ProAm is one of the things that really makes golf unique compared to other sports. But the ProAm can also be a scary experience, if you’re so lucky to get an invitation. Here’s a few tips how to succeed, and survive with pride, in a ProAm.
(Celebrity-Am might be even more scary, but that’s another story. Soon to be published.)
Is there at all any other sport where you can compete on the same team, or against, a professional athlete in that sport? I can’t picture it happening in tennis. I mean, Rafael Nadal as my double partner? What a joke.
The same goes for any other sport I can think of. From chess (is that a sport?) to motor racing. Not even mentioning heavy weight boxing (I fit in there – when it comes to pounds.)
However, in a ProAm in golf an amateur and a professional can spend four or five hours – or even six – on the golf course together. And an hour or two over lunch afterwards. As you know, there are few sports where people bond better than in golf. In short, ProAm is your chance to get close to a top athlete. A pro that, no matter if it’s a mini tour or a PGA Tour event, is so good that he or she probably could have beaten you with one hand.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to play in ProAms on four continents. Some with players that everyone, including non-golfers, know. But even more times with nice, new acquaintances. And I have learned a few things that can make a Pro Am into an utterly pleasant experience:
1. There is no need to be nervous. The pro doesn’t expect you to be a good golfer. So there is no reason to fear that you’ll make a fool of yourself. You won’t – no matter how badly you play.
2. Don’t try to impress your pro. No matter how good you (think you) are; do not try to impress your pro. You won’t, even if your handicap is low. To put things in perspective: If you ever get to scratch handicap, 0.0, you’re among the 40.000 best golfers in the world.
3. Be confident that you will get a nice pro. Golf professionals are professionals in most aspects and know who puts food on their table. Therefore, also to (most of) the pros the day of the ProAm is the most important day that week.
4. Prepare for the ProAm. Do a little homework. Remember, even the biggest stars are only humans. If you know a little about him or her – like hobbies, family and friends – it will give you several opportunities to break ice. A few years back, I was told the pro I was teamed with sometimes could be quiet. «If he goes quiet, talk about cars,» was the advice I was given. After having holed out on the 8th green, I asked casually: «So, what car are you driving?»
After that, he never stopped talking …
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