Episode #28: My Days Hustling on The Beverage Cart 01/18/2021
Meredith: Welcome to the Gimme Golf Podcast, powered by mirtlebeachgolftrips.com. This is episode number 28. Don't forget to rate and subscribe to this podcast on most digital platform. Joining me today is golf writer, Chris King. Chris asked my me about my early years, hustling on a beverage cart. We have some pretty funny stories for you and some fun games you can play with your golf buddies. I am here in History Hall at Pine Lakes Country Club, and joining me is Chris King and Nate DeWitt. Great to have you guys here.
Chris: It's always great to be back.
Meredith: Now I am passing the torch to you today Chris. You're going to be hosting this episode because I think you have some questions for me.
Chris: Well, that's a frightening thought Meredith but yeah, I think today we're going to take a bit of a different direction. We're going to talk about golf but we're also going to talk about something that walks hand-in-hand with the game for a lot of people, and that gambling. Whether you're a 20 handicap or a tour player, I think a not insignificant portion of the golfing population likes to have a little on the game. It adds a little excitement, at least it does for most of us and I hear Nate's a big money player so...
Meredith: Yes, I have heard that about Nate as well.
Chris: I mean look, we all have stories, whether you're playing a quarter a hole of, in the case of some of these guys, I would imagine with the tour group on a Monday before a tournament, they might be playing for 25,000 a hole.
Meredith: Oh man, I can only imagine the kind of bets they have on the table.
Chris: Yeah, well it's numbers that people like us couldn't comprehend. But even at much smaller amounts, it adds something, pressure to it, it means a little more to your putt, even if it's a dollar.
Meredith: Absolutely, it does.
Chris: And Meredith, you've been involved at the game at a lot of levels, you played it competitively, what are some of the games you like to play?
Meredith: You guys are cracking me up. Well, I hustled a little as a junior golfer. My hustling years started when I was around nine years old and this is actually a funny story. So I grew up, in my formative years, in Colorado because my sister was training for the Olympics at the Olympic Center.
Chris: Can I interrupt and ask what she was training for a shot in the Olympics at?
Meredith: Figure skating.
Meredith: Yep, so she was on the Junior World Team in '88 and traveled all over the world and we lived on a compound so Scott Hamilton was our next door neighbor and Kristi Yamaguchi and Brian Boitano, and all those phenomenal skaters, got to grow up with it.
Chris: And Katarina Witt. A young Chris King was very much aware of Katarina Witt.
Meredith: She was beautiful wasn't she?
Chris: Well, I thought so but...
Meredith: Beautiful ice skater as well. So it was kind of a unique childhood in that we just moved from Atlanta to Colorado for my sister's training. And during the process, my dad owned a big business in Atlanta and obviously he couldn't make that move with us. So my mom had her hands full with us, three children, and this is the '80s, times were very different back then and it ended up that I picked up golf and I was taking golf lessons with a PGA Head Pro at a particular course in Colorado and my mom would actually just literally drop me in the morning like, "Here's 10 bucks to eat, I'll pick you up before it's dark," and that basically was how I raised when I was not in school, I was at the golf course and I always joke around saying, it was PGA Professionals that actually raised me, which is a true story. I literally remember having a sleeping bag in the Head Pro's office because I would play literally 36 holes every day and I was little, I was a little girl, I was tiny too. And I would just get tired and so I'd go and take like an hour nap and I literally was the golf course rat so they all loved me there, they took good care of me.
Meredith: But in that process, I would get bored a lot playing golf, I mean, it just became very redundant playing 36 holes every day in the summer and...
Nate: And you needed more lunch money too.
Meredith: Yeah, I needed more lunch money and...
Chris: I can smell a good gambling story here Nate.
Meredith: Yeah, so this is where it started, and I remember, I was nine, because I remember I won the State Championship at nine years old in Colorado in the 12 and under age division. I was really getting good at golf, obviously, I was playing every day. So one day, I remember, I was out on the course and they would actually, because the, again, they were basically raising me, they would always pair me up with people that they knew, so I got paired up a lot with retirees out there, so the PGA Pros in the shop would be like, "Hey, can this young girl Meredith play with your group," and stuff. So one day I was out and was with a group with of retirees, which was pretty normal for me. And I remember just waging a bet, it was like a dollar or something on a par three and they got a chuckle out of it. They're like, "Yeah, yeah, we'll get you," and stuff.
Meredith: And I had no money in my pocket by the way. I waged a bet with zero money in my pocket. And I ended up winning and I was shocked when they started handing me money, I was like, "You mean you're actually going to pay me just for hitting a golf ball?" I mean, I'm literally doing this every day. And so then I started hustling. So then realized, on every par three, that I could do this. So then I was making a lot of money but...
Chris: Were you hustling them on greens hit?
Meredith: Oh yes.
Chris: Was that what it is?
Meredith: Oh we did everything. It just went out the roof. I started hustling on all sort of shots and putts and I would double or nothing and just these things I would come up with, but I didn't want to tell my mom that I was hustling and I didn't want to tell the Pros at the course I was hustling. So in my nine year old brain, I thought it was my secret. And I would home with tons of one dollar bills. I'm talking my pockets stuffed and I would hide this money in my room. So this went for like an entire summer, hustling at nine years old, to where I had a lot of money built up and my mom found my money. And she asked me about it and I told her, well it's from playing golf.
Meredith: And it ends up that lot of people at the golf course were cracking up, they thought it was hilarious. So everyone know I became this little nine year old hustler and they would call me, Hustler. They also would call me Butch because I cut all my long hair off one day, literally got scissors and I was like, I should have been a boy, even thought I was a girl, I just liked the boys better so I cut hair, so it's was Butch and Hustler were my nicknames. And everybody would crack but my mom was like, "You cannot do that, that's not how I raised you, it's totally inappropriate." And I got in trouble for it, and there was times I faced temptation doing it after that, but I did have some hustling years as a kid so fast-forward to my college years Chris.
Chris: So when she said, stop doing it, did you really stop though?
Meredith: I did for a period of time and then every now and then if I found a good bet or someone that I thought I could totally beat I would sometimes...
Chris: Did you scope... Obviously, you probably scoped out all the players, measured them up.
Meredith: Honestly, I wasn't smart enough at nine years old. I just thought I could beat them. And in my little head, in my little brain, I played so well when I did that. It really did affect how I approached golf. I really looked forward to going to play golf when there was bet. And when I knew I could bet, I would be excited about going to play, versus if I couldn't, if there was nothing on the table, I just thought, "I just got to go play 36 holes. I don't mind it, I like it, it's okay, but meh." But if I thought I could throw a bet, even if I could walk away with $5, I was pumped, I'd play golf all day if there was something on the table. Even a milkshake. Now they started substituting money for milkshakes, I got so sick of milkshakes. Like, "Oh yeah, we'll buy you a milkshake," and I'm like, "How many milkshakes..."
Chris: Were they offering you a milkshake when you were college age?
Meredith: No, they weren't.
Chris: So this is the story I want to hear now. It's one thing to have a nine year old Meredith hustling a couple of retirees. How does this play out when it's 19?
Meredith: Well, it was 18. Obviously, growing up in golf and everything, I knew that it could be a career outlet. I always knew that. However, I did not want to end up in Pro Shop, working behind a desk. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But I like being outside, I like being busy, I like just... I have a lot of energy. I have too much energy for that. And so, the idea of making tips, well, you're in college, you need money, you have expenses. And so anyway, I thought beveraging would be the way to go. And so I got my first job beveraging at Litchfield County Club.
Chris: So you had moved back here, you had moved here from Colorado at that point.
Meredith: Yes, I moved here. I went to high school here, graduated Socastee went to Coastal Carolina University, and needed a job, needed to make some money. And what better place than on the golf course, right, in my favorite environment. So I got hired as the beverage girl. And I had so much fun. I mean, I think honestly, being a beverage lady, girl, however you want to phrase that is one of the most fun jobs in golf. To this day, other than what I get to do with you guys here, it is so much fun.
Nate: It's a job everyone wants when they're retired. I've had so many people reach to me it's like, "When I'm done, I want that job." It's like when I'm done with my career so...
Meredith: I have so many good memories, and it's so beautiful too, you get to meet people, especially if you're a people person, it's awesome, and I am a people person. So anyway, I got this job and would go out and obviously sell drinks and food and I thought well this needs to be more fun and I'm an extremely competitive person. And so not just with golf but with sales too. You put me in a sales environment, I want to be the best salesperson. Everything, I wanted to try to be the best at it, it's just my personality type. And so I would always try to... It started out... I'm getting ready to tell you about my hustling on this beverage cart okay, but it started out wanting to beat the sales of every other beverage girl. So I started asking questions like, "What's the highest amount of sales that you guys have done on a beverage because I'm going to beat it." That's how I move and groove. So I started bringing in some really good numbers on the cart, and that's just motivation to me.
Meredith: And then I thought, "Well, we can have more fun with this if maybe I'm out playing with them a little bit here and there." So it kind of started out, hey, me being friendly with the groups of golfers out there. "Hey, guys." If they're on a par three and they hit terrible shots, "Hey, why don't you give me your club," because I played with men's clubs, I mean, I mean I'm a collegiate golfer. I mean, I had mens clubs, it's not like I can't grab your club and strike the ball well. But I'd say, "Hey, why don't you hand me a ball and tee and give me your club. Let me show you how to play this hole." And they would crack up, so here I am, this long blonde hair, tanned, 18 year old, and I'm much older now, but I'd go out there.
Meredith: They would all get a kick out of it. They're like, "There's no way." And I would not tell them anything about my experience playing golf and everything. And oftentimes, I would really mess around with it is when I would do my practice swing, I'd make it look terrible. Intentionally make it look terrible, sloppy. They're probably just looking at me like whatever. But when I would address the ball, and setup, I would strike the ball pretty well, and I was playing a lot as well so my game was on, and I was really confident with my game doing that. So I'd hit a great shot, put it right up next to the hole, and these guys would freak out. They would just be cracking up, dying laughing. And then at that point, they're like, "Let's get a round of drinks." So I noticed me getting involved with the golfers on the beverage cart, hitting shots and stuff, they would buy more.
Chris: Led to more sales.
Meredith: So that's how hustling, for me, kind of started was the sale increased.
Chris: Yeah, so when did you cross the line there, the threshold to step into the abyss of using this as a sales tool and turn it into a money maker?
Meredith: Yeah. The ideas actually, and now that I'm thinking about it, the idea came when I was working... The idea came to me, all right, let me rewind. I worked as an assistant Pro as a course prior to getting the beverage job. And as an assistant Pro, they would have me go out on the par threes and sell gift certificates, I'm sure you guys are familiar with this concept, if you get the hole within a certain amount of feet from the pin, you can double your gift certificate and whatnot. So I used to do that and do really well at that. Again, just put me in a sales environment. So then I started thinking about that concept of when I was an assistant Pro, how could I apply that and make money on the course, just me playing golf. Okay, so this is there the hustling kind of came in.
Meredith: Then I thought, "You know what? I can make some extra tip money if I hustle." So I always made really good tips as well, but I thought if I add hustling to the equation, then my tips would go up, and it certainly did go up. My tips did go up greatly. So what I would do is, I would start out hustling on the par threes. And what I would do is, I would pick the easiest par three and the one that I was comfortable playing and I would play that par three personally a lot. After work, I'd get out there and hit a lot of shots, make the shot a lot. I would take a dozen balls and I would plan the shot that I was going to hit over and over.
Chris: So which hole was that at Litchfield did you...
Meredith: Oh God, at Litchfield.
Nate: 17's a par three there. It's longer. The par threes at Litchfield are longer.
Meredith: I think it was 17. I think it probably was 17. Oh gosh, it's been so many years now, thank God it's been so many years. So yeah, I would just get really good at a hole and I would plan. And I think it probably was 17 because I usually would do it on the back. Because that's after the guys have loosened up a little bit. On the front, they're just getting warmed up.
Chris: Yeah, a little more comfortable.
Meredith: Little bit more comfortable.
Nate: You'd adjust the tee markers to you, probably your optimal yardage.
Meredith: Oh, and I would always tee off. Obviously, at that time in my life, I always played the tees back so I would go to wherever they, I would never hit from a ladies tee, I would literally play with the guys.
Nate: Yeah, those par threes at Litchfield are long.
Chris: Yeah, that's a legit...
Nate: Willard Byrd design, mostly his golf course, his characteristic is longer par threes.
Meredith: Yeah, so I would go out there and so what I would do I this, I'd pull up on the beverage cart, "Hey guys, how are y'all doing? Y'all need new drinks." And usually they'd get a drink and everything like that. And I'd say, "Hey, do y'all want to have a little fun today?" Now mind you, at this point, I started bring my clubs and my bag on the cart. And I did, for just our listeners today, I had permission to do it, I got permission. I wasn't just sneaking around my golf bag, I got permission to have a little fun. And I think the reason why I was allowed to do it was because my sales were so good, they're, "Hey, if this is a creative idea and you want to go out and if it could bring more sales in for food and beverage, go for it. If you want to engage with the customers, go for it." So at that time, at 18, I thought, "Okay, I can do it, that's fine." Now I'm like, "Oh, I don't know if I'd ever do that now, obviously."
Chris: It's good to be young.
Meredith: It's good to be young, ignorance is bliss. So I'd go out there and the guys would maybe get around to drinks or something and I'd say, "All right, I'll bet you guys five bucks, just little wages, five bucks that I will hit the shot within 12 feet of the pin."
Chris: Wow. THat's a gutsy play, confident.
Meredith: Yeah, that's a $20 bet, basically, each one.
Chris: Okay, so you're going five a man.
Meredith: I'm going five a man, yeah. Anyone who want to put up the bet with me. And usually they'd all go in. Sometimes not all the guys would go in, but two of them at least would say, "All right, I'm in." So then they would hit their shots, I would hit my shot, and again, I'm mean, I was playing really well. Most of the time, I mean honestly I would say 85% of the time I was making my shots, but again, I played these shots a lot, after work, practicing and whatnot. So they would have to pay up and then oftentimes, I would give them a second chance. So I would say, "Hey, double or nothing." So now we just took it up a notch. And then they'd have to pay up and I'd have extra tips that day.
Meredith: Now sometimes, I would feel bad, I wouldn't want to take everything from the guys. So every and now then, I would buy someone a round of drinks so I would use my money that I would make to buy a round of drinks, to have fun and then do it again on another hole. And it just kind of went back and forth like that.
Chris: Hey look, you're nicer than I am because once they saw you swing the first, you make the bet the second time, you own that one.
Meredith: Yeah, but you know what the funny thing is, I started, obviously, getting known for doing this and group would want to come back and see me out there. They would actually call sometimes and say, "Hey, is Meredith working out on the cart?" And then sometimes, they would tip me just to drive the ball. If I'm driving 220 yards and I mean, how often do you see an 18 year old chick on a beverage cart that can actually play because you don't often see that. So some of these guys would come to me and like, "Hey Meredith listen. My buddy over there, he had no clue that you can hit, I'll tip you extra, just go up there and hit a drive, just out drive him, just do it for us." So then sometimes the guys would go against each other and joke around and I'd kind of be this middle person.
Meredith: I had so much fun doing this. And not only was it just the hustling part and getting to play golf out there and selling beverages and food and stuff, but I got so engrossed in doing this and I loved this job so much that, with permission and stuff, I would actually print off golf tips at 18 years old. And I would paste them on top of the front of the golf cart.
Meredith: Yeah, I was really into my job. I mean, I was...
Chris: So you knew you were going to be an instructor at a young age.
Meredith: I had been now in the golf industry, what, 30, just my whole life. Yeah, it must have been like premonition or something. I mean, giving golf tips at 18 and I'm doing them now all the time on video and being an LPGA instructor now, so it's just destiny I guess. I would have golf tips and then I would run specials, like really good drink specials so of course Bloody Mary's, they are the best special to run. And then obviously, having a morning beverage to get the guys started, that would be the best hustling days too.
Chris: Just planting the seeds.
Chris: By the time they get to 17 they'll be ready.
Meredith: Going out there that first round, having some warm coffee and liquor if they want to add to it, having some specials. All of those things combined, I always want to make sure everyone had a really good time out there, but in the process, I met amazing people, I made a ton of tips, a ton of tips for a girl in college.
Nate: And your golf game can only get better by doing that. Pressure.
Meredith: Yes. The pressure, I can't even... I mean, even to this day, I have to have some pressure. I mean, Nate, you and I work so much together, even when we're not on the golf course but if there's anything that I have pressure, you know me. I do better under pressure. If I have any kind of pressure on me then my performance usually is better because I'm on it. So there's something about that, maybe it's just having a really competitive spirit but I definitely like the pressure of it.
Chris: Did anyone ever get made at you?
Meredith: Never. And if they did, I did not know because we would honestly have so much fun, we would laugh and everybody...
Chris: And peer pressure probably prevents that too. Even if one guy thinks he got taken, his buddies aren't going let me say so much about that.
Meredith: Yeah. And also I was beveraging at Prestwick Country Club too, so that another course at Prestwick. So between Prestwick and Litchfield Country Club, I mean, let's just say I was able to make my car payments and car insurance and some of my schooling so hustling helped me a lot to pay for some things that I needed at the time.
Chris: I'll tell you what, between the challenge of Prestwick and you taking their money, there were some people getting beat up out there in the early '90s.
Meredith: Oh yeah. Prestwick is an awesome course.
Chris: Oh it is. But it's everything you want.
Meredith: Yeah, exactly, it really is.
Chris: Well, do you have a particular story out there that stand out most to you, be it at Prestwick or Litchfield, anywhere?
Meredith: Really just the hustling stories, just going out waging bets on shots and drives and par threes and I mean, really, that's it, just general hustling.
Chris: Well see now, that's the challenge that comes with notoriety, now people know who you are and that is no longer an option for you.
Meredith: But you know what, I actually met so many great people and I would get invited to play in rounds after work, "Hey, we're getting a game together, would you come join us and play for some money?" Some skins games and stuff, I often would do that after work. Okay, yeah, because I mean I would play golf all the time after work. So that was a lot of fun and it's just connecting with different people and just having some side games.
Chris: Yeah well, and whether you're hustling somebody off the beverage cart or were setting a fair bet with friends, it really is a big part of the game. Because, to your point, it makes it a little more exciting, not that we all need it. I mean, I think we've all, everybody's played a $2 Nassau or something like that, but there are a variety of other types of games and stuff to that people play. Do you have any that don't involve you on a beverage cart? Games that you may want to play now.
Meredith: Some games that I like to play now, and if it's with my son. I mean, usually it's not obviously for money but sometimes it's for things.
Chris: Which to a son can mean more than money.
Meredith: It like, all right, if I win today, I'm going to expect you to take out the trash, just some extra chores. Or really all of my sons know how to cook, especially my two older sons cook really well where it's like, you're making dinner tonight in exchange for this. But I think some really fun games is just hitting greens, who can hit the green first. Getting points or even if it's like a skins game. What do you guys like to play?
Chris: Well, you had mentioned hitting the green first, and to me, a game that's fun to, kind of almost no matter your skill level, you'll have a chance at it. It's like the bingo, bango, bongo, which is it's three points per hole, first person on gets a point, closest person to the pin gets a point once you're on, and then first one in get one as well. And you know what, that's again, that gives everybody in the group even of desperate skills sets kind of a chance to play and I've always enjoyed that, being the guy who, sometimes it's easier to be closest to the pin when you're putting from the fringe. So it's always been a fun game, you know what you what each point is worth before the round and you go from there.
Nate: See I think that game is good if you've got a bookkeeper with you, because you've got to have one person that take charge of saying. "Okay, I'm going to keep track of all that." It's like, I look at different way, I just want to play. I'd rather do two man teams, two person teams because I think that's more comradery, it's like, if you're out of the hole, it's like your partner's still in but anything like that unless there was somebody that I was playing with that was a good, would keep that all on a scoreboard because it's like ah, I don't want to keep all that.
Chris: I don't disagree with you for a moment on that. I guess fortunately, or unfortunately for me though I have a lot of friends who are degenerates, so they're happy to keep up with that. But you're right, I mean, sometimes to those two man teams are a little easier. But there's another game, Daytona, is I believe what they call it and you go with two person team and you add, it's not like scores added where it's like if you make four and I make four we have eight, it is you use the score if it's... You got two scores, if the lowest is par or below that's the first number, if it's bogey or above, the highest score goes first.
Chris: So if we're on a par four and you make a five and I make a seven, our score is 75, not 57. And then you kind of tally that up at the end but that's another one that really...
Meredith: I've got that one in my notes.
Meredith: I haven't played that. Is it fun? I mean...
Chris: It is. I'll tell what that one does is it puts a lot more pressure on the guy whose worse. So sometimes, Meredith, like you or I are playing together, I'm the one that's like, "Oh God," all day. Don't make triple. I mean, in most of these games, the better players saves the weaker player. In that particular game, the weaker player sinks the team oftentimes. And I've been that anchor before, it's not always fun.
Meredith: I wonder, with Myrtle Beach being the golf capital of the world and everybody coming here to play golf, I mean, surely pretty much every group has got to have some type of bet on the table.
Chris: Oh yeah. I mean look, I've put together a 16 person golf trip each and I mean, there's a... We divi up into teams on that trip so there's a Ryder Cup style thing that everybody... I mean, it's only $20 right, that you put and everybody plays it. And then there are bets every day within each group too.
Nate: I think it's important to have games that don't involve handicaps but they allow everyone to compete in it. You get something... It's like, I'm really am going to go for this. But you get in handicaps, you get into muddied water, it's like, "Ah, Bill doesn't... His handicap, that's not right." So then you get some friction there.
Chris: Yeah, that's a source of concern and we've run into that as well because we will, particularly the Ryder Cup type thing, people get strokes for that. And that's just so it's not the same group of people playing together every day. And you're right, I mean, handicap does introduce... Especially, depending on what you're group's like. I mean sometimes you travel that you're super close with and you know they play all the time and you keep up with their scores. Then, oftentimes, particularly with larger groups, you have people coming from desperate places and you're not quite as sure and one guys that shows up and says he's a 17 fires a couple of 84s and there are a bunch of people grumbling. But for me, generally speaking, it's a price I've been willing to pay. Most of the people on the trip that I go on, we have a pretty good idea what it is and you almost feel bad if you play better than your handicap, right? Because they're beating you up over that too.
Nate: And it's sad to see people that take is way too serious. It like, "I lost $11." Come on man, you're on vacation. That's a small price to pay, just have fun with it, that's the difference.
Chris: There's not question, I mean, we joke around about betting and there being a lot of money but for me personally, it's generally better if those sums are small, right?
Nate: Yeah, if it gets to the point where you're upset about it then you're playing for too much money. Just have fun.
Chris: Yeah, that's right. For me, oftentimes, that's more about the pride of saying, "It's not that I won $5 today, it's that I beat you, Nate." And when we have dinner and drinks....
Meredith: Yeah, bragging rights.
Nate: I saw you won the belt.
Chris: Of course, I'm your 2020 Helltown Champ.
Nate: He won a belt.
Meredith: For what?
Chris: I won the first annual Helltown Classic. I came in there. You know what, I almost brought it today and I should have.
Nate: I was hoping you were going to wear it.
Meredith: Okay, so tell me about that, what is that?
Chris: Well, it was a... I went back, I played with some buddies from home, we had 24 people, it was a 3-day event. First day was almost like a warmup type thing, there were four man teams, best ball for each team, you add it up. I was fortunate enough to be on the winning team that night, though I was of very little help. The second day, we played 27 holes. It was six holes of, excuse me six, it was nine holes of best ball, nine holes of captain's choice, nine holes of alternate shot. My partner and I didn't kill each other, just barely, but we didn't.
Chris: And then the third day was 18 holes, a guy got a $350 kind of pro wrestling style belt made.
Nate: That's how much that belt was?
Meredith: Okay, I need to see the picture.
Chris: Oh, it's a real belt.
Nate: We've got it on our website at myrtlebeachgolftrips.com.
Chris: Yeah, you can get a look at it.
Nate: If you look at it, there's a picture of Chris King.
Meredith: Oh my God, congratulations.
Chris: Oh, it was definitely the highlight...
Meredith: What did it feel like to wear that belt?
Chris: Whoa, what are you about, what did it feel like? I've got it displayed right by my computer, I stare at it all day when I'm working.
Nate: He spent $350 for that?
Chris: Yes. That's what the cost of the belt was.
Meredith: Is it heavy?
Chris: Oh yeah, it's a real belt and...
Meredith: Are you going to wear it? Like you can wear it out Chris?
Chris: Oh, I do.
Meredith: You know you want to. You know you want to.
Chris: I am extraordinarily gracious as a winner, which has made it easier for the losers that played that day. I was nice enough...
Meredith: Notice how he said losers.
Chris: Well look, I mean, there are only so many ways to describe where they fit into the equation. So but I was again, I've been pretty magnanimous about it. I made a Christmas card this year, from your 2020 Helltown Champ.
Meredith: No you did not.
Chris: Yes I did.
Meredith: Oh my gosh.
Chris: The family, the kids posed with the belt. It was nice.
Meredith: That's huge deal, I got to see this belt.
Chris: Oh, I've got a picture of it, I'll show you.
Meredith: What does your wife think about the belt?
Meredith: Does she think you look extra hot with that belt on?
Chris: You know, maybe I could delude... I'm not sure she thinks I look hot wearing, well, no matter what I'm [crosstalk 00:31:14]. But maybe in my mind I works that way, I'm not so sure in hers. But you know what, look I mean, that is... Look, it was great to play for that thing, right? It was a big deal. That's one of those things that someone from that outside and goes, "Ha, get a life." But if you're doing it...
Meredith: It's a huge deal.
Chris: Oh yeah.
Meredith: So let me ask you this. So did you enjoy that pressure? Did the pressure make you play better?
Chris: You know what, actually, on that day it didn't and it normally doesn't have that effect on me. I love playing but I'm not good necessarily but I played really well that day and look, this might sound crazy, but I was genuinely nervous throughout the day.
Meredith: Even while you were in the zone, you were nervous?
Chris: Oh yeah, I was nervous everything, I admit it.
Nate: Did you get in the zone?
Meredith: Yeah, did you get a zone?
Chris: No, there is no such... It's survival for me, it's not zone.
Chris: Listen, my golf game, I told people, I am a victim of years of accumulated failure, right? So I didn't really play growing up, I never really learned how, and then just kind of slowly through life, I might play, first it was once every couple of years, it was once a year, and then I got more into the golf business and I started playing more. I still didn't play as much as I could have because I was kind of self-conscious to the fact that, like you're out here playing with people like y'all right? You're like, "Oh, I shot 81 today." It's a bad for you, I'm like, 81, I'm going to commission a statue and portrait of myself out here on the course, it's going to be like Payne Stewart at Pinehurst if I shoot 81.
Chris: But so I started playing more and I've gotten a little better but I'm still not good. And when I say victim of years of accumulated failure, even when things are going well I'm like, "Ah, there's a plane crash right around the corner here." But I held it together, I walked to the 18th tee, knew I was in good shape and...
Meredith: Were you shaking? Were you nervous?
Chris: Oh, at times I was really nervous.
Nate: Oh my gosh.
Chris: Not on 18 but I'm sitting there, I'm getting ready to hit...
Nate: Well, the alternate shot is always, I'm sure it was a modified alternate shot.
Chris: Yeah but now see, the alternate was the day before.
Chris: The belt was a strictly...
Nate: That's the most...
Chris: ... stroke play.
Nate: That's the toughest...
Meredith: Wow, stroke play.
Nate: ... and Meredith would know this better than I would. That's probably the toughest part is playing alternate shot with somebody, right?
Chris: So the guy I'm playing with Sunday, I'm playing with two guys. Guy, Greg Coons is very supportive, playing with a guy named Darren Yowell who I've known since we were, I mean, we were really young, right. I mean, we may not have even been 10. And Yowell's a pretty relentless talker and he'd just been riding me all day about this. We get to 18, I'm addressing the ball and he goes, "As long you don't hit the ball OB right here," he goes, "you should be clear."
Meredith: Oh, no he didn't.
Chris: Yes, he did.
Meredith: Oh, that's terrible.
Chris: Oh yeah, he had no remorse about that.
Meredith: All smack talkers, yeah.
Chris: Yeah, but you know what, he had to strap the belt around my waist so it was a small price to pay to hear that.
Meredith: Your green jacket, I am so proud of you, that's really good. I did not realize that, I need to go check out the picture, I need to see this belt.
Chris: Oh, it is... Yeah, well go to, it's on Myrtle Beach Golf Trips, I'll pull it up while we're here. It was a... But you know what, and that's not gambling per se, but you know what, it is a situation where there's something on the line when you're playing.
Meredith: There's something on the line, yeah.
Chris: And it does make it more fun. I mean, I think...
Nate: No doubt, you have to play for something. You just can't be out there hitting the golf ball.
Meredith: Right, you got to play for something, even if it's like balls, brand new balls, or a head cover or something has on the table, I agree totally.
Nate: And I think about it as the last tip you gave, just a little bit ago, to get your mind right on the range, just to not go to the range and just bang out golf balls, you got to have something to play for.
Meredith: Yeah you do, you really do.
Chris: Well, it makes you concentrate more, because I am someone who talks a lot and my mind can wander and if we're having a conversation about something and I go to address, I'll still be sitting there thinking about whatever it is we're talking about.
Meredith: That's me too, right.
Chris: And then I've hit one in never never land and I'm like, you're a fool, right? But you don't do that when you're a little more dialed in to what it is you're trying to do.
Nate: Well, it's like you said at the top, you said you'd go out and play for money and you didn't have a dime in your pocket. I mean, Trevino says, "Pressure's playing for $5 when you don't have a dime in your pocket."
Meredith: Right, exactly. Oh my goodness, all right.
Chris: That's not a great picture.
Meredith: So I'm looking at the belt right now. Whoa, that's a massive belt. Whoa. I mean it really looks like one of those wrestling belts.
Meredith: Look at that smile on your face. You are just on cloud...
Nate: He's gushing.
Meredith: Yeah, you're blushing, you're blushing, Chris.
Chris: Oh, that was not a blush.
Nate: Oh, I said gushing.
Chris: Oh, gushing, that would maybe more like it.
Meredith: Oh, you said gushing.
Nate: He's gushing.
Meredith: He looks like he's gushing and blushing like, "Oh, I got him." He's like... That's awesome, I love it.
Chris: Well I was happy and it was great to have the gentleman you see there, hand it to me.
Meredith: He does not look happy. The guy handing you the belt, look at him holding on to the belt like he doesn't want to give it to Chris.
Chris: Well, he didn't want to give it to me but...
Meredith: He's like, oh, the look on his face. That's hilarious.
Chris: Yeah, so it adds to the fun. Whether it's money, some sort of stakes I think are helpful. I mean, obviously, we're talking about gambling games here today, but something like that, now those guys have ridden relentlessly ever since about my handicap but that's okay.
Nate: And I can't tell you how many times, working in the industry, that you see groups have come down year after year and they got some kind of trophy like that.
Meredith: Oh yeah.
Nate: And it's like, it's pride. And there's probably money on the line, but at the end of the day, that experience, you being handed the belt is probably, to me, would be more honoring than taking 15 or 20 dollars.
Chris: Oh, without question. Yeah, because there was money in that too, right, like I probably won $150, $200, I don't even remember what it was because, to your point, I didn't care about that. I would have paid them to win, that's what the victory was. Anyway...
Nate: Don't lose that belt, that's going to cost you $350, don't lose it.
Chris: Oh trust me, I've been threatened with legal action if it doesn't come back.
Meredith: It's interesting, I have a lot of students that have trouble concentrating, especially if they're going out by themselves. Let's say they don't have the opportunity to play with a group or have a game or something. And one thing that I recommend, and I did this when I was really young, again my early years out in Colorado because I played by myself a lot, I would play two balls. So I would... As long as the pace of play was moving and obviously it's not backup, depending what was going on with the course that day. But if it was pretty open, play two balls and I wold compete against myself with the two balls and see which ball would win. And I would play games even with my mind, as a young child, just my imagination. I was literally pretend it was two famous golfers and I was making the shot for them and it would wait until the very end and literally play these two balls to see who would win that day just to have that challenge because you can get bored out there.
Meredith: And especially, it really depends on your personality type, I think people who maybe are a little bit more creative, maybe more right brained, might struggle with concentration versus people who are naturally more left brained. Like my husband is complete type A, left side, and he could easily concentrate, he can just zone in, very methodical, and really stay connected with each shot. Me? I could be in a conversation like if we were out there I could start talking about something and like you said Chris, I could still be in the conversation during a shot. So I think it depends on personality type but I think those struggling, playing two balls, even if you don't have anything to challenge yourself, would be a way to go if you're by yourself and just don't have the opportunity to play for a big belt like Chris.
Chris: Yeah well, and the difference for you is you're swing is good enough that if you're still in the conversation, you're going to get away with it. When I'm in the conversation, it's oh God. Is there any chance we can still make bogey here, maybe double?
Meredith: Well Nate, before we wrap up, what about you? Games. What's your favorite game to play?
Nate: One I used to play a lot was Wolf, because that kind of... It was the most pressure game and we sometimes would play for a little bit of money.
Meredith: I have that one.
Nate: Do you have it on your list?
Nate: Okay, you got it on number two, gotcha. And there's two different ways Wolf. You can either, I've seen it played different ways, where you can go solo, take the group on, but you had to call it right away. If I was number one, if I hit it first and I hit the first tee shot and I think I hit it pretty good, you have to sometimes declare it right then and there, okay, I'm taking all three of you on. And I played it in a way where you can wait and see what everybody does first. And I don't know what the exactly, let me look at your sheet here.
Chris: I think the rules would be you're supposed to call someone else's drive as soon as they hit it. But like you, I've kind of play it more that way too,
Nate: Played it both ways.
Chris: You can see what everyone does and then...
Nate: But I like that because I like team match but it also brings in the element of playing by yourself. If you think you're playing pretty well, you can go after it by yourself. And then if you get into carryovers...
Chris: You can get real money in that.
Nate: ... you can get real money involved, yeah.
Meredith: See, I don't think I've played that one. I don't think I've played that particular game. Sounds fun.
Nate: Yeah, it's good game. And we played this game sometimes late, late in the afternoon in the summertime and we'd play it with five people, we never obviously play a fivesome but it's be late in the afternoon, no one's there, and that gets even more pressure because you're taking on four people, it's like yeah. It gets pretty insane.
Chris: We all are pretty good golfers so I mean I would say, at that point, you're betting on yourself to make birdie. And now the way it goes too is, Meredith, you said that maybe you hadn't played, but say they're playing for a dollar a hole. If Nate says, I'm going to go it alone and it's him against the other three or in his case, sometimes four. If it's a dollar a hole and Nate plays on his own and beats us, we own him two dollars each. So the bet doubles if you're playing by yourself.
Nate: And you kind of, like I said at the top...
Chris: I like that.
Nate: ... you kind of need a bookkeeper sometimes, you need someone that's good at keeping track of that because you got carryovers. And we played a variation where you could call solo before anyone hit a tee shot. I mean you'd obviously rotate the Wolf, like if there's four of us, I'd be Wolf on the first hold, I'd tee off first, you'd be the second, so it had nothing to do with honors, it would just continue that, you continued that first off on the tee rotation throughout. So if you called solo before anyone hit, it would be worth double or triple of what you're playing. So it's...
Meredith: So you're like lone wolf.
Nate: Yeah. And a lot of time you would be good later in the round you've kind of be indicative of how you're playing to determine if you'd actually go Wolf, so if I'm playing pretty good by about the 15th hole, it's like, you know what, I've had a couple of beer, a couple of cocktails, it's like I'm going to go.
Meredith: So let me ask you this, I'm going to throw you a loop. So let's say a beverage girl drives out there on hole number 17.
Chris: And she wants to go lone wolf.
Nate: And she wants to go lone wolf? Sure. You're in.
Meredith: Now this has been fun because I mean really, we never really done a podcast on different types of golf formats and games and I know we had some fun talking about my youthful hustling years. But really, there's so many different formats that you can play.
Nate: And I want to say, and this may be high but, 90% of groups that come down have a game kind of similar to what Chris had done. May not be exactly a belt, even though I've seen trophies and things like that but they are playing for something and sometimes it is accumulative, sometimes if they've got four rounds played it's an accumulative score. So yeah, there's a lot of it that goes on and it makes the game interesting, right?
Meredith: Right. And maybe for those that are listening right now, we'd love to hear what types of games that you play. Maybe comment on this podcast, let us know if you come down here regularly or even if it's just one time you've been down here but if you've played a game that you and your group like to play, let us know. Maybe we can put together a list of different games, give people ideas of different formats that they can play. Because really, if we want to grow the game of golf, the best way to grow the game of golf is honestly playing games, because I know so many people who are not interested in being elite golfers, they're not interested in going on tour, they're not interested in playing even their club championships, but they want to get together with a group of friends and just have fun, and I think, given our COVID environment and everything, going into 2021 now, I think games are really the way to go, because so many people are coming into the game of golf now and they just want to get outside and have fun and hit the ball and what better than to have a fun game with friends.
Meredith: And outside game of poker but on the golf course, right?
Chris: Yes, it's a lot more fun than poker.
Meredith: A lot more fun than poker. All right, well Chris, thanks for coming on the show today.
Chris: Absolutely, thanks for having me.
Meredith: It was a lot of fun, it's always fun seeing you and now...
Nate: Take care of that belt, man.
Meredith: Yeah, I know. Keep that belt polished.
Chris: Oh, I will.
Meredith: You don't want to get that thing rusty this year.
Chris: I won't happen.
Meredith: All right everyone, have a great day, thanks for joining us.
LPGA Instructor Meredith Kirk is joined by golf writer Chris King to discuss Meredith’s “hustling” days from early in her career on the beverage cart. Good conversation about golf gambling and some fun games to play with your golf buddies
Show Notes (Time stamped for quick reference)
Start to :32 Introduction
:33 Chris introduces the topic of golf and gambling
2:04 Meredith talks about her time “hustling” as a junior golfer (9 years old) family background, time at the golf course
8:22 The college years and working the beverage cart, hustling for more sales
20:10 Better Under Pressure
21:52 Meeting good people, making connections
22:18 Games with friends, keeping the game interesting
23:32 Specific games to play that are fun
26:33 Chris’ golf group “Ryder Cup” format
28:51 Chris winning the 2020 “Helltown Classic” Belt
31:42 Playing better under the pressure?
37:01 Myrtle Beach golf groups playing for something, passing the trophy
37:49 A game to play to help with concentration
39:48 Recommended fun games to play with your buddies
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