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Heroes and Celebrities

Greetings Golfers,

In the last few weeks, I’ve watched some interesting golf documentaries … and they’ve been nothing alike.

First off was “The Short Game” … made in 2013 about a Junior Golf World Championship played at Pinehurst. It’s about kids 7 & 8 years old … and they focus on about eight of the players from all over the world. The kids are all likable and entertaining … the parents not so much. And … these kids can really play golf - it’s amazing!

But interesting golf stories aren’t just about kids … we oldsters can be pretty interesting too. Watched a documentary about Tom Watson almost winning the British Open at 59 years of age in 2009. I well remember watching it live … and how unbelievable it seemed that he was going to pull it off. With a one-shot lead on the last hole, he hit a perfect drive down the middle. Then what looked like a perfect 8-iron close to the pin … never stopped rolling until rolled off the green. He failed to get it up-and-down … and the lost in a playoff. Ugh.

Then yesterday, I watched the first 3 episodes of “Follow Through” … a tour of the PGA Tour last year. It begins with following Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth as they take you through their relationship and the trials and tribulations of professional golf. Then as the year goes on, the big news of the LIV Tour takes center stage. They picked quite the year to follow the PGA Tour!

So … I’ve been thinking about all of this … why is this interesting? I don’t really know these people … why do I care? Obviously I love golf and seeing how super talented players deal with golf is interesting … but what is really interesting is how they deal with life. 

Are these people heroes or celebrities … or both … or what’s the difference?

Has our society lost heroes and substituted celebrities?

Do we admire virtue and heroism? … or are we more enthralled with glamor and money and power?

So I found an article by Landon Y. Jones, titled “Too Many Celebrities and Not Enough Heroes”. Jones was a writer and editor at People magazine from its first issue in 1974 … so he knows the celebrity scene … and he’s a pretty insightful guy.

Jones said that People magazine used to host focus groups to find out who people were interested in … and always started the sessions by asking who were their heroes. But, about 10 years ago they stopped asking because people couldn’t think of any - except for heroes from history.

Then Jones says: “But we could all do more to identify the heroes living among us. They are our founders and builders. They lead us forward. They encourage us to stop thinking only of ourselves and our narrow interests and to think about a larger purpose. Many celebrities do take on worthy causes. As the joke goes, a movie star without a cause is like a woodpecker without a tree. But celebrities do not typically help us to understand ourselves and our world. We’ll need to look elsewhere for people who help us bridge the gap between who we are and who we want to be.”

And I think he means that gap should be filled by heroes.

Is it heroic to play golf for the LIV Tour?

Is it heroic to make your child into a golf superstar?

Is it heroic to win the British Open at age 59? Can be if you do it honorably like Tom Watson was trying to do.

I wish there were more stories and movies about the heroes among us. The people who do heroic things.

When our staff leaves us for the “real world” … we talk up in my office. My final words are usually “Just do the right thing. It’s the only way you’ll like yourself. Money and power won’t make-up for doing the wrong thing.”

We can all be heroes. We can’t all be celebrities. 

We can’t all be champion golfers … but we can all be respected for how we play golf. And I don’t only mean follow the rules … honor is about more than that. I mean how you deal with everything and everyone when you play golf.

In fact, I’ve played with “Letter of the Law” people who are the opposite of the “Spirit of the Law”. We all know the difference. The same way my staff knows what I mean by doing the right thing so that you’ll like yourself.

We need a documentary about heroic golfers.



Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
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Deer Run Golf Club
8661 Deer Run Drive
Victoria, MN 55386
(952) 443-2351

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