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Cart girl mania, Masters foul-ups, Ballesteros implosions and golf's most overrated instructor ever

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

Golf Magazine has a "Cart Girl Confidential" story in its April issue, in which reporter Daniele Pergament goes undercover in Myrtle Beach.

It's a well-written, funny story, but one question: Did she ever meet a normal American male? Or is every golfer in the world a crass, buffoonish jerk who can't tell anything but a bad joke and who is full of the worst, sexist kind of come-on lines? In short, is every golfer in the world like my uncle?

Never fear: TravelGolf will soon be bringing you the real, inside story of a professional cart girl. Her name is Nicole Kallis and she's such an expert, she's written a book on the subject entitled "Secrets of a Tee Time Girl". The book was reviewed by Golf Digest, which happened to send a photographer to Kallis' California digs recently for an upcoming "Feels" issue.

I would seriously tune in to those photos, as I would when she makes her debut soon for us. Kallis' columns, which will appear in BadGolfer.com, are racy and hilarious and much more in-depth than the Golf Magazine piece. She would have made her debut sooner, but I've been ruining my eyes poring over her photographs, trying to decide which one is best. It's a tough job.

Hey, Is There a Major in Georgia Coming Up?

You'd never know the Masters is coming up, would you? I feel sorry for the poor Players Championships in Ponte Vedra, Fla., which suffers from Masters envy every year.

All the major magazines have devoted tons of space to the upcoming tournament with the azaleas and white-bread cheese sandwiches. Golf Magazine has a 30-page spread with a lot of useless information (average age of the winner since 1960). There is one good, in-depth story worth reading, based on a book about Roberto De Vicenzo's infamous scorecard blunder.

Travel & Leisure Golf has a good column by Mike Lupica, who writes: "We could have all the big guys showing up with their best fastballs and giving us a dream leaderboard, one even better than last year."

There's a column written by Greg Norman, who continues to insist he isn't a choker. "People use the word ‘choke,' but I don't think that's right," Norman writes. "I just plain screwed up."

Shark, you plain screwed up because you plain choked. This guy is going to live in denial the rest of his life. He's the poster boy for chokers. I wish one time he would come out and scream it.

Golf Digest, in its "Goals" issue, jumps in with some of the most beautiful photos of Augusta National you may have ever seen and a great little section, gleaned from the pros, on where not to hit it at the famed course.

The Once and No-More King

The highlight of the golf print world this month is Jaime Diaz' story in Golf Digest on Seve Ballesteros implosion, told mostly through the eyes of Ballesteros' peers. The consensus seems to be that Ballesteros is too impatient, switching coaches as often as his mood changes.

"Seve always made me think that he was living a few centuries back when Spain ruled the world," Lee Trevino said. "He was like a king. But, when his game started to slip, he didn't adapt well to not being king."

He is also - this may come as a shock - stubborn.

"He came to the test center in 2002," said Randy Peterson, manager of club-fitting and golf instruction at the Callaway Test Center. "But he didn't want to go on the launch monitor. He said, ‘My hands are my computer.'"

The story brings up this question: With all the space these magazines devote to advertising and useless tips, why can't they come up with more terrific feature stories, like this one?

Why? I'll Tell You Why

Because they continue to get mileage out of a boatload of tips, most of which average golfers fool themselves into believing can be helpful.

David Leadbetter, in my opinion, is the most overrated golf instructor of all time. He lists his four principles on the "all-important downswing:" 1) torque; 2) arc width; 3) swing plane and 4) synchronization.

Huh? I want a guy who will tell me to keep my head down. Synchronization? What is this guy, some kind of molecular engineer? This is golf, right?

Up Is Down, Black is White

Leadbetter isn't alone. Here are some more questionable tips: Kevin Walker and Dave Allen advise us: "When you want to launch one, swing easier, not harder." Right, and when you want to exhale, breathe in.

And this, from the same pair: " ... come to a complete stop at the top - as if waiting for a red light - the longer you wait to release the energy, the more of it you'll transfer to the ball." Following this tip's logical conclusion, why not wait an hour and really send it? It took two guys to think of this?

Of course, there are always a few good tips hidden in there: Golf Magazine's Mike Adams has some good advice for pitching over a bunker to the green. Better yet is this from Billy Casper, who says in the same magazine, "Play more and practice less."

Chip Shots

Travel & Leisure Golf, which hawks the newest Mercedes, Tiffany watches, fine wines and bores us with CEOs talking about their golf games, has an interesting little story on the "ultimate $36,000 set of clubs." They are by Asian company Honmas, which is now trying to crack the U.S. market. Donald Trump and Roger Clemens have sets ... T&L also points out how, for $6,250 a year, any Joe Schmo can play exclusive, private courses in Manhattan, Las Vegas and South Florida, through a company called Tour GCX Partners.

Johnny Miller's commentaries in Golf Digest are getting weak. This issue, he goes on and on about the flowers at Augusta … Speaking of golf broadcasters, what happened to all the old guys who used to sound like Shakespeare? Now, we have to settle for CBS' voice of the Masters, Jim Nantz, and his stupid puns. Puns are the refuge for the humor-challenged, unless they are really, really good.

And last: T&L Golf quotes Michelle Wie, on how she handled missing the cut at Sony Open: "Retail therapy. Buying stuff. It just makes me feel a lot better."

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Tee Time Girl and Author, Nicole Kallis

    A Fan wrote on: Apr 9, 2005

    I have personally met Nicole and have read her book. Meeting Nicole in person, after reading her book, made me realize she is just like her book! A one-of-a-kind great piece of work. Thanks Nicole for representing what women are all about!


  • Tim McDonald 3/30 media column

    Michael Turnbull, Mindful Golf pro wrote on: Apr 5, 2005

    Leadbetter states early on that the TOUR pros for whom he works want simple instruction while amateurs seem to want too much information...and then he proceeds to give the amateurs what they want. The effect of this extra information, written in HIS language (or at least Isaac Newton's) and not the amateurs' language, certainly doesn't make the learning process easier for most golfers. Shouldn't the student describe what they're feeling in THEIR language, especially since they are the only ones who know what they're feeling?
    But Tim, you don't want a guy to tell you to keep your head down, not really. What you need to find out is what your head is doing--if it's moving, where it's moving to, when it moves and how much it moves from swing to swing--without trying to change it. And without trying to do anything right...just see what it's doing. Why would you try to correct something without seeing it first, without feeling and experiencing exactly what is going on with your head? Until you can feel what your head is doing you really don't have a clue on how to change it.
    And how do YOU know it's moving? Did someone tell you or did you feel it move two inches to the left and up one inch, right when your hands passed your belt on the downswing? Or maybe it was your whole upper body that raised up? Or maybe your legs stiffened and you raised up to regain your balance?
    Until YOU actually experience what your head is doing it's all just intellectual speculation. Every breakdown in scoring is usually assigned to some mechanical flaw and so, we become too dependent on feedback from others' eyes.
    The problem with golf tips is that the reader feels she/he has to do something the "right" way or else all is lost. And tips usually ask you to change something instead of guiding you to find out more. This is why golf tips can be so contradictory...
    Although I don't always agree with you, Tim, I do enjoy your column. Keep up the good work.
    Michael Turnbull
    PGA Professional
    Mindful Golf Pro


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