As part of an introduction to my Bio, I would like to share with you a few numbers that you may not be aware of.
There are approximately 20 Professional Golf Tours in the world. I say “approximately” because at the lower end of the hierarchy, they tend to come and go, from time to time…
Those 20 Tours are generally “exempt” tours, (meaning that a certain number of players are exempt from any qualifying in order to play in a given tournament). If you are not exempt, you must, in order to play, compete in a qualifying event, (usually on Monday of the tournament week), for 1 or 2 or more “spots” in the event. There are also a few sponsor exemptions each week.
Those 20 tours usually have from 125/150 players that are exempt, on both male & female tours. A total of roughly 3000 players.
You could add in the worlds “Mini Tours”, there are some good players there, (the mini tours are almost always simply Jackpots---the prize money is an aggregate of the entry fees---100 players at $500 each = $50,000 prize money---winner gets approx 20% and the rest is cut up down to 10th or 15th place or whatever…)
So---3000 exempt players---in the entire world…
Here is the part that very few people think about or know about.
There are roughly, at any given time, 10,000 to 12,000 players that are just not quite good enough to be one of the 3000. They are close. On any given day, they are as good, sometimes better! On some days they can shoot 60nothing… Other days, it’s 74, or 75 or worse…Clinging to the edge of professional golf by their fingernails…Simply not good enough!
I was always one of the 10,000...
I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Greenville, Mississippi. My father was from Greenville, my mother from Memphis, the nearest “City”. We were a typical, small town, middle class family. My Dad, although a southern boy, from a rural community, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, had thoughts and dreams that reached beyond farming in the Delta…And he realized some of them.
I played golf from an early age, (7 or 8 yrs old), and played thru high school. I clearly remember one day when my Dad came to the golf course, after school, and said, “We need to talk”. He had with him a current newspaper, in which, in the sports section, was an article that stated that Sam Snead was the leading money winner that year, and had won over $27,000.00. My Dad said, “Is that what you want to do?”And that was a turning point---the bloom kind of fell off the rose…$27,000.00 was just not a lot of money, even in the early 1950s. The war was over---the economy was booming, and I wanted to do what everybody wanted to do. LIVE THE AMERICAN DREAM---MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS! Big house, fast fancy cars, pretty wife, kids and a dog & cat…
And I did that. Fast forward 20/30/40 years, and I had become a good salesman, and a better sales manager. I had evolved into real estate, and made 2 or 3 million dollars. Finally got involved in a Public Company, (NASDEC/OTC) and, with two other guys, had voting control, and oh, did we have some fun! When we took over, the stock was trading at .50 cents---a couple of years later we had it up to $9.50. That was fun. Then we got involved in a $110,000,000.00 deal and they declared bankruptcy and we went broke…
I had never quit playing golf. I was a typical, fairly good amateur golfer. Handicap ranged from 12 to a 4 or 5, depending on the time I spent on it. So---here I was, 45 years old, broke, wife gone, kids grown, new girlfriend...Why not ? I just started playing golf. Nothing else! By the time I was 49, I was registered as a PGA Apprentice, and couldn’t wait to turn 50. The Senior Tour awaits!
Well, it didn’t turn out to be quite that easy…In the interim I had been playing mini tour events, State opens, amateur events with some pretty big Calcutta’s, just about anywhere I could tee it up. So, off I go to the Senior Tour Q School. Didn’t have a chance! Shot even par one day, one or two over two days and 76 one day---didn’t even make the final cut…
The reason I didn’t have a chance was myelin---and deep, deliberate practice. I did not know that then---do now! While those guys were becoming professional golfers, I was becoming a professional salesman. Just that simple. They had been doing that for 30 years and I had been doing something else.
So---back home---a few more years of the wrong kind of practice, the wrong type of thinking, and a stubborn streak about as wide as an easy 5 par landing area. At 57, back to Senior Tour school. Missed getting my card by 3 shots. Ok, I’m done. They are not gonna let me do that!
Now---I am a pretty obsessive, compulsive, perfectionist, type A personality. Back when I was making a few million dollars, I thought I was one of the smartest guys in the world, (I wasn’t---but a little success & money will do that to you). So---I became obsessed with learning how to learn to play good golf---golf at a high level---why can a few do it and the rest cannot? Is it some innate talent? Some gene that some are fortunate enough to have, and everybody else does not? What is the secret? Is there a secret? (well---yes, there is---but it’s really not a secret).
Now it is 15 or so years later, and I have learned some more. Maybe a lot more!
A small aside at this point. During the 30+ years when I was focused totally on golf, I usually had some type of job at a golf course. My arrangement with the Head Pro was always such that he knew I was going to play and practice at every opportunity, and I would not be there long, so the jobs included everything that no one else wanted to do. Club building, fitting, repair and sales, course maintenance, skut work during golf outings, etc, etc... All of this varied experience turned out to be a blessing as, during the process, I worked with some of the finest club builders, fitters and repair people in the game. I was finally fortunate enough to meet Lynn Marriot, and subsequently, Chuck Hogan, (no relation to Ben Hogan). The work that Chuck Hogan had done and was doing, at the time, was my introduction to the mental and emotional aspects of the game, and combined with the physical and technical aspects previously encountered, proved to be the missing link that I had been seeking for years. It was also during this same period that Dr. Jim Loehr was learning why the "Great" were great...
I would be happy to share, with you, what I, and many others, have learned over these years. (as it turns out, Ben Hogan was right---about many things! He obviously did not have access to what has been learned since 1950 about the neurological processes that take place in the brain and central nervous system when we perform a physical act, like swinging a golf club, and he may not have known why he was right---but he was! About many things…)
If you come to see us, there are a few things that I can almost guarantee you;
1. Unless you are about 10 years old as you are reading this, you will probably never tee it up in a PGA event.
2. If you are able to devote the time, energy, commitment and resources to your golf learning effort, I will personally guarantee that you can
reduce your handicap by 30 to 50%, in 6 months to a year.
3. You will have a lot of fun in the pursuit and the doing of it.
4. If you have a spouse, (of whatever kind), you will need, if not their support, at least their understanding and tolerance.
Again, thank you for reading this.
I hope to hear from you.