By JGC Daily Cow Special Correspondent Arthur Bosanquet
Jim Butt, a member of the PGA of Australia for over 30 years, is the golf “Teaching Professional” at Jamberoo Golf Club (JGC). He is at JGC every Tuesday and Friday, and offers a wide range of services to enhance your golfing experience; these include teaching for individuals or groups (both for members of JGC and non-members), golf club repairs, and the sale and fitting of new golf clubs. He can be contacted on 0402 262 641, or in person at JGC on either Tuesdays or Fridays, where he can be found in his shed, on the practice range (between the 18th and 10th fairways) or in the players’ lounge discussing anything golf (and/or any other topic) with anyone who is free.
I RECENTLY had the pleasure of sitting down with Jim in the players’ lounge of JGC, where we chatted about the services he provides at JGC, and his life as a golf Teaching Professional. His quiet, friendly manner was evident from the start of our conversation, and was confirmed to me by many members of JGC who described him variously as being “knowledgeable”, “a lovely gentleman”, “friendly”, “affable”, “obliging and generous” and “efficient”. Interestingly, he described golf as being “an extremely simple game, in which a stationary ball is hit, played by people who want to complicate it”.
TEACHING. Jim is able to provide advice on the rules of golf and their interpretation, advice on course management while playing golf, and swing improvement. It was refreshing to learn Jim, as a coach, does not believe in trying to change a player’s swing to copy that of a well-known professional. Instead, he aims to “tweak the swing the player already has”, and help them become the best golfer they can be. Jim is happy to provide lessons for children or adults as either individuals or groups of 4 – 6 (max) people.
GOLF CLUB REPAIRS. Jim is available for repairs to grips, shafts and club heads. Be prepared, however, as he may suggest your club is beyond repair, and trying to “fix’ your favourite club may not be in your best golfing interests.
NEW GOLF CLUBS. If you are thinking about purchasing a new set of golf clubs, Jim is the person to see. He is able to provide a wide range of golf clubs, including Titleist, Ping, TaylorMade, Callaway, Mizuno, Srixon, Infinity, Nikent and PGA. Jim described the club shaft as being “the most important part of a golf club, without a shadow of a doubt; it is the engine room of a club”. Having the right shaft significantly improves your chances of playing consistent golf, but conversely, if the shaft is not correct for you, the game of golf becomes that much more difficult. Trying to decide what clubs to buy can become extremely confusing given the huge number of clubs on the market, and over 100 different shafts available of varying lengths, compositions, flexes, weights and kick points. Jim therefore suggests “club fitting” can be extremely beneficial prior to purchasing new clubs. He told me that if someone is going to outlay money for a set of clubs “make sure they fit you”.
CLUB FITTING. In a club fitting session, rather than getting you to hit balls into a net and use a computer to provide your swing and ball flight statistics, Jim watches you hit balls in real life on the practice fairway. With his vast experience Jim is able to assess what would be the most appropriate shaft length and flex, lie angle of the club head, grip size and swing weight for you as an individual. After discussion with you, a decision can be made as to what would be the most suitable grip, brand and model of club for you, and what would be the most ideal composition of your new set of clubs; for example, irons versus hybrids (or rescues) versus lofted fairway woods. Jim is then able to source those clubs at a very competitive price. Jim currently charges $50 for “club fitting”, but that cost is deducted from the purchase price of the golf clubs if bought through him.
As a word of warning, Jim commented that when buying golf clubs through the Internet, the specifics of the club shaft (the most important part of a club) cannot be guaranteed, and therefore may not be the actual club you ordered or required. As a result you will need to change your swing to get the best out of your new, but different, club(s). And you then wonder why you can’t hit the ball as far, or you now have a hook or a slice!
ELK GOLF BUGGIES. If you are in the market for a new motorised golf buggy, Jim is the local stockist for the lightweight but robust ELK buggies.
Jim’s long career as a teaching pro
Jim commenced his career as a trainee golf professional “way back” at the Yowani Country Club in the ACT, before heading to the prestigious Royal Sydney Golf Club where he was employed as its Teaching Professional for about three years. Before arriving at JGC in 2005, Jim had gained more experience working at various other golf clubs around Sydney, as well as teaching full time at both the Barton Park and Port Macquarie Driving Ranges. During his younger years Jim attended many professional development courses and seminars, usually held at the Sanctuary Cove Resort, and usually presented by “name” overseas (usually American) golf teachers. Jim commented he was disappointed local Australian teachers were often overlooked to present these courses, as he considered them to have just as much expertise.
When he first arrived in the region almost 16 years ago Jim had the busy task of being the teaching professional at Jamberoo Golf Club, Shoalhaven Heads Golf Club and Gerringong Golf Club.
Jim never played on the touring professional golf circuit because, in his words, he “was not a good enough player”. However his passion had always been teaching.
Now that he is semi-retired from teaching golf, Jim has the opportunity to follow his other passion, namely playing social golf with his wife and friends both locally and elsewhere, wherever there may be a golf course. He is confident of the long-term prosperity of JGC, especially if the development of local juniors is encouraged and supported. Jim, with the very able assistance of Phil Lewis, has been conducting junior golf clinics every Friday afternoon during school term at JGC for some years. Two years ago he increased his commitment by introducing a golf clinic for pupils at Jamberoo Primary School in the first school term each year, and this has continued with the help of Phil and several other members of JGC.
As well as teaching at JGC, Jim also teaches at Worrigee Driving Range on Thursdays.
Thank you, Jim, for being such a wonderful asset for JGC, and we look forward to seeing you at JGC for many years to come.