Just a few weeks shy of his 50th birthday and playing this week’s PGA Championship at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort, Rob Labritz sounds relaxed, but laser-focused on his golf game, which has, once again, brought him into the center of the golfing universe at another of the game’s majors.
Earlier this week, Labritz gave us his scouting report. In practice rounds, the celebrated, daunting Pete Dye layout indeed played the full, rumored 7,876 yards.
“The tees were set up at the very tips, the one-foot in the rough tips. And, it’s a very challenging golf course from back there. I don’t see the course playing that long during the championship because there’s plenty of challenge elsewhere on this firm and fast course,” Labritz says. “I feel like I’m prepared with a solid game plan, which is my typical plan of finding a lot of fairways and greens and making sure I’m putting in a good percentage of my practice time on my short game and putting. You’ve got to plot your way around this course and not do anything stupid. If you make a mistake, it’s key to just get it back in the fairway chip putt it, but there’s no need to do anything overly heroic.”
Labritz, Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club (Bedford Hills, NY), qualified for his eighth PGA Championship with his T-8 finish at the PGA Professional Championship, contested last month on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, FL. He says the GlenArbor team and ownership has been supportive of his dedicating three hours a day to focused practice on his game.
“Especially now that I’m turning 50 and have PGA TOUR Champions qualifying school and some Monday qualifiers on the horizon, I’m focused on working with my coaches and sharpening every phase of my game. I find I’m a patient player as I’m getting older. I still hit it pretty far – a couple of drives in the 330 range, so plenty far to compete out here. I just want to keep grinding and getting better and my club has given me the support to chase my dreams even amid my duties teaching and as the club’s director of golf.”
V1 Pro HD for Success and Longevity
One of the hardest working pros in the business, Labritz attributes his success and longevity to physical fitness and compartmentalizing his various jobs appropriately. He says V1 Pro HD technology, including face-on and down-the-line cameras paired with V1 Pro HD golf instruction software as well as overhead video for pinpointing and correcting swing and set-up tendencies, are still integral to his instruction.
“V1 is one of the most valuable tools I use as an instructor. I use it all the time on my game and for my students. I’m using the V1 Pro app to capture student swings and create lessons almost as much as I use the fixed V1 cameras in the bays,” he adds. “It’s funny. God gave me the talent to play golf and the talent to help people fix their swings, but I cannot for the life of me fix my own golf swing. Thankfully, I have two coaches that I’ve worked with my entire life and they help me a lot.”
Looking ahead, Labritz will attempt to qualify for this summer’s U.S. Senior Open. “I haven’t played in a USGA event since the U.S. Junior Championship. It would be a great testament to longevity if I could bookend a U.S. Junior appearance by competing in the USGA’s premier senior event,” he says.
Labritz is going for his third made cut in a PGA Championship. He was Low Club Professional in 2010 and also made the cut at the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. He posts video lessons and books his instructional programs on www.roblabritz.com.