at the Santee Championship at Carlton Oaks Country Club, Chris shot a 78 to record his second victory. On April 14 at the Rose Bowl Championship, at Brookside Golf Club Chris shot a 77 for his third victory. His most recent win was another Golf Channel Am Tour Major, at the infamous (one of the hardest golf courses in America) PGA West-Nicklaus Tournament Course, in Palm Desert. On the fabled Stadium course Chris recorded 6 birdies while shoot superb rounds of 76 and 77, winning the Western Masters by an incredible, 10 shots.
In Chris’s words: “Hopefully I keep winning. Before your school I have never won before! So, you and Jim are a big part of my new found success. With the lessons came much more confidence. 6 birdies at the Stadium Course, that is hard to do! I think it's the 4th hardest course in the US?
My goal is to win the Golf Channel Am Tour National Championship at TPC in September.”
Our money is on you, Chris! Keep up the amazing work!
To see the results please click on the following links:
April 25, 2012
Yvette’s perfect shot!
Another PERFECT shot from one of our fantastic students, Yvette Jonsson. As you will read, Yvette (who is coached by Jim Samsing) was on a golf trip that included a stay to watch the Masters. Please read below for her description. CONGRATULATIONS, Yvette!
The trip to Augusta was awesome. We played in Pinehurst for three days and then were taken to Aiken, SC which is very close to Augusta. We had 4 days at the Masters and we played two days in Aiken. We played a course called the Woodside Plantation and it has two courses, we played the Plantation course designed by Bob Cup. On the 15th hole, 99 yards to the hole, I used my pitching wedge and it was a good shot. My friend commented on how well struck it was. It was getting better as it went towards the hole and went in! Very exciting.. My first in 42 years of playing golf.
The next hole was a par 5, I chipped in for a birdie. I also birdied the next par 4. The owner of the tour company was thrilled because in his 13 years running this trip, it is the first time a client has had a hole in one! I also came back home to find that our hole in one insurance kicks in even if the hole in one was away. So I get to celebrate it and have a plaque made from my own club. Couldn't be nicer!
I do think that the lessons I have taken from Jim Samsing have much to do with my game. My short game has never been this steady and I have the confidence when hitting shots around the green. Jim is a great instructor. In my 42 years playing I have had many instructors, but Jim is by far the best one. He can diagnose but even better, he can fix the problems with my swing. The whole experience with the Bird Golf Academy has been excellent and I will keep coming back as often as I can. Thank you!
San Mateo, CA"
February 27, 2012
This comes to us from Chris Cagnolatti who spent 5 days, with Jim Samsing last September. Chris has competed on the Golf Channel's Am Tour for the past several years, but until now, he had not recorded a win. That has now all changed! With a full field on a very difficult course and in trying, tournament conditions, Chris came home, the Champion. In his words:
“This past weekend I flew out to Rio Grande, Puerto Rico to play the Trump National - Championship and International courses in a 2-day major. The course and conditions absolutely beautiful but were like nothing I've seen before. First day I shot an 80, second day was an 82 with 2 birdies on the back nine. I tied for first with a local Puerto Rican who just came off a round of 78 and beat him by 2 shots on the first playoff hole to win the tournament.
I just gave Jim a call to let him know I won my first tournament. The lessons I got in September were instrumental in helping me win. Especially Clear Key and the drills that Jim gave me. Jim helped my game so much I just wanted to express my sincerest appreciation.”
Congratulations, Chris! We think that this will be the first of many crystal trophies!