A little history to tell you how I got here…
Allow me to introduce myself and give you a brief history of my golf background so you can get an idea of what my career has been like and why you can trust what I tell you about custom club fitting and how I can help you play better golf.
In 2011 I was selected by Golf Digest Magazine as one of America’s 100 Best Clubfitters.
But, I started playing golf seriously when I was 15 and eventually played well enough to play on my High School Golf Team at Baker High School in Columbus, GA.
After graduating from High School I enrolled at Columbus College, a local community college where there was no golf team. When I discovered some of my high school team mates and some of the other local golfers I competed against in high school there I went to see the Athletic Director to beg him to start a golf team. Eventually with the help of my team mates he gave in and started a golf team. But, we had to find a coach. We did and off we went.
I was the team Captain for 2 years and we won almost all of our matches, only loosing to a few 4 year schools. I worked my way through college for the most part having to work, and play golf not to mention having to study to stay in school. My parents helped as much as they could but I had to help out to stay in school and pay for my daily expenses. Eventually between working, and playing golf my grades were hard to maintain and I missed an opportunity to get a scholarship at a major school primarily because my GPA wasn’t up to it but also because it was becoming more difficult to work and maintain my golf game and my grades.
I began my professional career in 1967 when I left college to get a full time job and support myself. So, why not get a golf job? Our home course one year had been the Columbus Country Club and the Pro there, Mr. Harper knew me so that was the first place I went. Mr. Harper needed an assistant and he hired me. The pay was pretty low, but I had a job and I was a golf pro. I was thrilled, my dream was coming true at an early age. I was a Golf Professional for nearly 8 years with Head Professional Jobs at two Columbus area courses ( interrupted by a tour in the U. S. Air Force) before a chronic back problem (AS*) forced me to seek other ways to earn a living.
My first job as a Golf Professional, as I wrote above, was as an assistant at the Columbus Country Club in Columbus, Georgia. Like I said, I worked for Mr. Charles M. “Charlie” Harper who was the Head Professional at that time. Mr. Harper was quite a player in his day having won many tournaments during his prime before taking the job at CCC. The Columbus Country Club is most noted as the home course of Mr. Fred Haskins, a Golf Professional for whom the Haskins Trophy is named. While I worked as an assistant there the Caddie Master at the time was Howard Pitts who had been Mr. Haskin’s assistant at one time. I played a lot of golf with Howard in the mornings before the golf shop opened and we stopped and talked to Mr. Haskins. (While widely known as a club maker, once building a set for Bobby Jones, Haskins greatest impact was in teaching and inspiring junior golfers. As a tribute to his teaching abilities, his pupils have won well over 150 championships. In 1952, following 34 years of service, Fred Haskins tendered his resignation as Head Golf Professional. Subsequently, he was asked to return as greens keeper and served in this capacity until 1971.)
Mr. Haskins true passion was promoting Amateur Golf.
Both by teaching his students the game – and more importantly how the game was played, and by giving of his time and effort promoting Amateur Golf Tournaments. Especially the Southeastern Amateur, which he created in 1922 shortly after accepting the position at the Country Club of Columbus.
Even with a 13 hole golf course (it was actually 12, and they played one hole forward and back), Mr. Haskins created what today is one of the longest running Amateur Golf Tournaments around. The Southeastern Amateur which was then known as the Columbus Country Club Invitational. Mr. Haskins was also known for his nickel teaching days. For a whole nickel, Mr. Haskins would teach the children at CCC how to play the game.
He told parents that “if your child comes home early, you know they weren’t behavin’.” And sure enough, Mr. Haskins did not put up with misbehavior. It was an integral part of the game to be able to be a gentleman or young lady.
The nickel was actually to pay the caddie. You see, back in that time, there wasn’t even a driving range. So Mr. Haskins would literally take the kids out on to the course where there were not any golfers, and have them hit balls. And in that day, there weren’t even that many balls to hit. So the caddie would shag balls so each kid would get a turn at attempting the shot they were learning.
It has been said about Mr. Haskins that “he almost never made a four foot putt, but he could hit a 4-iron to four feet every time. And it wasn’t even that great of a swing!”
And Mr. Haskins used this in his teaching philosophy. He may well have been one of the first pioneers in “taking what you have and working with it.” A philosophy that is still employed by the best teachers and “swing coaches” today.
The Haskins Trophy is given to the nations top college golfer each year as the Hiesman Trophy is for the top football player. Columbus Country Club is also well known as the home of the Southeastern Amateur Golf Tournament.
I was at Columbus Country Clubs only for a short time before getting my first Head Professional job at Sand Hill Golf Course, Fort Benning, Georgia. While working at Sand Hill in 1968, I successfully completed the P.G.A Business School in Palm Beach Florida.
I had the great fortune of studying swing theory under Bob Toski while attending the school. After studying the golf swing under Mr. Toski my teaching skills and my golf game were dramatically improved. Only 4 months after attending the PGA School and spending time with Mr. Toski I broke the course record at Sand Hill G.C. Eventually I have held or shared a half dozen course records in three states and won a few Amateur and College Tournaments during my career also. Although I held the lead in few a professional tournaments in early rounds I was never able to win one.
I left Sand Hill in late 1969 because I was drafted. I joined the Air Force and worked as a electronics and communications technician, supporting the Apollo Space Program, while at Patrick AFB near Cocoa Beach Florida until May of 1972.
Upon my return to Columbus from the Air Force, I was hired as an assistant at Bull Creek Golf Course when it opened in June of 1972 with only the first 9 of 36 holes. Bull Creek was then and still is one of the country’s finest public courses and has appeared in Golf Magazines for years. My boss, the Head Professional there, was Hugh Royer Jr., the 1970 Western Open Champion on the P.G.A Tour.
After Bull Creek, I spent a year as Head Professional at Four Lakes Golf Course in Columbus, Georgia. After leaving Four Lakes my back problems changed my career. That was in October of 1974. I moved to the advertising industry before opening a print shop a few years later.
While I was the Professional at Four Lakes, I also managed a Golf Repair shop, Cindo Golf, where we built and repaired golf clubs. We served many of the PGA Pros when they were in town for the Southern Open which as a regular tour stop until in Columbus until moving to Callaway Gardens as one of the Buick Opens.
When I left golf I moved to the advertising industry for many years before eventually opening an ad agency and print shop. Now, my wife and I own and operate On Time Printing in Columbus, GA along with the golf shop. The golf shop is more a labor of love than an occupation. I love the game and I love and enjoy being around golf and golfers.
When I returned to the golf business, to brush up on my skills, I attended the Golfsmith Clubmaker’s school in Austin, TX. Since then I have also attended the Precision Rifle Certification School to become a Certified Rifle Center, The Golfwork’s Clubfitting School, The Golfworks Clubmaker Fitting School, and the PCS Advanced Fitting School as well as numerous other other Seminars, Expos, and Conferences. I attend the Professional Clubmaker’s Society Expos and PGA Shows whenever possible.
In 2006 I founded The Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals. The AGCP has grown into an International organization that has had well over 100 members and continues to grow not only in size but in statue as well. The AGCP has some of the Worlds finest clubfitters and custom clubmakers and is rapidly becoming recognized in the industry as one of the finest organizations of its kind. Many of our sponsors recommend their customer become members of the AGCP to advance their knowledge and ability. An annual Roundtable Educational Exposition is held in Columbus, GA for the members and we have 3 or 4 days of intense training and a number of certification schools for members to attend. The annual AGCP Roundtable is becoming a must attend event on many of this country’s quality clubmakers agenda.
One of my proudest distinctions came in 2008 when Tom Wishon inscribed the jacket liner of my personal copy of his new book “The Right Stuff” with the following inscription
Tom being a mentor and a colleague makes this one of the highest compliments I’ve received in my career. One that I am very proud of.
In 2008 I was one of 11 AGCP members to earn the Master of Golf Club Technology Designation. This is the highest honor the AGCP bestows on its members for clubfitting and clubmaking and requires recognition from my peers.
At the beginning of 2012 I closed the retail shop and constructed a fitting studio and workshop at my home. I still work by appointment only and work as a consultant for the AGCP. If you need help with your game call me: 762-821-3148 for an appointment.
Fairways and Greens,
For the curious- Ankylosing means fusing together. Spondylitis indicates inflammation of the vertebrae. Both words come from the Greek. So, AS describes the condition by which some or all of the joints and bones of the spine fuse together. Entire fusing of the spine, like mine, is unusual. Many people will only have partial fusion, sometimes limited to the pelvic bones.