"The friends you make on the golf course are the friends you make for life."
and thought how timely it was. Let me explain...
Royal Ka'anapali Golf Course on Maui, with one of my favorite people - Claude Brousseau - a Senior PGA Teaching Professional at the Kapalua Golf Academy on Maui.
I interviewed Claude two years ago for an article I was writing for InsideGolf Magazine. I discovered after talking to him and spending an hour on the range with him that he is true gentleman and an amazing teacher. He never uses golf-speak when talking to you. He never says, "I do it this way."
Claude's #1 priority is to make YOU successful and he has all kinds of great props, memorable acronyms and analogies to help you maximize your potential. It didn't surprise me at all to learn that he's a big fan of Vision54, which is based on the fundamental principle that every individual has unlimited and unique potential.
It also didn't surprise me that he won the "Aloha Section PGA Teacher of the Year” award in 2008.
Although Claude and I only met once two years ago, when he saw I was coming to Maui this November through Facebook, he reached out to me online and said, "Hey let's play some golf and have dinner!" How many virtual strangers do that!
I naturally jumped at the chance to play golf with him. But when the day arrived, I was shaking in my Footjoys. I was so nervous to play with an awarding winning professional.
And so, as I headed out to the first tee with Claude and his buddy Dick from Northern California (an excellent golfer and tennis player), I was sweating bullets. Then after watching Claude and Dick hit their drives, I was struck again by the famous words said by Bob Jones of Jack Nicklaus, "He plays a game of which I am not familiar". Oh dear...
Anyway, I headed off to hit my first shot of the day, and although it wasn't my best effort, it made the fairway and I was on my way to playing one of the most enjoyable rounds of golf I can remember.
I thought playing with a pro would make for a "serious" round, but Claude was laughing and joking (and giving strokes to Dick) with all the jocularity of a weekend warrior. But when he stood up to hit a shot, he went into another world - the infamous "zone". From fun to focus - the transition was truly amazing.
And it didn't cost me a dime to get some wonderful advice from Claude along the way...like how to read putts on very tricky, grainy greens. I also learned the real reason I skulled a 7 iron (I thought I peeked, but he explained it was my ball position that was off).
Ah ha! I had forgotten some of the basic fundamentals he had taught me two years ago - the 4 elements he calls the pre-swing: B, P, G, A - Ball Position, Posture, Grip and Aim.
After the round, we headed over to Hula Grill (a wonderful restaurant right on the water at Whalers Village in Ka'anapali) to have dinner with his lovely wife, Anne-Marie. We'd never met Anne-Marie before, but it wasn't long before we discovered how much we had in common. Time flew by as we chatted about our love for golf, wine, food, and, of course, Maui. I didn't think I'd ever find someone who loves this island as much as I do. I was wrong - Anne-Marie has adopted it - she calls it "my island". :)
It was a magical day from the first tee to the last bite that I will remember fondly for a very long time and hope to repeat again soon.
It really is true that the friends you make on a golf course are friends for life. I have 6 more golf games planned for this week. I am looking forward every one of them. Who wouldn't be when you know that your next best friend may just one tee-time away.