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Opinion & Analysis

My experience caddying in the RBC Canadian Open Pro-Am



Beyond the Thursday-to-Sunday tournament action where PGA pros play for millions of dollars, the Tour and host courses have multiple pro-ams during every tournament week that raise nearly as much money for great causes both locally and for other PGA Tour-related charities.

The money is raised thanks to generous sponsors and individuals who donate to have their foursome play with tour players under tournament conditions — from “members” tees. Just like the pros, part of the experience is getting to have a caddie during the round. Many of the ams bring friends to carry the bag to be a part of the “inside the ropes” experience, but most people get an assigned looper at the course, meaning a lot of opportunity for locals looking to caddie to get in on the action.

Since the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & CC is a local event for me, I lined up like so many at the crack of dawn (actually way before dawn) to take part in the tradition of hanging out in the caddie shack and waiting for my loop. I did this once before during the 2012 Canadian Open and had a great grouping with Johnny Vegas, who has gone on to win the event multiple times — I’m not saying I helped contribute to future wins, but I can’t prove I didn’t either.

This year was another fantastic time with J.J. Spaun on the back and David Lingmerth on the front. Watching them make their way around the famed Harry Colt design, a course that I have played on multiple occasions and enjoy to no end, is something to be seen. The reason we had two pros is that the PGA Tour has adopted the LPGA Tour model of having the pros split the 9s to get more involved and then get the rest and practice needed during the week – many rounds can top 5.5 hours for pace of play because of the number of players.

Now when I say I arrived early, I mean it. I got to the course around 4:30 am (3:30 wake up call) to sign up and wait with the other caddies — a mix of young and old. Once I got my bag for the day, the tournament did a great job setting us up with a bib and towels, but I did bring a few things to make my job easier including a large umbrella and my range finder. I also decided to wear my rain gear and waterproof golf shoes since being on the course early means very wet grass, and Hamilton G & CC is hilly, plus the forecast was not promising.

For any hardcore golf fan, being a caddie inside the ropes of a PGA Tour Pro-Am is an experience that is hard to pass up. The tour caddies are always very helpful, and the players always very gracious. The motto of “keep up and shut up” is still in effect, but everyone is there to have a good time in a relaxed environment. However, you can’t forget that you have a job to do and help make your player’s day one to remember with their pro — it’s not about you.

The experience as a whole is much like any you would expect from the PGA Tour and the partners involved (in this case, Golf Canada) — first class all the way! Amateur players are treated like pros from start to finish with access to the range and putting green along with side their grouped professionals, which means caddies too — a nice way to spend a bit of time on the other side of the ropes.

Beyond being great hosts to their groups, the pros use this time on the course to work out lines, figure out strategy, and get some practice in around the greens for the tournament. One of the most impressive things to watch for a whole round is how precise they are with their yardages and lines when talking with their caddie — yes they miss shots but often not by much. Notes are taken on all the shots and possible pin positions are checked and double checked.

Since Hamilton is such a positional course, watching these guys hit to yardages to give themselves full shots into greens is a learning experience. Every time I leave the course after watching pros, I feel like I have a better understanding of how to actually think around a golf course. One hole to pay attention to this week is 11, a down to fairway, up to green par 4 that generally plays into the wind. It’s a tight fairway, and with a big right-to-left shot from the tee the hole can be shortened immensely. The line is over the left trees but it’s still as tough mid to “longer” iron (approach will probably average around 185 yards) into a larger sloped green.

As caddies, we were also well taken care of with all the snacks you can eat, lunch on the course, and general admission pass to take in the action on Sunday. The other part about being a caddie is you do get paid for the effort. It’s not a lot, more of token, alongside the already stated perks (and for the sake of this piece I donated my $25 back to Golf Canada to be used to fund junior programs).

The reality is that still a job, and you have to work. Amateurs pack their bags for all scenarios including rain, and in today’s case we had two rain delays that set us back by quite some time. It was wet; it was a lot of walking; it was making sure someone else had a great time playing golf…and it was awesome!

As a golfer and someone with a deep passion for the game, being a small part of making another golfer’s experience first class is something I truly enjoy doing when I get the opportunity. To be able to do that inside the ropes of a PGA Tour event walking with professionals and seeing every shot they hit along the way was utterly priceless.

If you have ever been curious to be a part of an event beyond marshaling a hole or being a spotter, and if you can handle walking a 7,200-plus yard golf course while carrying a fully stocked bag, caddying is something I can’t recommend enough. Take the time to call the course a couple of weeks in advance, and generally, you will get some helpful information on how to register.

Finally, I want to say a huge thank you Wayne and his team at Hamilton Golf & CC, the PGA Tour staff on site, and Golf Canada for the opportunity.


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Ryan Barath is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.



  1. Frankie

    Jun 7, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Why is it that the pace goes over 5 and a half hours when they are hitting multiple balls with the same preshot routines in practice rounds yet they can’t seem to go any faster playing one ball?

  2. FLcaddie

    Jun 7, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    Nice article! I play professionally and caddie at a nice club in Jupiter, FL, and when pro tours stop around here I caddie in the pro-am’s. It’s definitely worth it– I typically make $300-$500 per foursome in those events, get some new contacts, and it’s a blast! Not a shabby way to spend a day. Like you mentioned, the only downside is checking-in very early in the morning, but if you make the most of it and work in the morning and afternoon groups and make $600-1,000+ in a day, it’s all worth it!

    • The dude

      Jun 8, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Where did you caddie?…when?

      • FLcaddie

        Jun 9, 2019 at 7:22 am

        I caddied in the Honda (PGA Tour) and Oasis (Champions Tour) pro-am’s.

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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s 2024 Wells Fargo Championship betting preview: Tommy Fleetwood ready to finally land maiden PGA Tour title



The PGA Tour season ramps back up this week for another “signature event,” as golf fans look forward to the year’s second major championship next week.

After two weaker-field events in the Zurich Classic and the CJ Cup Byron Nelson, most of the best players in the world will head to historic Quail Hollow for one of the best non-major tournaments of the year. 

Last season, Wyndham Clark won the event by four shots.

Quail Hollow is a par-71 measuring 7,521 yards that features Bermudagrass greens. The tree-lined, parkland style course can play quite difficult and features one of the most difficult three-hole stretches in golf known as “The Green Mile,” which makes up holes 16-18: two mammoth par 4s and a 221-yard par 3. All three holes have an average score over par, and water is in play in each of the last five holes on the course.

The field is excellent this week with 68 golfers teeing it up without a cut. All of the golfers who’ve qualified are set to tee it up, with the exception of Scottie Scheffler, who is expecting the birth of his first child. 

Past Winners at Quail Hollow

  • 2023: Wyndham Clark (-19)
  • 2022: Max Homa (-8)
  • 2021: Rory McIlroy (-10)
  • 2019: Max Homa (-15)
  • 2018: Jason Day (-12)
  • 2017: Justin Thomas (-8) (PGA Championship)
  • 2016: James Hahn (-9)
  • 2015: Rory McIlroy (-21)

Key Stats For Quail Hollow

Strokes Gained: Approach

Strokes gained: Approach will be extremely important this week as second shots at Quail Hollow can be very difficult. 

Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Akshay Bhatia (+1.16)
  2. Tom Hoge (+1.12)
  3. Corey Conners (+1.01)
  4. Shane Lowry (+0.93)
  5. Austin Eckroat (+0.82)

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

Quail Hollow is a long course on which it is important to play from the fairway. Both distance and accuracy are important, as shorter tee shots will result in approach shots from 200 or more yards. With most of the holes heavily tree lined, errant drives will create some real trouble for the players.

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Ludvig Aberg (+0.73)
  2. Rory McIlroy (+0.69)
  3. Xander Schauffele (+0.62)
  4. Viktor Hovland (+0.58)
  5. Chris Kirk (+0.52)

Proximity: 175-200

The 175-200 range is key at Quail Hollow. Players who can hit their long irons well will rise to the top of the leaderboard. 

Proximity: 175-200+ over past 24 rounds:

  1. Cameron Young (28’2″)
  2. Akshay Bhatia (29’6″)
  3. Ludvig Aberg (+30’6″)
  4. Sam Burns (+30’6″)
  5. Collin Morikawa (+30’9″)

SG: Total on Tom Fazio Designs

Players who thrive on Tom Fazio designs get a bump for me at Quail Hollow this week. 

SG: Total on Tom Fazio Designs over past 36 rounds:

  1. Patrick Cantlay (+2.10)
  2. Rory McIlroy (+1.95)
  3. Tommy Fleetwood (+1.68)
  4. Austin Eckroat (+1.60)
  5. Will Zalatoris (+1.57)

Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass)

Strokes Gained: Putting has historically graded out as the most important statistic at Quail Hollow. While it isn’t always predictable, I do want to have it in the model to bump up golfers who prefer to putt on Bermudagrass.

Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass) Over Past 24 Rounds:

  1. Taylor Moore (+0.82)
  2. Nick Dunlap (+.76)
  3. Wyndham Clark (+.69)
  4. Emiliano Grillo (+.64)
  5. Cam Davis (+.61)

Course History

This stat will incorporate players that have played well in the past at Quail Hollow. 

Course History over past 36 rounds (per round):

  1. Rory McIlroy (+2.50)
  2. Justin Thomas (+1.96)
  3. Jason Day (+1.92)
  4. Rickie Fowler (+1.83)
  5. Viktor Hovland (+1.78)

Wells Fargo Championship Model Rankings

Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed — SG: Approach (27%), SG: Off the Tee (23%), SG: Total on Fazio designs (12%), Proximity: 175-200 (12%), SG: Putting Bermuda grass (12%), and Course History (14%).

  1. Wyndham Clark
  2. Rory McIlroy
  3. Xander Schauffele
  4. Shane Lowry
  5. Hideki Matsuyama
  6. Viktor Hovland 
  7. Cameron Young
  8. Austin Eckroat 
  9. Byeong Hun An
  10. Justin Thomas

2024 Wells Fargo Championship Picks

Tommy Fleetwood +2500 (DraftKings)

I know many out there have Tommy fatigue when it comes to betting, which is completely understandable given his lack of ability to win on the PGA Tour thus far in his career. However, history has shown us that players with Fleetwood’s talent eventually break though, and I believe for Tommy, it’s just a matter of time.

Fleetwood has been excellent on Tom Fazio designs. Over his past 36 rounds, he ranks 3rd in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on Fazio tracks. He’s also been incredibly reliable off the tee this season. He’s gained strokes in the category in eight of his past nine starts, including at The Masters, the PLAYERS and the three “signature events” of the season. Tommy is a golfer built for tougher courses and can grind it out in difficult conditions.

Last year, Fleetwood was the first-round leader at this event, firing a Thursday 65. He finished the event in a tie for 5th place.

For those worried about Fleetwood’s disappointing start his last time out at Harbour Town, he’s bounced back nicely after plenty of poor outings this season. His T7 at the Valero Texas Open was after a MC and T35 in his prior two starts and his win at the Dubai Invitational came after a T47 at the Sentry.

I expect Tommy to bounce back this week and contend at Quail Hollow.

Justin Thomas +3000 (DraftKings)

It’s been a rough couple of years for Justin Thomas, but I don’t believe things are quite as bad as they seem for JT. He got caught in the bad side of the draw at Augusta for last month’s Masters and has gained strokes on approach in seven of his nine starts in 2024. 

Thomas may have found something in his most recent start at the RBC Heritage. He finished T5 at a course that he isn’t the best fit for on paper. He also finally got the putter working and ranked 15th in Strokes Gained: Putting for the week.

The two-time PGA champion captured the first of his two major championships at Quail Hollow back in 2017, and some good vibes from the course may be enough to get JT out of his slump.

Thomas hasn’t won an event in just about two years. However, I still believe that will change soon as he’s been one of the most prolific winners throughout his PGA Tour career. Since 2015, he has 15 PGA Tour wins.

Course history is pretty sticky at Quail Hollow, with players who like the course playing well there on a regular basis. In addition to JT’s PGA Championship win in 2017, he went 4-1 at the 2022 Presidents Cup and finished T14 at the event last year despite being in poor form. Thomas can return as one of the top players on the PGA Tour with a win at a “signature event” this week. 

Cameron Young +3500 (DraftKings)

For many golf bettors, it’s been frustrating backing Cam Young this season. His talent is undeniable, and one of the best and most consistent performers on the PGA Tour. He just hasn’t broken through with a victory yet. Quail Hollow has been a great place for elite players to get their first victory. Rory McIlroy, Anthony Kim, Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark all notched their first PGA Tour win at Quail.

Throughout Cam Young’s career, he has thrived at tougher courses with strong fields. This season, he finished T16 at Riviera and T9 at Augusta National, demonstrating his preference of a tough test. His ability to hit the ball long and straight off the tee make him an ideal fit for Quail Hollow, despite playing pretty poorly his first time out in 2023 (T59). Young should be comfortable playing in the region as he played his college golf at Wake Forest, which is about an hour’s drive from Quail Hollow.

The 26-year-old has played well at Tom Fazio designs in the past and ranks 8th in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on those courses in his last 36 rounds. Perhaps most importantly, this season, Young is the best player on the PGA Tour in terms of proximity from 175-200 in the fairway, which is where a plurality and many crucial shots will come from this week.

Young is an elite talent and Quail Hollow has been kind to players of his ilk who’ve yet to win on Tour.

Byeong Hun An +5000 (FanDuel)

Byeong Hun An missed some opportunities last weekend at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson. He finished T4 and played some outstanding golf, but a couple of missed short putts prevented him from getting to the winning score of -23. Despite not getting the win, it’s hard to view An’s performance as anything other than an overwhelming success. It was An’s fourth top-ten finish of the season.

Last week, An gained 6.5 strokes ball striking, which was 7th in the field. He also ranked 12th for Strokes Gained: Approach and 13th for Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. The South Korean has been hitting the ball so well from tee to green all season long and he now heads to a golf course that should reward his precision.

An’s driver and long irons are absolute weapons. At Quail Hollow, players will see plenty of approach shots from the 175-200 range as well as some from 200+. In his past 24 rounds, Ben ranks 3rd in the field in proximity from 175-200 and 12th in proximity from 200+. Playing in an event that will not end up being a “birdie” fest should help An, who can separate from the field with his strong tee to green play. The putter may not always cooperate but getting to -15 is much easier than getting to -23 for elite ball strikers who tend to struggle on the greens.

Winning a “signature event” feels like a tall task for An this week with so many elite players in the field. However, he’s finished T16 at the Genesis Invitational, T16 at The Masters and T8 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The 32-year-old’s game has improved drastically this season and I believe he’s ready to get the biggest win of his career.

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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s LIV Golf Singapore betting preview: Course specialist ready to thrive once again



After another strong showing in Australia, LIV Golf will head to Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore looking to build off of what was undoubtedly their best event to date.

Sentosa Golf Club sits on the southern tip of Singapore and is one of the most beautiful courses in the world. The course is more than just incredible scenically; it was also rated 55th in Golf Digest’s top-100 courses in 2022-2023 and has been consistently regarded as one of the best courses in Asia. Prior to being part of the LIV rotation, the course hosted the Singapore Open every year since 2005.

Sentosa Golf Club is a par 71 measuring 7,406 yards. The course will require precise ball striking and some length off the tee. It’s possible to go low due to the pristine conditions, but there are also plenty of hazards and difficult spots on the course that can bring double bogey into play in a hurry. The Bermudagrass greens are perfectly manicured, and the course has spent millions on the sub-air system to keep the greens rolling fast. I spoke to Asian Tour player, Travis Smyth, who described the greens as “the best [he’s] ever played.”

Davis Love III, who competed in a Singapore Open in 2019, also gushed over the condition of the golf course.

“I love the greens. They are fabulous,” the 21-time PGA Tour winner said.

Love III also spoke about other aspects of the golf course.

“The greens are great; the fairways are perfect. It is a wonderful course, and it’s tricky off the tee.”

“It’s a long golf course, and you get some long iron shots. It takes somebody hitting it great to hit every green even though they are big.”

As Love III said, the course can be difficult off the tee due to the length of the course and the trouble looming around every corner. It will take a terrific ball striking week to win at Sentosa Golf Club.

In his pre-tournament press conference last season, Phil Mickelson echoed many of the same sentiments.

“To play Sentosa effectively, you’re going to have a lot of shots from 160 to 210, a lot of full 6-, 7-, 8-iron shots, and you need to hit those really well and you need to drive the ball well.”

Golfers who excel from tee to green and can dial in their longer irons will have a massive advantage this week.

Stat Leaders at LIV Golf Adelaide:

Fairways Hit

1.) Louis Oosthuizen

2.) Anirban Lahiri

3.) Jon Rahm

4.) Brendan Steele

5.) Cameron Tringale

Greens in Regulation

1.) Brooks Koepka

2.) Brendan Steele

3.) Dean Burmester

4.) Cameron Tringale

5.) Anirban Lahiri

Birdies Made

1.) Brendan Steele

2.) Dean Burmester

3.) Thomas Pieters

4.) Patrick Reed

5.) Carlos Ortiz

LIV Golf Individual Standings:

1.) Joaquin Niemann

2.) Jon Rahm

3.) Dean Burmester

4.) Louis Oosthuizen

5.) Abraham Ancer

LIV Golf Team Standings:

1.) Crushers

2.) Legion XIII

3.) Torque

4.) Stinger GC

5.) Ripper GC

LIV Golf Singapore Picks

Sergio Garcia +3000 (DraftKings)

Sergio Garcia is no stranger to Sentosa Golf Club. The Spaniard won the Singapore Open in 2018 by five strokes and lost in a playoff at LIV Singapore last year to scorching hot Talor Gooch. Looking at the course setup, it’s no surprise that a player like Sergio has played incredible golf here. He’s long off the tee and is one of the better long iron players in the world when he’s in form. Garcia is also statistically a much better putter on Bermudagrass than he is on other putting surfaces. He’s putt extremely well on Sentosa’s incredibly pure green complexes.

This season, Garcia has two runner-up finishes, both of them being playoff losses. Both El Camaleon and Doral are courses he’s had success at in his career. The Spaniard is a player who plays well at his tracks, and Sentosa is one of them. I believe Sergio will get himself in the mix this week. Hopefully the third time is a charm in Singapore.

Paul Casey +3300 (FanDuel)

Paul Casey is in the midst of one of his best seasons in the five years or so. The results recently have been up and down, but he’s shown that when he’s on a golf course that suits his game, he’s amongst the contenders.

This season, Casey has finishes of T5 (LIV Las Vegas), T2 (LIV Hong Kong), and a 6th at the Singapore Classic on the DP World Tour. At his best, the Englishman is one of the best long iron players in the world, which makes him a strong fit for Sentosa. Despite being in poor form last season, he was able to fire a Sunday 63, which shows he can low here at the course.

It’s been three years since Casey has won a tournament (Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 2021), but he’s been one of the top players on LIV this season and I think he can get it done at some point this season.

Mito Pereira +5000 (Bet365)

Since Mito Pereira’s unfortunate demise at the 2022 PGA Championship, he’s been extremely inconsistent. However, over the past few months, the Chilean has played well on the International Series as well as his most recent LIV start. Mito finished 8th at LIV Adelaide, which was his best LIV finish this season.

Last year, Pereira finished 5th at LIV Singapore, shooting fantastic rounds of 67-66-66. It makes sense why Mito would like Sentosa, as preeminent ball strikers tend to rise to the challenge of the golf course. He’s a great long iron player who is long and straight off the tee.

Mito has some experience playing in Asia and is one of the most talented players on LIV who’s yet to get in the winner’s circle. I have questions about whether or not he can come through once in contention, but if he gets there, I’m happy to roll the dice.

Andy Ogletree +15000 (DraftKings)

Andy Ogletree is a player I expected to have a strong 2024 but struggled early in his first full season on LIV. After failing to crack the top-25 in any LIV event this year, the former U.S. Amateur champion finally figured things out, finished in a tie for 3rd at LIV Adelaide.

Ogletree should be incredible comfortable playing in Singapore. He won the International Series Qatar last year and finished T3 at the International Series Singapore. The 26-year-old was arguably the best player on the Asian Tour in 2023 and has been fantastic in the continent over the past 18 months.

If Ogletree has indeed found form, he looks to be an amazing value at triple-digit odds.

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Opinion & Analysis

Ryan: Lessons from the worst golf instructor in America



In Tampa, there is a golf course that boasts carts that do not work, a water range, and a group of players none of which have any chance to break 80. The course is overseen by a staff of crusty men who have succeeded at nothing in life but ending up at the worst-run course in America. However, this place is no failure. With several other local courses going out of business — and boasting outstanding greens — the place is booked full.

While I came for the great greens, I stayed to watch our resident instructor; a poor-tempered, method teacher who caters to the hopeless. At first, it was simply hilarious. However, after months of listening and watching, something clicked. I realized I had a front-row seat to the worst golf instructor in America.

Here are some of my key takeaways.

Method Teacher

It is widely accepted that there are three types of golf instructors: system teachers, non-system teachers, and method teachers. Method teachers prescribe the same antidote for each student based on a preamble which teachers can learn in a couple day certification.

Method teaching allows anyone to be certified. This process caters to the lowest caliber instructor, creating the illusion of competency. This empowers these underqualified instructors with the moniker of “certified” to prey on the innocent and uninformed.

The Cult of Stack and Jilt

The Stack and Tilt website proudly boasts, “A golfer swings his hands inward in the backswing as opposed to straight back to 1) create power, similar to a field goal kicker moving his leg in an arc and 2) to promote a swing that is in-to-out, which produces a draw (and eliminates a slice).”

Now, let me tell you something, there is this law of the universe which says “energy can either be created or destroyed,” so either these guys are defying physics or they have no idea what they are taking about. Further, the idea that the first move of the backswing determines impact is conjecture with a splash of utter fantasy.

These are the pontifications of a method — a set of prescriptions applied to everyone with the hope of some success through the placebo effect. It is one thing for a naive student to believe, for a golf instructor to drink and then dispel this Kool-Aid is malpractice.

Fooled by Randomness

In flipping a coin, or even a March Madness bet, there is a 50-50 chance of success. In golf, especially for new players, results are asymmetric. Simply put: Anything can happen. The problem is that when bad instructors work with high handicappers, each and every shot gets its own diagnosis and prescription. Soon the student is overwhelmed.

Now here’s the sinister thing: The overwhelming information is by design. In this case, the coach is not trying to make you better, they are trying to make you reliant on them for information. A quasi Stockholm syndrome of codependency.


One of the most important scientists of the 20th century was Ivan Pavlov. As you might recall, he found that animals, including humans, could be conditioned into biological responses. In golf, the idea of practice has made millions of hackers salivate that they are one lesson or practice session from “the secret.”

Sunk Cost

The idea for the worst golf instructor is to create control and dependency so that clients ignore the sunk cost of not getting better. Instead, they are held hostage by the idea that they are one lesson or tip away from unlocking their potential.


Cliches have the effect of terminating thoughts. However, they are the weapon of choice for this instructor. Add some hyperbole and students actually get no information. As a result, these players couldn’t play golf. When they did, they had no real scheme. With no idea what they are doing, they would descend into a spiral of no idea what to do, bad results, lower confidence, and running back to the lesson tee from more cliches.

The fact is that poor instruction is about conditioning players to become reliant members of your cult. To take away autonomy. To use practice as a form of control. To sell more golf lessons not by making people better but through the guise that without the teacher, the student can never reach their full potential. All under the umbrella of being “certified” (in a 2-day course!) and a melee of cliches.

This of course is not just happening at my muni but is a systemic problem around the country and around the world, the consequences of which are giving people a great reason to stop playing golf. But hey, at least it’s selling a lot of golf balls…

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