Eight Weeks of Improvement

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Natural Golf Makeover ChallengeThe eighth and final installment of the Natural Golf Makeover Challenge came to a end on Monday as the Fab Five had come full circle, arriving back in Orlando for their much-anticipated final exams.

The crew was flown in from all over the country and put up in the swanky Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios Orlando. The fivesome enjoyed a little R&R at the theme parks and were treated to a luau before their big day arrived at the Reunion Golf Resort and Spa. During their final 18-hole test each would have serious questions to answer and demons to face.

But before they began their rounds, the Fab Five received one last go around from the team of Natural Golf Makeover Challenge gurus.

Fitness guru Kelly Blackburn led a series of stretches to get them loose and warmed up to play. Fashion guru Marty Hackel did one last wardrobe change, while motivational guru Lou Holtz offered some words of encouragement. Finally, swing guru Ed Woronicz told them to trust what they had learned and to have confidence in their new games.

Of the five participants, the one who may have benefited the most from the eight-week program was police officer Ralph Sanzeri. In addition to losing a whopping 26 lbs., thanks in part to the guidelines of Blackburn, Ralph also had drastically improved his distance and control off the tee. Playing with an old friend at the final exam, Ralph broke 90 by hitting eight greens in regulation while losing no strokes lost to penalties.

I was excited and terrified all in one, but I had gotten some really great instruction during the makeover, so I had to just get out there and trust it, said Ralph about his final 18 holes.

Summer Davidson-Jones on the other hand, was last seen struggling and somewhat frustrated with her game. Playing with her husband James - whom she wanted to defeat as one of her goals - Summer started strong but ultimately couldnt keep pace. Despite the loss, she found comfort in her tremendous accuracy off the tee and what the program has brought to her game and to her life.

My true reward is within and I have learned and grown so much through this experience. I feel comfortable I can now come out here and say Im a golfer, which I would have never said before, said Summer on her eight-week journey.

In one of the days most anticipated showdowns, marketing rep Kevin Odberg faced his longtime nemesis Alex, otherwise known as the evil goalie. It didnt, however, live up to the pre-round hype, as Kevin crushed his most daunting foe with a nifty 83 - 18 strokes better than the evil goalies 101.

There was a lot of competition between us. We were both excited, saying whatever happens this is going to be great, said Kevin about his thoughts before the round. But secretly, I knew it was going to be really great if I got to kick his butt!

Meanwhile, disc jockey Ken Dashow put on a golfing display that even surprised himself, beating his buddy with a solid 83 that included one birdie and five pars. It wasnt a certain shot or a certain club that had Ken excited but his newfound confidence that he attributes to carrying him through the day.

Im now playing the golf course. Im looking at it with an understanding of how to attack the hole, where do I want to land this, wheres my target area, said the delighted Ken. (Now) I can aim for a target and hit it as opposed to just swinging and praying.

And finally there was Wild Bill, the Harley-loving Vietnam vet from California who had just recently taken up the game. The ultimate challenge for him was simple: win enough holes during the round to come out on top and win the all-important beer bets that he usually places with his buddy Al. In spite of struggling down the stretch and the nervousness of playing in front of the cameras, Wild Bill was able to hold off Al and collect on his beer bets.

As the day concluded and the final assessments were made, there was just one more little surprise to throw at the group. And no, it was not one last free cram session with a swing instructor, but instead an all-expense paid trip for two to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the DuPont World Amateur Championship in late August.

I cant wait to showcase my game when we get there. People are probably going to follow us in particular since theyll know us from the show, said Kevin on the prospects of going to Myrtle Beach.
 
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