Southwest Greens of Ohio would like to thank the Cleveland State University golf teams for choosing us to refurbish their indoor practice facility.   Watch out Horizon League!

BEFORE

AFTER!

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Visit our demo green this week at the sixth tee entrance (Bogey Inn parking lot)!  We have teamed up with the Memorial Tournament to offer a chance to win tickets for 2010.  Make a putt, get an entry.  It’s that simple.  Or is it?  I did put some tricky breaks in the green, so bring your touch!  Hope to see you all….

Wednesday, February 25th  2009

We are pleased to be a part of the Columbus and Cincinnati Home and Garden Shows beginning this weekend through next Sunday.  We have passes available for both shows.  Simply call the office (614) 487-7888 or email me directly at carl@southwestgreensohio.com to make arrangements.  Hope to see you there!

Cleveland Golf Show Wrap Up

February 24, 2009

Monday, February 23rd…2009

Thanks to all of you who were able to stop by our display and green at the X I Center in Cleveland this weekend.  We saw some old friends and met some new ones, too.  We are pleased to be able to attend shows like these to meet people who share our passion for golf.  I never tire of watching the reactions of people who haven’t before seen a Southwest Green.  As a former PGA TOUR professional caddie and mini tour player, I know exactly how they feel when they hit that first chip and it checks like the real thing…

The Open Championship?

January 30, 2009

July 1997

Growing up in the suburbs of Columbus, I was fortunate enough to have access to some of the best golf courses in the country to play and practice on.  Any kid who has played golf invariably has stood on a putting green lining up 10-footers “To win the US Open.”  I did it all the time, and still do.

But, the major championship that always piqued my curiosity was the The Open Championship, the only one played outside the United States.  Most of the courses used for this tournament are located in Scotland, the birthplace of golf.  I was always excited to turn on the TV early in the morning to see what kind of conditions the professionals would have to endure that day, or that hour, since it seemed to change so often.  Even in the middle of the summer, you would see players, caddies and the crowds bundled up in sweaters, caps, gloves, blankets and a copious amount of plaid.  It would rain sideways for 20 minutes, then miraculously, become sunny and benign.  Then it would rain again and blow 40 off the ocean.  I was always glad to be curled up in a comfy chair with my coffee, chuckling at how cold they must feel, but secretly wanting to experience it for myself.

I was in the middle of my fourth year as a professional caddie for Chris Perry.  The 1997 season had been up and down, with a couple of decent finishes in March at Doral in Miami (T-13) and Bay Hill in Orlando (T-14), but many missed cuts, too.  I wanted Chris to send in his application for Open Championship qualifying, which would involve us flying across the pond to play 36 holes at a course we had never seen with no guarantees other than spending the money to be there.  He was dismissive at the idea and felt he needed to be playing much better to even think about such a trip.

The deadline for the application was following the Byron Nelson Classic in Dallas in May.

Chris missed the cut at the two events (Greensboro and Atlanta) he competed in leading up to Dallas.  Things weren’t falling into place the way I thought they needed to for him to agree to go to Scotland.  I was beginning to resign myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen.

Then, he shot 65 at Cottonwood Valley in the opening round to be among the leaders.

Second round – 67 at TPC at Las Colinas.

Third round – 66 at TPC.

On Sunday, we played in the second to last group behind the final pairing of Lee Rinker and Tiger Woods.  A 70 on a windy and raw day rewarded CP with a tie for 5th and a good deal of confidence in his game (Tiger won in a thriller over Lee).  I remember being especially proud of the Columbus caddies finishing 1, 2 and 5 that week.  Mike Cowan (Fluff) won with Tiger and at the time lived on the north side of Columbus.  Dennis O’Brien, still haunting the OSU golf courses,  finished second with Lee Rinker.

Word came down from the boss. We were going across the pond!

To those that would like to hit a few putts or chips on a Southwest Green or just talk golf, find our booth at these upcoming shows:

January 9-11

Columbus Golf Show at Vets Memorial

January 16-18

Cincinnati Golf Show at Duke Energy Center

January 26-28

“CENTS” Show at Greater Columbus Convention Center

February 7-15

Cleveland Home and Garden Show at I-X Center

February 20-22

Cleveland Golf Show at International Expo Center

Feb 28- Mar 1, Mar 4-8

Cincinnati Home and Garden Show at Duke Energy Center

Feb 28- Mar 8

Columbus Home and Garden Show at Ohio Expo Center

If you are in the area, we hope you stop by and say “Hello.”

Life Karma

December 19, 2008

The little things you do in life can make a big difference for others.

I found this to be true one year in Chicago at the Western Open.

After several years of looping for the same player, I found I could take a few liberties with the equipment.  One of my favorite actions as a tournament caddie was getting to dispose of the golf balls my player used during the course of a round.  This was in the days of the Tour Balata, a ball that was so soft it could be nicked by your fingernail.  Try that with today’s balls!  (Don’t send me the doctor’s bill.)  Since they were so soft, a player would have to switch to a new ball fairly often between the green and next tee.  My player at the time, Chris Perry, would ask for a new one after two, maybe three holes tops.  That left me with seven to nine unwanted golf balls in the bag after each round.  At first, he would keep them for his shag bag to practice at home.  But, once he had enough and got tired of transporting all the extra weight in his luggage, he would leave it to me to find a home for the rest.

That’s when I started having some fun.

It started innocently enough.  At the end of the round, I would join Chris in the scoring tent to check his card, making sure he was signing for a correct number.  Then, I would grab the bag and start “The Walk.”

The area where the players signed their cards was always roped off from the gallery.  The marshalls would also create a “rope tunnel” to get the players and caddies back to the clubhouse.  Along those ropes would stand hundreds of fans of all ages looking for an up-close view of their favorite golfer and maybe a signature or a memento from the pros.  They would wave posters and hats, even the occasional banana peel (that’s a whole other story!).  The younger ones could really get into it.  What would start as a murmur, would quickly cascade into screams and yelling.

“Can I have your glove?!”

“Can I have your hat?!”

It never took long for kids to start asking for your towel, shoes, shirt or anything else that was visible.  But, I soon found that nothing would send them into a frenzy more than if you simply held up a golf ball.

Instant bedlam!

“CAN I HAVE IT?!”, nine kids screech.

“NOOOoooo!  I WANT IT!!”, twelve more go ballistic.

I could never just hand it to someone.  If I got that close, the throng would grab everything on the bag that wasn’t screwed down tight.  So, I would get them worked up, then toss it high and watch them scramble for it like a Barry Bonds homer to straight away center field in old Candlestick Park.  The mob never disappointed.  I did this often and thought I was making the youngsters and myself happy until my wife interjected one day, “Don’t you worry about the kids getting hurt in the pile?”

“I guess I never thought about it, honey,” I said.

“Well, they might and it would be your fault!”

Time for Plan B.

I still wanted to give the kids all the used golf balls, but needed a way to do it without all the hubbub.  The galleries tended to be a bit more orderly during the round, rather than outside the scoring tent.  So, now when a ball would be taken out of play on the walk to the next tee, I would immediately look around for a pair of eyes that that said “Me, please!”  I could always find a worthy candidate and would drop it in their lap or toss it to their parents for them.

Problem solved!

Now, I don’t usually remember who I toss the balls to in those situations, since I am concentrating on the work at hand, but there was one I couldn’t ever forget.  It happened on the third tee box of the second round of the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD.  Chris had just bogied the difficult par three second hole after a long wait on the tee.  Neither of us were particularly chipper at that point. We were walking to the next tee in the “rope tunnel” strung together by the marshalls when Chris asked to switch to a new ball.  I looked around for someone to toss it to.  To my right at the edge of a group of small pine trees was a quiet, wide-eyed kid about ten years old watching us walk by.  Bingo.

“Hey kid, you want a ball?”

He kind of froze at being singled out, but then nodded slowly.  So, I tossed it to him.  I certainly didn’t expect what followed.  The kid caught the ball, looked down at it and then suddenly screamed,  “OH MY GOSH! I GOT A BALL!” and tore up the hill to find his parents, yelling at the top of his lungs the whole way.  So much for no hubbub!  It was like watching a kid get the one thing he just had to have on Christmas.  It was a priceless moment.

Which leads me back to the Western Open and the whole point of the story.  In 2000, the week after the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Chris competed at Cog Hill.  After a 69 in the second round to make the cut, I took the bag to the caddie area to get a quick bite before joining him for his afternoon practice session on the range.  This area was set up at the front right side of the smallish clubhouse.  It would normally be the club drop for patrons, but now was bound in on three sides by a temporary three-foot high white wooden picket fence and the building on the backside.  A white tent big enough for twenty people sat on a third of this space and housed sandwiches and cold drinks for the hot and weary loopers.  The rest of the caddie area housed outdoor tables and chairs to lounge upon.  We joked that it looked like a pen for goats at the zoo.  So, we called it the “Caddie Petting Zoo.” The only thing missing was the straw.

I got something to eat and drink, then sat down for a while at one of the tables along the fence.  I kept Chris’ bag within a few feet of me, the name facing outward.  Within a short bit, I was tapped on the shoulder by someone outside the zoo.  I turned to find a man in his mid-forties standing there, obviously with something to say.

“You’re Chris Perry’s caddie, aren’t you?”, he asked.

Uh oh.  Who’d my boss go and tick off now, I thought.

“Yes, I am.  How can I help you?”, I replied skeptically.

“I just wanted you to know that Chris Perry is my son’s favorite golfer and you gave him one of his balls three years ago on the third hole at the U.S. Open that he keeps as his most prized possession!  He’s more into golf now than ever thanks to you. Thank you!”

With that, he turned and melted back into the crowd…

Man, did that make me feel good inside.  Little actions can make a big difference.  That’s life karma.