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Posts Tagged ‘Fairways of Life’

A Message From Matt Adams

I listen to the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio channel practically every day driving to and from work…and on the weekends as I make my way to and from the course.  I thoroughly enjoy the banter of Matt Adams, Brian Katrek, and John Maginnes during their respective shows and especially like it when they team up as they occasionally do.  They each play off the other very well, it feels like the guys talking at the course. I find each has a great way of talking positively about the game, its history, its heroes, and all of the personalities who surround it – technicians, teachers, builders, authors, and architects.  The guests they bring on are first rate – I had thought myself a fairly learned student of the game and its history, but since I started listening a year or so ago I more often than not learn something new.  And no matter how stupid or goofy a caller may seem, they are always polite and positive – they each know their audience and it is us – the weekend golf warrior.

I recently posted a commentary on Matt Adams and his Fairways of Life show on the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show.  I heard Matt use some interesting phrases one morning, was nearing the front gate of the military base where I work so I couldn’t call in, so I wrote a blog article about it – all in fun.  I gave Matt a few “19th hole jabs in the ribs” about -what I call – his damn-nearisms.  As I said in that post, if we were at the course and I heard you say those things, I would have stuck the needle in right then.  Not unlike the needling I took this past weekend at the course for wearing a pink Kangol cap!  I expect it, like I did in the ready room when I was flying helicopters for the Marines and like I did in the locker room when I was a ball player in school.  I don’t have those things now, but I have golf and expect that kind of give and take with the gang at the golf course…fun and spirited banter…like Matt, Brian, and John provide.  (Oh yeah, I get a regular healthy dose at home with my wonderfully fun wife too!)

Matt wrote me about the article –

“Thus, I’m glad to be of some enjoyment! In all honesty, I am simply what I am (to quote Popeye) and I’ve never claimed that what I say, or how I say it, is any better (in fact, more often than not, it is worse) than any other’s. I can’t help the fact that I am a book author and the Network certainly enjoys it, but if you notice, I hardly ever make note of it myself. I don’t view myself as an author or as a broadcaster, I am simply someone that works in golf and loves the game. I am fortunate to have found some really good editors over the years to turn my slop into proper English. After that, it is just me, I couldn’t care less about sounding like something more than what I am, the guy that pulls up the cart before your round.”

Matt – thanks for the gracious response and for taking the ribbing for what it is, 19th hole fun.  You’re great just as your are, great show, great guests, excetera, excetera, excetera…

Matt Adams and Damn Near-isms, etc. etc. etc.

I was listening to Matt Adams this morning on Sirius/XM’s PGA Tour Channel “Fairways of Life” on my way to work and it struck me how many “Damn Near-isms” he managed to lay out there in the span of a couple of minutes. Matt was excited to talk with a caller about Rory McIlroy’s win at The Honda Classic and his becoming the number one ranked golfer in the world.  He was also incorporating the ongoing topic of a single hegemonic player versus player parity on the tour in the discourse.  (You know – was it better when Tiger was the lead dog or is it better now that so many different players can actually win each week? I would personally like to see another “big three!”)  Now, “Damn Near-isms” are nothing new for Matt. I hear them all of the time on the show, in fact there is one enduring “Damn Near-ism” that he just continues to use almost every other sentence.

I suppose it is time I tell you what a “Damn Near-ism” is.

Definition: Damn Near-ism – a word or phrase that when spoken or written elicits an initial or basic understanding of the intended meaning; however, when a quick mental review is made the listener/reader then realizes that the word or phrase was actually not quite right. Example: I love dogs, in fact, I once had a Labrador Repeater (intending Retriever).

So, in addition, Matt is a New York Times best selling author and I think sometimes he overplays the accomplished writer thing in his speech patterns and the language he uses.  For example, how many times do you use the word “thus” in normal conversation?  Play a drinking game during the show sometime and take a shot of tequila every time Matt says “thus.”  (“Thusly” counts…yeah, I know)  You’ll wake up the next day with a serious hangover, walking bowlegged, and sporting a tattoo of a spiked dog collar on your neck that you have no idea where it came from.  (Not my experience, but I hear Feherty spent a lot of money removing that tattoo.)  All this to say that once he gets excited, words just flow and sometimes they fit…and sometimes they don’t.  I’m just saying.

In the dialogue referenced in the first paragraph, Matt was excitedly waxing eloquent that since the “fall” of Tiger there has been great parity amongst the players on tour and that it has been “almost gladatorial” out there. I got the gist, but in my personal Scooby-Doo way I went, “huh?” to myself in the car. I knew there was something wrong and I was right – it is actually gladiatorial. He then pressed on to say that so far this year we have seen a resurgent Tiger, a resurgent Phil, and now Rory’s rise – it will surely be a “season of our content.” Okay, I get that too. And, I suppose one could say that it is a loosely appropriate reapplication of  Shakespeare’s “winter of our discontent” but, I am not so generous and it smacks of that “I am a best selling writer use of language and references thing.”   It is nothing less than a high brow “Damn Near-ism.”  Finally, the pizza resistance (I couldn’t resist). Matt is continuously ending his sentences with ex cetera, ex cetera, ex cetera.  Matt – it’s ET CETERA, ET CETERA, ET CETERA. Axe anyone!  Rent the 1956 movie “The King and I” and Yule Brynner (as the king) will clear it up. In fact and better yet, here’s a sound clip that should help: just click etc.

I love the show. I like listening because in many ways Matt and his call-in guests sound like the guys at the course talking about the week’s events on the PGA tour. Matt is very experienced in golf business and broadcasting and he is always informative.  It is interesting and sometimes funny to hear what people have to say when they call in and the commentary Matt provides as a result. And, if some of those conversations took place near me and we were the guys at the course, I would give the “Damn Near-ism” user no end of grief – on the spot. But, since I am a mere listener, I’m giving grief here.

Love the show, the banter, and the “Damn Near-isms.”  Can’t wait to hear the next one.

Tee It Forward

Tee It Forward Initiative

I first heard of this initiative on the Sirius/XM PGA Tour Network shows Fairways of Life with Matt Adams and Teed Off with Brian Katrek.  In their respective shows, Matt and Brian each invited callers to comment on the concept – Tee It Forward.  Then, a couple of days ago I stumbled on a GolfWorld.com article addressing the initiative as well and thought I would put some brain cells on it myself.

Essentially, the concept is that the majority of golfers out there should move forward one set of tee markers to “boost fun and speed up play” during 5-17 July 2011 (Golfworld.com/The Game July 4 2011).

I think the desired effect is to bring awareness to leisure golfers that golf courses designed for championship play are not necessarily suited (from the back tees) for the games of the average golfer.  As reported by GolfWorld.com, an article in Golf Digest attributes the idea to Barney Adams (Adams Golf).  Mr. Adams calculates “that the amateur who drives the ball 200 to 230 yards should be playing courses measuring about 6000 yards.”  Essentially, this is an effort to encourage average golfers to play the course from a tee that best suits their game.  In theory, this will make the game more fun for them and speed up play.  I think it is a great idea, but how to implement it and see that it has lasting effects?

Tee It Forward –Implementation

Golf is a game that has been in a bit of a down swing (so to speak), with the economy such as it is and the expense of playing (golf is generally not a cheap sport), the rising tide of new joins to the game from the “Tiger Era” has been ebbing.  The following link will take you to an interview of Brian Katrek regarding Tiger pre-Masters, but what is important in the interview by Fox Business News is the commentary by Brian on the current state of golf – http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4627876/brian-katrek-tigers-not-ready-to-retire-/.  This is excellent commentary and clear and understandable reasoning – thanks Brian.

Jack Nicklaus and others think that perhaps 18 holes is too many for the masses and that there should be an intermediate number available – say 12 that one could purchase to play – not too much and not too little for those who don’t have 4.5 to 5.5 hours to burn.  I have heard discussion on the PGA Tour Network regarding the need to get more women involved in the sport, make the sport more “female friendly.”  Now, Tee It Forward comes to the fore as an initiative to make golf “more fun” for the masses (and potentially provide for more through-put on the courses positively affecting revenue?)

How does one get traction on an initiative like this so that its positive effects last?  GolfWorld posits three areas of refinement to the existing plan (which seems somewhat voluntary and without a lot of marketing):

  1. Somehow change mistaken mindsets that shifting to forward tees for players within a group takes more time and slows play.  As they put it, gain “permission to play shorter tees.”
  2. Create and “include a chart correlating 10 driver distances to a similar number of recommended 18 hole yardages.”  That is, I suppose, if you hit a driver 200 yards you should play an 18 hole length of 6000 yards, 220 yards is 6300 yards, etc…Perhaps even a “professional assessment” provided by a course pro with a range of clubs.
  3. Finally, charge differently by tee marker…the shorter, the less you pay.  (This has the most promise in my view.)

Tee It Forward – More Ideas

We already have a handicapping system.  Why can’t courses check handicaps?  Limit play on select back tees to certain handicap levels – always, sometimes, whatever….  If you don’t have a handicap, it is likely an indication that you aren’t necessarily a serious golfer and that perhaps you should be on one of the forward tees.  The course at Camp LeJeune, NC has two 18 hole tracks – the scarlet and the gold.  The gold is the championship course and the scarlet is a bit shorter, but both are equally playable and enjoyable.  The rule there used to be anyway that during certain hours on Saturday and Sunday, you (and your group) must have established handicaps to make a tee time on the gold.  Everyone else plays the scarlet.  Now, I realize that there aren’t many courses out there with multiple tracks, but the idea can be implemented as part of the tee it forward program.  Rather than restricting the golf course, restrict the tees so that non-handicap holders play to the forward tees during the busiest weekend hours.

Also, maybe we should standardize tee colors as well.  I venture that a lot of players see white tees and use them.  White is somewhat universal for ‘average player tees,’ but the difficulty is not all courses use the same colors.   I think it somewhat universal that ladies tees are red, senior tees gold, forward men’s tees white, and then you have one or two sets back beyond that – normally blue next, then black championship tees.  What’s wrong with establishing a standard in the industry?  Even if you have something cute as tee markers – cannons or rocks or garden gnomes – they can have the standard color motif can’t they?

Finally, change where you set the tees.  Move the ‘standard’ white ones up permanently from where they have been historically if the yardage at the old place was too long by Mr. Adam’s standard.  It may cost a little to recalculate slope and rating and publish the new yardage on the score sheets, but If it achieves the desired result, it would be well worth it.

Tee It Forward – Bottom Line

There are probably a myriad of ways to implement, but there will still be those who want to play the full course no matter their skill level.  In the end the customer is right, right?  Well, maybe on a municipal course or even a resort course, but I venture a country club can do what it wants provided the constituency allows.

I think the effort has merit, but it will require a multi-faceted approach.  First, standardize tee colors to eliminate confusion – I mean establish an industry standard.  Next, just move a set forward of where they are now (white ones) to better fit the 6000-6300 yard model.  Then, communicate with your customers.  Illustrate why it makes sense with charts that show with common sense language why it will be more fun to change – it has to be direct, simple and to the point.  And finally, there must be monetary incentive to change.  If you simply charge more for each tee back from the white, then you punish good players.  Perhaps you can charge more unless you have an established handicap that is below a certain threshold that allows you to pay the same as those on the white. People who do not belong on the back tees should pay more… I think that is the point.  But, make no mistake, managing price by tee will create the quickest change.