Welcome Back! (for 2nd Semester)

Club repair with
Golf Club Assembly and Repair is on the class schedule 2nd semester.

The 2nd semester is officially underway, and until further notice, you can address me and my classmates as sophomores. It was great to be back around the guys. We have a real genuine camaraderie as a class coupled with an already great vibe at the Golf Academy as a whole. Who wouldn’t love to come to school everyday? We get to learn about golf! I’m really excited about my schedule this semester. The 2nd semester starts on a Friday because we have a Friday off at some point during the semester, and we are required to be in class a certain number of days. Take a look:

Tournament Golf w/ Campus Director Tim Eberlein

Advanced Elements of the Short Game w/ PGA Professional Jay Friedman
Understanding Golf Operations w/ Director of Career Services Fred Barr
Golf Club Assembly and Repair w/ PGA Professional Gary Balliet

Verbal Communication Skills w/ RJ Lancaster
Marketing, Advertising, Promotions and Sales w/ RJ Lancaster
Business Writing w/ Richard Lewis

No class (a lucky scheduling break)

Rules of Golf II w/ PGA Professional Ed Ekis
Golf Performance Enhancement w/ PGA Professional Gary Balliet

I had Fridays off last semester. This semester, it’s Thursdays. I’ll either play golf that day, take a lesson on campus, or do both. I’m not sure yet.

There were a lot of little gems I took away from today’s classes. Academic Dean Tim Wilkins, the man we call X (for his middle initial and because there is more than one Tim on campus) started the day by telling us he thinks the three things that really separate the “pros” from the amateurs in the golf industry are knowing the history of the game, knowing the rules of the game, and knowing how to teach the game. We covered history in the first semester. Now, we’re really starting to dig deeper into the Rules of Golf and how to teach it. I’ll admit I know a lot about the game, but I’m not confident enough to translate that knowledge to a student.

Decisions on the Rules of Golf is the rule book on steroids, and it’ll be out-of-date come December. Thanks a lot USGA.

Rules of Golf II
Rules of Golf II with PGA Professional Ed Ekis is always entertaining. A lot of students call Ed’s classes “Storytime with Ed Ekis” because of the quality and quantity of Ed’s golf stories. Ed’s not afraid to break up the monotony of the Rules with a story or two about his extensive past in the golf industry and the courses he used to run in the state of Michigan and elsewhere. I’ve never asked Ed a question that he can’t answer, and his knowledge is greatly appreciated.

Ed is famous for saying that the golf ball only cares about where the club is coming from (translation – club path), how fast the club is moving (clubhead speed), and what the club is doing when it gets to impact (clubface angle). Geez Ed, when you put it that way, golf sounds pretty easy.

In addition to the Rules of Golf rule book you’re probably familiar with, our textbook this semester is Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2014-2015. It’s the rule book on steroids. And the information will be out-of-date at year’s end. Great.

Now, the Rules of Golf really start to come to life because we begin pairing the Rules with the Decisions that have been made involving the rules. Ed is famous for saying, “It’s not about being the better ball striker, it’s about being smarter than the other guy.” He’s right you know. Especially on the professional tours, knowing the Rules can not only save strokes, it can mean thousands of dollars for the guy or gal who knows how to manipulate them in his/her favor. It’s not cheating if you’re “cheating by the Rules” as they say. Knowing the verbiage matters, and every word counts. For example, did you know that the word “may” means that a rule is optional, that the word “should” means it’s recommended, that the word “must” is required (and a penalty if not followed), that the word “modified” means changed, and the word “waived” means disregarded?

Tests and quizzes in this class are open book. And it’s a good thing! There’s a lot of material to cover. Again, the wording matters, and Ed is going to be very specific when asking for a Rule, a definition, or a Decision. Here’s another example:

An opponent makes a stroke from a wrong place. What’s the penalty?
I’ve italicized the words opponent, stroke, and wrong place because those words are the clues that point to the answer. The word opponent indicates Match Play. While the penalty for playing from a wrong place would normally be two strokes in Stroke Play, because it’s Match Play, the penalty is loss of hole.

A competitor makes a stroke at a wrong ball. What’s the penalty?
Likewise, the word competitor indicates Stroke Play. If a competitor makes a stroke or strokes at a wrong ball, he incurs a penalty of two strokes, and the competitor must correct his mistake or he is disqualified (Rule 15-3b).

The words matter, and for the 100th time, you can see why I’ve been saying that the Rules of Golf are way too complex. It’s going to be an interesting semester.

Golf Performance Enhancement
This class is an elective, but I think it should be mandatory. PGA Professional Gary Balliet has a wealth of knowledge to offer because in his day, he was a real player. Gary fared very well in several big-time amateur events, played his college golf at the University of Michigan, and even qualified for a PGA Championship in the early 80s.

Every Shot Must Have a Purpose is the book well be using for Golf Performance Enhancement.
This is the book we’ll be using in Golf Performance Enhancement.

There are six essential values that a player takes with him/her out onto the course – physical, technical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. By the end of this GPM, the hope is that we will learn to accept our results out on the golf course with a smile. Gary says you have to “change your brain to change your game.”

The book we will be referencing is Every Shot Must Have a Purpose by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott with a forward by Annika Sorenstam, the best female golfer of my lifetime. I’m listening. Nilsson and Marriott co-founded VISION54/Coaching for the Future, Inc., the idea that every hole can be birdied for a score of 54. Nilsson coached Sorenstam as well as the Swedish National Golf Team, while Marriott has been named one of Golf Digest’s 50 Greatest Teachers and one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers. Both live in Arizona and teach at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale. Here’s a video clip of the program:

Gary told us to come prepared to “spill our guts” about how we act and what we feel on the golf course. I can’t wait to become a better player between the ears.

Quote of the Semester
Upon our return to campus, we also got new name placards. Part of our professionalism grade is displaying these placards so our instructors can easily identify us. It also takes a lot of responsibility on our part not to lose the thing at some point during the semester. On the back is a different inspirational quote every semester. This semester’s quote reads, “The journey is the destination.” I didn’t give it too much thought because it sounds to me like something out of one of the Star Trek movies. But I think what it means is that the journey is more valuable than the destination. I like the journey I’m on now, and I can’t wait to see what my destination will be.

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