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Ben last won the day on February 29 2012

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  1. Ben

    Mini Tour Play

    22 year old, single digit handicappers can make good!! So can a 27 year old, newly hired assistant pro.
  2. First thing's first, you've got the golf bug. Good! Next, you want to improve and know enough to ask for help. Also good. As one that has been playing and working in the golf biz for over 30 years, I'll start by sharing this. There is no such thing as having the perfect game/swing/technique. Even the legends of professional golf, Tiger, Hogan, Nicklaus, etc.. would agree. Rather, playing golf to the level one expects of themself, is part purposeful practice, mixed with positive thought and unwavering confidence. Take a series of introductory lessons from a regarded teaching pro in your area. Watch the PGA Tour pros play on TV. Do some research about the greats of the past. Instead of tieing your brain in knots watching video after video, or reading countless magazine blurbs, compile your list of favorite professional players. If they've published an instructional book, read it. Again, don't follow the hype provided by the no-names your friend told you to watch on YouTube. On an entirely different tangent, you're 29. Are you secure in your career? I switched my career path at 27, and took a job at a private golf course. With unlimited access to play, my game SKYROCKETED! Just saying...
  3. Historically: Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Bobby Jones Truthfully: Ben Hogan, Fred Couples, Reteif Goosen, Curtis Strange. Fantastically: Ben Hogan, Fred Couples, Brooks Koepka, Payne Stewart
  4. eh For the sake of referencing somewhere to start, Ill begin with reaffirming your belief that, playing mini tour golf is a tough way to make a living. From my own experience I understand how you came to the conclusions of just how hard it is for anyone to achieve golf excellence. Speaking from deeper depths of my experience, I can say that's where our common ground stops. Playing golf at its highest level isn't strictly about talent. Not about hitting 350 yard drives while shooting 29 for 9 holes against friends. Playing golf.at its highest levels is about belief. You mention the impossibility of a 22 year old with a 5 handicap ever doing anything with their game. I was a 27 year old weekend golfer (I didn't even carry a legitimate handicap index) when I realized I hated sales jobs and landed a job at a private club, a club that offered no restrictions to the course if I wasn't on the clock. Not long after I discovered local mini tours. After a number of painful years donating my tournament entry fees to the purses, I started playing good enough to finish in the money. Not long after I was actually winning. My point being, there are a number of threads here, those of which detail the dreams of chasing golf greatness. Stories that offer and speak to the side of success.
  5. By the simple fact that you referred to this event as "The Bob Hope" I am compelled to comment and share my two cents. I grew up in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic era myself. When this, and the Crosby or AT&T in Monterey were the two flagship Pro-Am events. Ironically enough, it was this very season that I realized, the LPGA hosts a Pro-Am of their own, and it draws the names the PGA used to. I can't help but think it's due to the fact that, even though the pros tear up the desert courses, the ams have always struggled. Not to mention the players on the LPGA Tour are no longer the stereotypical "dikes on spikes." But rather, not only being pretty damn cute, have a game that is fun to watch. I think the best thing that could have happened to this tour stop in the desert was picking up a sponsor as major as American Express. I say, because the big name Ams have clearly chosen the LPGA event, the PGA should drop the pro am portion and make it a full fledge tour stop held on the Stadium Course. Then leave the big draw pro am to Pebble Beach.
  6. Ask your buddy the amount of strokes a left-handed golfer is penalized when he is caught playing a right-handed ball...
  7. Once upon a time I had a goal to purchase every set of irons the Hogan Company made. With the added guideline that each set I purchased had, not only matching serial numbers (such as the number you found on the ferrules), but also had original grips. I have a few set of Power Thrusts, I didn't pay more than $175 for each. As mentioned, eBay is a great tool for finding a resale value for whatever someone collects. If you have an eBay account, log in. In the search bar type in the set you want to sell. From there you will find another tremendously helpful tool. Click the box to search "Completed Listings". You'll be able to scroll through other eBay users whom have sold similar sets and what they sold their sets for. While I have been out of the hunt for a number of years, I still have most of the better sets I purchased. And as a collector, I cant see a set other than one totally untouched, going for more than $200...
  8. As a general rule, 3-putting is the worst feeling in golf. That being said, as much as I HATE 3-putting, my worst feeling in golf came from by way of my 2nd shot on a par5 with a 3wood. A shot struck way back in 2010 that, although I've moved on, and have hit tons of monster 3 woods on par5s since, haunts me because of its significance. I was in Thailand playing my first ever QSchool for any tour, in this case, The Asian Tour. I squeeked through the first round right on the cut line (-3). I shot Even in the first round of Final Stage and now I was on 16 of the second round, still at even, and had three holes to play before facing a cut, which I figured at -1, to advance to play the third and fourth rounds and secure my card. I was no more than 230 out, so I figured, I can bunt this 3 wood either on the green for an eagle putt or close enough to chip in, or at worst get a birdie. Then, I had my worst feeling in golf. I flared my 3wood way out right, my shot hit that STUPID palm tree. It didn't kick OB, but from 160 out, I was totally deflated and carded a bogey 6. I parred in to post +1 after two rounds, and wouldn't you know. -1 was the cut. Hitting that palm tree still delivers a chill. But as a silver lining, I think back and reflect that that was my first attempt playing in something that big. Not to mention, although I have a few friends that use the Asian Tour as their stepping stone. I know even more friends who didn't get as far as I did.
  9. Rather than focusing on the length of a missed putt, I'd like to offer a different point of view, while staying in the genre of the most demoralizing shot being a putt. Having to take a third putt, THAT, is the most demoralizing shot in golf. F 3-Putts! F them right in the A!!
  10. I won't play this course again until next January, but I did have five birdies on the Stadium Course at PGA West....
  11. With fourteen years experience working at a mid-level private club, and more recently, with a year and a half working at one of the most exclusive clubs in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, here's a few methods I can share to give you the best chance of playing there. 1) Most private clubs are closed on Mondays. A select few clubs stay entirely closed, even to their own membership. This gives the grounds crew an unhindered day to work on big maintenance tasks. A far more common practice of private clubs is, hosting non-member fundraising events on Mondays. It's a huge revenue driver for the club. Find out if this club of yours hosts any Monday charity. These days charity tournaments always have open spots. These events arent run by the club, so ask for the tournament director. Then find the charity selling spots for the least amount. 2) Have your pro call their pro. So long as you have a good relationship with the pro at the public course you normally play... If you dont, start building one. Whether working at a public course or a private club, you'd be hard-pressed to find a Head Pro or Directory of Golf that isn't a Class A PGA Professional. And any self-respecting Class A pro abides by an understood code of conduct. One of the precepts is to offer reciprocity by hosting players by way of reaching out with a special request. This may come with a guest fee, or just paying a cart fee or may be a full comp. 3) Reach out to the Membership Director under the pretense that you are a considering membership at their club as well as the others in the area. You'd like to set an appointment to take a tour of the club, which of course should include playing the course, to make sure it meets your needs, as a potential dues paying member. While this option may test the morals and/or values of some, here's some advice to put your mind at ease. So what if your current financial position can't afford you the means to join, who's to say that won't change down the road? Take the tour, play the round. One day you will be a member there, even if it's not the next day... I'll also say, don't abuse the process. Clubs talk amongst themselves, you don't want to be "blacklisted". Hope this helps!
  12. Gold Star for you! Thanks for reading. It wasn't long after I started reading as a hobby, when I tapped my inner creative writter. I can't put my finger on exactly why or how, but I get some subconscious kick or release from writing. I have a tendency to go on and on, but i do my best to keep my stories a fun read. Man, I haven't thought about those hogan prints I bought in forever. Glad someone still has a copy. You called it. I was playing with two buddies. One an 8 and the other a 16, then we got paired with a single. We all decided on playing the Blues. Was the course playing hard? The course always plays hard. The green on hole 1 is a mind-F!! Tiny, moundy, thankfully it was the smallest and most undulating on the course. As you may know the PGA Tour is playing there in a few weeks. The stands and bleachers a tee stations were mostly all in place. As far as the tees they were set up at a range of locations. A fair Percentage of which were shorter then the standard blue tees we played. Afterthe round we all agreed that my -2 would have left me maybe middle of the pack. We'll see how it holds up when they actually play. Nevertheless, Stadium has always been one of my favorite courses and I was super stoked with my round.
  13. Hello TST, I've got a tale to share that would be best served in the eyes of golfers here. This past weekend my fiance and I set up a couples getaway for the ages. She set up the place to stay, a 3BDR vacation home her clients own on Palm Valley CC. And I set up the golf, Mission Hills Dinah Shore on Saturday and PGA West Stadium Course on Sunday. I had played with Player A in the past and blew him away, for days all he could talk about was how sharp my game was. Naturally Player B was expecting greatness. Long story short, Player B beat me straight up, birdieing the 18th at Dinah Shore no less to do so... Nobody said as much, but it was clear I hadn't lived up to the hype. And then, Day 2. An 11:15 tee time on the Stadium Course at PGA West. I'll add, with only weeks before the PGA Tour will be playing this very course, grandstands and sponsors tents and tournament tees were getting their final touches. When Player B doubled the first toy par, I felt a little relief, when he was 5 over after three, to my 1 over, after a three putt, beating him was no longer on my mind. Fast forward to the end of the round, I two-putted for a 70, he putted out for an 89. I not only saved faced by beating him [hardely], watching me play was the only thing they could talk about. They'd never seem anyone play like that before, let alone on the same golf course that kicked their asses. A course about to host a PGA Tour event. While beating, rather destroying, my playing partners is always fun, the best part of the round, beyond redeeming my poor play from the previous day, was holding myself together down the stretch. (I'll post a picture of our card to shed more light). Hole 14. I was -1 and after hitting a 3wood off the tee, was in the middle of the fairway with 147y to the pin. The green complex is hidden, but I could at least see the pin, and checking the GPS on the cart, it looked like a big enough green. I hit a solid 9iron, solid, but a total pull job, which ended up short-sided in a bunker, about 20ft below the putting surface. Bogey put me back to even par. What's more, having played Stadium Course (one of my favorite course) a number of times before, I knew 15, 16, 17 and 18 are a challenge to say the least. Again, refer to the scorecard. After missing the green with my approach on 15, my first thought was, "gah dangit!!! I've worked hard and played great all day, now I'm going to leak-oil in and finish over par... FFFFF!!!" I used my 58* and chipped my ball to gimme range. 16 is a par 5 with a bunker that runs the left side of the tee shot landing area. More infamously, near the green is protecting on the left by a bunker about 40" below the putting surface. Remember this hole when you watch on TV. Driver, 3iron, 58* wedge from 44y I rolled in my 8' birdie putt. The joy of pulling a par out of my ass on 15, then a solid birdie on 16 was quickly vanished stepping up to the tee on 17. Known as Alcatraz, an island green par3. After taking a ton of pictures, we decided to play from the tips, where the grandstand was being installed. 168y, downhill, jagged rocks everywhere. A feeling ran through my being, I not only knew 7 iron was the club, but that I was gonna hole it. I didn't ace it, but I did hit that 7 iron to about 18', then went on to make the putt... After bogeying the short par4 14th, parring the challenging 15th, then going back to back birdies on 16, 17, here comes 18. Not the time to let my guard down. 18 is a par 4. 405yards of a slight dogleg left with water running the entire left side from tee to green. I don't hit a draw, but I wasn't expecting my drive to fan out quite so far right. I had 191 to a back pin with a sizeable mound right in front of my ball. There is room right, but also a cart path and the grandstands and OB. if I fan this shot as far right as I did my driver... Before the thought of death right I hit the shot. Of all the great shots I hit and made putts all the day, I would say this was the best. The shot left my club and never flirted with the water left, nor grandstands right. An absolute laser that ended up pin high and about 15" left. My birdie putt didn't even sniff the cup, I even left myself a downhill, left to right 3'er for par, which I made. If you've read this far, thanks. The point of the story is to reflect on the old "one shot at a time" cliche. Instead of dwelling on the imminent danger after bogeying an easy hole, I put my concerns in check and not only survived the last four holes, but thrived on them.
  14. This is a really fun idea. Count me in👍 At the course where I used to work the ladies auxiliary held a similar year-round challenge. It was called Par-Perfect. A pot was built over an entire year which was eventually split among the ladies that did go on to par every hole. Hearing that, I adapted my own challenge. Eagle-Perfect. Not that I did this over one year's time, rather a running total that lasted 14 years until I left the club for another. Over my 14 years there, I ended up eagling, at least one, all but four holes. Number 4, an uphill par 4. Number 12, 195y par3. 14, 212y par3 and 16, 168y par3. I'll get in on the challenge asap!
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