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Steve Mullen a.k.a. SteveMM
Say hello to the first golfer of the week of 2012, SteveMM. If the world comes to an end later this year like some have predicted, Steve is ready for it - at least from a golfing perspective. He played a round three years ago that mimicked the conditions one might see on the golf course during armageddon and successfully finished the round! Enjoy!

How old are you and what's your occupation?
I'm 41 years old and I own a public relations/social media firm.

When did you start playing golf and what's your handicap?
I didn't start truly playing until I was 38, and since then I've been addicted like it's crack and meth all rolled into one. I only played previously to that a couple of times when I was a teenager. My handicap, as it's calculated by oobgolf, is currently 29.

How often do you play?
This time of year I play whenever the weather allows. Lately it's been once every couple of weeks, but as we get into January and February it will probably be even less frequently. During the spring, summer and fall I try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to play once a week.

Tell me about a great shot you've made.
I was playing while on vacation in October of 2011 at The Homestead, in Warm Springs, Virginia. I was on the Old Course, which I had played one time previously, in 2010. I got paired up with a fairly nice guy who was better than I, and also played the course the day before. Thus, he was quite useful in suggesting where I try to put the ball off the tee. We were on a 316 yard par 4. From the tee box, the fairway goes down very quickly, then back up to a hill about halfway to the hole. The back side of that hill runs straight down to the green. The top of the hill is higher than the tee box, but the green is lower. I hadn't been hitting my drives well at all, but the guy said if you can clear that hill just right, but ball will run up on the green. In fact, he said, he saw a guy overshoot the green the day before. I put my drive EXACTLY where he suggested. The ball just missed the top of the hill, hit the fairway on the back side, and rolled to about 5-10 feet short of the green. Mind you, a good tee shot for me is about 225 or so. This one was 300+! I wish I could tell you the story ends with me getting a birdie, but it doesn't. I chipped on reasonably well, but the greens were so fast that the chip went about 10 feet past the hole. I two putted on the way back for a par.

What is your best golf memory?
Hard to say. I guess other than finally breaking 100 on a “real” course (which I'll talk about later) it would be back-to-back birdies in the fall of 2010. They were my first and second birdies ever. The first was on a 207 yard par 3 with most of it carrying over water (had to use driver off the tee .. how embarrassing) and the second was a short but tricky par 4 that I played perfectly. I put the ball away after the first one so I could keep it, because it was my first birdie. After getting the second one, I wished I hadn't done that, because then I had to keep BOTH balls. They're in my little personal “hall of fame” in my office.

What is your "home" course?
I split my time between three courses. Lately I've been playing most of my rounds at Queenfield Golf Club in Manquin, Virginia. It's a unique course that's extremely punitive if you hook or slice nearly anywhere. I was reminded of this in my last round when I lost about a half dozen balls in the thick woods that surround every hole.

What ball do you play?
I am fond of Noodles. They have a great mix of softness, distance and durability. They're also not expensive. I'm also a fan of Nike's Mojo balls. I'll also play Top-Flite D2 Feels, and sometimes the MaxFli Revolution balls.

Drivers: Nike SQ Machspeed Str8-Fit
Fairway Woods: Distance Master Pro Steel
Fairway Woods: Nike SQ Sumo2
Hybrids: Perfect Club Perfect Accuracy
Hybrids: Distance Master Pro Steel
Irons: Adams Golf Tight Lies
Putters: Slotline TSP7

Favorite pro?
Funny...I don't think I have one. I enjoy watching men's and women's golf because I simply marvel at how they've mastered the sport. I enjoyed watching Tiger when he was at the top of his game, and I still can't quite figure out why we so rarely see any sign of his utter dominance of years ago.

Favorite course you've played?
Devil's Knob at Wintergreen, Virginia. The course is built on the top of a mountain at a ski resort, at an elevation of 3800 feet. In fact, it's the highest elevation course in the state. The views are amazing from most of the holes. I've played there twice (poorly both times – tough course) on what's becoming a yearly golf outing for me and a few buddies.

Dream course you've yet to play?
This is going to sound like an odd one and it's probably not the type of “dream course” you have in mind, but I've really been meaning to play Virginia National, which is in the Shenandoah Mountains of Northern Virginia. One of my biggest golf regrets is that I never got to play a round with my father. He enjoyed the game, but died 11 years ago, well before I had any interest in playing. When I was very young, Virginia National was the golf course on a big old school country club called The Retreat. We were members, and I'm told my father took me out on the course a few times, but being less than four years old at the time I don't remember it at all. I don't think the course is necessarily special (although I hear it's nice), but since there's no way I can play with him, at least I can play his “home” course. At some point, I'm going to make the drive up there. It's only a few hours away.

Best round ever- and what course?
I finally, finally, finally broke 100 on a par 72 course (the aforementioned Queenfield Golf Club) on December 17, 2011. I shot a 98, which was largely made possible by the far that I putted out of my mind. I shot an 87 back in September on a (very short) par 66, and while I'm proud of that, I'm much more proud of this 98.

What is one aspect of your golf game you would like to improve on in the next year?
I need to get more consistent, and frankly I'm not sure how to go about that. I frequently follow a great (for me) drive up with a duffed second shot, or a great second shot with a poor chip, or a great chip with a poor putt. I took a series of lessons last spring that really helped, and plan to do that again in March or April, so hopefully I can work my way toward that consistency.

Tell me a story.
Three years ago (basically a couple of months after I picked up the game) I played a round with my sister-in-law on the day after Thanksgiving. The forecast was for highs in the middle 50s with partly cloudy skies and a slight chance of rain. The weather started out just fine, with the temperature rising to a very comfortable point by the time we hit the first tee. However, at about the third hole, the wind picked up and it started drizzling. My SIL is one of those golfers who doesn't like to be out in poor weather, while I don't mind a little rain. Fortunately, the drizzle stopped before she insisted we pack it in. The sun then came out, and we were fine … but only for another three or four holes. This time, the wind picked up, the temperature dropped rapidly, and we were greeted with snow flurries. Again, it fortunately, it didn't last for very long. The kicker came on the 16th hole. We were chipping onto the green, when the wind kicked up significantly, and … get this … it started to hail. Have you ever tried to putt while it's hailing? Not easy! Of course, it stopped as quickly as it began, and then the sun came out again to melt the pea-sized hailstones.

After all of that crazy weather, I told my SIL that we should expect frogs falling from the skies soon, so we better hurry up and finish our round.

Interested in being next weeks featured golfer? email us here

[ comments ]
SteveMM says:
Words cannot express my honor at being the first GotW for 2012. Thank you oobgolf!
bkuehn1952 says:
Congratulations on the GOW award AND breaking 100 on a regulation course. 2012 is going to be a special year for you.
homermania says:
Back to back first and second birdies is a feat!
Banker85 says:
Congrats on being 1st GOW in 2012. I golf with my father in law a lot and he is one of those who if its not 78* and sunny he doesnt want to play. I can golf in just about any weather.
legitimatebeef says:
You speak the truth. Golf *is* up there with crack and meth. I am in the deep throes of it right now. Every day I wake up thinking about it. I think I need help.
Torleif Sorenson says:
1000 points for Steve; he'd make a great hockey player, methinks.
jpjeffery says:
High 5!
SteveMM says:
Funny you should mention that, Torleif. I played recreational league hockey for about eight years. I was a pretty good stay-at-home defenseman. I quit because I decided I was getting a bit old for it figured it was good to get out before I suffered any significant injuries. About six months after giving up hockey, I took up golf.
cvargo says:
Golf is worse than any drug! I'm addicted and have no desire to stop. To make things worse outside my office window is a golf course.... i've been caught staring out the window for 10 minutes or more at a time, getting my daily dose of crack i mean golf.
Banker85 says:
Golf is so addicting. I am going through withdrawals.
jpjeffery says:
Wusses! I'm playing on Wednesday morning. Although I suspect we'll not get to finish the round as I need to be about 60 miles away to collect two new cats from Battersea Dogs and Cats home between 1pm and 4pm and we can't tee off until just after 9am, but ideally I should be back before the kids get home from school so the cats have a chance to settle from the's complicated, but at least we'll be playing! :)
falcon50driver says:
Great stories Steve, thanks for sharing. The GOW is one of my favorite parts of OOBGOLF. Being the nitpicker that I am I have to wonder if the springs are cooling off at the Warm Springs VA, Homestead, because when I played there it was HOT Springs VA. LOL
SteveMM says:
Dangit, Merlin ... I *always* do that. In that area there are towns called Warm Springs, Hot Springs, Mineral Springs, White Sulpher Springs, and any other kind of spring you can imagine. I *always* get it wrong when I'm talking about The Homestead. You are correct -- it's in Hot Springs.
CeeBee says:
Great story Steve. Congrats on recieving GOW. Take your addiction, I mean golf, and give Virginia National a go. I cant remember which par 3 but wait till you see the 100' drop to the green. You will enjoy it.
SteveMM says:
I've heard about that hole, CeeBee. There's one a lot like it on on the Stoney Creek nines at Wintergreen. The par 3 is actually about 180 yards, but because of the insane drop in elevation, you can get there with a pitching wedge.
thetomwalsh says:

You better hurry up and play Virginia National. The rumor is the land it sits on is likely to be reclaimed as a park by the NVPRC.
SteveMM says:
Well that's not good news. The course has been there since I was two.
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