I have had the good fortune of meeting with, speaking with and learning from the most talented golfers that the world has ever seen. I would be bragging, and it would be hard to believe, if I were to drop the names of just a few of these famous people. Impressive as their talent's to play may be, I have come to recognize a different way to measure out our lists of the greatest golfers.
I believe that great golfers are measured by the positive effects that they genuinely have on you. A great golfer is one that inspires you to learn. They will make you understand the reasons to respect each other and the game. They comfort us and give us confidence when we are under the pressure of some nerve racking of situation, (like a shot between the trees?). Great golfers challenge you to be a better person. Most importantly, great golfers lead by example, as they apply the great traits of golf to their own lives.
Recently, we lost our company's namesake, Billy Casper, on February 7, 2015. The week before, Cleveland lost one of its favorite golf pros, George Bigham, Pro Emeritus of the Oakwood Country Club. George and Billy were good friends. They spent years together playing on the PGA tour, as well as casually, as any friends would. Families in tow, they traveled in their trailers from stop to stop, all over the country. Over time, their family and professions took them different directions.
I met both men later in their lives. Initially, I was nervous to talk to these men. I was afraid to ask questions. Scared of looking silly or stupid. But as great golfers always do, they recognized my fears, and walked me past such issues. At the end of their lives, I became their long distance liaison. George and Billy, would sit me down, tell me stories of each other and send incredibly long winded messages of their hopes and wishes.
Never once did I hear a story of a putt missed for money, who won the match or how far they hit it, just how much they cared about each other's person, and their comforts in who they were.
Golf gives us the opportunity to take the good things from each other, to enjoy time spent, and to learn from each other in a way that will affect everything you do. It's more than good players and low scores. George and Billy proved this to me. It’s what we get from our moms and dads, sisters, brothers and friends.
Cliché as it sounds, it is more than a game, thanks to George and Billy, I will remember that.