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remdog
03-12-2007, 05:20 PM
I've recently had a couple of PM conversations with Redhook and have come to find out that he's been a player on the PGA circut. Personally, I don't golf but I've played some tennis events that are fairly high up there and I've played some ATP pros and Davis Cuppers but I've never, ever come close to playing in an actual tour event. The aura and atmosphere surrounding professional events in just about any sport is something most of us never experience as players and, like most people, I'm curious about everything that goes on there---but especially the things that spectators never get to see. :)

Redhook agreed to talk about his experience so I'm going to start with a few questions and let the rest of the board add their own inquiries. Hopefully, it will lead to an interesting thread.

So Redhook, how long have you been playing golf, how did you get started and why that particular sport rather than say, baseball or football?

Tell us a little about how you got to a tour event. Did you play collegiately? Did you go through 'Q' school?

What's it like to be in the same locker room with a Tiger Woods or an Ernie Els? What about the perks-----equipment, limos, sponsor parties, etc----anything you'd like to share? ;)

I've always thought that the top 100 players or so (you pick your number) in any sport are tremendous athletes but, IMO, there's usually seems to be a visiable gap between say, the top 10 and the other 90 (as gifted as they may be). Any observations on that?

That should get some conversation started. Hopefully, others will jump in....

Rem

Redhook
03-12-2007, 05:48 PM
I've recently had a couple of PM conversations with Redhook and have come to find out that he's been a player on the PGA circut. Personally, I don't golf but I've played some tennis events that are fairly high up there and I've played some ATP pros and Davis Cuppers but I've never, ever come close to playing in an actual tour event. The aura and atmosphere surrounding professional events in just about any sport is something most of us never experience as players and, like most people, I'm curious about everything that goes on there---but especially the things that spectators never get to see. :)

Redhook agreed to talk about his experience so I'm going to start with a few questions and let the rest of the board add their own inquiries. Hopefully, it will lead to an interesting thread.

So Redhook, how long have you been playing golf, how did you get started and why that particular sport rather than say, baseball or football?

Tell us a little about how you got to a tour event. Did you play collegiately? Did you go through 'Q' school?

What's it like to be in the same locker room with a Tiger Woods or an Ernie Els? What about the perks-----equipment, limos, sponsor parties, etc----anything you'd like to share? ;)

I've always thought that the top 100 players or so (you pick your number) in any sport are tremendous athletes but, IMO, there's usually seems to be a visiable gap between say, the top 10 and the other 90 (as gifted as they may be). Any observations on that?

That should get some conversation started. Hopefully, others will jump in....

Rem

Thanks for the intro Remdog....

I started playing golf when I was 12 or 13. My true love at that time was baseball. To this day, I still think baseball was my natural sport. But after I didn't make my reserve baseball team in high school (we didn't have a freshman team and I pulled my groin.....I know excuses, excuses....lol), I took my first golf lesson a few weeks later. I quickly became hooked. I played high school and college golf locally. After college, I turned pro, which, in a nutshell, is as easy as saying it. But officially, you are professional golfer once you played in a professional event.

I played many mini-tours starting in 1999. I played for 6 years full-time. I took a couple of years off, including caddying on the LPGA Tour in 2005, but I plan to play some more tournaments soon. More on the caddying thing later.

I was fortunate enough to Monday qualify for one PGA tournament. I played in the Buick Open in Michigan. To get into a PGA event by Monday qualifying you have to come in the top 4 of approximately 200 golfers. I had a good day, shot 67, and got into the tournament. It was awesome. Tiger was there and I actually passed him in the locker room. I was definitely a little awestruck. I ate lunch at the same table as Phil Mickelson one day. Chatted with Steve Flesch for a bit on the range. Hit wedge shots next to Jim Furyk. It was an experience I'll never forget.

I played pretty well in the actual event. I shot 71, 75. A late triple bogey on my 31st hole took away my chance to play on the weekend. But, I proud of how I performed. I'll definitely talk more about 1st tee jitters, who I played with, the crowds, etc.

I've been to Q-School 5 times. Not much fun there. Imagine having one week determining where you will work for the entire next year. The pressure is pretty intense. And it's really expensive....$4500. I'll dive deaper into that a little bit later.

I'm free to answer any questions. I've only played once this year, so I want to get out and play a few holes today so I need to go. I'll be back later to add more.

Fire away....

Redhook
03-12-2007, 10:04 PM
What's it like to be in the same locker room with a Tiger Woods or an Ernie Els? What about the perks-----equipment, limos, sponsor parties, etc----anything you'd like to share? ;)

I've always thought that the top 100 players or so (you pick your number) in any sport are tremendous athletes but, IMO, there's usually seems to be a visiable gap between say, the top 10 and the other 90 (as gifted as they may be). Any observations on that?

Rem

The perks of a tour event are absolutely incredible. Most regular tour players get free cars for the week. Since I Monday qualified I didn't get one. The food is outstanding. Huge buffets for breakfast and lunch. And a boatload of snacks on the 1st and 10th tees, plus two other areas on the course.

The driving range is really cool. Every player's golf ball is on the range. When you arrive, you just choose what type of ball you play. I chose Titleist, but I couldn't selected Precept, Callaway, Nike, etc. Pretty cool.

The coolest part of the whole event was the tour vans. In these tour vans are hundreds of golf clubs. The tour reps do everything they can to get you to use their clubs. I needed a 3 wood so I went to the Callaway van and asked if I could try some out. The guy instantly asked what I wanted and then handed me 3 to try out. He never said bring them back or I'll order one if you like one of them. He just gave them to me. So after hitting them, I chose one for the tournament and returned the other two. He was very happy that I chose to use one. I also got a new Titleist driver, a new Cobro baffler utility wood, 3 Cleveland wedges, 3 dozen Titleist golf balls, 4 Titleist gloves, and 6 Titleist hats among others. I was like a kid on Christmas morning. After my practice round on Tuesday all of that equipment was left in my locker.

Yes, there is a huge difference between the top 10 players in the world and guys around 100th. Guys in the middle of pack are good and have a few really good weeks per year, but all in all, they're only a little bit better than many mini-tour players. I definitely think there is a bigger difference between Tiger and someone 100th on the money list than there is between that guy who is 100th and a top player from the Hooter's or Canadian tours.
Tiger, Phil, and the few others that are at the top are truely incredible with what they can do week in and week out.

I'm off to dinner, I'll add more later.

remdog
03-12-2007, 11:19 PM
OK. I want to hear about the life of a (male) caddie on the LPGA Tour. And, I want the good stuff! :laugh:

Rem

Fil3232
03-12-2007, 11:38 PM
Rem, thanks for starting this thread. Cool Stuff.

Redhook, good luck on the upcoming season. As an avid, but wholly mediocre golfer, I had just a few questions I've always wanted to ask a person in your position. I appreciate any and all answers in advance.

*What's it like to play in front of a gallery? What kind of nerves did you have on the 1st tee of your first PGA Tour Event? More nervous in the actual event or in Q-School?

*What about the game is it that seperates mini tour players from Q-school qualifiers, Q-School grads from Top 50 money listers, and finally top 50 players from major winners? In other words, what are the things one has to master as they move up the golf food chain?

*The lay person thinks the life of a pro golfer is luxurious, comfortable, and profitable. While that is the life of the lucky few top golfers, can you please elaborate on what it is like to live the life of every professional golfer outside the world's top 50.

*Who, in your opinion, are some of the young players that will constitute the heart and soul of the Tour in 10-15 years?

*How much better do you think Tiger is from the next best player in the world? Is the gap attributable more towards the mental/competitive side or the ability side?


Thanks again!

Redhook
03-13-2007, 10:46 AM
Rem, thanks for starting this thread. Cool Stuff.

Redhook, good luck on the upcoming season. Thank you!

As an avid, but wholly mediocre golfer, I had just a few questions I've always wanted to ask a person in your position. I appreciate any and all answers in advance.

*What's it like to play in front of a gallery? I love playing in front of galleries. I focus more in front of people and actually play better. Believe it or not, I find it easier to hit a good shot in front of a 1000 people compared to one or two. And when you're looking down the fairway, you don't notice all the people, they just blend into one.

What kind of nerves did you have on the 1st tee of your first PGA Tour Event? I was actually more nervous during the practice rounds. I was nervous all day on Tuesday and Wednesday. Really nervous. When I arrived to the first tee on Thursday I could barely think straight. Everything went so fast. I have no idea if I hit first, second, or third. I do remember struggling to the get a tee out of my pocket. And I remember seeing my hand shake as I placed the ball on the tee, hoping to god the ball wouldn't fall off....lol. After I got the ball on the tee I backed up and did my routine wondering what would happen. I had no idea. Could I function in a PGA Tour event?? I stepped up to the ball in one big blur and took a huge hack at it. Amazingly, I crushed the ball right down the middle. With all the nervous energy I hit the ball around 320 yards....easily 40 past my playing partners. To this day, I still don't know how I hit the ball that straight and that far on my first shot.

More nervous in the actual event or in Q-School? After the first hole, I was able to relax a bit. I think I got most of my nerves out in the practice rounds. I was still nervous inside, but my body was more calm. Q-School is totally different. Q-School I wasn't nearly as nervous, just more stressed. Q-School is so difficult. There are 3 stages. In the first stage you play 4 rounds and have to come in the top 25% of the field to advance. Dido for the second stage. Then in the final stage, 6 rounds, you have to come in the top 30 out of 180 guys to get your tour card. 30 guys out of approximately 1000 get their tour card. It's really, really difficult. Everyone is so good. It's just a matter of who is playing well, who can relax, and who is the best when they're not on their game. I definitely believe it is not the best method of determining who should get to play on tour. There needs to be other tours sanctioned with the PGA like the Nationwide Tour. Other tours like the Hooters, Gateway, and Canadian should serve as the minor leagues with the top players advancing to the Nationwide Tour. It would be better for everone.

*What about the game is it that seperates mini tour players from Q-school qualifiers, Q-School grads from Top 50 money listers, and finally top 50 players from major winners? Timing and money play a large part, believe it or not. Most players, outside of the top 10-15 in the world, only play good about 20% of the time. It's said around golf that you make 80% of your money in 20% of the tournaments. It actually could be closer to 90/10 with some guys. It's just a really hard game to play well all the time. So you just hope you're playing well when October, Q-School, comes around.

In other words, what are the things one has to master as they move up the golf food chain? The short game is by far the most important part of the game. I'm not sure what the actually number is, but it's something like 70% of your shots are inside 100 yards. Think about that. Most amateurs spend all their time on the range, when in reality, it doesn't help them one bit. When you guys practice, spend 25% of your time (15-30 minutes) on the range and 75% (45-90 minutes) putting, chipping, and pitching. Put it this way, if you took a bogey golfer and let a tour player hit all the shots withing 100 yards of the green, the tour player would probably break 80 most of the time. It's that substantial. The best players in the world have the best short games in the world.

*The lay person thinks the life of a pro golfer is luxurious, comfortable, and profitable. While that is the life of the lucky few top golfers, can you please elaborate on what it is like to live the life of every professional golfer outside the world's top 50. Life IS great for the tour players. There's not doubt about that. But, for the mini-tour players, approximately 80% of all professional golfers (I made that number up, but it's probably close), life is not easy. You pay for everything yourself. You usually drive to all the events and most of them are in small towns. I've stayed in some of the dirtiest hotels you can ever imagine. And sharing a room with one or two others players is very common. I've slept on the floor hundreds of times over the past 8 years. You get used to it. Being a mini-tour player can cost up to $50,000/year. So, you either need to have people backing you, or you need to play really well. To put it into perspective though, making $50,000 on the a mini-tour would be like winning $3,000,000 on the PGA Tour and being a top 10 player. It's really hard. By the way, my car has 245,000 miles on it, no lie, and I drove over 40,000 in one year.

*Who, in your opinion, are some of the young players that will constitute the heart and soul of the Tour in 10-15 years? Trevor Immelman is really good. I love his swing. He just needs to put a little better. Adam Scott. Aaron Baddelay. Henrik Stenson. Charles Howell (Chucky Triplesticks) seems to playing up to talent now. Sergio Gargia. Really bad putter. Needs to fix that. As you can see, the Americans are struggling in this department. As of right now, I don't know of any youngsters are going guaranteed stars.

*How much better do you think Tiger is from the next best player in the world? Is the gap attributable more towards the mental/competitive side or the ability side? Tiger is a lot better. IMO, he's the best ever. He's almost always in contention. And he probably only hits it good 20% of the time. At that level, golf is 99% mental. Everyone is good and very talented. Tiger is just so much stronger mentally than everyone else. It's not even close. Other players hit it longer than him, straighter than him, make more putts, etc., but he is just more determined when it comes to winning events.


Thanks again!

All my answers are in bold. Hope that gives you a good look at what's behind the scenes.

RFS62
03-13-2007, 10:57 AM
Fantastic stuff, Redhook.

Redhook
03-13-2007, 11:03 AM
OK. I want to hear about the life of a (male) caddie on the LPGA Tour. And, I want the good stuff! :laugh:

Rem

:D

Caddying is a rough life. It sucks. The actual tournaments are pretty cool. I looped in 25 of them. But, it's Sunday night through Wednesday that are rough. You have to drive to almost every event. You have to walk the course before the player gets there to chart it out. You play 2-3 practice rounds including a very slow pro-am on Wednesday. You have to watch the player practice for about 4 hours a day. You're basically someone's b***h for an entire week. I would say I worked an average of 60+ hours per week. No off days. And it's physically exhausting carrying a 40 pound bag every day. It's not a fun life. One year and done for me.

You can make good money though. I got my friend a job after the first few events and he ended up winning the US Open that summer. Huge payday! But, you're away from home all the time and you never get any time to yourself.

I am happily engaged and had my same girlfriend when I caddied so there was no 'fun' for me....lol. But, I know of some very good stories. One of friends almost hooked up with Paula Creamer only to have it dashed from another caddy. Players and caddies definitely hook up more than you would think. Some players are actually married to guys that actually caddied for them.

There are also some interesting relationships out there. Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel have been dating for years. Also, Karrie Webb and Kelly Robbins. Jennifer Rosales and Guilia Sergas.

I was definitely surprised at how many attractive girls there are on tour. I thought most of the women would be in their 30's and 40's and not very attractive. But, I was wrong. There are a lot of young, attractive girls that will definitely draw attention to the tour in the upcoming years.

I have caddied in the same group as Natalie Gulbis a few times. She's actually very nice and very talkative. She spent two holes talking about Roethlesberger and how they met, etc. when they were dating a couple of years ago. If you didn't know, she found out he broke up with her over ESPN. Nice move on his part. :rolleyes:

Feel free to ask more if you'd like.....gotta run.

remdog
03-13-2007, 04:32 PM
How do they pay you? Do they give you a check or what? The reason I ask is I met a qualifier at a tennis tournament a few years back and he was walking around with about $20K in checks from various tournaments in his tennis bag. Said he'd been gone from home for so long that he hadn't had time to cash them.

Rem

Redhook
03-13-2007, 11:38 PM
How do they pay you? Do they give you a check or what? The reason I ask is I met a qualifier at a tennis tournament a few years back and he was walking around with about $20K in checks from various tournaments in his tennis bag. Said he'd been gone from home for so long that he hadn't had time to cash them.

Rem

When I caddied I usually got a check from my player early the next week. It included my weekly salary and the bonus if she made the cut. I had a Bank of America account so I could deposit my checks all over the country.

For golf tournaments, sometimes I got the check immediately after the event, sometimes early the next week, and sometimes in the mail. All different, but all effective. Like anyone else though, I wanted the check asap.

I still have one of those "Big" winner checks at home, kinda like the one's from Happy Gilmore. It's not worth a whole lot, well a lot to me maybe....lol, but it's fun to have.

remdog
03-13-2007, 11:50 PM
I can relate to playing in front of a crowd. It was definately 'minor, minor leagues' but I used to play on a kind of 'semi-pro' tennis circut in Southern California in the mid-80's. Believe me, 100 people (not counting other players) was a big crowd. :laugh: But I always seemed to play better when someone (anyone? :evil: ) was watching. :)

Rem