by Jeff Skinner
Like any true golf fanatic I spend plenty of time reading just about anything on my favorite topic. In print or on the Web, it doesn’t matter, I can’t get enough. I have stacks of magazines which I refuse to get rid of until I read them cover to cover, at least a few times.
Nicklaus and his team designed The Club at Carlton Woods and at the grand opening of the course Nicklaus traditionally plays the course with the host professional. Steinbauer was an experienced teacher and club pro at the time but he wasn’t expecting to go head to head with the greatest golfer of all time.
“I had worked for the Nicklaus/Flick Golf Schools, but had never spent much time with Jack, certainly not nearly as many hours as I would that day. I had always been a big fan of his, and I couldn’t wait to play with him—I was about to experience nearly every golfer’s dream”
Steinbauer likes to use the experience as a lesson on the power of focus and concentration in golf. Few golfers had the concentration skills of Nicklaus. As the match continued he saw how Nicklaus turned his focus to the shot at hand.
“As the round progressed, he elevated his game to a higher level. I first saw “the eye” on the 6th hole. After our approach shots, his ball was just outside mine, 25 feet from the hole. Jack putted first, and as he was addressing the ball, I saw a little more concentration in his face. It was a look I had seen many times before on television, coming down to the wire in major championships. Of course, he made the putt. He gave me a wink as he walked by as if to say, “Top that.” It was electric being on the same course with him and feeling the pressure level go up a notch.”
Nicklaus and Steinbauer play themselves into an unplanned match play event and Steinbauer gives an up close accounting of The Golden Bear and that competitiveness which made him the icon he is. In addition to a great golf lesson it’s a wonderful read. Take a minute to see how a club pro and the greatest finished their memorable day. Click here for the article in Links Magazine.