When you’re a golf Pro it’s all about the timing: Just ask Larry!

By Larry Canning.

I learned a couple of valuable lessons the other day when I was sitting behind the counter of the Pro-shop at Mount Broughton Golf Club. I was going about my business trying to work how to balance the till while enjoying a 4.50 pm Friday afternoon beer when in walked one of our members named Bob.

He was looking for a bit of advice on his putting. Unfortunately for Bob, I was the only person there.

“Larry, I had 44 putts last Saturday!”

“Im sorry to hear that Bob,” I said with a reasonably subtle display of shallowness.

About 15 minutes later Bob walked out of the Pro-Shop with a brand new putter and a different way to put his hands on the grip. It was some of my best work. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t need to flog a new putter to get my sales figures up, or as its now referred to – “Improving my Key Performance Indicators”, Bob was pretty keen to buy a new putter anyway, but I don’t mind telling you I was a little concerned that I hadn’t spent enough time with him and those woeful putting stats he told me about could worsen and wind up in the Guiness Book of Records. I also forgot I was rostered on the following day.

You see, I haven’t given a paid golf lesson since I took myself out of the loop over 10 years ago. I’ll never forget that day when I completely lost my patience. I managed to help a mate who came to me three weeks earlier saying “Larry, I’m sick of being in B Grade” … to go out to C Grade; told a Junior Cadets Mum, who asked me what she could buy for her little bloke’s birthday, “A Cricket bat”; and managed to offend the nicest, oldest bloke I’ve ever met by suggesting there was probably no point booking another lesson so far in advance.   

One of the first blokes I saw the next morning at some ludicrously early hour when people my age should be rolling over in bed pretending that suspicious noise their wife just heard was in fact a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo flying past our bedroom window, was Bob.

“I can’t wait to try this new putter and the grip you showed me yesterday,” he blurted out in front of a shop full of other members. At this point I have to say Bob is actually a very intelligent man who has created computer programs for all kinds of big companies. But he definitely wasn’t thinking clearly by announcing this scoop minutes before he was about to hit off. Plus my Professional level of credibility could be about to slide clean off the charts and onto the floor!  

I checked the roster again to see what time I knocked off in the hope of getting out of Dodge before Bob could finish his round.

Two hours later I was outside the shop checking to see if my speed on the Pro-Shop computer was resulting in a delay on the first tee when I caught a glimpse of Bob driving his cart towards the 10th tee. “Oh Shit!” I said a lot loader than I should have. Before I could go into “Walk with a strange limp and pretend I was someone else” mode, I heard: “Hey Larry!”

I had no choice but to turn around and face the music. “11 putts for the first 9 holes Mate!!”. As it was a stableford I was praying this didn’t mean Bob had wiped his first 5 holes but with a second look I could see his face was beaming.

Nine holes later Bob burst into the Pro-Shop and showing me his scorecard with 44 points in the result column.

“19 putts!” He said.

I was a mixture of excited, relieved, astonished and a bit more relieved. Maybe it was just one of those cases where a little bit of help was plenty, or the Cleveland TFI Putter was absolutely perfect for Bob. The bottom line was Bob was wrapped!   

The lessons I learned from this –

  • A 4.55pm customer is just as important as an 8.55 am one
  • Move that 4.50 Friday beer back 10 minutes
  • Check the roster if you are giving advice
  • And – Always accept an advance booking from a man in his 90’s

God look at the time… 5.03 already…..have to go folks!

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