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Swing Surgeon opens clinic

Don Trahan believes he knows the proper way to swing a golf club, and it's not what most other golf instructors are teaching.

Nicknamed the Swing Surgeon, Trahan believes the golf swing should be short and simple. Take it back, take it up, take it down, take it through. No wrist cock. No swinging around your body. No getting the club to parallel.

Trahan, whose son D.J. is on the PGA Tour, can cite biomechanical studies that support his theories, especially his belief that swinging the club back to parallel (with the ground) is detrimental to both distance and a body's durability.

"How many teachers can't do the swing they're teaching? If they can't do it, what chance does the average student have?" Trahan said.

Trahan (www.swingsurgeon.com) is raising his profile in Charlotte, creating a golf school at Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation that will host a clinic at 10:30 a.m. on April 21. Pre-registration is required for the clinic (email mbartholomew@swingsurgeon.com).

Trahan, who lives in Spartanburg, S.C., will be here regularly for private lessons and teaching pro Mike Bartholomew will be on site on a daily basis. Bartholomew will also be available for indoor lessons at the Charlotte Athletic Club uptown.

Having taught extensively at Hilton Head Island, S.C., and at clinics around the country, Trahan has strong ideas about the golf swing and the state of the game.

"Why is golf shrinking?" Trahan asked.

"Players can't get better. They can't even get to be decent. When I ask students what they want, 99 percent have reasonable, reachable goals. They just want to get more confident and not have to look for their ball every other hole. But they can't get there because of the swing they're taught.

"And they're making courses too hard and the equipment is messed up."

Club heads, particularly on drivers, should be smaller, Trahan said, and drivers should be shorter. Drivers should be no more than 43 inches long for most players (the industry standard is 45 inches now).

The popular "rotational" golf swing in vogue the past 15 to 20 years is flawed, Trahan believes. In addition to being too difficult for the average player to master, it also creates too much stress on the body, particularly backs and wrists. Trahan's swing, a more vertical motion with a shorter backswing, alleviates the physical strain.

"I'm on a mission to tell people we can help them," he said. "We have a zero failure rate."

HANEY AND FEHERTY: The Golf Channel premieres new seasons of "The Haney Project" and "Feherty" starting at 9 p.m. Monday, stacking Hank Haney and David Feherty back to back on a weekly basis.

Haney will work with four celebrities this time - chef Mario Batali, actress/model Angie Everhart, singer Adam Levine and retired boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. Feherty's interview-based show expands to one hour with Michelle Wie and Sergio Garcia among the early guests.

On a conference call, Haney said he expects former client Tiger Woods might learn something if he reads Haney's upcoming book, "The Big Miss," about his time with the former world No. 1.

"(Tiger) said he wasn't going to read it but he reads everything," Haney said on the call. "So if he does read it, maybe he'll learn something...

"I think it would be insightful. Hopefully it is. I know that it's fair and honest...There's going to be quite a few things that I think people look and say, wow, I didn't know that or that's surprising or interesting."

Feherty said he's hopeful Woods will sit for an interview on his show.

"I would not rule out Tiger Woods," Feherty said. "He hasn't said no."

What would Feherty ask?

"I'm tired of the whole TMZ notion that people are entitled to private details of people in the public view of their lives," Feherty said. "It just doesn't interest me.

"I'm more interested, to be honest with you, does he feel like a human being in that at any time has he been so anxious about whether or not he's going to regain any kind of form. Is it possible for him to reach that level again? Not just him, anybody else for that matter. Have we seen the 500-year flood?"

CHIP SHOTS: Concord's Trevor Cone is off to a strong start in his freshman season at Virginia Tech, leading the Hokies in scoring average (73.36) with a top-five finish among his five starts.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel is hoping to throw a twist into the champions dinner he will host in April. Schwartzel wants to make it a barbecue and grill the various meats himself. He said details have not been finalized.

It appears certain that PGA Tour qualifying school as we know it is going away. Though details are still being worked out, the plan calls for starting the PGA Tour season in the fall - after the FedEx Cup playoffs.

It will start with a contrived three-week playoff-style schedule used for Nationwide Tour players and those deep down the big tour money list to play their way onto the PGA Tour.

If you're interested in golf art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta is hosting "The Art of Golf" exhibit through June 24. The exhibit includes approximately 90 works of art by artists such as Rembrandt to Norman Rockwell to Andy Warhol.

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