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Trying to Become a 'Compelling Average Golfer'

By: Chris Kretz


Last January, I entered my essay in the Golf Digest/U.S. Open contest, explaining in 100 words or less why I feel I could break 100 at Torrey Pines this June. My essay simply stated how I grew up on a golf course and have a number of club pros, course owners and instructors in my family tree. With all this golf in my bloodline, I decided to become an artist.

It's a decision I don't regret, but I feel there could have been an opportunity for me to be a successful golfer, too. Now, I'm married with a two-year-old son and I run my own graphics and printing business (www.artshowgraphics.com). Like many people, I don't get to golf much at all, plus I live in an area where our season is about six months long. Although I only play 15 to 20 rounds a year, I maintain a 7.6 index at a long and difficult course.

At the end of January, I found out I was selected to move on to "Level 2" of the contest, where approximately 2,500 of the 56,000 entrants were asked to submit a video and another essay. This time, the theme was: "Why are you the most compelling average golfer in America?"

Because I live in northern Wisconsin, my options to show my swing, demeanor and "on-camera" personality are quite limited. Aside from hitting balls in a local golf dome or chipping and putting in my living room, I knew I'd have to tee it up on a course in the snow. I contacted my club pro along with a friend of mine who's a videographer, and we went to Greenwood Hills CC where I'm a member. After playing a little in the snow, we went to the golf dome and hit balls at targets hanging from the "ceiling," which included a yield sign and a bear dressed in a Rex Grossman jersey (we are in Green Bay Packer country).

Everything is unscripted. We made things up as we went along and just went with it. I felt it was the best way to show my creativity and sense of humor while still giving a glimpse of my golf abilities, without coming off as an idiot or someone trying to be funny and not succeeding. I found the "compelling average" theme quite amusing, and I tended to mock the oxymoron periodically throughout the long version of my video. We did about every piece of the video in one take and I just jumped from one idea to the next as the camera rolled on. My friend Mike, the videographer, did an excellent job editing everything and we laughed the entire time we were putting it together.

Basically, I love living in Wisconsin, but it really sucks when you also love to golf. I had not swung a golf club since last October, so here I am trying to "show off" my swing for the contest. So, you have to wonder, how many other "compelling average" golfers, after four months of golf hiatus, can tee it up in the snow, battle a temperature of 4 degrees above zero, and stripe their first shot right down the fairway? How many can then hit targets in mid-air in a dome? I never did hit Rex, but he was hanging about 50 yards from me and I was on the second level of the tee area. I had to hit a knock-down 3-iron and actually have it hook downwards at 50 yards. I came very close, but it's not a shot you regularly practice - especially in February.

Next time I'm practicing at the dome, I'll hit from the lower level so I can pop him off with a screaming 4-iron. Rex is going down, sooner or later.

Chris Kretz lives and works in north-central Wisconsin and was lucky enough to grow up across the street from the golf course his family owned. Instead of following his brother's path of choosing an obvious career in golf, Chris became an accomplished graphic artist and designer. He now his own graphic design & printing business called Artshow Graphics LLC (www.artshowgraphics.com). When he's not at work or spending time with his family, Chris is trying to improve his golf game and lower his current 8 handicap. You can send your comments directly to Chris at ckretz@charter.net.