I am watching the open from St Andrews and reflecting on the interview of Tom Watson. This is probably his last Open and is the only American to have won it five times. If you haven't read about the interview here is the link to the Golf Channel Blog. I played golf as a junior in Kansas City with Tom Watson and yes he indeed was beating all of us, not only the juniors but the adults as he won the KCGA match play at age 14 against all the best players in the KC area.
My thoughts have gone back to appreciate the great Golf Pros in the area that indeed grew the game of golf through their inspiration and passion for the game. Stan Thirsk, who passed away this past Spring was Tom Watson's first mentor and instructor, was one of those great Golf Professionals. Stan was Head Golf Professional at the Kansas City Country Club and even though I was not a member of that exclusive club, I was able to get instruction from him. I was 17 and still remember the golf lesson to this day.
I am constantly bombarded these days with the idea that we need to grow the game of golf. I have seen program after program and lots of ideas from enlarging the hole to promoting more 9 hole rounds for those short on time. The game has always had its ups and downs with participation. Stars like Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods have expanded the desires to play but the key is the Golf Professional who teaches, loves the game and shares that passion with all. I see the Golf Professional today stuck inside his office trying to figure out how to get more rounds and refine the budgets to keep costs down instead of out on the course and driving range promoting the game.
More stars will come on the seen and keep the interest up as evidenced by Jordon Spieth winning the first two majors of the season. If we want to keep the game thriving then go play golf with a friend and pass on your passion and interest as that indeed will grow the game.
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