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The flatstick. The wand. The putter. It's the club in the bag most likely to ... most likely to break your heart, most likely to keep you up at night.

Good golf professionals are about more than running a smooth (and profitable) shop or packing their lesson book - though both are near the top of the job description.

The good golf professionals know that they are stewards of the game. That during their time, they are charged with caring for and growing the game.


Most touring pros toil in obscurity. Some are known only for a particular moment, maybe a moment that produced an incredible shot that is burned in memory. Think Larry Mize at Augusta in 1987.

The game's greats often transcend the sport because they have the ability to build memorable moments, one on the other, over the course of their careers. The great ones have a knack for pulling off the right shot at just the right event.

The fear of lightning is one of the most distressing infirmities a human being can be afflicted with. It is mostly confined to women, but now and then you find it in a little dog, and sometimes a man."- Mark Twain

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” is a line you likely recall from the first scary movie you saw as a kid. OK, it’s not technically in the horror genre, but “The Wizard of Oz” is strange enough to be thought of that way; just think of the wicked witch. That’s enough — now focus on the wizard himself, not as ruler of the Emerald City, but as this mysterious fellow, mostly unseen, pulling levers, making Oz run.

There are any number of ways the game of golf can be introduced into a life. Maybe you remember the classic episode of "The Honeymooners," where Ralph Kramden has to learn how to play golf in just two days.

Every doctor needs an office, an exam room, some place to keep an eye on patients. Doctors have specialties, and their work environment is often a reflection of that specialty.

Did you ever read Michael Murphy's "Golf in the Kingdom," a popular book that came out in the early 1970s? It's mainly a work of fiction, with philosophy, myth, probably some memoir and a bit of whiskey thrown in. Oh yeah, golf, as the title indicates, is prominent as well. The main character is a Scottish pro with an unforgettable name, Shivas Irons.

So, you've been lying around the shack on your backside all winter long growing that boiler on your front side watching sports on television. Now the golf season approaches this chilly, northern outpost. If there's any snow to be found out there, it's patchy or turned to puddles. There are days you could get out and play right now - if you're tough enough or diehard enough or crazy enough.

What if Santa were a golf pro, or at least an expert, a golf guru of sorts? What if you wrote him your Christmas wishes for this holiday season? What if right after he read your letter, he had a big, hearty laugh at your expense? And then, what if he wrote you back? The whole exchange might go something like this.

Golf gives more than it takes, and it takes an awful lot from any of us who love it.

If you parachuted in here under cover of darkness or maybe blindfolded by day, and they handed you a bag of golf clubs on the first tee, you'd take your first look out over the rolling seaside links and scratch your head. Scotland? England? Is it Ballybunion in County Kerry?

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