Not that 1975 was a season to overlook in the Nicklaus canon. It proved to be one of his best, and Pinehurst capped it. He won five times and was named the PGA Player of the Year for the fourth time. Two of those victories were in major championships, including The Masters (his fifth) and the PGA Championship (his fourth), which came a mere 31 days before the start of the ’75 World Open.
Jack Nicklaus is forever adorned in Pinehurst after winning the 1959 North and South Amateur.
But Nicklaus had won in Pinehurst long before he toured Pinehurst No. 2 in 4-under 280 in September 1975. Just a few weeks before he made his signature splash on the golf scene with a victory in the 1959 U.S. Amateur, Nicklaus captured the 1959 North and South Amateur at Pinehurst, clipping Gene Andrews 1-up.
She left three days later – THREE DAYS! -saying this:
“It’s been…amazing. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I came into this. I was scared that they were going to try to completely redo my swing, which they did. But I can hit my woods. I’ve come very far.”
Kris Wilson came to Pinehurst looking for help. His impassioned plea came in a simple e-mail:
You will never meet anyone who needs a weekend golf school as much as I do. If it were anywhere else other than Pinehurst, I wouldn’t waste my time writing, for surely a lesser school would need me for 3 months (not 3 days).
My fate is bad, and my future is dim! Not only do I lunge at the ball, but captured by camera, I look like a contortionist. I have never been under a 10 handicap, but am about 14 now, and that won’t last without an intervention.
Yes, I can hit the fairway, and yes I can launch the ball, but a recent picture taken by a friend (he hasn’t posted it publicly, and he works for me, so we’re still friends) would amaze you. I would bet that only one out of 10,000 PGA Professionals would guess I could “repeat” the contortions ever again.
The fix should be easy; I started dropping my shoulder and it has migrated towards a “cirque du soleil” lunge at the ball. I have very good eye hand coordination, which allows me to manage actually getting the ball off, but I am way of balance, on my toes, and my head is level with my waist. I look like a bull fighter, narrowly missing the bull, legs extended, and standing on tip toes. Too bad there is no bull!
I could send a picture, but you wouldn’t believe it, you would really need to see it for yourself.
It’s still working for Kris, who sent us this e-mail on Tuesday:
I may have had a long way to go, but I believe of (those at the school), I probably improved the most; certainly got the most out of it! I truly enjoyed every aspect.
The program is fantastic – Eric and his staff are incredible! The instruction and drills are phenomenal. I use one of the putting drills every time I am on the practice green.
I have tried my best, and with some success I believe, to suggest the Academy to anyone visiting Pinehurst. You may run into my wife and I this spring!
So, How is the Lunge? I played a week ago with our graphic artist, and he reports 2 lunges, both off the tee with driver! He also reports 2 mini lunges when I was trying to get more distance than I am capable, 1 with a 3 wood, one with a 22-degree hybrid.
Since Pinehurst, and since my Titleist irons that I ordered at the Academy arrived, my “comfort” and “confidence” has increased tremendously! That is a real gift, to stand over the ball and think “just like the last one” instead of “oh damn…just don’t hit another one like the last one.” Trust me, it makes the game much easier to love! All in all, I am a huge fan of the Pinehurst Golf Academy, and not only did I kick the lunge back down the road, but I am renewed, refreshed, and honestly ready for more! Out with the lunge, in with comfort and confidence!
As golfers began to descend on the Resort Club for another day bathed in 70-degree temperatures, the sun, clouds and Carolina blue skies mixed together to form a tapestry as brilliant as the grounds Donald Ross created for the grand game.