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Norm Pyle a.k.a. norm_pyle
How old are you and what's your occupation?
I'm 50 years old, an engineering manager.

When did you start playing golf and what's your handicap?
I starting playing 4 or 5 years ago, thinking this game shouldn't be too hard. And five years later my handicap is a very, very average 19.

How often do you play?
I play weekly during the summer, monthly in the winter (when the Colorado weather allows).

Tell me about a great shot you've made.
One of the best shots I've hit was on my local course , a par 3 over a small pond/lake. I typically hit from the short-ish white tees, but for some reason that day I was playing from the longer blue tees with my son, and a couple of strangers. This is particularly difficult on par 3s because I often find myself hitting 3 wood from the tee while longer hitters are playing irons. This was a shorter one though, where I typically hit a 7 iron. I was playing well that day, and came to that par 3 only to find the blue tee box was waaaayyyy back and to the right, playing over the whole lake somewhere near 175. So, hitting over the water with a 4-iron I stuck it on the green and had the shortest putt of the group, about a 10 footer. I missed the putt but the tee shot was a beaut.

What is your best golf memory?
My first ever 300 yard drive. It was 301 to be exact. A downhill par 5 from an elevated tee, I hit it pure, as pure as can be. Remember, this is from a guy who averages say 230 yard drives, maybe 240. But I hit it sweet, middle of the fairway, and it rolled and rolled. That was a rare instance where I could almost feel what a pro feels like. Not really.

What is your "home" course?
Boomerang Links, Greeley, Colorado

What ball do you play?
Bridgestone B330-RX for us slow-swing-speed kind of guys.

Taylormade Tour Burner. Nike SQ Sumo hybrids, Callaway X-18 irons, Taylormade Rossa Monza Corsa putter.

Favorite pro?
Phil the Thrill. I really appreciate a guy who appreciates the fans and the tour and the gift he's been given. But being a southern boy, I gotta love Bubba too.

Favorite course you've played?
Pole Creek in Tabernash Colorado. This is a 27 hole course in the northern mountains of Colorado, divided into 3 9's, the Meadow, the Ranch, and the Ridge. You pick 2 of the 3 for your 18, and you can get any combination. Or play 9's, etc. This place is one of the most beautiful courses in the state, and in the country. Don't pass it up, in fact, seek it out - you won't regret this.

Dream course you've yet to play?
All the great courses in Scotland would be amazing, but I'd be more than thrilled with a round at TPC Sawgrass. I just want to see how many balls it would take me to stick it on that island green at 17.

Best round ever- and what course?
I shot an 85 at Mariana Butte in Loveland Colorado, my lowest round ever by a good 3 strokes. I immediately knew I needed lessons (which I've yet to take, but that's another story). I played out of my mind that day, made very few real mistakes, sunk most every putt, and the best I could do was an 85. The course is truly amazing with a gorgeous mountain setting, large herds of wild elk (I'm not making this up), running rivers, and not one, but two par 3s where you hit off cliffs to greens probably 100' below you. This is another course not to miss.

What is one aspect of your golf game you would like to improve on in the next year?
Iron play, definitely my iron play. I have been moving way too much in my downswing, causing all sorts of subconscious adjustments, and sometimes hitting pure, and sometimes hitting 4" behind the ball. Yeah, 4" behind the ball.

Tell me a story.
This is the true story of the Curse of the Fake Pro-V1. One fateful day on the golf course, I was in the weeds as I often am, and I spotted a ball. Not my ball mind you, but a Pro-V1 - sweet, I said, and snatched it up! But upon closer inspection, I realized this ball was a fake, and not even a good fake. It had a glossy, hard cover, and printing that wasn't right - it was cut into the ball much too shallow and uneven. So I laughed and tossed it into my bag as a practice ball.

But the next time out, for some reason I decided to pull out that Fake Pro-V1 and hit it off the first tee. Straight and true, sitting pretty in the middle of the fairway. Second shot, on the green. Two putts and I'd par'd the first hole with that ball, so I teed it up on the second. A simple bogey - I missed an easy putt. Third hole, par. Fourth hole, par. Then bogey, bogey, birdie, par. Remember, I was an 18 handicap golfer at the time, and I'm sitting at +2 after 8 holes.

Now, you have to know this course, Boomerang Links on the plains in Greeley, Colorado, on the 9th tee box if you look to the right, out toward the Rocky Mountains in the cornfield there is a high tension power-line tower. It just sits out there in the corn and taunts you to try and hit it. A local golfer once handed my son and me a brand new ball each, and said we have to hit it at that pole. So I pulled out my 5 wood that day and teed it up (at about a 110 degree angle to the fairway) and let er rip. I split the structure, right down the middle, a perfect field goal, but no "clang"! Everyone took their shots, but nobody got a "clang". Ever since that day, we always sacrifice a ball to the Power Tower God, and one of these days we're going to get the "clang"!

But back to my story, what better ball to sacrifice than the ole Fake Pro-V1? My son warned me that I was going to ruin my mojo, but I laughed at him. I said and truly believed, that the Fake Pro-V1 had used up its magic and really deserved to be sacrificed. I mean how many great shots does a hard, shiny, poorly printed, obviously fake Chinese knock off ball have in it? At that point, I figured about 33, since those were all behind me. So I hit it, 110 degrees from the fairway, over at the Tower of Power. It was a terrible hit, never had a chance at the tower, and dribbled off into the cornfield. See? It's magic was used up - I was right! Or was I?

I then pulled out my usual ball, a Bridgestone B330-RX, teed it high and let it fly. Not such a good swing either, but it was one swing, right? The tower shot didn't count. And the next stroke with my 5 wood was worse. I finished that hole with a double, the worst hole so far, but heck, I was still 4 over after the front 9, my best 9 holes ever! If I could match that, I'd be pushing the 70's, or at least I could see them from here! This from a guy who averages over 90, and whose best score ever is an 85.

Well, you can go ahead and guess now that the 70's were not in any danger. Nor were the low 80s. Or the mid-80s. Or the high 80s. After playing the first 8 holes with that Fake Pro-V1 at +2, I went +22 on the final 10 holes, to finish with a very average, for me, 96! To this day, I think about going out in that cornfield at night with a flashlight, finding that Fake Pro-V1, apologizing to it, maybe taking it home and putting it on my mantle or something. But I'll never, ever, sacrifice a hot ball to the Power Tower God. It doesn't matter if it is fake, scuffed, stained, or has somebody else's personalized mark on it. This was a hard lesson, but I now know where golf talent really comes from - it's from the Gods, and they put it in the ball!


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[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
A very deserving GOW.

BTW, I found that magic fake Pro V1 and it is being listed on eBay as I write this - starting bid $100.
Kickntrue says:
@bkuehn1952- Ironic... I found one too. Will sell mine for $99!
norm_pyle says:
I'm high bidder!
craigmckeeman says:
The fake Pro V1 you found was not the real fake Pro V1, I found that ages ago and no-one is getting it!
georgelohr says:
Great story.
birdieXris says:
so would that be a Faux-V1? i smell great marketing....... no wait, that's the sourkraut from this weekend. nevermind.
homermania says:
Your son was right! You gotta keep playing that ball!
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