By: Arlen Bento, WGCA contributing writer
So, I am going to the Masters.
You know, the little tournament in Georgia started by Bobby Jones at the Augusta National Golf Club. Have you heard of it? Pretty big stuff; you get an awesome green jacket if you win! Now, why I am going and how I am going are two very interesting things.
First, I am going because of my golf coaching. I am very fortunate to coach at a great high school that has a lot of great connections to golf. I have been able, with the help of great players and families, to build a very good golf program in the last nine years with many great players, many great accomplishments, and more to come.
As a team over the last few years, we have been rewarded with a personal visit with Arnold Palmer after winning our second state district title. After our third district title, Mr. Palmer took a liking to our program and was able to donate our team uniforms for our 2012 season. Our players were even invited to participate in a great charity event where my senior players we able to caddie for Mr. Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino.
In the summer of 2013 as we started to plan for our fourth state district and a legitimate run at our first state Florida high school championship, an incentive was put into place to motivate the team: Win the district, advance to the regional and play in the state tournament, and go to the Masters. No small feat in Florida…from our region, if you get to the state, you win the state. Very tough golf in our area. Well needless to say, guess what? We win the district, finish tied for first at the regional, and make it to our first state championship. And, now we get to go to the Masters.
Now, let’s talk about how we are going. Well, we are traveling with our five players from the state team and our girl’s individual state champion – and myself – for a weekend at the Masters. We leave on the Friday of the tournament from our local jetway via private plane. We arrive at Augusta, where we will be transported to our accommodations on property at Augusta National Golf Club. On Friday night, we have a dinner planned, then a quiet evening on the grounds to get ready to watch the weekend at the Masters.
Can you imagine! Saturday and Sunday at the Masters, up close and personal, plus staying on property, walking from your private home to the event. For any golfer, this would as good as it gets, maybe better. I really hope we have good weather and I really hope that I can learn from being at this type of event, taking in the feel of golf and what it takes to get players to bring their games to the next level. As a golf coach, I am always talking about the little things, the one putt, that one chip, that one bunker shot that takes a player to the next level. Well, this April we are going to be looking at the next level, maybe the ultimate level, the level that we all dream about, the level that transcends golf and sport.
My only hope is that someday, one of my players makes the field at the Masters, and that would be my ultimate experience in golf. For now, we are working at a first state title, I think the motivation of the Masters helped!
Master Teaching Professional Arlen Bento Jr. is a golf coach, golf sales business owner, golf product developer, and golf writer living in Jensen Beach, Florida. He is a former professional tournament player and is a national award-winning head golf professional at the PGA Country Club at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, FL. He can be reached via face book at www.facebook.com/arlenbentojr or on his blog http://arlenbentojr.blogspot.com/ or on his business website www.abjgolfsales.com.