Remembering Payne Stewart.

I absolutely loved to watch Payne Stewart swing a golf club.  Like Ernie Els, he had a smooth, rhythmical swing that looked like flowing treacle.  On top of that he always had an impish look on his face and was known as a practical joker.  16 years after his unforgettable plane accident, TJ Auclair from remembers Payne in this tribute.  
Payne Stewart's Statue overlooks the 18th green at Pinehurst #2

Payne Stewart’s Statue overlooks the 18th green at Pinehurst #2

                It’s hard to believe, but Saturday marks the 16th anniversary of the tragic passing of one of golf’s most charismatic figures, Payne Stewart. Stewart, an 11-time PGA Tour winner and three-time major champion, perished in a LearJet plane accident on Oct. 25, 1999, when the cabin lost pressure. All on board died of hypoxia — a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. The plane, still on auto-pilot, crashed in a field in Mina, S.D., when it eventually ran out of fuel. Stewart’s agents Robert Fraley and Van Ardan, and pilots Michael Kling and Stephanie Bellegarrigue, along with Bruce Borland, a highly regarded golf course architect with the Jack Nicklaus design company, also perished. Stewart was 42 at the time of his death. He was just four months removed from what would prove to be his final major championship victory, the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, an incredible tournament where Stewart outlasted a then-majorless Phil Mickelson. The plane incident happened just one month — nearly to the day — after Stewart was part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that mounted a then record-setting, final day, come from behind victory in the 1999 matches at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. That was Stewart’s last public appearance and, if ever there was an everlasting way to remember someone, that was it. Stewart had always been known for two things — his distinctive clothing (plus-fours and tam-o-shanter hat) and his intensity. Before those 1999 Ryder Cup matches, Stewart mixed things up a bit when he suggested that based on the strength of the European team — or perceived lack thereof — they should be caddying for the U.S. team not playing against them. Harsh, no doubt, but that was Stewart’s personality. He loved dishing it out, but also had a heart the size of the Wanamaker Trophy that he won in the 1989 PGA Championship. In his Sunday singles match, Stewart displayed the type of sportsmanship he’ll forever be remembered for. His opponent Colin Montgomerie was having a horrible week with the Boston galleries heckling his every move. With the Ryder Cup already secured late that afternoon for the Americans, Stewart picked up Montgomerie’s golf ball on the 18th hole and conceded the match out of courtesy. It was mature, it was classy, it was the right thing to do. It exemplified the person Payne Stewart had come to be.  
"One moment in Time" plaque at Pinehurst #2

“One moment in Time” plaque at Pinehurst #2

                Source : TJ Auclair Pictures : Mike Renlund      Bradley P Johnson

6 Things you need to know on your first trip to Scotland or Ireland.

One of the highlights of my year is that in August of each year I organize a group trip to either Scotland, Ireland or South Africa. I recently took a group to Scotland and for all of them, it was their first trip over.   Although they all said it was a trip of a lifetime, most of them said what Craig Better from has so accurately described below.  I have also found out the hard way, but all obstacle can be overcome if you plan ahead.  
18th hole and clubhouse St Andrews Old Course

18th hole and clubhouse St Andrews Old Course

              Have you ever taken a golf trip “across the pond?” Do you remember “discovering” some things you wish you would have known in advance? I certainly do, and to this day, I’m shocked that nobody told me these important details…
  1. Jet Lag Most flights from North America are overnighters, during which you get little sleep (but sometimes lots of alcohol), so when you step off the plane early the next morning, your every instinct is to put your head in a bed. Advice I’d give a first timer: Don’t do it. Instead, take the latest flight you can and do whatever possible to sleep on the plane. But even if you can’t, just land then go play golf. The faster you get on local time, the better.
  2. Rental Cars Again, while sleep deprived and bleary eyed, you’ll be expected to drive a stick-shift vehicle on the opposite side of the road (while sitting on the right-hand side and operating the stick with your left hand). Oh, and if you’re head isn’t already mixed up enough, you’ll usually have to navigate a traffic circle, or “roundabout,” within five minutes. Advice I’d give a first timer: Hire a driver, which is quite common over there. If you insist on driving, at least request an automatic transmission. And, get a mini van (or pack light). The rental cars tend to be quite small for groups with golf clubs.
  3. Practice Facilities OK, so you’re less than alert and not ready for golf, but it’s nothing a few range balls can’t fix. Well, that’s a problem, too. While there are a few exceptions, you’re generally not going to find a practice range (or a conveniently located one) at the great, classic links courses in the UK and Ireland. Advice I’d give a first timer: Do some light stretching before you tee off and concentrate on just keeping your ball out of trouble for the first few holes.
Group with caddies at Kingsbarns, Scotland

Group with caddies at Kingsbarns, Scotland

            To see the other 3 things you need to know when playing Scotland and Ireland for the first time, go here! Source: Golf Vacation Insider       Craig Better Pictures: Gregory Stewart  

10 Reasons to use Golf as a Powerful Business Tool!

In today’s tough economy, every business deal is vital, every customer is important.  Retaining customers and getting new business is an art, and using golf to achieve those ends is more of a necessity now than it has ever been.
The Ringer!

The Ringer!

                  Andrew Wood of Legendary Marketing gives you 10 reasons below to use golf as a powerful business tool.  
 Anyone reading the mainstream media and their constant efforts to trumpet the demise of golf could be forgiven for thinking that golf as a business tool is a little passé. Sure participation is down, but 25 million players in the USA alone, is not exactly a small number. Then when you look at the number of top CEO’s, sports stars, movie stars and entrepreneurs who are avid golfers, those numbers are actually pretty impressive. An estimated 90% of Fortune 500 CEO’s play golf as have almost all of the US presidents since Ike. Better still, executives who play golf make an average of 17% more than those who don’t. Yes, business golf is not just surviving it’s thriving and for the sake of your business or career here are ten reasons you’d better get in on the action!
  1. Face Time: Where else can you spend four quality hours with your company CEO or valued customers? With today’s busy schedules most of us are lucky if we can get five minutes! There is simply no other sport with the amount of quiet time between shots that allows for wide-ranging conversations and mutual interests to be discovered.
  2. Serene Surroundings: You can plan a client meeting in an office surrounded by water, nature and sand instead of four white walls. This instantly creates a more relaxed and friendly environment in which to do business without the normal distractions.
  3. Business Intelligence: You can learn more about a person in four hours golfing than a lifetime of meetings. Not just be what they say but by how they handle themselves on the course. Do they play by the rules and control their emotions? Or do they fudge and blow a fuse.
  4. Friendships Forged: An interest in golf alone can be enough to move your friendships several notches up the corporate ladder. Best of all, the friendships built around golf tend to last a lifetime so as people move around new opportunities will open up for you.
Business Golf 3                   5. Open Doors on the Road: When you travel, golf is a great way to open doors by letting prospects know you are in the area and up for a game. I have had many amazing           relationships around the world by looking on LinkedIn and suggesting a game to someone in the area I am planning to visit. 6. Perfect Gifting: When someone is a golfer it’s easy to give a small gift that makes an impact. A golf book, logoed hat or towel from St Andrews can quickly and cheaply enhance a relationship. 7. Game for Life: It’s a sport that suits all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Thanks to the handicap system, people of widely different abilities can play together and still compete. So the 60 something CEO can still beat his 30 something prospect or employee. While the 30 something executive can look forward to decades of on-course meetings and deals. Try doing that on the squash court! 8. Advantage Women: If you are a businesswoman, playing golf is an even greater advantage. Adrienne Wax, co-author of Even Par: How Golf helps Women Gain the Upper Hand In Business says “Outside the office, you can communicate differently with your higher-level peers and get to know one another in a way that the office can’t provide. Being able to talk golf in the office gives you a chance to bond with the bigwigs. If you can talk about golf, suddenly you have reasons to talk with the CEO. 9. Networking: One of the great things about golf is you can just show up at a club and get a game. Depending on your business, you could be looking at three prospects each and every time you tee it up! Either way, golf is the ultimate networking environment for all kinds of professionals and services. 10. The 19th Hole: After your round, the 19th holes provides the perfect setting to take your newly enhanced relationship to the next level or indeed go ahead and ask for the order! So don’t wait any longer, get out of the office and head to the course, to boost your business today!
  Source: Andrew Wood     Legendary Marketing Pictures: flickr    Neville Wootton