There aren't many guys on the PGA Tour who know what it's like to work in the back of a golf shop regripping clubs and changing spikes. But you're wrong if you think, based on his showy appearance, that Ian Poulter is too much of a dandy to get his hands dirty.
"Imagine changing guys' spikes -- nice, sweaty, stinking shoes that you put your hands in to take out the spikes," Poulter said of his time as an assistant club pro. "They should've changed those spikes 2½ years previous, so you had to drill them out. It was quite nice."
Now maybe you can understand Poulter's motivation to keep his PGA Tour card. He was still in his mid-teens and a 4-handicapper (yes, a 4) when he put down the spike wrench and started on his quest to be a tour pro. Now 34, Poulter has steadily improved over his career and was sixth in the World Ranking in early May.
"Ian has the ability because of his great hand-eye coordination," says his swing coach, David Leadbetter. "He used to be able to walk on his hands. Even when his swing is out of sync, he still can manage to get the club in a great position at impact."
Poulter says he works with Leadbetter only a few times a year, and the focal point always seems to be the backswing.
Adds Leadbetter: "We've worked to maintain Ian's height during the swing -- and to get the club on line at the top. His tendency is to drop down on the backswing and get the club laid off, which results in him having to overuse his hands to square the club at impact." --Ron Kaspriske