In the Swing

By staff November 1, 2002


On Nov. 25, Sarasota's Sara Bay Country Club will host the 12th annual Joe Turnesa Memorial golf tournament, which raises money for college scholarships for promising junior golfers who have also demonstrated academic and leadership success.

This classy charity tournament is a tribute to the late Joe Turnesa Sr., a former teaching professional at Sara Bay and a tour pro who finished as a runner-up in the 1926 U.S. Open and 1927 PGA championships. Turnesa also represented America in the 1927 and 1929 Ryder Cup, a biennial match against golf pros from Great Britain, and he won the 1931 British PGA.

Since the tournament started in 1991, 22 college scholarships have been awarded. The $125 cost includes golf, cart, gift bag, lunch, and the awards dinner. If you don't have a team, you will be paired up with three other amateur golfers and a pro. All donations are tax- deductible. For further information call head golf pro Daren King at 355-6544 or Charles Johnson at 953-6616.

The Lingo

Confused by the strange-sounding language spoken by more experienced players? Here's a quick lesson in "golfspeak" to help you understand what the heck they're talking about.

Apron: Synonymous with "fringe," the manicured area of grass bordering the green.

Bite: Backspin imparted on the ball makes it bite, or stop quickly on the green.

Chili-dip: A faulty "fat" shot that flies only a few feet, because the player jabs the chipping club into the ground behind the ball.

Fried egg: A partially buried lie in a bunker resembling a fried egg.

Sandbagger: A player who regularly scores well below his or handicap.

Sweet spot: The center of the clubface.

Strictly Business

Conducting business on the course is increasing in popularity, and according to Sandy Vilas, a Bird Key resident and CEO of Coach U, which offers one-on-one business and life coaching to clients, that's because you can learn so much about someone by playing a round together. Vilas says to use the time "to try and read the other person, particularly during the cart ride and at the 19th hole."

I agree, and here's some added advice on how to "read" your golf partner, taken from my new book, Everything I Learned About People, I Learned From A Round of Golf.

1. The person who shows up late without making a phone call fails the prompt test.

2. The person who moves the ball in rough and in bunkers fails the honesty test.

3. The person who constantly makes excuses for bad shots fails the responsible test.

4. The person who forgets his driver or golf shoes fails the organization test.

5. The person who frequently talks on a cellular phone or looks at his watch while the two of you are riding in a cart together fails the politeness test.

6. The person who never makes eye contact fails the sincerity test. If your playing partner does speak, run when you hear any of these statements made: "I mean this sincerely," "I'm an honest guy," "Ask anybody in town, and they'll tell you I never cheat anyone."

Fun & Games

If your regular foursome is bored with playing a weekend Nassau team match, give Flag Golf a try. Here's how to play:

Each player is given a small flag. When a player takes a number of strokes that represents the par score for the course plus one's handicap, he or she sticks a flag in the ground. For example, if the par is 72 and your handicap is 10, you should stick a flag in the ground in the spot where your 82nd shot landed. The winner is the player whose flag is in front of the others in the foursome.

Winning Tips

One of the most common swing faults made by amateur golfers, particularly women, is swinging the club dramatically inside the target line on the backswing and, as a result, hitting shots to the right. For the first 12 inches of the swing, the club should swing straight back along the target line. If the club swings back low and stays square (perpendicular) to the target in the takeaway, it's likely to do the same in the hitting area. The result: powerfully accurate shots.

Here's a practice drill I learned from golfing legend Jan Stephenson, former winner of the women's United States Open championship, that's designed to help you swing the club on the correct path.

Place a tee peg in the ground, along an imaginary straight line about a foot behind the ball. Swing back, trying to brush the tee away with your clubhead. If you miss the tee, keep practicing your takeaway until you learn to groove the correct "brushstroke." Once you do, hit shots without the tee-guide and watch the ball fly toward the target.

Specialty of the Clubhouse

If you are looking for a change of pace away from the club after a round or just want to sit among golf memorabilia, soak up some good old-fashioned golf atmosphere, converse with other golf nuts, and try dishes named after famous golf courses, visit the British Open Pub in the Palmer Ranch Plaza, off Tamiami Trail. Recommendation: The St. George's Pizza, named after the famed royal St. George's Golf Club in Sandwich, England. This dish, comprised of a blue cheese-asparagus sour cream sauce and topped off with shrimp and mozzarella, is anything but your ordinary Italian pizza.

Sarasota's John Andrisani, the former senior editor of instruction at GOLF Magazine and the author of more than 25 books, including the recently released Think Like Tiger, is a six-handicap player and former winner of the World Golf Writers' Championship. Send questions and comments to John at [email protected]

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