Some of my best memories in golf are from when I was fifteen and a brand new player. In our endless summers, my friends and I would caddy in the mornings at the local country club, then play our more modest nine hole course until dark. We would putt for quarters in the pitch black until our parents’ headlights would pull into the lot and we’d be dragged home. We would play in the rain wearing our squishy Chuck Taylors, and dive into the ponds to retrieve our errant shots. We never paid for golfballs. Golf was pure joy.
As I developed as a player, the joy factor came from competition. I played on my high school team, and then college. I was inducted into the William Paterson University Athletic Hall of Fame. While in college I won numerous amateur events and made a name for myself in the New York metropolitan area. Upon graduation I turned pro. I combined working as an apprentice and playing mini-tour events for a few years. My game topped out. The joy factor began to slip away. Some people have it, some don’t. PGA Tour players have it, I don’t. Once I came to terms with that, my focus became all about teaching people how to play. The joy factor returned in spades.
It sounds cliche, but wow moments exist. Want to experience some real joy? Watch someone’s eyes light up when they hit a shot off the sweet spot. It is pure, and I wouldn’t change what I do for the world.
I started to feel that competitive drive coming on again. Though this time it was not a jones to play, but to get better as an instructor. I picked the brains of some of the world’s best teachers. I took advantage of the PGA of America’s education opportunities and became a PGA Master Professional. That puts me in the top 1% of all PGA Professionals.
You could say I’m a happy camper. I have combined my love of teaching with my competitive nature. Joy factor achieved.
The next mountain to climb was reaching more people. I decided that a website that endeavored to elicit that joy factor in thousands was the direction I needed to go.
paulrudeen.com is a culmination of many things. It is in its infancy. It will grow. Come grow with me, and feel the joy.