Playing a Round with the Little Pro: A Life in the Game

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9780743274265: Playing a Round with the Little Pro: A Life in the Game

In the world of professional golf, everyone knows "The Little Pro," Eddie Merrins, the head professional emeritus at the Bel-Air Country Club. A living bridge between the Golden Age of the sport and the greatest champions of today, from Bobby Jones to Tiger Woods, Merrins is an embodiment of the highest principles of the game, both on and off the course. In Playing a Round with the Little Pro, Merrins shares, with his trademark wit and modesty, dozens of personal anecdotes about the decades he spent in the company of Hollywood stars, celebrated athletes and coaches, and countless lovers of the game seeking his advice and encouragement. He also offers, for the first time, all his insights into the mental, physical, technical, and spiritual aspects of the sport. Celebrating a wonderful life lived in and for the great sport of golf, this book is destined, like its author, to be a classic of the game.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Eddie Merrins is a true golf legend, one of the most admired and respected figures in the game for more than half a century. An accomplished junior and amateur player growing up in Mississippi, he turned professional in 1957 and has played in over 200 PGA Tour events. After stints as an instructor at the legendary Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia, Thunderbird Country Club in Palm Springs, and the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, in 1962 he became head professional at the Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles and has stayed there ever since. At Bel-Air, Merrins has worked with some of the biggest names in professional golf and in the entertainment industry. In his spare time, he has coached the UCLA golf team to national prominence, winning the NCAA championship in 1988.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

A Dawning

One glorious August morning in 1976, the sun was rising over an awakening Los Angeles with its beautiful rays sparkling off the dew on our first holes at Bel-Air. The fairways were roped and defined, the rough was tidy, the bunkers and greens were inviting. Our course was ready to host the seventy-sixth U.S. Amateur Championship in the bicentennial-year celebration of our country. As I soaked in the realization of this moment in my early morning solitude, a few tears of joy and appreciation appeared with the realization that I was part of this scene. Let me share my story.

I think I'm the luckiest man on the face of the earth. My life in golf has been nothing short of magical. I have turned a boyhood passion into a lifelong dream come true. I have played golf with Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, and Byron Nelson. I played alongside Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. I arranged for Nicklaus and fifteen-year-old Tiger Woods to meet for the first time. I count them, as well as many others, among my friends.

I came to Bel-Air Country Club in 1962 as the head golf professional and I have kept regular hours there ever since. In almost fifty years of teaching, since 1957, I've given more than forty thousand golf lessons, from celebrities to PGA Tour players to rank beginners and everything in between.

And I've done most of it at one of the best clubs in the world. The head golf professional's job at Bel-Air is one of the most prestigious there is in our profession. Of course, any job is what you make it, but the people of Bel-Air have treated my family and me like, well...family. The thing I respect most about the membership here is that I have been allowed to grow with my family with dignity. We have enjoyed the privileges of this club, and our guests can come here and be treated royally. The members here consider me more than just an employee -- not many people in my profession can say that.

When I quit playing the PGA Tour full-time in 1962, my life changed. It became a life of service. For the past couple of years, I have come out of the golf shop and am now the pro emeritus at Bel-Air. You can either be put out to pasture in such a position or you can take the opportunity to do things that might be more important than anything you've done before.

Giving back to the game is what I enjoy doing. If I don't play another round of golf, I will have played enough golf. I'd be satisfied about that. But I'd like to teach until I drop because I feel as though I'm helping someone to help himself. It's not like you're coming up with a cure for cancer, but you are helping your fellow man. Millions of people play this game, and they want to play better. I can help them do that.

We live in a world that's full of stress and turmoil, but if there's something I can do to help people temporarily forget about those troubles and enjoy themselves, then I've done something worthwhile.

The key, of course, is giving unconditionally. I've always been taught that if you give something away, it comes back tenfold. It's amazing how that is the case as long as you give with no strings attached. It comes back in ways you never expect.

During my time at Bel-Air, I have taught celebrities, famous coaches, and athletes what I know about the golf swing. Along the way, I have reached millions of other golfers through magazine articles, my book Swing the Handle, and my video series of the same name.

In this book, you will learn about my teaching philosophy and my life experiences that helped shape me as a player, a teacher, and a person, and you will meet some of the people I've known who have made my life all the richer. No one is more fortunate -- or more grateful -- than I am.

Bing and the Snake

I don't know of many people who loved the game of golf and everything that went with it more than Bing Crosby did. What's more, he gave back to the game ten times -- maybe more -- what he received from it. His legacy lives on at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, one of the best-known tournaments in the world and one that carried his name from the beginning.

Bing played most of his golf at Lakeside, Cypress Point, Burlingame, and Bel-Air. You could tell Bing was coming by the trail of pipe smoke that preceded him. He was quite an accomplished player, having once played in the British Amateur.

When he played at Bel-Air, he had a regular caddie -- a man named Arnold who was called "Snake." Snake was a self-promoter, always looking for a deal from one of the members or the other caddies that would directly benefit him. He had a standing arrangement with Crosby whereby if Bing scored under par, he would buy Snake a new suit.

One summer day, Bing -- with quite an assist from Snake -- shot a 1-under-par 69. Leaving the eighteenth green and walking through the tunnel to the elevator beneath the Bel-Air clubhouse, Snake proposed a deal, probably because he had all the suits he needed and was looking for something this day that spent a little easier.

"Bing, if it's just the same to you," Snake said, "I'll take cash today because my tailor is on vacation."

When Crosby died in 1977 near Madrid, he, who was the master at stage presence, could not have orchestrated his final act better. He had just finished his round of golf at a local course, and he and the club professional eked out a 1-up victory over two others. They were en route from the eighteenth green to celebrate in the clubhouse when Bing collapsed and died.

Along the way, during the last round of his life, Bing sang his last song, when he encountered a group of Spanish golf course workers in midround. They were having their lunch in the shade of the twelfth hole. He joined them for a chorus of "Spanish Eyes." We should all take our final bow that way.

Tiger Woods

We had little idea in April 1991 that a meeting between a high schooler and the greatest player who ever lived would serve as a symbolic passing of the baton from one golf generation to the next. Tiger Woods met Jack Nicklaus for the first time at our Friends of Golf outing at Bel-Air, but it wasn't until sometime later that those in attendance realized what a historic occasion they had witnessed.

Nicklaus had agreed to be the Friends of Golf honoree that year, and Byron Nelson was on hand to lend further greatness to the occasion. Dinah Shore, our "First Lady of FOG," was also in attendance.

On the Sunday before the Monday event, Nicklaus flew by helicopter from his office in Columbus, Ohio, to Dayton to the site of one of his new courses. On the return flight, they encountered fog and had to set down in a farmer's field. The friendly farmer came to the aid of his newfound guests and was excited to learn that Jack Nicklaus had come to visit. After all, how often does the world's greatest golfer come to call?

The farmer took his guests to the house and proudly introduced them to his less-than-impressed wife. "I thought you had brought someone famous," she deadpanned. "Like [Indy car driver] Bobby Rahal." With ego intact, Nicklaus made his way back to Columbus and successfully arrived at Bel-Air the following morning.

We had invited a young man named Phil Mickelson to represent college and amateur golf. At the time, he was the NCAA champion and the U.S. Amateur champion. Bel-Air member Terry Jastrow, who was the ABC director responsible for U.S. Open golf coverage for twenty years, brought a film crew. He saw an opportunity to record the changing of the guard with Nicklaus and Mickelson in attendance at the same prestigious event.

At the last minute, however, Mickelson was forced to cancel his appearance, which left a high school student from nearby Cypress named Eldrick "Tiger" Woods to find himself front and center with the great Nicklaus. Young Tiger, accompanied by his father, Earl, had been invited to represent high school and junior golf. He was fifteen at the time and his junior golf career was just beginning to blossom. Little did we know at the time that this was the "Bear Apparent."

During the golf clinic that preceded the afternoon of golf, Tiger was the first onstage as Jastrow's crew was busy recording the moment for posterity on videotape. I asked him to hit some 3-iron shots and explain to the gathering the cause and effect of the beautiful shots they were seeing. I realize that asking a youngster to hit 3-irons in front of a crowd that included Jack Nicklaus and Byron Nelson was a bit daunting, but Tiger handled the request with a manner beyond his years. Not to mention that he hit every 3-iron shot right in the center of the clubface.

Steve Pate and Duffy Waldorf, two of my former UCLA players, did a fade-and-draw midair crisscross before they turned the stage over to Nicklaus. It takes a lot to impress Jack, so this next comment was well measured. "Tiger," he said, "you might win as many Masters as Arnold [Palmer] and I combined." And this was after seeing Tiger for the first time.

Nicklaus played nine holes that afternoon, and except for one pushed tee shot out of bounds on the ninth hole when Jastrow tempted him to try to drive the par-4 green, he was still hitting every shot perfectly like the Nicklaus of old, even at age fifty-one.

Tiger was paired that day with Dinah Shore, along with Bel-Air members John Marin and Jim Middleton with Arco President Lod Cook. At the par-5 fourteenth hole, playing 565 yards from the regular tee, the fifteen-year-old Woods hit the green with his 3-iron second shot. I guess that 3-iron warm-up at the clinic paid off.

This day belonged to us all because the two players who might be recorded as the greatest of all time had the opportunity to get to know one another for the first time. Each was duly impressed.

At the conclusion of the evening's FOG festivities, young Tiger sought out my wife and me and politely thanked us for having invited him to the occasion. Lisa smiled and said, "Now, Tiger, did your mom and dad have you say that?"

"Yes, Mrs. Merri...

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Descripción Atria Books, United States, 2007. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In the world of professional golf, everyone knows The Little Pro, Eddie Merrins, the head professional emeritus at the Bel-Air Country Club. A living bridge between the Golden Age of the sport and the greatest champions of today, from Bobby Jones to Tiger Woods, Merrins is an embodiment of the highest principles of the game, both on and off the course. In Playing a Round with the Little Pro, Merrins shares, with his trademark wit and modesty, dozens of personal anecdotes about the decades he spent in the company of Hollywood stars, celebrated athletes and coaches, and countless lovers of the game seeking his advice and encouragement. He also offers, for the first time, all his insights into the mental, physical, technical, and spiritual aspects of the sport. Celebrating a wonderful life lived in and for the great sport of golf, this book is destined, like its author, to be a classic of the game. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780743274265

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Descripción Atria Books, United States, 2007. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In the world of professional golf, everyone knows The Little Pro, Eddie Merrins, the head professional emeritus at the Bel-Air Country Club. A living bridge between the Golden Age of the sport and the greatest champions of today, from Bobby Jones to Tiger Woods, Merrins is an embodiment of the highest principles of the game, both on and off the course. In Playing a Round with the Little Pro, Merrins shares, with his trademark wit and modesty, dozens of personal anecdotes about the decades he spent in the company of Hollywood stars, celebrated athletes and coaches, and countless lovers of the game seeking his advice and encouragement. He also offers, for the first time, all his insights into the mental, physical, technical, and spiritual aspects of the sport. Celebrating a wonderful life lived in and for the great sport of golf, this book is destined, like its author, to be a classic of the game. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780743274265

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Descripción Atria Books. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Paperback. 240 pages. Dimensions: 7.4in. x 5.1in. x 0.8in.In the world of professional golf, everyone knows The Little Pro, Eddie Merrins, the head professional emeritus at the Bel-Air Country Club. A living bridge between the Golden Age of the sport and the greatest champions of today, from Bobby Jones to Tiger Woods, Merrins is an embodiment of the highest principles of the game, both on and off the course. In Playing a Round with the Little Pro, Merrins shares, with his trademark wit and modesty, dozens of personal anecdotes about the decades he spent in the company of Hollywood stars, celebrated athletes and coaches, and countless lovers of the game seeking his advice and encouragement. He also offers, for the first time, all his insights into the mental, physical, technical, and spiritual aspects of the sport. Celebrating a wonderful life lived in and for the great sport of golf, this book is destined, like its author, to be a classic of the game. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780743274265

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