Archives for the ‘Player Bios’ Category

Player Bio — Brandon Spain

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Brandon Spain, AKA mr. fister on the boards, has lived in the Dallas area for most of his life.  He plays out of Volcano’s in Hurst, TX.  On the 2009 courses, he was averaging in the low 20’s on Savannah, Woodland, and Sunny.  He was in the mid 20’s on Bonnie, and on Black Hills…well, he and Black Hills don’t talk because they don’t get along :).

Brandon hasn’t yet played much on the 2010 courses while the Promo-nation contest is going on.  However, he’s finding that The Great Wall is usually good for low to mid 20’s, as is Tahiti Cove.  Monument is a toss up between a mid teens and a low 20’s as he’s still working on that one.  Bella keeps throwing him a massive blow up hole, so he’s running -17 to -19.  Southern Oaks is easily the hardest easy course he has ever played. There is no reason to hit less than the low 20’s, but he keeps doing it!

Brandon started playing Golden Tee right before Live came out.  He played a bit here and there for a few years, but he didn’t really start playing seriously until about half way through ’08.  For the promo-nation contest, Brandon has been playing about 100 games a week, but in a normal week he probably gets in 30-40 games.  He really flies through games too, finishing 18 holes in 9-10 minutes!

Brandon doesn’t say he’s a great player yet, but he knows he’s on the cusp!  Just about a week ago he shot his first -29, and he realized that was a really impressive mark.  He is still aiming for that -30 though, and when he gets that, he’ll shoot for -31 and beyond!

Brandon attributes the development of his skills to Rodney Collins, an amazing player that he met who really taught him a lot about the game.  After playing Golden Tee with him for a month, his handicap jumped from a 13-15 up to a 20-21!

When asked what Golden Tee accomplishments he’s most proud of, Brandon reiterated how amazing it felt to hit -29.  He’ll never forget getting up to the tee box on 18 at -27.  The setup was easy, but he was so nervous he nearly flubbed it anyway!  With that being said, Brandon would say that his greatest accomplishment also happened very recently, where he logged into to check some scores and happened to notice his ELO rating had jumped up to 3097!   He had never seen it above the mid 2900s range, so he was quite shocked and pleased to see that his consistently great scores were paying off!

Among Brandon’s most memorable Golden Tee moments are the first time that student beat teacher.  They were playing Cypress and had gone into 18 tied at -23 (teacher hit water at some point).  Brandon forgets the setup, but teacher ended up with a really easy short eagle putt and had him crushed on GSP, so his only out was to ace 18, which he had never done.  Needless to say, Brandon let it go with a three wood and had it crawl into the right side of hole for his first ace on 18 of Cypress!

Brandon’s best advice to novices is to find someone better than you and learn everything that you can, especially how they hit the trackball.  Find out why they play the way they do under specific conditions. Don’t just see where the shot ends up — find out what that guy did to get it there.  Brandon tries to learn everything he can from everyone he plays. Above all else, though, make sure you are having fun — that’s what it’s all about!

Player Bio — Cowboy Miller Montz

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I asked our next participant for his information because his enthusiasm and love of the game really rivals mine!  “Cowboy” Miller Montz, who was raised in North Idaho in the mountains, never had running water or power until he was 12 years old!  He plays mostly in the Boise area but has teed off a few games in other bars across the country.  His averages on the 2009 courses vary between -7 and -16, and on 2010 so far he’s between -5 and -14, with those numbers sure to improve as we all get accustomed to the new courses!

Miller has been playing off and on since 1998, but he has really gotten into it this year as he finally retired from professional bull-riding!  He needed something else to focus on that’s not so hard on his body, and Golden Tee was a great fit!  Miller tries to play 20-30 games a week if he can, but it is proving harder and harder lately.  That’s quite a financial commitment!

Miller realizes that he can’t call himself a great player yet, but he’s working on it!  He will be participating in the TOC this year, where he hopes he can hold his own!  Practice and tips from others continue to improve his game, and he recommends following that lead to anyone trying to improve.

Miller already has a great accomplishment that put him on the GT map.  His Black Hills hole-in-one on hole 14 where he hit a backwards bank shot got tons of attention, including being named the greatest shot of April and getting an article on IT Chip Shots! He also had a huge $132 hole-in-win on Woodland hole #4.

Miller doesn’t have a lot of memorable moments yet, but attending the TOC for his first major tourney is sure to make a lasting impression on him!

Player Bio — Enzo Polidori

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Enzo Polidori from Brantford, Ontario was kind enough to give us our first player bio from Canada!  He plays most of his games at Sharkeys.  Enzo has been playing Golden Tee for about 10 years, and he still gets in around 100 games a week!

Enzo’s average across the board varies, but is very impressive: GS 22, WF 23, BH 21, SW 25, BM 25.  So how did he get so good at this game?  Well you can see the amount of games he’s amassed over the years — practice and consistency can certainly do great things for you!  Enzo realized he was getting pretty good at this game when he made Team
Canada.   He beat out Sean Vernon, who was a GT Legend at the time!

Enzo adds that he’s very competitive in everything he does, and Golden Tee was no exception — he wanted to be the best!  So he played a lot, listening to and watching other players who were as good or better than he was.  His buddy Nick Feijo (also an outstanding GT’er) taught him a lot — Enzo had the mental game down, but Nick helped him learn a few extra tricks that really vaulted him to elite status.

Enzo is most proud of earning back-to-back runner-up honors at Worlds — an incredibly impressive feat!  His most memorable moment (in a bad way) was when Kinz double-eagled the 17th hole during his first game at Worlds when Enzo had a one-stroke lead at the time.

Unlike many Golden Tee addicts, Enzo rarely drinks, and almost never if he’s playing Tee!  He’s strictly a coffee and water guy.  I’ll bet that advantage has helped him win many a match late in the day!

Enzo’s best advice to novices is similar to what he learned as he matured in the game — LISTEN to experienced players, ask them questions, and play with people who are better!  It takes thousands of games to be consistently good at this game, and improvement won’t happen overnight.  So, keep at it, and keep thirsting for more tips and tricks!

Player Bio — Chisolm Woodson

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Our next bio features Chisolm “Daddy Like!” Woodson, who plays in Denver, CO.  Chisolm plays most often at Rack ‘Em Billiards and Sports, and also at Table Steaks East.  Just recently, Chisolm headed up a big tournament there in Denver, so he’s gotten his name around the Golden Tee community quite well!

Chisolm has been averaging on the 2009 courses, in order, 22/21/20/22/24, for about a +23 handicap.  He doesn’t play Bonnie or Black Hills too often though.

Chisolm has been playing Golden Tee for quite a long time, going all the way back to 1995!  He remembers when it would take a foursome 3 1/2 hours to play a round (no exaggeration!) because no one really knew what they were doing!  He was living in Vail at the time, and there was a group of people that were really intrigued by it, but had never really played it.  By the time Fore! came out, he was still into it, but only for a bit…then he stopped playing completely until Live came out, which really rejuvenated a lot of players!

Today, Chisolm plays roughly 50 games a week.  He says he still has a lot to learn, claiming he is not great by any means (although with those averages, I beg to differ)… but, as far as his progression, he can think back to a couple moments when he knew he was getting pretty good.  One of those moments was when he went to Vegas the first time for regionals.  Multi-carding was allowed back then, and he was playing two cards to try to get in the top 16 qualifying towards a chance at a Team USA spot.  He didn’t know anyone by face, except for people who he had met in PGA Nationals and the other Colorado players.  He qualified 16th and had to play Jeff Vordahl as the #1 seed.  The course drawn was Whispering Valley, causing Chisolm to whisper profanities to himself, because it was widely known that Jeff and Dannyboy were the experts on this course!  Thinking he had no chance, he watched Jeff put two balls in the water on a par 3 island hole on the back 9, and he won the round!  Then, in the next round, he and Southpa went to extra holes, and Southpa won when Chisolm missed a 40 footer on the 4th.  Southpa went on to win the Team USA spot, and while Chisolm knew he wasn’t one of the best players there, he did know that he could compete with anyone at any given time!  This gave him a lot of confidence to keep working on his game to get even better.

So that he did, playing a lot, but more importantly learning and studying things that work and don’t work.  He knows so many players that will play with him, watch what he does, and then not try it!  They think their style is the only way, and then they can’t understand why they keep shooting -10.  Chisolm says he has a very analytical brain, so he is always watching all shots…even if you’re playing with a +6 handicap, you never know what you will learn.

Chisolm still gets excited at the times he finishes first in a Live tourney featuring 3 or more guys that he knows he won’t beat on a regular basis (such as getting first on Grand Savannah in the same tourney as Litz, Kinz and Haas).  Also, he got his first -30 a couple months ago, which was awesome!  He was just playing a round with some buddies who don’t play all that much before a softball game, and he really wasn’t paying much attention to his score until hole 16, where he realized what could potentially happen… funny how that works!

The most memorable moment for Chisolm was hosting the Denver Open last month with his girlfriend Amanda. That was so much fun, and he already can’t wait until next year.  To him, that’s what this game is all about — meeting great new people, hanging with incredible friends you already know, everyone sharing their passions, and the competition of it all — you can’t beat it!

How will you know Chisolm when you see him?  Well he’s short, he wears a glove, and he’s devastatingly handsome — book it!

And finally, for those of us trying to improve, Chisolm reiterates the importance of playing with someone better than you to learn off them.  Specifically, the first thing he tells a complete novice is hit your putts firm.  This is good advice — we all see too many guys trying to baby a putt in and they end up 3-putting instead of ramming it home!  Oh, and there is a Golden Tee god — obey him!

Player Bio — Nate Knuth

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Our next bio features Nate “Phuqenay!” Knuth, who plays out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He splits time there between The Gold Rush and Boston’s Pizza.

Nate has been playing Golden Tee since FORE! 2003. On the 2009 courses, he’s been averaging -15.02, BUT, he’s played more rounds on Black Hills than any other course (naturally at a lower average). Good for him having the courage to man up and enjoy that beautiful but very challenging course!

Unfortunately, where Nate lives in South Dakota, they do not offer Prize Play. That’s tough, because Nate can’t win money back in prize contests. Because of that, the game can get expensive quickly, and he can only afford to play 20-25 games per week. I still think that’s quite a bit of dedication to the game knowing he’s not getting prize money back! Nate figures that he has probably played more Glory games than most people who frequent the message boards and go to tournaments.

Nate doesn’t consider himself a great player, but he did take note when people started showing up at the bars where he played to asked questions and learn shots. They had seen his local scores and were impressed, so that started to give him the confidence to know that he was certainly a good player! Nate credits playing as often as you can to keep up those good scores. He knows, like most of us, that if you take too much time off from the game, you lose your touch around the green with chip shots and breaking putts.

When asked what Golden Tee accomplishments he’s most proud of, Nate mentioned how he finished in the top half of the World Championships in Vegas in 2008 (a couple of spots ahead of Skipper, LOL). He has also won his local championship 3 times running!

Nate has a couple other nice Golden Tee memories that he cherishes. First, he was the first player to hit a hole in one in the morning session in Vegas in 2007, which earned him a nice pair of sunglasses! He also recalls how he won the first local championship with 17 birdies and 1 tap-in eagle on Palm Springs for a -19.

If this advice hasn’t been pounded into your head yet, you’re going to hear it again and again — Nate mentions how the first time he played with a ‘pro’ was when “Piano” Steve Dakin came to town for a little tournament that they had. He probably played 50 rounds with him that weekend, asking thousands of questions like “why did you do that,” “how did you do that,” “when should you do this,” etc. He went from a
-12 player to a -17 player in one week. If you can find someone who is good (and has a TON of
patience, LOL), learn everything you possibly can. Also, don’t be afraid to ‘donate’ some money to tournaments, because the experience will pay off in the long run, no doubt!

Player Bio — Chris Litzinger

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Our next bio features one of the very best in the game — Chris Litzinger from Cincinnati!  Litz is currently living in College Corner, Ohio, playing at Deano’s CC tavern uptown.

Litz is a Grand Savannah banger, averaging about -24.5 there.  He also averages about -24 on Woodland, -23 on BH, -24 on Sunny, and -27 on Bonnie — very impressive.  These scores are worth a 2nd or 3rd place average in live contests, so Litz is certainly profitable when he plays!

Litz has been playing Golden Tee competitively for 9 years.  He plays A LOT — roughly 300-400 games per week and roughly 400 CTTP contests a week — wow!

When asked the point at which he turned the corner to becoming a great player, Litz recalled the time in Memphis in 2001 when he handed Chris Eversole his first tournament match loss in 5 tournaments!  He was at the time the best player in the world, and Litz beat him handily!  Eversole ultimately came back to double-dip him in the finals, leaving Litz with second, but he realized then that he could play the game as well as anyone.  Since then, he has had an
impressive tournament resume.

So how did Litz get so good at this game?  Well, he played in college at Saint Louis University, and while playing in a local bar, a player pointed him in the direction of Jimmy Parker (St. Louis), and they met.  Parker taught him the ins and outs of the game and how to make money on monthly tournaments, and sooner or later Litz was beating him on a regular basis and traveling to national tournaments with him!

What Golden Tee accomplishments are you most proud of?

Litz has many impressive accomplishments on his resume.  He is most proud of his run in 2006 of 5 straight tournament wins: Frozen Open, Indy Open, NIV, Wisconsin, and the super bowl tournament in Chicago.  He has also won a wave runner and a trip to Hawaii in various vendor tournaments!  Finally, he is proud of his 3 Team USA appearances, with his best finish last year at 3rd place with a loss to Thor.

Litz has many more memorable Golden Tee moments, including:
— Losing to Haas at the Chicago Open in 2003 and his biggest tournament paycheck at the time  — $2500.
— Sinking the putt to win the NIV (his favorite tourney) twice.
— Making Team USA for the first time ever in 2003, and a group hug with Tony Johnson and Will Sandstead from Minnesota after watching the leaderboard finalize to see if they made the team.
— Getting interviewed by ESPN at the 2008 World Championships in Las Vegas!

When asked what makes him so unique as a GT regular, Litz noted that he is probably most known for being a solid match play player.  He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and he is good at handling pressure.  He has won over 10 tournaments over the years due to that in part.  He also guesses he is known for “pointing” a lot and holing out a lot, which makes him very good at CTTP!  His highest points game was 156,000+ on Misty Springs against Matt Estepp (Chicago) in a money game…poor guy!  Most people would just say he plays a LOT and has a pretty good consistent average in daily prize play.

Here’s the best advice Litz can offer up for us amateurs trying to get better:

  • I guess I would say play with players who are better than you and try to learn as much as you can.  The moment you think you know it all is the moment you will ultimately plateau in skill level and you won’t get any better.
  • Most players have their own unique style of shot-making and decision making and I try to be a melting pot of shots that I have learned from everyone.  That’s what I recommend…while developing your own unique style, try to absorb others’ approaches and use what works — there is no real right/wrong way to shoot good scores…as long as you do shoot them!

Player Bio — Skipper Horner

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This week’s bio focuses on Skipper Horner, a very energetic persona in the world of both Golden Tee tourneys and forum discussions!

Skipper is from Colchester, VT, usually playing at T Ruggs in Burlington or Slammers in Bedford, NH. He has been averaging about -17 on the 2009 courses, playing between 10-20 games per week.

Skipper has been playing Golden Tee since GT Fore 2002 (late in the 2002 courses). When asked at what point he turned the corner to being a great player, Skipper replied that he’s still on the wrong side of the corner! He recognizes that he’s still inconsistent, but at a -17 average, he can certainly compete with the upper tier of players. He’s still working on improving his game, but like a lot of us, it’s easy to get stuck at his current state where you’re not quite good enough to make money by playing prize play, so you can only afford to play so many games a week because of that!

One of Skipper’s greatest accomplishments is winning the Connecticut Open in 2004. He also helped run the PCC II, a tourney held last February in the St. Louis area, where over $40,000 was raised for Make-A-Wish ($1000 which was raised by Skipper himself)!

I asked Skipper what makes him unique as a GT regular, and he says “just being me”. Having played some games with him, though, I can attest to his friendly and helpful demeanor, and you can’t overlook how he sticks out by wearing a glove! In fact, you’ll often see him on the leader board with some form of “glove” worked into his GT Player Name.

For tips on improvement, Skipper strongly recommends playing with better players, as this seems to be the consensus #1 tip on how to up your game. Skipper also strongly emphasizes that you should NEVER quit a bad game, because you never know what might happen! There’s still tons of opportunity for practice and improvement even finishing out a bad round, and you always have the chance to get your name on the local leaderboard with the most great shot points, or even a hole-in-one! Finally, Skipper stresses the importance of learning iron chipping, which can definitely help you make up a couple strokes per round!

Player Bio — Jason Vidaurri

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Jason Vidaurri is originally from the Detroit area, and if you’re around him at all, you’ll know how passionate he is for all sports Detroit and Michigan!  Two years ago, though, he moved to Chandler, Arizona.  There, you can find him at Doc and Eddy’s in Tempe, at Skip and Jan’s in Tempe, or at O’Kelly’s in Mesa.  When he’s in Michigan, he usually plays at Doc’s Sports Retreat in Livonia.

Jason has been averaging around -18 for the 2009 courses, obviously averaging better on Bonnie Moor than on Black Hills.  As far as history, he first played Golden Tee back in the late 90’s.  He would play the old local tournaments and used to wonder how in the world you could shoot a -16 or -17 for 9 holes!  Since then, he has been playing regularly for about 7-8 years (regularly for Jason is 20-25 games a week, with about 100 games a month on average).

Jason doesn’t admit to being a great Golden Tee player, but he feels that he is at least an above average player.  Like most of us, he has his really good games and bad games.  But, he can shoot a -20 on every course, and he’d consider anyone a good player that can accomplish that feat!

Vidaurri was fortunate enough to be introduced to some of the better players in the game, and he learned from them.  Among the guys who helped Jason reach his current skill level were Jason Matkovich, Ron Wisniewski, Nate Schomberg, Paul Kovacs, and Joe Caradonna.  He met up with them and learned how to execute different kinds of shots, specifically learning how the ball would react when it hit the green, and how to use that knowledge to his advantage.  As soon as he met and played with them, his game immediately improved several strokes!

As far as great Golden Tee accomplishments, Vidaurri hasn’t hit the illustrious -30 yet.  He has, however, put up a bunch of -29’s on both the old Fore games and on the Live games.  His best accomplishment was probably on the front 9 of Oak Hollow back a few years ago, where he aced a par 3, then on the next hole aced a par 4, and then finally double- eagled #9, giving him a -18 after 9 holes!  Needless to say, he only finished with a -29 :).

Meeting everyone that plays this game always gives Jason his most memorable Golden Tee moments.  He’s only been to about 5 Live tournaments, but each one is always a blast and you always meet new people.  He considers everyone that he has met through this game a friend.

Jason prides himself on the fact that he’ll take the time to teach anyone to play this game and show them how to improve.  When you love the game like all of us do, it’s always fun teaching n00bs some tricks to get them excited for more!

The best advice that Vidaurri can give is to play this game with people who are better than you — that is the only way you can learn and improve how you play this game.  It is up to you to take the advice these guys give you, and the more you play, the better you will be!

Player Bio — Kevin Lindsay

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Our next bio focuses on the young guy in the group — 18-year-old Kevin Lindsay from Oak Lawn, IL.  Kevin plays as either !* K Lindsay *! or Peoples Champ! at B.J. McMahon’s, and you can find him on the ITS Games Forum as deadmantaker4.  Amazingly, Kevin has been playing Golden Tee for about 12 years!  He started playing on the 1997 machine at the local restaurant when he was 5 or 6 years old, and he’s been with it ever since.  Kevin is off to college at Monmouth this fall, where he’ll take his game with him and hopefully get more new friends hooked on Golden Tee!

Up until last October or so, Kevin was only playing a few games a month, but since then (which is, not coincidentally, when 2009 game out), he’s been averaging around 10 games a week.  On Bonnie Moor, he’s averaging around -18, and on Black Hills, he averages around -9, a not-uncommon differential for those courses.  On the other 3, he averages around -13, so he’s good enough to crack the top 20 in prize play when he has a good round.

Kevin doesn’t call himself a great player yet, but come on, he’s only 18!  He says he hopes to raise his game to the level of Steve Sobe in the future, still longing to put up a -30 some day :).  He hasn’t played in any big tournaments yet, but he does think of himself as one of the youngest players who can put up good scores, and I’m sure he smokes his friends!

The most memorable moments Kevin has are the time he won Hole-N-Wins, especially his first win of $150 back on the 2007 machine!  Every time he plays Golden Tee Live, it’s a moment, whether he’s on fire or wanting to punch the screen until he passes out — he’s definitely got the passion that keeps him coming back for more.  As a 13-year-old, he also got a kick out of being able to take down some of the better players when LIVE first came out.

The best advice that this teenager can pass along is to watch the players that are better then you, even if
they only are slightly better.  Even the players you beat can have certain tricks that you can use, so pay attention and expand the scope of your skills!

Player Bio — Paul Tayloe

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Paul “Putz” Tayloe hails from Wilmington, North Carolina, and you can find him at Hieronymus Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar.  He’s been averaging an impressive -23 on the 2009 courses (not counting Bonnie Moor, where he would have a -25 average).  Paul has taken a profitable liking to Black Hills, which he has played over 3,000 times, as compared to around 200 rounds on each of the other courses!

Paul started playing Golden Tee in 2001, but he took a long break from 2004 to 2006.  Now he’s back averaging just over 100 games per week (sometimes 50, sometimes 250)!  Paul has played a long time, but he’s still new to the Golden Tee community.  Modestly, Putz does not consider himself a great player, but his game really improved a lot towards the end of 2008.  Come 2009, he noticed a net gain while playing, and he has been making money through prize play on Golden Tee all year!

Paul got really good at Golden Tee by playing a lot with a local pro, who taught him to thumb while Putz taught him to chip.  They showed each other different ways to play particular holes, and it was that give and take that worked really well for learning and improvement!

One of Putz’s greatest accomplishments was being the first player to shoot -30 on Black Hills, which was also his first -30 overall, while the game was asterisked.  One of his most memorable moments was at the NIV VII tournament, where he shot GT Par -28 on Black Hills and broke GT Par with a -27 on Grand Savannah, both during his first day there!  It was the first time anyone had met him in the flesh, and it was his chance to show that he could actually play.  Unfortunately, he had a bad case of nerves during the actual tournament!

When asked the best advice he could give to us novices, Paul wanted to encourage us not to think that we can’t play as well as the guys putting up the crazy low scores at the top of the leaderboard.  Those guys were new to the game once too, starting from the same place you did!  So keep practicing, and one day you may find yourself up there on the leaderboard with them!

Thank you to Putz for sharing a bit about his Golden Tee career!

Player Bio — A.J. Minotte

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This week’s bio focuses on A.J. Minotte (known on the forums as Menotti), who grew up and still lives in the Milwaukee area.  He usually plays at Master Z’s in Waukesha or O’Briens in Milwaukee.  Menotti has been averaging a -16 this year and -19 this month on the 2009 courses.

A.J. has been playing for only 2 years this October, amassing around 600 total games on LIVE.  He started playing when Golden Tee 2008 showed up in bars.  He owes great thanks to Dave “Kujo” for getting him hooked!

Lately, Menotti has been playing about 5 games a week, although occasionally he is lucky enough to get 10+ games in.  He does not consider himself a great player yet, but he thinks he’s made the leap to “good player” or “becoming a really good player”.  He got to this state by realizing that he felt disappointment at any round where he didn’t score -20 or better!

Menotti improved his game over the years by learning from mistakes, remembering shots, and constantly raising his own expectations.  That last point is very important — if you can set the bar higher mentally, you’ll strive to achieve those results.  Also, being able to play with really good players like Dave “Crawdaddy” Crawford and taking part in some tournaments has helped his game significantly.

As one of his top accomplishments, A.J. recalls shooting a personal best round of -26 during qualifying in a big tournament and trailing only former world champ Graig Kinzler after 1 round of qualifying!  He also mentions the WVGA this year as one of his most memorable moments.

Menotti doesn’t exactly consider himself a unique player, but, like a lot of GTers, each round he either has 2 holes where he has a mental lapse, causing him to go from a -25 potential to a -22, or he has 4 holes like that and shoots a -15 instead!  It still remains the challenge for us on the verge of greatness to put together that complete, clean round.

Finally, Menotti offers these tips to help anyone improve their game:

  • Find elite players and watch them or play some rounds with them and ask some questions without being annoying or a pain in the butt.  It’s amazing what you can learn from watching a “pro” — from techniques to trick shots, it can help you shave a pretty good amount of strokes off your average.
  • Try to remember how you hit certain shots on certain holes, and remember what worked/didn’t work.  This way, you wont make the same mistakes repeatedly.
  • Work on putting until you expect to make every putt on every green.  Also work on chipping, as you should be chipping in at least once a game until you are good enough to hit almost every green.

Thanks a lot to Menotti for taking the time to share his history with us and what he’s learned over his brief, but very successful, 2-year career!

Player Bio — Don N.

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Before we continue with the guys who average well below -20, let’s take a step back and learn about our friend Don, who frequents the LTG Forum and was among the first to provide me with his Golden Tee background!  Like me, Don loves the game and yearns to get better but can only afford to play a handful of games per week.

Don is from just north of Memphis, TN — a new place called Ponderosa.  It’s a very nice place with great people!  He’s been averaging -8 for the year, but his average over the last month is -11, so he’s on his way up!

Don has been playing since 2002 or so and has amassed 350 rounds during that time.  His playing frequency changes week to week, but he probably average 5 games a week now.  For most people at this skill level, that’s about all you can afford!  Don realizes he hasn’t yet turned the corner to becoming a great player — instead, he has seen the corner and gotten hit with a baseball bat when he tried to peek around it.

Regardless, Don agrees that playing with people that know more than you is the best way to improve.  Knowledge is power!  Playing round after round can teach you how to successfully make all the different types of shots that this game demands.

Don’s best accomplishments to this point include breaking -20 for the first time (even though it was on Bonnie Moor), finishing an entire round with birdies or better on each hole, and breaking the top 10 in a Prize-Play game!  Those are certainly the milestones that keep you coming back for more!

Don’s most memorable Golden Tee moment was going to Indy for the tournament this year.  He had a blast, learned a lot, met a lot of great people, shot a -22 on BM, and shot a -18 on GS to boot!  Returning from experiences like that really give you a boost and make you want to play even more.

Don still has the inconsistencies in his game that most people at this level experience, pointing out how in one night he can hit -18 on GS, -20 on BM, -15 on SW, and -14 on WF, and the next night his best game non-BM is -8.  But hey, you know the potential is there, so that’s why you keep coming back!

Here’s Don’s best advice to amateurs still looking to improve:

  • Play Glory using All Random Tees until you are consistently hitting low to mid teens. If you really care about getting the dollar back, then wait until you are shooting in the mid-teens to make the jump to Live play.
  • Take your time and aim your shots up. On short putts, just put the ball in the hole, don’t try to use finesse to play curves on short putts. Just hit the ball with force at the cup. It may take a while to learn just how hard but it will pay off in the long run.
  • When putting straight up/down hill, look right and left. Sometimes it will say one right/left when you look one direction. This means the putt is not actually straight, but will move as if the green is .5 angle in that direction.
  • Find people that are better than you and just watch them play. You will not be watching how they hit all of their shots necessarily. You want to see how they play each hole. Learning where the shortcuts and safe plays are is a huge part of it. Learning when to use backspin/roll/nothing is also something you can get a little better feel from watching someone that seems to know what they are doing.
  • Read all of the info on Golden Tee Fan’s site. He has a ton of it, and it is all helpful. Reading the forums is also a help, as from time to time people will talk about different shots on different holes that you may not have known about. It has happened at least 4 times for me so far.

Thanks a ton to Don for sharing his perspective on the game and what he’s learned over the course of his career!

Player Bio — Rodney Roberts

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Rodney “Hot Rod” Roberts hails from the Indianapolis area, usually playing at PJ O’Keefes in Zionsville or
Legends in Avon.  So far in 2009, his course averages are as follows:

Black Hills -22ish
Bonnie Moor -26ish
Grand Savannah -23ish
Sunny Wood -23ish
Woodland Farm -24ish

Rodney started playing Golden Tee here and there about 9 years ago, but nothing serious.  Actually, he didn’t even really like it — he only played because a buddy of his wanted to play all the time!  But, he really hated losing, so that’s about when he started to play a little more. Rodney started playing pretty seriously in 2003, he thinks — the last couple of years on the Fore format.

Now, Rodney tries to play about 250 games per week!  That’s his goal most of the time.  He still doesn’t consider himself a great player (even if we do!), but, he would have to say he realized he was getting good at this game when he scored 4 shots better on the 9-hole monthly tournies they used to have.  This was also about the time he made his first tournament cut, and that was pretty sweet also!

Asked how he got so good, Rodney explains it happened by spending way too much time in the bar and having an addictive personality!  Accomplishments he’s most proud of include making his first cut at a Live event, shooting the 4 better to qualify for the first T.O.C in (he thinks) 2004, shooting his first blind -30 and -31, cashing in a Live event, and of course some of the matches he’s had with some of these guys at tournaments!  He’s also proud of qualifying for Team USA in 2005, which was tough!  There were 72 people shooting 3 rounds with the cut at like 12.  That’s probably his favorite accomplishment!

Another memorable Golden Tee moment for Rodney was  Orlando for The World competition.  Still among his favorites is playing GT with Chad Schrump when Live first came out at a bar on the south side — all those nights has to be one of his tops!

Asked what advice he would give to a novice, Rodney replied that the best thing to do to get better is to find better players and get some games in with them.  He did it that way when he started, playing games with Schrump, Dean L, and Sobe.  He went to all their places, telling them he wanted to play some games and get better.  Everyone is generally happy about helping!

His next bit of EXCELLENT advice is to check out  There is a ton of stuff on there.  Don’t get all soaked up in trying all the new stuff all at once though.  That will destroy your game.  A little at a time.  There are only a couple guys that seemed to be born good at GT.  Haha!  Really though, practice.  Don’t get so mad at yourself that you lose interest in the rest of the game.  If you mess up bad in the early stages, use that game to practice chipping.  Putt off the green if you find a spot that is similar to something you have been struggling with.  Who cares what the scores says!  That type of practice will make you better.

Another piece of advice centers around your backswing.  Unless you are putting, the backswing is a very very very important part of your swing.  If you aren’t comfortable with what the backswing will do with different shots, pop a dollar in and head to the range.  Granted, you can’t use all the clubs and balls, but you will get a great feel for the different strokes.  Also check out the GT forums for any additional questions you have — the GT Toolbar has them all!

Thanks again to Rodney for taking the time to give us some history and some extra tips on improvement!

Player Bio — Andy Fox

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Andy Fox (AKA Luxury Tax, Flying Train, Non*Factor) hails from Apple Valley, MN — one of the most diluted Golden Tee player cities in the country!  He plays most of his games at Majors sports cafe.

As of 7/15/09, his averages on the 2009 courses are as follows, which also gives you an idea to how the difficulty of the courses ranks!

23.77 avg on 2009 courses
GS – 21.99 (this month 22.69)
WF – 21.48 (this month 22.83)
BH – 19.11  (this month 18.38)
SW – 23.59  (this month 24.03)
BM – 25.47  (this month 26.55)

Andy thinks yearly averages on a certain course are very accurate because when 2009
first came out, everyone was shooting crappy scores while they were learning the
courses.  He thinks the previous month’s averages are more accurate, which makes sense!

Andy started playing in mid 2006, which is not that long ago, but he averages around 200 games per week!  When you put up scores like that, you’re certainly winning money in prize play, so why not play as much as you can!

Still, Andy does not consider himself a great player, even if we do.  He thinks he’s good, but a long ways from great.  Andy thinks he started to get pretty good when he was able to hang out with the great players from time to time (TJ, Strow, Thor, G’sus and Scoville).  Those guys all taught him a ton of stuff.

One of his proudest accomplishments is that he’s the only person ever to shoot -31 on Sunny Wood!  He’s also one of only two people to shoot -30 on that course, with Jeff “Lemon Aids” Lannen being the other, who Andy definitely considers a GREAT player!

Among his most memorable Golden Tee moments was the  Chicago Tavern 33 tournament.  It was his 2nd live tournament ever, and he beat Dannyboy, Kinz and McCook all in a row!  Then he shot a 1-better on Rustic and lost to
Matt Estepp’s 2-better, followed by his most memorable meltdown ever — up 3 strokes
on Kinz going into Palm Springs 18….he makes par, while Andy stroke limits to lose by 1.

The best tip Andy can give to help amateurs get better is to play with better players….AND LISTEN TO THEM! Also, he thinks everyone should learn to thumb shots.  I agree that it’s definitely an important aspect of distance control that everyone should practice.

New feature — GT Player Bios!

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Hi all,

I wanted to introduce some new perspectives to the game, so I’ve asked around and gotten some of the best Golden Tee players in the country to share their history of the game as well as their best tips for us amateurs! The result is some great information right from the mouths of seasoned Golden Tee veterans who are willing to tell all of us how they got to where they are today, and how we might eventually be able to creep closer to their skill level!

Click here to go to the Player Bios category, and check back often, as I will be adding a new player bio every week — enjoy!