Ian: Big fan of your show and have listened to you for years. It's obvious (like me) you're an avid golfer, so mind answering a few questions?
Kevin S...Summit, NJ
Thanks for the kind words Kevin, and I'd be happy to give your attached questions a go. Especially since you didn't say the dreaded "I grew up listening to you!'...haha. These inquires will actually be a lot of fun to give thought to. Definitely one of the more thorough "Ask Ian" emails that have been sent to me that genuinely make me go "Hmmmm..."... Here goes....
Favorite golf club in the bag:
Taylor Made RBZ 3 Rescue. I hit it almost as far as my driver, and am in play alot more because of it. This whole series of RBZ clubs live up to their "Rocket Ballz" name.
It may seem strange, but I never keep score. Granted I usually have a general idea of where I'd be score-wise given the amount of par-birdies-bogey's, etc I've made. Maybe it's why I like Match Play much better than overall score play when it comes to friendly competition with the lads. I can play really well, and at times, like Hellen Keller blind drunk. It's definitely more good than bad though. Especially as of late.
Do you or have you taken lessons?
Absolutely. Currently I see a guy named Brian Gehan who is the head pro at Richter Park GC in Danbury, CT, not far from where I live. He's awesome and has done wonders for my game. Before moving to CT, I lived in NYC for 21years, and if you're in that area, hands down the best is Paul Sliva at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. I worked with Paul on and off for years and still like to make the trip in to see him on occasion. Not only for his teaching ability (no ridiculous million positions in the swing stuff) and making things easy to understand, but for comic relief. Paul is not only a kick-ass teacher, but is also quite possibly one of the funniest human beings alive.
Internationally, I'd say Shawn Clement who is based just outside of Toronto, Ontario. Go to YouTube and you'll see a zillion of his video's (all for free) and will quickly understand this guys immense popularity. He's terrific and is great at simplifying things (much like Gehan and Sliva). I actually took a trip up to Canada to learn from Clement for a couple of days, and it was totally worth it.
Favorite course locally:
Any of the Trump courses (disclaimer: yes, I know Donald, but that doesn't factor into my decision). They're beautifully maintained and a ton of fun to play (though many would say they can be a bit penal, which is true). Great staff at each location and everything is first class with no attitude. The above mentioned Richter Park in Danbury is a fantastic course for the money and considered one of the top public courses in America. I've always enjoyed playing the considerable challenge that is Bethpage Black, and the Red course there is nice as well. Mansion Ridge in Monroe, NY has been a favorite for years, even though I don't get there near as much as I'd like. Both Richter and Mansion are worth the trip from anywhere.
Least favorite or overrated local course:
I was going to leave this question out as to not ruffle feathers, but it's a valid one and I think any golfer locally would have their opinion on this, so I'll answer it. Personally, I'd have to say Winged Foot. Now rest assured I'm not saying it's a lousy course(s) because they most certainly are not. Both East and West are nice tracks and I've played them both quite a number of times. But to me, they're just kind of "Blah" considering the aura that is Winged Foot. Obviously the club has tremendous history, but I could name at least a half dozen other courses locally that I feel are not only superior, but public.
Favorite course anywhere:
Not a nano-second of hesitation here. It would be Diamante in Cabo, Mexico. Just a mind blowing orgasmic off the charts golf experience all around. The golf course is absolutely unreal and located right along the Pacific. Food, Drink, Staff, and Accommodations second to none. Plus they crank classic rock on the driving range (which you can also hear teeing off the 10th hole). I've been lucky enough to play almost all the biggies, and to this day, not one holds a candle for the total golf experience like Diamante. It should be very high on any golfers bucket list, and I'd happily play it as my only course for the rest of my life.
A Honorable mention at #2 would be The Challenge at Manele on the island of Lanai in Hawaii. Minus the links aspect, Manele gives Diamante a real run for the money visually. Hallucengionic beauty, especially the 12th hole (pictured on the left of my Q page as my favorite hole in golf). The Four Seasons Hotel attached to this course is probably my favorite on earth.
And finally, the Old Course at St. Andrews. Duh. Hello golf history! Not the prettiest course you've ever seen, but when you consider the names that have been on the tee-box before you, if your knees aren't shaking you need to be medicated. Plus pubs galore, and the great people of Scotland. Do not go toe to toe with them boozing. You'll miss your tee-time. Hahaha.
The 12th at Manele
Favorite person(s) you've played golf with:
My regular buddies I play with immediately come to mind. The road trips both local and abroad always bring lasting memories and the ballbusting is legendary. I've actually met some of my best friends on the golf course, so am stoked to team up with new people (I often head out to the course alone due to an open schedule) I've yet to meet on the first tee. Celebs I've played with? A lot. And they've all been a hoot. Greg Norman, Alice Cooper, Bill Murray, John Daly, Dr J, Brad Richards, etc..etc...But when it comes down to it, it's the strangers that typically turn into new pals that make me enjoy golf more than anything.
With Greg Norman during our round
You've met Tiger right?
Yup. I shot a commercial with him for Gillette in Orlando. We spent 4 hours about 3 feet from each other chatting away while shooting the spot. Making commercials (especially if you're an actor in one) is long and boring with all the lighting/set changes and the such. When we first met I said to him "Look Tiger, we're going to be thisclose for the next number of hours. We can can either have a chat or a staring contest. Golf will not be discussed but anything else goes. You cool with that?". And he said "I'm definitely cool with that". And we had a great time and chat. Unfortunately his extra-marital high jinks cost me a ton of money because they pulled the commercial off air as soon as the shit hit the fan with the details of porn stars and waitresses. I have tremendous respect for him as arguably the greatest golfer of all time, but think his arrogance at tournaments doom him. Especially with his being oblivious to fans trying to get his attention. Competitor or not, one must never forget who and what got them there in the first place.
Would you consider playing a round with a couple of buddies and me?:
Hell yeah, and see above in "the persons I've played with" question. If it's charity based, you're even more likely to get me out. I think you'll agree that having a great time for a great cause simply can't be beat. First round of beers are on me!
A buddy of mine (and total wiseass!) at Golf Magazine created the below