Archive for October, 2012

Golf at Bethpage Black

I met Bob on the practice range at 7:30 in the morning. Halfway through a bucket of balls, he was excited and talkative. Bob had been my client for a couple of months. I met him in the spring at a clinic I taught, and he had asked me to start working with him that week. Over the months, we did a couple of video analysis sessions and spent a lot of time out on the range. We even played a few holes together, so I could see his game out on the course.
Somewhere in all that time, Bob confessed an ambition. He had been captivated by watching the U.S. Open on television in 2002 and 2009, when it was held at Bethpage State Park in Long Island, New York. Tiger Woods had won the 2002 event and Lucas
Glover the 2009. Often, major tournaments are held at private clubs and off limits to the general public. But 2002 was the first time that the Open was held on a public golf course. It was a marvelous course and the average golfer could now play the same
course that the pros did on television.
In the course of our lessons, Bob shared his dream of playing the Bethpage Black course. When Bob had found out that I used to live on Long Island and had played the course many times—including two New York State Opens—he offered me an opportunity.
Bob was in his late fifties (I guessed). He was a partner in some sort of securities trading firm (I wasn’t sure exactly what they did) with about seventy-five employees. Apparently, he did quite well financially. He offered to fly me with him to Long Island so that he could play the course with me along to coach him through it. He would even pay for my time and expenses.
I was intrigued. Bob seemed like a nice guy, and it would be fun to see the Black Course at Bethpage again. But I pointed out how tough it was to get a tee time. Bethpage is a state park, and players camp out over night to get one of the limited tee time slots. You can’t just walk in and play.
“You let me worry about that,” Bob said. “If I can get us in, can you go?” I told him that with enough notice I should be able to clear my schedule. About a week and a half later, Bob called.
“Can you go next Tuesday?”
“Sure. Can you get a tee time?”
“I know a guy. That’s all you need to know.”
Well, Bethpage is in New York, where “knowing a guy” is an art form. What the heck.
Bob wasn’t a great player, or terrible. He had a 20 handicap, which means that on average, he played 25 strokes over par. For a guy his age and experience, he was about average. He confessed his goal was to play “bogey golf ”—to average one stroke over par for the course.
“You won’t do that on the Bethpage Black course, Bob. I’m telling you, it’s tough. I don’t want you to set your expectations too high. Your first time on it, you should be aspiring to break 100.”
“That’s why I have you along, Scott. Talk me through it.”
We flew in the morning before, and Bob checked us into an executive hotel. He took the rental car out to look at the course and clubhouse from the parking lot, and he bought some souvenir shirts and hats. Over dinner, he was almost giddy, wanting me to preview every hole for him with a scorecard he had picked up.
Dinner in New York can be as long as a round of golf. It is an event. There is the pre-appetizer, the appetizer, the main course, desert, and it’s all followed by an after desert drink–or three.
The next thing you know, it’s four hours later. This gave me plenty of time to preview the holes. But rather than give Bob the entire hole by hole analysis, I used the time to share a few stories about how I qualified to play in the New York State Open at Bethpage Black. We talked about what it was like to play in a State Open, the excitement of playing 2 under par on the front nine to leap into fifth place before falling back to 38th for the tournament. The ups and downs that occur over a five hour round and many more fun golf stories that could only be told over a four hour New York style dinner.
Excerpted from the book The Game of Golf and The Art of Business. To read more find the book at

The Back Page

Personally, I hated returning to school in the fall. I considered it an obstacle in
the way of playing golf. The annual ritual of buying school supplies, which
now apparently include I-pads and other I-thingy’s, well underway. But here’s
my point, recession or not, however outrageous and criminal they are in D.C.,
however much the globe warms, gas prices up and down, Kate’s topless scandal,
the Mayan predictions, life, ordinary, normal life, goes on. In America, it’s
only been seriously disrupted a very few times – the Depression, World War II
– and for about a month after the 9-11 attacks. By and large, life goes on.

Somewhere on every golf course, one of the richest club members with the latest
technology and a working stiff with 20 year old persimmon sticks arrive
and leave with the same problem – someone put that big oak tree on the left
side of the fairway that always catches their ball.

It’s so easy and dangerous to get pulled into a small, confining box by the
newest club you own. Easy to forget how little the Golf Gods care about that,
even when you thought it was finally the solution. As a golf professional, I got
over it years ago. The belief that I had a favorite or “lucky” club or that one
brand of club was inherently better than another (in full disclosure I play Titleist
because they have always treated me better than the other brands). Sure
it’s easy to contrive up fake enthusiasm over a new club for a day or two, but
then you go out to use it on the course and you realize it is just a golf club and
it puts you in the exact same space as the working stiff and his persimmon
driver. And that is this month’s big lesson of harsh reality for back to school
month. Get over your equipment. Get into your swing.

If you are one of the several hundred or so new golfers who joined this summer,
you probably found that horribly harsh. Not at all what you wanted to
hear. You might be tempted to run to Mommy and tell her I’m being mean to
you. Look, this is the MANDATE FOR GOOD GOLF. Somebody’s gotta tell
you the truth: Just having the latest wizbang plutonium driver entitles you to
nothing, not even a good bounce out of the tree.

Hang around here and you’ll get really, really sharp at connecting with the
Golf Gods on their level so they’ll line up to give you all their birdies. But you
gotta start with reality, not dream, hope, illusion, delusion or worst of all, some
sense of entitlement attached to how “good” your clubs are. Being an innovator
or early adopter with the latest golf technology is admirable, but still, any
nitwit with a few thousand dollars can buy the best clubs. The birdies are
in learning how to use ‘em. And surprise, surprise,
they won’t make birdies themselves.
The bell has rung. Stop stalling and get to class

Fall Humor

The college football season is back in full swing, and in Michigan what could be
stronger than the U of M/ MSU rivalry? If you’re not a Michigan or MSU fan,
just substitute your favorite team. Have some fun!
Jake was dying. His wife, Becky, was maintaining a candlelight vigil by his side.
She held his fragile hand, tears running down her face. Her praying roused him
from his slumber; He looked up and his pale lips began to move slightly.
“Becky my darling” he whispered.
“Hush my love,” she said. “Rest, don’t talk.”
He was insistent. “Becky,” he said in his tired voice, “I have something that I
must confess.”
“There’s nothing to confess,” replied the weeping Becky, “Everything’s all right,
go to sleep.”
“No, no. I must die in peace, Becky. I…I have been a Michigan State Fan all of
my life!”
“I know sweetheart,” whispered Becky, “let the poison work.”

The Game of Golf and the Art of Business

Bob studied it from all angles and
took a couple of practice strokes, but
he looked worried. “Confidence, Bob.
You have to treat this thing like
you’ve already got it, like it’s a done
Excerpted from the book The Game
of Golf and The Art of Business. To
read more find the book at

Buy the book already! If you buy
1,000 of ‘em, I’ll babysit your kids
for a month. Buy 10,000 of ‘em and
I’ll clean your house for a year 🙂

Healthier Golf

More golfers miss out on golf due to injuries
and ill health than weather and
economic turmoil combined. I don’t
know that for sure but that has been my
informal study over the last two years.
As a result, I have pulled some strings
and convinced Sue Scharf, the owner of
The Wellness Forum to provide you
with a series of articles that will help
you live healthier and play more golf!
Here is the fourth of four.
Are you eating enough?
Habitual dieters have often become convinced
that the only way to lose weight
is through portion control. They eat bird
-like portions and try to use will power
to continue to do so while feeling hungry
all the time. They associate large
quantities of food with gluttony.
Large quantities of calorie-rich food will
cause you to gain weight. But, if you
have some experience dieting, you know
that just reducing the intake of these
foods does not result in permanent
weight loss.
The secret is substituting calorie-rich
foods with calorie-dilute foods, like
beans, rice, potatoes, corn and vegetables.
You can eat as much of these
foods as you like without gaining weight
because the fiber content of the food
will cause you to feel full before you
consume too many calories.
So, don’t let yourself be hungry all the
time-eat enough calorie-dilute and nutritious
foods like the ones on the Wellness
Forum meal plan every day! You will
be much more apt to stick with your
good habits and lose your excess weight
Any questions, please email Sue
Scharf, Director of The Wellness Forum
Sue sponsors a once monthly free
dinner for the public to sample
healthy dinners and learn the strategies
behind preparing healthy meals.
Contact her for details.
Take Care of Your Back,
Eat a Healthy Snack

10 Rules On Being A Savvy Risk-Taker

10 Rules On Being A
Savvy Risk-Taker
By Arnold Palmer
1. Measure risk against reward.
2. Think twice before reaching deep.
3. Bold putting isn’t risky.
4. Don’t compound mistakes.
5. A low ball means a lower risk.
6. Don’t try shots you haven’t practiced.
7. Be true to yourself.
8. Reduce risk from rough.
9. Know the difference between risks
and gambles.
10. Don’t let a partner tempt you.
Read the entire article at http://

Toe Up in the backswing?

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