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On the Road Again

Greetings Golfers,

I’m writing this from Beaufort, SC. I tell you this not to gloat that I got out of the cold … but as an excuse for what may be a mess of a blog.

We left Tuesday morning - it took us 2 hours to get from Burnsville to Faribault … and around the Northfield exit, I didn’t think we’d make it. Our windshield was iced-over, our windshield wipers were caked in ice … the freeway wasn’t plowed … it was foggy … and a blizzard. Goofballs would pass us …and then veer off the road and get stuck.

However, from Iowa on … it was clear and easy … all the way to our hotel in southern Missouri. And it was clear on Wednesday … though we got in about midnight. Those 14 hour days of driving aren’t easy (for me).

But we’re here … so Thursday morning I had to tee-it-up. Get unpacked and get organized first? No. I had a new swing that had to be tested.

Beaufort is a little town, yet has 3 public courses in neighborhood developments. Not anymore - one of those just went private (it had been abandoned the last 3 years).

Another one was leased-out and the leasee left last year (I talked to him on his last day). And the other one was bought 4 years ago from the heir of a famous nut company who was sick of losing money.

What a trio.

So I tried the former leased-out course first - hoping it was in business. It’s open for business. The neighborhood is running it. The first hole is a skinny par 5 … the trees are so overgrown that you have a tiny window for your opening shot. So are they going to trim the trees and rebuild the pathetic tee-box? Oh no … they’re building a mammoth bunker in the middle of the fairway … right at the length of the landing zone.

Check-in took about an hour because they are obsessed with data. I’m sure the 17 of us who played there yesterday will have a big impact on their future.

So … I left after 9 holes and went to the course formerly owned by the nut man. Now I don’t know what to say. This is not good. The new owner needed more money … so he brought in a 49% partner last year … who supposedly put a million dollars into it. That didn’t phase what was needed. Tragically, the owner committed suicide in his office in the clubhouse.

Golf is supposed to be fun … recreation … a break from our troubles. However, the business of golf is seldom those things. It’s crazy difficult. Too many expenses. 

While I was hearing this horrible story … one of my 1pm Monday group came in after 9 … saw me … and asked if I wanted to join them on the back. 


These are good guys. The course is terrible … but I really like these guys.

So … I know you’re wondering about my “new swing”. Well, my son Ryan took a video of my swing around Nov. 1. It was not good. My backswing was about waist-high … with no hip-turn nor shoulder-turn. Just basically a guy hitting a punch-shot. 

You need more than a punch-shot. Obviously the years had caught-up with me … I had to make a change. So … I realized that my left-foot had to come up off the ground. In fact, the foot had to come up and turn … and my left knee had to turn with it … and I mean really turn. That’s the only way that I can make a backswing … I mean a backswing with a turn and get my hands shoulder high.

So … I practiced this in the clubhouse almost every day in November and December. Ryan took another video of me in late December and couldn’t believe it. I don’t mean it looked great … it just didn’t look like a 200 year-old man swinging a golf club.

But … will it work????

Well … yesterday (Thursday) … it worked pretty well. Those guys noticed. They said some almost complimentary things … stuff like “That wasn’t bad” … coming from them that was high praise.

Well … it’s good to be here. Nice to take a break. A road trip is good for the soul … clears your head.

Life isn’t easy. Driving in a blizzard isn't easy. Golf isn’t easy. Owning a golf course isn’t easy. We have to be able to change. But we also have to be patient. Keep plugging forward … making changes as needed … but keeping patient in the process. And making the best of it as we go.


Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
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Victoria, MN 55386
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