September 24, 2017
|The Corner Office With Tom Abts (Deer Run Golf Club)|
|Tom Abts, Deer Run Golf Club|
By Rhett ArensTee Times is introducing a new column this issue where we will provide readers with an insightful look into the thinking and personality of local people in golf course leadership roles. They are often humorous, have unique perspectives and some surprising opinions about the state of golf. Fourteen questions, fourteen answers... an abundance of insight.
1. How long have you been in the golf business and how did you get your start? I've been at Deer Run GC since 1991.
2. Was there an 'aha' moment when you realized this is a good gig? I realized it was a good gig one winter day when I was walking home from my son's bus stop and realized I was euphorically happy because I loved my job. I previously had a different career where I'd made a lot more money, but never had that feeling of total joy about my life and work.
3. How would you describe your golf game? I'm 61 years old so my golf game has changed quite a bit. The lack of swing speed has really affected the length and height of my shots. I drive it straight and have a good short game so I can still score decently. I have to be smart about choosing courses that suit my game, but I still love to play golf.
4. Is there a pet peeve about the game you would like to get off your chest? Pet peeve? It's probably shared by most golfers... slow play. And it's usually the result of one selfish knucklehead. A golf course is a one-lane highway... no one has the right to back it up. It's like when I'm driving a car and am in the left turn lane, and someone isn't ready for the turn arrow so we all miss the light. Same thing on the golf course. They don't care that they wrecked the round for everyone on the course.
5. Do you have any heroes in the game? Arnold Palmer. He was "cool," and warm.
6. Thinking back what is the most memorable moment in recent PGA history? Sergio Garcia winning the Masters.
7. Is there a trend or pattern in the game of golf you would like to see changed? I don't like the modern golf swing. Sam Snead swung better than anyone - ever. He had great footwork. The reason for all of these back problems is that they don't use their feet when they swing.
8. What is your opinion about the health of the state-of-the-game? Golf courses need to be niche oriented. One size does not fit all.
9. What is the strangest player mishap or misstep to take place at your course? The list for strange mishaps is endless at any golf course. But here's a funny one. Teeing off of hole #2, a player hit the ball into the hole on #15 green. Is that a hole-in-one?
10. What makes you most happy when considering the customers who play your course? What makes me happy is when everyone at Deer Run is happy - staff and golfers.
11. Do you consider yourself a golf purist or wide-open to new rules and regulations? I'm a golf purist AND wide-open to new rules and regulations. That's because I believe Tournament Golf and Recreational Golf are two different animals. Tournament Golf should be pure - metal bats would ruin MLB and make parks like Wrigley Field obsolete. These new clubs and balls have made great courses obsolete for tournament play. But, just like in softball - let the recreational player use whatever helps him play better.
12. Who do you consider the greatest golfer of all-time and why? Ben Hogan reached a level of skill and course management that has never been equaled.
13. Do you have a course in Minnesota or Wisconsin you consider highly underrated? Oak Ridge Country Club has an outstanding golf course that is hugely underrated.
14. The single best reason for spending 4+ hours chasing a little white ball? My first word was ball. To be outside playing a game by hitting a ball either alone or with friends and family is as good as it gets.
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