Bob Pfister from The Glen Mills School Blog

By Jim AxelrodJuly 13, 2010, 11:23 pm

Golf is a game of hope, redemption and managing your mistakes. We find that out every time we slice a drive into the woods and try to figure out a way to still salvage par.

In this week’s episode of Golf in America, we take you to a course that could have “hope” and “redemption” knit into the club logo. The Golf Course at Glen Mills, in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania is part of The Glen Mills School, the nation’s oldest reform school. The workers at the course are all students at the school, all trying to manage their mistakes and figure out how keep one bad decision from turning into a string of bogies in life. It’s a story about the potential to be found in young people others have written off. We hope you found the story as inspirational watching it as we did reporting it.

While I was at Glen Mills, I had a chance to chat with the pro, an affable man named Bob Pfister, who just celebrated his 70th birthday. Fresh out of the Navy in 1963, Bob had found a job as an assistant pro at Saucon Valley Golf Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, working under a Scotsman named Ralph Hutchison. In the winters, Mr. Hutchison was the pro at the Cotton Bay Club in the Bahamas, an exclusive playground for the wealthy developed by Juan Trippe, the founder of Pan Am.

Bob Pfister certainly wasn’t about to say no when Ralph Hutchison offered him the chance to work at the Cotton Bay Club in the winter. What 22-year-old would say no, especially one who had grown up in Buffalo, New York and could use a warm winter? 

The truth was that Cotton Bay was not exactly overrun. Bob wasn’t going to be overworked, unless of course you counted the amount of time he’d get to spend on his own game. Often there’d be no more than one or two foursomes on the course at any given time. Sometimes, members and their guests come in the pro shop looking for a game with the young assistant pro who wasn’t particularly busy.

One day in the winter of 1963, two guys named Jess and Gene were looking for a game and grabbed Bob out of the shop. Gene was Jess’s guest, spending a couple of weeks at Cotton Bay. Bob enjoyed the round, and the men enjoyed playing with the young pro. Bob would play another six times over the next two weeks with Gene and dozens more in the following months with Jess. 

Bob learned a lot about the game from both men, who could play just a little. Jess’s last name was Sweetser. He’d been a pretty fair amateur, if you count winning the U.S. and British Amateurs and once dusting Bobby Jones 8 and 7 as “decent.” Gene used to bring his shag bag to the chipping area with his sand wedge and say to Bob, “practice the hardest shot you can find with this club, and everything else will be a piece of cake,“ Bob recalled. “He loved that sand wedge.” 

He should have. He invented it. Gene was—you guessed it—Gene Sarazen, the first man to have won the modern Grand Slam.   

They stayed in touch, always telling Bob if there was anything they could do for him to let them know. A few years later, Bob applied for his first head pro job. Asked for references, he supplied two names: Jess Sweetser and Gene Sarazen. The head of the club asked Bob, “do you really know them?” Bob replied, “Sure, you want me to call them right now?” Needless to say, Bob got the job.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.