On June 21st, a bunch of my closest friends gathered to play a little golf and mark the day that means I've chronologically turned another page. I thought I'd arrive early at North Palm Beach Country Club and just soak in the day, if it's not raining on a summer afternoon in South Florida, then the day is a rarity, this was indeed a chamber of commerce afternoon.A call from the Kiwi's ( PureGolf2010) was a nice touch, initiated from my boy Scott Baker.
Truth be told, I would rather practice short game over all else . . . finding ways to get the ball up and down inside 60 yds, and consequently saving strokes is the creative side of the game. Since I am a mediocre ball striker, often times it must be what I call "smoke and mirrors golf" to scratch out a score.
About 5 years back, my buddy Moses and I were playing the same track (before Nicklaus gave it a facelift) and as we stopped to get some water at the turn, a voice from behind asked me if he could join us on the back nine. The voice sounded familiar, and when I turned around it was PGA Master Professional Hall Of Fame Teacher, inventor of golf training aides, and entrepeneur Dr.Gary Wiren. I said, of course Dr.Wiren can join us.We were impressed at how well he could strike the ball, not knowing his age, but knowing he was older than us, it was clear that he is in better shape than 95% of all people his age.Very Gary Player-esque, but in a larger stronger version. Since Dr.Gary lives right behind the course, it is possible that a random meeting can occur.I was honored to have met and played the back nine with one of the true gentlemen of golf, my only regret was that we didn't exchange contact info . . . I would have liked to tap into his many years of experience. Oh yeah, and did I mention that Dr.Gary is the Director of Instruction at Trump International Golf Club. His attire when working at the club is purely old school, think Bobby Jones and Payne Stewart - knickers and a tie.He also can boast one of the greatest collections of vintage golf clubs in the world, some dating back hundreds of years. He never mentions any of this, I just happen to know because I spend way too much of my time reading about golf and the people of the sport. http://www.garywiren.com/
Back to June 21st, 2010. As I was waiting on the boys to show up, I was chipping to possibly the most undulated practice green this side of Augusta National. I was trying to work on flopping shots out of the high rough to an elevated pin postion . . . a nearly impossible task. As I hit one marginal shot, a voice from across the way says"looks like what they were trying to do at Pebble yesterday". As I look up, it's Dr.Gary Wiren, he does not remember our back nine rendezvous 5 years hence. We quickly got reacquinted and immediately began to comiserate on many things golf, such as: his summer golf trips across the U.S, his new putting alignment device (he owns Golf Around The World teaching aids), and our opinions regarding the U.S Open which had just finished. He asked me which golf swing impressed me when watching the leaders at Pebble Beach, I gave him the answer he was looking for, but wasn't expecting to hear . . . the Frenchman Gregory Havret. I gave him a little insight on LinksNation, and we exchanged contact information. Soon after the boys arrived and I wished Dr.Gary well on his upcoming golf adventure. A treat it was to meet up with him again.
After our round, we made our way to the Brass Ring Pub in North Palm Beach, for some great food and a "cheers" like atmosphere. The Summer Solstice was upon us, and thanks to all who made it another one to remember.