Sunday, May 15, 2011

TPC Sawgrass - A golf course unlike others

Of all the golf courses that I had the privilege of playing the TPC Sawgrass remains among my ten favorites. Apart from the length of the course, nothing is more intimidating than the large water hazards that haunt you at the tee shot, the 2nd shot and at the chip shot.

Of course, the signature hole is the par-3 17 whose green is in the middle of the lake. And yes, take enough balls because it is likely that this hole will cost you a few balls and crash your score for the day.

Besides these undulating bumps that look like moguls from a diamond ski slope, where the ball just sinks in the rough. And there, to get out, you must plunge the sand wedge with determination. One second of hesitation and it turns into a bladed ball that will cross the green at 100 mph.

During The Players Championship, TPC is surrounded by beautiful galleries that allow spectators to view the stage with all these talented pros walking past them. A fantastic feeling.

If you go to Florida, do not miss the TPC Sawgrass with its huge clubhouse and its three restaurants.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Zen Golf is Zen Life

So I am on vacation one day and I come across a childhood friend of mine in a restaurant. It turns out he followed in his father's footsteps and became a club pro. So he invites me to play a round with him and a couple rising stars. One thing led to the other and I wound up inviting the 2 rising golf professionals to come out to California for a week of fun and a little golf loop around the State: Riviera, Torrey Pines, etc.

Since I made sure I loaded up on strokes from them at the beginning of each round, I realized that they needed a little mental coaching because I was giving them a run for the strokes they gave me (and I was playing from the amateur tees vs their pro tees). I do some research and I stumble on Vijay Singh and Cristie Kerr's mental coach, Dr. Joseph Parent (together in the picture). He helped both of them get to #1 in the World. I was looking for miracles since my 2 golf pros were leaving in a few days.
I call up Doc, lucky us, he was not travelling that week and can drive down from Ojai to L.A. for a 2 day mental coaching mini-camp. WOW! I was amazed. I read his book Zen Golf and realized that this was beyond swing, alignment, skill or even gift. It was all about freeing yourself from yourself...

Since then, I've become good friends with Doc. We've been to PGA tournaments together and played rounds with a number of PGA and LPGA professionals. His teachings go beyond golf, they rest on the teachings of zen buddhism for everyday life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We will miss you, Seve

As a 7-year old kid introduced to golf in the early seventies, I remember the first professional golf player I learned about was Severiano Ballesteros. Pros and caddies alike raved about his daring plays and incredible determination.

Yet, when they attended the annual pro tournament that Seve played they all agreed, he was very humble, human and approchable. It is not until a few years later when I made the golf team that I got the honor of following him for four days. I realized then, that what they were saying was not only true, but it was exemplary.

Seve had solely put his country, Spain, on the golf world map. Tourists from all over Europe started to flock to Spain to buy villas and condos around a slew of golf courses built by developpers. All thanks to Seve's global image of a daring golf professional. He alone contributed into making the European Tour a credible tour capable of attracting brands and namesake sponsors. Yet, his greatest achievement was to open the doors to countless junior golf schools. Jose Maria Olazabal, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Quiros would not be having their international careers if it weren't for Seve's trailblazing.

We will never forget you, Seve.
Thank you for the memories and for inspiring us amateurs.