101 Golf Secrets
Golf Secrets 34 - 36: Playing the Game
34 -- HOW TO BECOME A TOUR CADDIE
BY PGA TOUR CADDIES SCOTT GNEISER (DAVID TOMS), MIKE CARRICK (J.B. HOLMES, TOM KITE), JIM MACKAY (PHIL MICKELSON)
"If there's one piece of advice we could give," says MacKay, "It's go to the Nationwide Tour and try to hook up with a young pro." Adds Gneiser, "It used to be that you could just hang out at the PGA Tour stops and pick up a bag if the player's usual caddie wasn't there. And who knows? You might end up staying out there once you got some experience. But not anymore. Today, everyone on tour brings out their friends and family to caddie for them. The only way you can get on a tour pro's bag is to hook up with them on the Nationwide Tour." Adds Carrick, "You also need experience. You need to know a lot of the little stuff before you even get to the pro level. It's not like the old days where you can learn as you go. You need to caddie for a lot of people with different personalities. You also need to learn how to read a yardage book and know the numbers your player wants before he even asks for it." Adds Mackay, "When I first started caddieing for Larry Mize, I didn't know anything. Not today. You have to be really good by the time you get to this level."
35 -- HOW TO PLAY GOLF WITH THE PRESIDENT
BY DAN JENKINS
It's easier to play golf with a President of the United States than it is with the great big important president of a great big important company that makes things nobody needs. I know this from experience, having played golf with both.
You can joke with the President of the United States, especially if his name is George Herbert Walker Bush, Old 41. Well, up to a point. But you can't joke at all with the great big important president of a great big important company that makes things nobody needs. Make a joke with that guy, who is usually overclubbed and badly dressed, and he'll call in your bank notes, have your children kidnapped, and set fire to your house.
Still, you need to be cautious when playing golf with a President of the United States. Here are five things it's best not to say:
- "If the phone rings in that briefcase the guy over there is carrying, do you answer it before or after you three-putt?"
- "Why do you want to give our ports away to the Democrats?"
- "You meet a lot of celebrities. Is Alec Baldwin as short as Sean Penn and Barbra Streisand?"
- "Have you ever paid a green fee?"
"I hate slow news days. Can we bomb somebody?"
36 -- HOW TO WIN YOUR CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
BY GWEN FISHER
Gwen Fisher has won the women's club championship at Fenway Country Club in New York's Westchester County 25 of the past 26 years. The year she didn't win, she didn't play because of the birth of one of her two children.
I have an advantage over a lot of my competition because I've been playing competitively since I was 9. I grew up playing at a club in Michigan that had a great junior program. We started playing competitively right away, and not that many girls were really interested in golf. So I enjoy playing in matches. If I'm in a close match and need to be tough, I can usually get going and somehow pull it out.
I'm not outwardly competitive, but inwardly I tend to think I can do my best when a match gets tight. I don't want to kill the person the minute I go up on her, but when it gets close I'm able to pull it out. Some people play mind games and try to psych you out or get in your head, but I don't do that. A lot of opponents try to rattle me. They'll make me putt out when it's an obvious gimme to try to take me out of my game. I prepare myself mentally that those things are going to happen, so it doesn't bother me. I'm pretty generous when giving putts. I'd rather focus on what I'm trying to do as opposed to trying to get into an opponent's head.
Images from top: Jim Herity; Darren Carroll; Ismael Roldan