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Brandel Chamblee speaks out following controversial interview

April 10, 2020
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The golf world’s most outspoken analyst, Brandel Chamblee, received heavy criticism over the last couple of weeks for remarks he made during an interview. Now he’s used his podcast to clarify his intentions.

In one portion of a lengthy three-part interview with Golfweek, Chamblee argued that the evolution of YouTube has essentially allowed students to fact-check golf instructors.

“The teachers are being exposed for their idiocy, but I stood on the range with a prominent teacher who had acolytes all around him who then went out and those acolytes talk with acolytes and then they completely spread this flawed philosophy through all of teaching and all teachers stuck to that ideal and all teachers taught flawed philosophies and these philosophies finally got bitch-slapped by reality,” he said. “YouTube, there it is, you’re wrong, they’re right.”

The PGA of America called one comment “offensive, sexist and disgraceful,” and other high-profile teachers have fired back.

Chamblee issued an apology, and this week he spoke at length on the topic on The Brandel Chamblee Podcast.

“There was a phrase I used that I wish I could have tackled myself before I used it, and I certainly had never used it before, and it turned what I think would have been a mild controversy into something that was sort of flammable and it was used in the headline,” he said. “That phrase notwithstanding, I would say, other than that, there was a willful misreading of that Q&A. My point was that the PGA of America — and I’ve made this point numerous times, I’ve written about it, talked about it, gone on air and done numerous shows — that the PGA of America and the teachers of the PGA of America are the soul of the game. When you think about Harvey Penick or Eddie Merrins or Randy Smith or Sandy LeBauve or Peggy Kirk Bell or Bob Toski — on and on and on — they are the greatest link between the beginner and captured golfer. I’ve said that innumerable times. My point was that teaching has been improved at the most notable level on the PGA Tour level by the internet. I don’t think that is any great insight.”

Chamblee added that some bad ideas in teaching “died a pretty quick death” due to YouTube and other social media channels.

“Beyond that, I said that and I believe this to be the case, The Top 50 or Top 100 Teachers, whatever you want to say, when it is judged subjectively when it could clearly be judged objectively it will be an inherently flawed system,” he continued. “Now, there were some people that took offense to that and those people are probably rightfully taking offense to that because they occupy a position amongst those in The Top 50 or Top 100 and they quite like their subjectively viewed position. But who knows? As I’ve said, I’d like to know who the greatest teacher in the country is. I’d really like to know that. It may be a 75-year-old woman teaching off mats in Nebraska. It might be a 22-year-old, a young, just newly into the PGA of America person in Wyoming who is having the greatest success, but we won’t know until we start using objective criteria to judge the best teachers.”

Chamblee’s final comment was about a conversation he had with PGA of America President Suzy Whaley, whom he said told him the PGA of America plans to use “some objective measurement” to identify the best teachers, beginning as soon as this summer.

“I think golf will be better off for that and so will teaching,” he said. “That’s pretty much all I have to say about that Q&A.”

You can listen to Chamblee’s full podcast here.

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