NCGA Golf

Summer 2019

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from approximately age 10 to 12, and he was hardly alone. Former Stanford standouts Joseph Bramlett (now on the Korn Ferry Tour) and Jordan Cox also were among those who worked with McMullin in their younger days. "At a certain point it was a joke, how many good high school players or college players were there," Trainer said. McMullin taught Trainer the value of watching and emulating the world's best players. McMullin routinely brought photos clipped from Golf Digest to the range, showing frame-by-frame snap- shots of great swings: Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Adam Scott. McMullin would pull out the photos and compare the pros' positions to those of his students. That sparked Trainer's interest in studying swing mechanics, and ultimately building his own swing. "I took lessons from John, but it was more than that," Trainer said. "He was sort of my golf mentor. I went to the course every single day, and if he didn't have a lesson he'd chat us up even at age 13, 14, 15. "We would just talk about golf, all these conversations about the swing. He was generous with his time, and he enjoyed teaching and helping kids." That became McMullin's calling later in his career. He didn't do any advertising, as fellow Palo Alto/Baylands pro Dan Jamati pointed out, but word spread and McMullin's appointment book filled up. Jamati, who briefly took lessons from McMullin as a teenager, ended up work- ing alongside him for more than 25 years. Jamati marveled at McMullin's habit of walking the course with his young students, sometimes for two or three hours at a time. That's not normal for busy teaching pros, but as Jamati said, "John had a special connection to children. They just loved him." McMullin estimated he taught 10 to 15 junior players a year earlier in his career. In the years before he retired, probably 90% of his lessons were kids. And he relished joining them on the course, just as Lucius Bateman did with him and the other Bate's Boys back in the day. "They can't see themselves (swing), so I could tell them what they should do," McMullin said. "Inspiring them to work harder on their golf game is a key factor. There's no magic. It's hard work." Ron Kroichick covers golf for the San Francisco Chronicle. NCGA.ORG | SUMMER 2019 29

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