April 3, 2008

Golfer Who Got It Done: Brad Wernet

Occupation: Student

Home Course: Birmingham (Mich.) Country Club

Handicap Improvement: 20.4 To 4.0

Years Playing: 2

For Brad Wernet, a sophomore at De La Salle Collegiate High School in Warren, Mich., golf is all about the driver. He doesn't mean his mom, Holly, who chauffeured him to interclub matches all last summer, or even his Uncle Bob, a PGA pro who steers his development in winter sessions under a dome. No, it's his new driver, or "my favorite club," as Wernet calls it.

Wernet was using an older driver at the start of last year, swinging it like a hockey stick, which makes sense for a kid who's played hockey a lot longer than he's played golf. "I used to have a problem being hunched over the ball, the toe sticking up," says Wernet. "I'd swing it back behind me, then whip my hips around, and I'd hook the ball."

With the new club in the bag, a TaylorMade r7 SuperQuad, Bob Hirzel got his nephew to straighten up his posture, spread his feet wider and hit against a firm left side. "I told him, 'Don't worry about where it's going, just hit it hard. We can always get it out of trouble,' " says Hirzel.

Wernet feels as if he's playing a new sport. "Before, my drive was 230, and now it's 280 -- and straighter." With the distance came improved course management. "He'll call me up and go through his round shot by shot," Hirzel says. "Brad's got the attitude you need to go low. You never want to give a shot away."

Or a driver that works.