You saw it again on Sunday at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. Webb Simpson, PGA Tour Player, called a penalty on himself on the green at Hole 15. Conditions were windy. The greens were crusty. When Simpson walked up to tap in his second putt of the par 4 hole, his ball moved ever so slightly. Simpson called over his playing partner, Bubba Watson, and a PGA Tour rules official.
The ruling was simple. Simpson incurred a one stroke penalty and replaced the ball to its original position and tapped it in for a bogey. Simpson was trying to win his first PGA Tour event and the self-imposed penalty ultimately cost him an outright win and over $600,000 plus his first trip to The Masters. This is the type of thing that separates golf from other sports.
Golf is a game that obviously builds character. Over the years, golf has been saddled with some stigmas that are absolutely not true. This is a game for anyone. Golf is affordable. Almost 90% of the golf played in the United States is done so at affordable public courses. There are creative ways to enjoy golf and not have it take all day to play.
I want to use this forum as an opportunity to make you aware of Get Golf Ready- the greatest player development initiative that I have seen in my 35 years of golf. This program offers the consumer the opportunity to get five golf lessons, 1.5 hours each, with an on course experience for the cost of $99! Participants do not need to have a set of golf clubs. All of the instruction, which includes putting, chipping and short game, full swing irons and full swing woods is conducted under the watchful eye of a PGA or LPGA professional.
On Monday night, I joined Michael Breed on The Golf Fix to promote Get Golf Ready. Breed’s high energy instructional show airs each Monday on the Golf Channel at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. This week we had a chance to speak the virtues of Get Golf Ready to the nation and the PGA saw a spike in consumer hits to the PlayGolfAmerica.com/GGR web site.
I want to share a very compelling Get Golf Ready story with you. Late in February, I was flying back to Indianapolis after our PGA planning session. As luck would have it, I got hung up in the Charlotte, NC airport. It was during my flight delay that I called Breed and asked him to consider doing a Get Golf Ready segment on The Golf Fix. He consented to do so and when I ended my phone call with Breed, I was approached by an attractive young blonde.
“I wasn’t eavesdropping on your phone conversation, but I could not help hearing you talk about Get Golf Ready. I just want to tell you that the program is great and it is the reason that I am playing golf today,” said Jenna King, a successful trial lawyer from Charlotte.
King went on to say, “Golf can appear too intimidating. It requires you to go to an unfamiliar location. It has a reputation of requiring expensive equipment and being a difficult game. There was a perceived cost issue for me with golf and the $99 fee for Get Golf Ready broke that barrier.”
Long story short, King joined her friend Lindsey Johnson, a banker, in the Get Golf Ready session. Neither woman had golf clubs. Both enjoyed the GGR session so much that they signed up for a second GGR tour of duty. King and Johnson now own golf clubs and both have found golf to be valuable to their respective professions.
“Our original class was small and it was all women. The pro made it easy and everybody progressed at their own speed. I had never played before and was afraid that I might hold the other ladies back, but that never happened,” recalled Johnson. “The best part is that I made some new friends and we now play golf together.”
The success of the Get Golf Ready program is in its staying power. Statistics gathered by the PGA of America indicate that 84% of those who submit to the five GGR lessons will stay in the game. So, if you have friends, a wife, kids or a significant other and you want to introduce them to golf- there is no better way than through Get Golf Ready.
“Professionally, it has given me the confidence to go out with a group of people I am in banking with and participate in golf outings. I now feel comfortable taking clients to the golf course- something I would never have done before Get Golf Ready!” said Johnson.
I encourage you to share these stories with your friends. Get Golf Ready is available at local golf courses. To be able to get 7.5 hours of instruction with PGA/LPGA professionals for only $99 is a steal. The program will teach you how to have fun with the game. The on course experiences will peak your interest as you actually experience the beauty of our golf courses.
For more information on Get Golf Ready contact:
The Legends GC 317/736-8186 Ted Bishop, Frank Chieppa, Tony Clecak or Scott Downing
Hickory Stick GC 317/422-8300 Keith Clark
Otter Creek GC 812/579-5227 Chad Cockerham
In addition, join us at The Legends on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. as we offer FREE 10 minute lessons in conjunction with the PGA’s Free Lesson Month. We will also be featuring a Titleist Demo Day, which will give you the opportunity to experience the latest and greatest in Titelist equipment
Come to the Legends on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and meet Melvin Bullitt and Ellis Johnson, both have been star performers for the Indianapolis Colts. These two men have a passion for golf and they will sign autographs and share golf stories.
Finally, now is the time for you to get yourself or some friends engaged in golf. Saturday at The Legends is the perfect time to use the 10-minute free lesson as a spring board to Get Golf Ready programs. We can sign you up and put you on the road to enjoying a game that is worth being a part of.
Just ask Webb Simpson. “Sure the penalty was tough. But, it was the right thing to do and that is what separates our sport from all others.”