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Insights from the mentor of Scottie Scheffler at the U.S. Open: A Learning Experience

PINEHURST, N.C. — Randy Smith identified a problem and set out to resolve it as that is his usual practice. He took out a piece of paper from his desk at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas and jotted down his idea, providing all the necessary details. After folding it and making his way across the club, he handed it to his student, stating confidently, “This will work.”

The Dallas Cowboys coach, Tom Landry, received the paper and carefully studied the Xs and Os detailing plays involving Roger Staubach and Drew Pearson. Despite the design already existing with a different pre-snap motion, the young golf coach from Odessa, Randy Smith, demonstrated his talent for strategy and player design.

Fast forward fifty years, and Smith now serves as a coach and trusted adviser to the current top professional golfer. He is the mastermind behind Scottie Scheffler’s success and growth in the sport.


Randy Smith, left, has been working with Scottie Scheffler for more than 20 years. (Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

Smith recognized Scheffler’s talent early on when they first met in 2004. After spending a significant amount of time with the young talent, it was clear to Smith that Scheffler was a rare gem, reminiscent of a young Justin Leonard but with even more potential.

Now, in 2024, Scheffler is dominating the scene, winning five of his last eight events and showing no signs of slowing down. All eyes are on him as he competes in the U.S. Open in Pinehurst, aiming for his third career major and his first U.S. Open championship.

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Smith’s coaching philosophy is centered around simplicity and allowing players to trust their instincts. He emphasizes creating a swing that is unique to each player, rather than conforming to a standard form. This approach has been instrumental in Scheffler’s success and continuous improvement in the game.


Scheffler has won five tournaments in 2024, including last week’s Memorial Tournament. (Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

Smith’s unconventional coaching methods challenge players to think creatively, encouraging them to rely on their natural abilities and instincts. This unique approach has played a significant role in shaping Scheffler’s game and propelling him to the top of the golfing world.

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As Scheffler competes in the U.S. Open under Smith’s guidance, the focus remains on simplicity and instinctive play. The unbeatable duo continues to make waves in the golfing world, showcasing the power of trust and creativity in sports.

Walking around Pinehurst No. 2, Smith contemplates the intricacies of the course, emphasizing the importance of strategy and shot-making. His coaching mantra remains unchanged, emphasizing the player’s connection to the target, their ability to feel the shot, and their innate creativity.

(Top photo: Alex Slitz / Getty Images)

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