Since this story (and the future stories I will share) may not paint me in the best light, I decided to write under a pen name. Full disclosure: my employer also didn’t think it was cool that I would be writing for a golf website.
My wife came to me other day and said the words you never want to hear from your spouse: “I think we should quit the country club.” The chain of events this set off inside my head was like nothing you can imagine. On second thought, you’re on GolfWRX, so you know exactly what went through my head. I’ll save all the details of conversation for another time, but for now I can tell you that I put on quite a show after she uttered those words.
The best way I can describe the next hour of my life is to compare it to how you act when your wife shuts down your request to play 18….the day after you just played 36. You know deep down you shouldn’t be asking to play again, but you give it a shot anyway. It sounds something like this: “Oh honey, I’ll cut the grass when I get home.” Or “How about after the round, I take you to that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try?” Or “I know I played 36 today, but when I get back I’ll put a new roof on the house. Pleeeease.” We’ve all been there, and if you take that scenario and multiply it by 50, that’s where I was in my head.
At some point during this hour, I realized a couple of things. First, I realized golf is more than just a sport to me. It’s a way of life, something I love, and something I don’t want to give up. My day is constantly filled with thoughts of golf. The first thing I do when I get to work? I check out the GolfWRX Classifieds to see if anything interesting was posted since last night when I went to bed. Lunch break? I’ll check eBay for the golf-related items I’m watching. When I get home, I flip on the Golf Channel while I change out of my work clothes. It might not be healthy, but it’s my life, and like many of you, I’m OK with that.
The other thing I realized in that hour was that all of the people who have told me my life is like a sitcom were correct. I say this because, at one point, the thought crossed my mind to try to fake cry! At another point, I thought about making up a story about playing golf with my dad as a kid, the memories I had of it, blah blah blah. Somewhere in middle of all of that, I even contemplated acting as if I was having chest pains.
At the end of the day I didn’t do any of that. For the most part, I acted like an adult… sort of. To be clear, though, if you would have told me that any of those acts was a surefire way to end the conversation and keep my membership, I would have done it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I know my acting skills suck and my wife can see right through them.
Her reason for wanting to quit was valid; it costs a lot of money. I can’t argue with that, because it’s true. I belong to one of the nicer country clubs in the area, and the golf course is the crown jewel. It hosts local qualifiers, USGA events, etc. and it’s less than 5 minutes from my house. It has a great practice facility with a full range, three practice greens, and a short game area. The fact that it is less than 5 minutes from my house is the cherry on top. When my wife looks at the club, she sees it as something standing between her and our next home-improvement project. After plenty of back and forth, we agreed that if I wanted to keep our membership, I had to come up with a way to offset some of the costs of the club.
After the conversation, I went straight to where I do my best work… well, the second-best place, which is my man cave/basement. My objective was clear; I had to come up with a way to make some money on the side, and I had to come up with it fast before my wife changed her mind. I did what any of us would do in this situation; I decided to hit some putts for a half hour to clear my head, and then I got started.
Since I’m a 7-handicap, turning pro was out of the question. I thought I could be a golf writer, but the life of a journalist isn’t for me. Then it hit me…. the thing where everyone thinks my life is a sitcom. That led me to the
brilliant idea to share these stories and hope that I can somehow use them to help me keep my membership. I’m open to other ideas (or donations) if you got them.
To be honest, I don’t think my stories are out of the ordinary, but my co-workers and friends constantly tell me they are. Like the time my club-championship match went into a five-hole playoff and my wife had to go to a party by herself is a pretty good one. Although the time I fell down the stairs while trying to sneak out of the house at 5 a.m. to play an early round is probably better.
The one my buddies enjoy is when I got caught putting fake calendar appointments in my wife’s phone that made us look busy on important days like Masters Sunday, the Ryder Cup, and my fantasy golf draft. To the say least, I have plenty of them, and her wanting to quit the club isn’t going away anytime soon. I’m sure that will lead to more. So I’m going to share all of the stories and see if it leads me to a way to keep my membership.
Wish me luck!
For feedback (or donations) please email me at email@example.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at @Joey_Ruggeri.
Prospective NCAA Golfers, are you ready for September 1? Here’s what you should be doing
In June, I reported changes to the NCAA rules, including new legislation that prevented college coaches from contacting a prospective student athlete before September 1 of their Junior Year. With September 1 just around the corner, the question is: are you ready?
If not, don’t worry. As always, I am here to help you understand the college landscape and find the best opportunity to pursue your passion in college! Here’s what you need to know:
Over time, you are going to hear from some coaches. It is important that students are prepared to talk to coaches. Before speaking to a coach, it is important to do research about their institution; what are the grades required for admissions? How many players are on the team? How much of the student population lives on campus? Know the basics before your conversation.
It is also important that you are ready to answer a couple questions. Coaches are very likely to ask, why are you interested in my school? Tell me about your grades or academic interests? Or, tell me about your golf game? Be honest and remember a passion for the game goes a long way.
Coaches are also likely to ask if you have any questions. Having a couple questions written down is important. If you are not sure what to ask, here are some questions I recommend:
- What is your coaching philosophy?
- What is your favourite part of coaching?
- What type of student best fits in at your university?
- What type of athlete best fits in?
- What are the goals for the golf program?
- How do you determine who play play in your top 5 at tournaments?
- Do you ever take more than 5 players to a tournament?
- What access does the team have to golf courses?
- Is it expected to have your own vehicle?
- Do you do any technical swing work with the players?
- What is your greatest strength as a coach?
- Do you offer academic support, such as tutors for students?
- What percent of teachers have terminal degrees?
- How does my major (X) impact golf? Can I do it and golf?
- Do you support graduates in getting jobs?
- What success do people have getting jobs?
- What success do people have getting into grad schools?
Know the Numbers
With only a couple weeks before September 1, I would recommend you take time and see where you (or your son and daughter) stands on websites such as Junior Golf Scoreboard or Rolex AJGA Rankings. Now that you know the number, consider in several previous articles I have presented how rankings related to college signings. My analysis of the numbers demonstrates that, for boys, the average Division I player is ranked approximately 300 in Junior Golf Scoreboard in their class with a scoring differential of about .5. The average Division II player is ranked about 550 in their class. For girls, it appears that ranking is less important, but there is a strong relationship between scoring differential and college signings. Girls that sign at schools within the top 50 have scoring differentials of at least -3 or better, while the average for any Division I player is approximately 5.
Keep in mind that when you search on Junior Golf Scoreboard for yourself, it will show your ranking overall. This number is going to be much lower for your ranking in your class. Without a subscription, you will not be able to find your exact rank, but I would generally say you can cut the number by about 50 percent to give yourself a fair gauge. So if you are 3750 overall, you are likely close to 1875 in your class.
For many members of the junior class reading this article, they may see that their ranking might be significantly higher than these numbers. Don’t panic; the rankings are over a 1-year period. After a year, old scores drop off and new scores can be counted. Also, on Junior Golf Scoreboard, your worst 25 percent of rounds are not counted. So, you have time to continue to work on your game, improve your ranking and get the attention of coaches!
Do your research
Now that you have an idea about your ranking, start researching. Where did players of similar rank sign last year? What is the rank of that school? What schools are ranked about the same? Answering these questions will require some time and two resources; Junior Golf Scoreboard and Golfstat.com. To find out where similar players signed from last year, go to njgs.com, then under the tab “rankings & honors,” the bottom option is college signees. Click there, and then you can order the signees based on class rank by clicking on “scoreboard class ranking as of signing date.” You will notice that last year, players ranked about 1800 in their class signed at such schools as Kenyon, Glenville, Southern Nazarene, Central Alabama Community college and Allegany college. Pretty good considering these schools have produced a president of the United States (Hayes, Kenyon), and a 5-time Major Championship participant (Nathan Smith, Allegany).
Now that you have a list of schools where similar students have signed, look up the golf rankings of these schools on golfstat.com. The rankings of schools are under the “rankings” tab on the home page and segmented by NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA.
First find out where the school is ranked and then consider schools ranked 5-10 spots ahead and behind that school. Are any of these of interest? Any where you think might sound interesting? Take time and build a list, then send an email to those schools introducing yourself, along with a swing video.
Have a Plan
Regardless if you are a Junior in High School or a Senior in High School, come September 1, remember that there is still time and regardless of what people say, coaches are always looking. For High School Juniors, it is likely that next summer will have a critical impact on your opportunities in college golf, so what can you do over the next 9 months? Where are you missing out on the most shots? Take time, talk to people and develop a plan to give yourself the best chance to succeed in the future. And then, put in the time!
For Seniors, although many might be in your ear saying it’s too late, don’t listen to them. You still have some time. Take a careful look at how you can use the next 2-3 months to improve and prepare for events such as the AJGA Senior Showcase in Las Vegas. Remember that data suggests that up to one-third of players sign in the late period (for all levels) and up to 60 percent of players who compete in the AJGA Senior Showcase in December in Las Vegas, go on to get offers.
As always, if you have any feedback on this article or a story idea, please feel free to reach out to me! I always love hearing from people and helping them connect with schools that meet their academic, athletic, social and financial needs! Best of luck to you, or your son/daughter.
TG2: Would you rather have Brooks or DJ’s career? 30+ more AMA-style Instagram questions
Brooks Koepka vs. Dustin Johnson? All-time favorite driver? Poker chips as ball markers? Editor Andrew Tursky and Equipment Expert Brian Knudson answer 30+ questions from the @tg2wrx Instagram. They also discuss Joe LaCava (Tiger’s caddie) paying off a heckler to go away.
Enjoy the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!
Fantasy Preview: 2018 Wyndham Championship
After one of the most exciting Sunday’s of the golfing year, attention now turns towards the race for the FedEx Cup playoffs, and the quest to attain a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup. For the former, this week’s Wyndham Championship is the final opportunity for players to work their way into the top-125 in the FedEx Cup standings and earn a spot in the opening event of the playoffs. Despite many of the world’s elite understandably taking this week off, there are some big names in action here in Greensboro, with Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Webb Simpson all setting their sights on winning at Sedgefield Country Club this week.
Sedgefield CC is a relatively short par-70 golf course. It measures just over 7,100 yards, and it’s a golf course that doesn’t particularly favour the longer hitters. The rough is playable in Greensboro this week, and like most years at the Wyndham Championship, expect players who have their wedge game dialled in to thrive here at this event.
Last year, Henrik Stenson put on a ball striking clinic, posting 22-under par to win the title by one stroke over Ollie Schniederjans.
Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)
- Webb Simpson 12/1
- Hideki Matsuyama 16/1
- Henrik Stenson 18/1
- Rafa Cabrera Bello 22/1
- Brandt Snedeker 22/1
- Shane Lowry 25/1
- Billy Horschel 28/1
It’s been a bit of a disappointing year for Daniel Berger (35/1, DK Price $9,300), but the Floridian showed some very promising signs at last week’s PGA Championship. After opening his PGA Championship with a very poor round of 73, Berger then shined over the next three days. The American posted three consecutive rounds under par, two of which were 66 or better. It was enough to give Berger a T12 finish and plenty of momentum heading to Greensboro this week.
In St. Louis last week, Berger lead the field for Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, gaining an impressive 8.5 strokes over the field. It was the second best performance with his irons in his career, and at Sedgefield, Berger is going to have hole after hole where he can attack pins with his precise iron game. The two-time winner on the PGA Tour has had a quiet year, but in a weakened field, with plenty of question marks surrounding those at the top of the market, he has a superb opportunity for win number three here in Greensboro.
A T31 finish at the PGA Championship last week means that Chris Kirk (80/1, DK Price $7,500) has now made the cut in his last ten events. From these ten events, four have resulted in top-25 finishes, and Kirk has been hitting the ball particularly well as of late. Over his previous 12 rounds, Kirk ranks fifth in the field this week for Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, 10th in ball striking and eight in Strokes Gained-Total.
Kirk will cost you just $7,500 on DraftKings, and looking at some of the players that are more expensive this week, he appears to be a bargain. Kirk is three for three in cuts made at the Wyndham Championship in his last three visits, and the four-time PGA Tour champion looks in excellent shape to mount his best challenge yet in Greensboro. Over his last 12 rounds, Kirk leads this week’s field for proximity to the hole, and on a golf course where flushing short irons to close range is going to be key, the American looks to offer some of the best value around this week.
With 17 out of 19 made cuts this year, and arriving off the back of a T12 finish in his last outing, Rory Sabbatini (75/1, DK Price $7,100) looks undervalued once again on DraftKings this week. Over his previous 12 rounds, Sabbatini ranks 24th in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green and 10th in Strokes Gained-Total. What’s more, is that Sabbatini is coming to a golf course that he has played very well in the past. In his last two visits to Sedgefield CC, the American has finished in the top-10 twice, with his best result coming last year when he finished T4. Coming off a strong showing in Canada, and with his proficiency in making cuts and excellent course history, Sabbatini looks a great DraftKings option here this week.
- Daniel Berger 35/1, DK Price $9,300
- Chris Kirk 80/1, DK Price $7,500
- Rory Sabbatini 75/1, DK Price $7,100
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