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Ben Smith a.k.a. Ben Smith 33
Watch out LPGA! This week's GoW has two daughters who enjoy the heck out of some golf...and a proud father who enjoys watching their smiling faces. If professional golfer doesn't work out for either of them, at least he'll have three quarters of a foursome for years to come! Enjoy.

How old are you and what's your occupation?
I am 35 years old. I am a Physical Education Teacher, and my school’s Junior Varsity Golf Coach. I am also the Head Coach of my hometown area’s local Professional Basketball Team, and a small business owner.

When did you start playing golf and what's your handicap?
I started playing about when I was 17, and the GHIN floats around 11 at this point.

How often do you play?
During the spring, I don’t usually play but once a week due to my coaching schedule. After the basketball season is done, its 18-72 holes a week until fall, when I start up my ‘free’ golf, on the JV circuit.

Tell me about a great shot you've made.
Playing in a morning grouper for cash last season at Orchard (7/21/10), I had an uphill lie about 245 to the pin, got it high and stuck it with my 3-iron (wind aided). It’s a blind shot from the right of the fairway, and I had to mark a tree in the distance for aim. Had about 3.5 feet for eagle. Rimmed in for a 3.

What is your best golf memory?
Hitting balls in the backyard at my parent’s house has become somewhat of a tradition. My father hadn’t started playing yet, as he was always so busy running his business. As he got closer to retirement, my brother Matt and I started playing more frequently, and he starting hitting in the backyard with us. His love for hearing the ball hit the deepest tree in the woods behind the house turned into an obsession, and he is now a big-time golfer. His HDCP is reaching lower and lower, and he is even working as a ranger at my home course. It is the best thing we ever did... because of course, now my Mother has joined in and is top 4 in her league as well. It’s passed down to my kids at this point too, as my 5 year old daughter is starting to swing and putt with good accuracy. She has so much fun, and it’s mostly because “Ami and Pa” (her grandmother and grandfather) have helped foster it.

What is your "home" course?
Orchard Creek Golf Club in Altamont, New York.

What ball do you play?
Titleist ProV1x. It has helped my entrance shots to the greens become a bit more stable. Always a part of my game that I had trouble with, it now helps me to shave some strokes. I credit it to the ball. I was playing NXT Tours, but they just didn’t have the control I was looking for, or my game needed.

Ping Rapture Driver, Aidila stiff shaft, low torque with a 9.0 face. Got it from a good friend of mine (and ex-player) who gave it to me after building it. It’s a beast for me. I play Adams everything else except my sand/lob wedge and putter, but am in the market for a new set, looking towards the Titleist variety. Wedge is a Titleist Vokey, and I only have a 60. Putter is a Nike Method, and I cut the shaft down about 1.5 inches.

Favorite pro?
Dustin Johnson. You couldn’t get any closer to my frame and build. He has a swagger about him when it’s going good that makes me idolize him. Seems like a very cool customer, and someone I’d like to have a few beers with.

Favorite course you've played?
My favorite course is my home course, Orchard Creek(I know it sounds lame, but if you have ever played the layout, it is tremendous, and extremely scenic). The front and the back are so tremendously diverse, that you never have a similar round across nines. They have great people at every post, and just about the best food in the Capital District.

Dream course you've yet to play?
Bethpage Black. I want to see what the hype is all about, and I’ve had a couple of my golfers that I coach play it, they said it would eat me alive. We shall see...(to be continued)

Best round ever- and what course?
I had a 76 at a nearby course (Amsterdam Muni) that sticks with me (probably 6 years ago), but nothing since then that is an accomplishment. That is a Robert Trent Jones layout, and very unpredictable. Thinking that is quite an accomplishment for me.

What is one aspect of your golf game you would like to improve on in the next year?
I still need to perfect getting into greens. My slot tends to change (steeper/flatter) and it drives me nuts. I have never taken a lesson, but it may be on the horizon. I feel as though if I can get that part of my game down, I should be able to start scoring more consistently in the 30’s on my nines.

Tell me a story.
My daughters have started to golf here and there, and I have been bringing them around to local putting greens and ranges to foster some interest in the game. I keep it as fun as I can so that they stay interested. We play little games and laugh a lot. Cali, a perfectionist, tends to place the ball as close to the hole as she can to putt, just so she can always make it...“tap in” variety. Dannah, my sweet ‘dreamer’ likes to try all the clubs and see what they do.

I recently took Dannah to Orchard Creek to get on the range and also the putting surface. She wanted to chip onto the green, which houses one tall regulation flag (chipping) and several bumpers and small flags for target practice. An outing had been going on all day and there were several golfers lined up on the veranda enjoying the day, the food and beverages, and watching us ‘work’. Dannah chipped her first ball about 20 feet directly into the flagstick, rattling it hard. The whole place went crazy and she ducked into my hip. “Why are they laughing at me, Daddy?” She asked. Without hesitation, I remarked, “Baby, they aren’t laughing, they are cheering for you, because that’s something they all wish they could do.” Here’s hoping I will have a great partner out on the course for years to come!


Interested in being next weeks featured golfer? email us here

[ comments ]
cvargo says:
What a good story. Happy to hear that the young ones are still getting into golf. Nice GOW
ncramsey83 says:
Congrats on GoW! The one aspect of golf that I appreciate more than any other is how it can be passed down from generation to generation.
Banker85 says:
Very cool! one question though. How can a HS golf coach have never had a lesson! I have two little ones my self and hope they like golf as much as i do.
bkuehn1952 says:
"Best round ever- and what course? I had a 76 at a nearby course (Amsterdam Muni) that sticks with me (probably 6 years ago), but nothing since then that is an accomplishment."

@COACHSMITH: You are too modest. How about the 75 you shot at St. Andrews? That would have been my personal highlight by far.
Ben Smith 33 says:
check my recent handle: Ben Smith 33. this is my old oob acct from when I just found oob... and it's true, 75 at st. andrews (in a simulator!)--holland meadows golf course.

@Banker. never had one... 100% self-taught and SO frustrating when I don't know exactly what is going wrong! :)
Ben Smith 33 says:
thanks for the update, oob! and for putting my accounts together.
Dazinkster says:
Awesome! Sounds like a real golfing family. Best of luck to you and your future LPGA stars!
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