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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)


Posted on July 9, 2010 at 7:25 PM

While writing my post on Glenn Shepard’s ass kicking RULES of WORK, I was reminded of things my first golf pro employer would say. His name was Bud Grant – actually, his name was Wade, but it seems that you can’t really be a golf pro without having a nickname. My second club job had two pros both named Paul; they were known as “Tall Paul” and “Jerk Paul.” (“Jerk Paul” actually wasn’t aware of his nickname, but, believe me, he earned it.) My third job had another Paul pro who was known as Shim. Perhaps the lack of a good nickname is what kept me from realizing my true potential in the golf business…


I worked for Bud back in the early ‘90s at a golf course called Cleghorn Plantation Golf and Country Club, located in the pinhead sized town of Rutherfordton (pronounced “Ruff-ton” by locals) in North Carolina. While that lengthy, prestigious sounding name implies a grandeur that you might expect to read about in the Robb Report, the reality was far less impressive. The tiny pro shop and snack bar were both crammed into old slave’s quarters which were just as roomy and luxurious as the name would imply. But it was actually a really nice golf course that was hilly, had nice bent greens and very few parallel fairways (a trait that makes for a much more scenic, challenging course in my opinion).


Prior to this job, I had absolutely zero experience in the golf business and didn’t even really enjoy playing all that much. (When I look at some video I have of me playing my first rounds at Cleghorn, my swing is SO bad that I wonder how I ever made contact with the ball. It looks kind of like some kind of epileptic fit combined with someone taking baseball batting practice.) We moved to North Carolina, I needed a job and Cleghorn was nearish to our house and they needed someone to pick up balls on the range. I remember clearly during my job interview telling Bud that this was only going to be a temporary thing for me until I could find something else to do. (I know, I’m quite the charmer.)


But after several months, I settled into a rhythm at Cleghorn and really came to enjoy working there and, even better, Bud took a shine to me and took me under his wing. Ultimately he offered to help me along the path towards a career in the PGA. (At the time, this didn’t sound like the indentured servitude that I came to realize it was.) Our relationship was much like that old blind master, Master Kan, with the pebble in his hand from Kung Fu or that of Jedi and Padawan. I can't remember when it happened, but at some point I became John-boy. (Wait! Maybe *that's* my golf nickname!)


Bud was like a modern poet, spouting bits of wisdom and knowledge couched in southern wit. I came to call these unique pearls Bud-isms. Enjoy!


On showing up to work right on time:

John-boy, if you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re 5 minutes late. (Seriously, this has a puzzle in a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, smoothed into a Grand Master Sodoku level of complexity to it...)


On hitting a perfect golf shot:

That’s as pure as summer rain.


On hitting a great drive:

That ball’s as straight and long as a honeymoon pecker.

Me: "Bud! You see how far I hit that! My ball waved at your as it flew by!"

Bud: "John-boy, it's not how's how few."


On a good approach shot into the green:

That ball came down as soft as a butterfly with sore feet.


On playing golf:

John-boy, if you can’t work the ball, then you can’t play golf.


On the shabby state of my equipment:

(Looking at my Sperry Docksiders.) John-boy, what are you wearing?! Get you some golf shoes and you’ll take 2 strokes off your game. (Then looking in my golf bag.) Get yourself a sand wedge, you’ll take another 2 strokes off your game. In fact, get a whole new set of irons; that will knock off another 2. And what is that driver, son? Get a new driver and you’ll take 2 strokes off your game. And are you playing with RANGE BALLS? John-boy, (barely concealed disgust and an undeniable sense of unspoken “Son, I can see you haven’t listened to a single thing I’ve been trying to tell you.") we never play with range balls! (Sadly, my game was in such shambles that it was entirely possible that making these changes actually DID take 8 strokes off my game; though at the time that still didn’t mean breaking 90.)


On gambling on the course:

Me: Bud, let’s play. How many strokes are you gonna give me?

Bud: Strokes? John-boy, we’re golfing not swimming.


On religion:

John-boy, I don’t need religion. I’m closer to God under a tree on a golf course than I can be at any church.


On people:

People: I hate ‘em.

People: They’re everywhere.


On his ex-wife:

She’s crazy, but she made good babies.


On the golf business:

John-boy, you’ve got to get the snack bar, son. That’s where the money is. Whatever you do, make sure you get that snack bar money.


On pay days (Friday):

John-boy, don’t let them (the grounds crew staff) know the checks are ready until after 4. That way the money won’t clear until Monday.


On poor decisions:

What in the hell were you thinking, boy?

Categories: July 2010

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