Golf Gurus: Advice for Business

Women Golfers, Too

Talking the Talk

Tee Time Transfer

Corrections or additions?

Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on July 19, 2000. All rights

reserved.

The PGA’s Biggest Green

If you thought Princeton was star-struck when the

Einstein movie, "I.Q.," came to town a few years ago, what

do you make of the hoopla surrounding the arrival of the senior PGA

stars for the Instinet Classic tournament at Jasna Polana.

Retailers are moving their golf togs front and center, newspapers

are rolling out "special" sections, hotels are packed with

visitors, and businesses are inviting special clients to corporate

receptions and outings connected with the tournament.

The lesson is that after the 18th green comes the 19th hole, and after

that comes the real green: a special relationship between the game

of golf and the corporate world that continues to grow. As veteran

Trenton Times sports columnist Harvey Yavener points out, even the

Senior PGA tour, consisting of golfers 50 and older, draws record

crowds and increasingly lucrative purses.

And at the Instinet fans will be able to see in person one of the

men most responsible for the emergence of golf as the Corporate Game:

Arnold Palmer. At Jasna Polana the 70-year-old Palmer will be playing

in his 1,000th professional event, dating back to the late 1950s when

he rose to the top of the professional ranks and was discovered by

one of the first and still one of the most influential sports

marketers,

Cleveland attorney Mark McCormick. Long before Michael Jordan,

McCormick

figured out how to turn a professional athlete into a national brand,

and he began with golfers, specifically Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

The lesson of Palmer and Nicklaus was never lost on Princeton book

producer John Montelone, founder of Mountain Lion, longtime

book packagers and literary agents, located at Research Park. As

Monteleone

notes, being a good or even great golfer is not enough to forge a

profitable enterprise off the course. Agents or book packagers want

to see some staying power. They don’t want to invest time and money

in the publishing equivalent of a one-night stand, says Monteleone.

And you need more than one good idea to interest a publisher; you

need three ideas. They want to "build a brand around you,"

Monteleone says.

In addition to looking for experts that can do more than one book,

Monteleone also hopes to find someone "who would see himself as

the product," he says. A writer has branded himself well when

his name take priority. "A good example is our latest book by

golf pro Hank Haney, and Hank Haney’s name is three or four times

larger than the title of the book on the cover," says Monteleone.

Monteleone’s specialty is golf, an ever-popular subject

because 2 million of the nation’s 26 million golfers are new to the

sport every year, and the group as a whole boasts sparkling

demographics.

But among his general title packaging jobs are a young adults’ sports

encyclopedia for Grolier, and "Speaking Freely," a heavy

reference

tome on the derivation and social history of words (Oxford, 1997,

470 pages, $39.95).

And the lesson of golf can be applied to other fields, as well.

"We’ve

watched a growing phenomena permeate the self-help sector of book

publishing — the rise and dominance of gurus, from all

professions,

as authors," says Monteleone. Even Tom Peters, the hotshot

business

consultant who launched a guru career seven years ago with "In

Search of Excellence" is trumpeting this in another new book.

He calls it "building the brand called YOU."

Monteleone grew up in Hopewell, where his father owned the gas

station that was filmed in the movie IQ. A standout athlete at Seton

Hall, Class of 1964, he played minor league baseball for three years

for the Yankees and the Senators. After baseball he earned his

master’s

degree in journalism from Columbia, and spent the next dozen years

writing sports books on contract and doing book packaging at a time

when packagers were more rare than they are now. He founded his own

firm in 1983, and it has packaged books on most of the major sports,

some general reference works, and some children’s books.

"As book packagers we think of an idea, put together the writers

and the creative people to do it, sell it as a package to the

publisher,

and share ownership," says Monteleone.

He cites "The 10 Absolutes of Great Golf," a book he is doing

with Gary Smith, who will do the British Open broadcast from

Scotland. "We tell the client how to make it work. Gary had these

ideas kicking around in his teaching, but now he has synthesizes the

minimum requirements to have a great golf game."

"But some of the golf pros already have an idea or a writer, so

we started a literary agency to complement our packaging, the Sports

Literary Agency. We help them put the proposal together, but we don’t

own the work." Mountain Lion was the agent for Todd Sones, who

wrote "Lights-Out Putting," (a term that means, when a golfer

is hot with his putts, he is turning off the lights on the other

golfers’

chances).

Sometimes the book propels the career, as with Mike McGetrick‘s

book "The Scrambler’s Dozen: the 12 shots every golf needs to

score like the pros." After the book came out, McGetrick began

getting calls to teach Scrambler’s Dozen clinics. "With a book,

your lecture fees go up, because people think you are credentialed.

Then you need to maintain your profile with one or two follow-up

books,"

says Monteleone.

At branding’s best, it moves beyond best-selling books into equipment

and other products. Hank Haney, for instance, is ranked number

four among golf teachers nationally, and he has created a Play America

package that golf centers sell to beginning golfer: a series of six

lessons plus equipment, so that at each lesson the novice gets a new

club, and at the end has a set of beginner’s clubs. Other

possibilities,

for golf, are the branded videos, schools, and advanced training aids.

Mountain Lion is well stocked with golf gurus but will consider

experts

in other areas. "If someone sent us something that made sense

and was well written, we would consider it. We can certainly see a

project that has promise if it is presented to us," says

Monteleone.

As for the as-told-to writer, the professional writer who works with

a celebrity to write a book and gets his or her name in small print,

Monteleone has a stable of several dozen freelancers. "We turn

up writers through referrals, our best way of getting writers we can

trust," he says.

Monteleone offers this test of whether you are a good candidate to

author a book. Rate yourself on a scale of one to five, five meaning

that you agree totally with the statement, one meaning that you do

not agree at all. How true are these statements?

You have something new or unique to say.

You can organize ideas and express them in an

easy-to-follow

style.

You have more than one book to write on your subject of

expertise.

You have a track record for helping others with the

information

you wish to publish.

You are often consulted by peers for advice.

You are well-known among the general public as well as

among your peers.

You speak well in front of groups.

You have the means to sell copies of your book directly

to the targeted reader.

You are available to promote the book, including travel.

You have access to the media and can reach important

reviewers

apart from the publisher’s sphere of contacts.

You need a minimum score of 35 to consider yourself a prospect

for writing a book, says Monteleone. If you can’t honestly get that

score, tuck your manuscript back into the drawer.

Top Of Page
Golf Gurus: Advice for Business

The mental skills of a great putter, as defined by

Todd

Sones, might be compared to the mindset of a good executive or

a good salesperson. Sones is ranked as one of the top 100 teaching

professionals in Golf Magazine, and with David DeNunzio he wrote

"Lights-Out Putting: a mind, body, and soul approach to Golf’s

Game Within the Game" (Contemporary Books, 2000, 146 pages plus

appendix and index, $22.95). The author’s agent was John Monteleone’s

Research Park-based firm, Mountain Lion Inc.

Sones lists "The Great Eight" mental skills for putters, and

each one has obvious parallels to sales and/or management.

"Great putters believe they’re great," writes Sones.

"They’re

cocky — and I mean that with the greatest respect. Average or

poor putters don’t view themselves as great. They view themselves

as average or poor putters."

"The reason why most amateurs have such low putting self-esteem

is that they focus solely on the putts they miss during a typical

round. You must learn to shift your focus — and memory —

toward

the many putts you make, not the ones that lip out or go screaming

past the hole."

"Great putters, in addition to believing they’re great, enjoy

the task of putting. They’re up to the many challenges of rolling

the ball into the hole. Gary Player (designer of the Jasna

Polana

course), during the Tour’s Florida swing, often said how he loved

to putt on the slow, grainy greens of the South. When the Tour

ventured

north, Player would change gears and rank slick, bent-grass greens

as the best surfaces to putt on. When confronted with the fact that

he couldn’t possibly love both extremes, Player simply responded that

he loved to putt on all greens, `especially those I have to play on

today.’"

The other mental skills in The Great Eight:

Confidence, both external (based on events you can’t

always

control) and internal (learned and developed from the inside).

Decisiveness, making decisions and putting those decisions

into action without hesitation.

Imagination, "seeing" the ball rolling toward

the target even before the putter is put into motion, not worrying

about the mechanics.

Responsibility and awareness. Learn to describe your putts

rather than judge them.

Fear. Having fear simply means you want to succeed and

avoid failure, which is perfectly okay in my book. Become aware of

where it originates and replace it with positive emotion. Distracting

yourself out of fear is one of the goals of the preputt routine.

Effort. Great putters know how to give their best effort,

not the most effort. They don’t tie themselves in knots by trying

too hard.

Perfection. Great putters accept that they’ll have good

days and bad days. Remember, negative reactions reinforce the notion

of being a poor putter, which explains how a bad day often becomes

a prolonged slump.

Top Of Page
Women Golfers, Too

Golfing is one of the Princeton area’s favorite sports,

and women are taking part just as they are in every other aspect of

corporate life, says Beverly Lynch, a lobbyist in Trenton and

former president of the YWCA of Trenton board. She invites golfers

to the YWCA’s first annual golf outing, Monday, July 24, at Mercer

Oaks, at 9 a.m.

Shotgun start is at 10 a.m., and lunch will be served on the course.

An awards reception will be at 4 p.m. Cost: $100, or $25 for reception

only. Foursomes can register for $375, and even at this date some

sponsorship opportunities are still available. To sponsor a tee or

a hole costs $75. Make checks payable to YWCA of Trenton and sent

to Beverly Lynch, 212 West State Street, Trenton 08608. For

information

call 609-392-3100.

The more typical awards will be for closest to the pin, largest drive,

and best foursome, but there will also be an award for the most honest

foursome.

"Golfers play for the fun, pleasure, and challenge of the

game,"

Lynch says. "We thought it would be very appropriate to organize

a golf outing for the fun of it, and to fundraise for the YWCA of

Trenton’s worthy projects and programs.

Top Of Page
Talking the Talk

"The Little Book of Golf Slang: from fried eggs to frog

hairs, words to help you pass as a golfer," is a Mountain Lion book

written by Randy Voorhees and published in 1997 by Andrews McNeel

(137 pages, $7.95). With this book anybody can "talk the

talk."

But if you do not play golf at all, if you are not even a hacker or

a duffer, don’t try to cozy up to a golf-playing client by tossing

terms around. That will go over about as well as an elephant’s ass.

elephant’s ass. "A poorly struck shot that is

"high

and stinky." Usually applied to a popped-up drive that is higher than

it is long. An elephant’s ass might also prompt a comment such as,

"Except for distance and direction," that was a good show.

fried eggs. "A ball buried in the sand, with a ring

around it created on impact. Too many fried eggs will make you lose

your appetite for the game.

frog hairs. "The short grass at the edge of the green.

Also known as the collar or the fringe.

mulligan. "A `takeover shot,’ used when a player muffs

his first attempt. No score is official for any round in which you

take a mulligan — a concept most of America’s golfers seem to

have a hard time understanding.

good, good. "When two golfers have putts that lie

similar distances from the cup, one will say "Your `putt is good

if mine is good.’ Used mostly by amateur players who fear short putts.

Fat, hit it. "To hit the ground behind the ball first

so that the shot has no spin and does not achieve the desired

distance.

Liz Taylor. "A shot that’s a little fat but

still okay. Not to be confused with a Roseanne, which is very

fat and not okay.

flat bellies. "The younger, thinner golfers on the

PGA Tour. Coined by golfing legend Lee Trevino.

leak oil. "What a golfer does as his game begins to

fall apart. For duffers, this process often begins at the first tee.

With reference to the pros, usually applied to a golfer who is leading

a tournament but has begun to give away shots as his game

disintegrates.

Greg Norman has leaked more oil than the Exxon Valdez.

afraid of the dark. "What a putt is when it won’t

go in the hole.

Top Of Page
Tee Time Transfer

Here’s one more vote for live operators versus punching

buttons on a telephone. Golfers from Middlesex County will now use

the same tee-time reservation system — the Golf Network —

as those from Mercer County. Based in Ocean, this company shuns

computer-generated

menus and offers live operators, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,

at 800-883-5674.

Live operators, says Richard Pucci, generate a greater level

of confidence in the integrity of the reservation system. Pucci is

executive director of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority,

which operates Meadows at Middlesex (formerly Princeton Meadows),

Tamarack, and Raritan Landing. "It also has a much greater

capacity

to handle a large number of calls at once, cutting waiting times to

a minimum."

Signing up on the Internet at www.golf-network.com is another option,

but the Network’s contract with Middlesex County is so new that the

all of the web pages for Middlesex courses are not yet hotlinked to

the tee-time reservation page.

Golfers can use the same account number for both counties. Middlesex

County registration costs $30 for the year for county residents, and

$60 for non-county residents, and for this the golfers get reduced

greens fees. Mercer County registration costs $22 for county

residents,

which includes reduced greens fees, and $30 for outsiders, but that

does not include reduced fees. For Middlesex information, call

Anthony

Vitale at 609-655-5141. For Mercer information, call John

Kostin

at 609-989-6559.

Those who also join the Golf Network ($50 per year) can book tee times

on public courses almost anywhere in the country. Pick your course,

get your time.


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