The Right Side of the Sod….

Today was special. I was going to hit balls on the range at Sawgrass. It was chilly but if you are a range rat like me you will go to the rock pile rain or shine. Before braving the elements I had to pay my ritual tribute to staff at the pro shop. Just Ted the Great spreading the wealth. If I don’t shake up at least 10-15 people a day I am not doing my job. Last stop as I exit has to be my screwy friend and Director of Golf, Greg Lecker.

Now Leck has been through the best and worst of life so we are somewhat simpatico. Of course on a quiet Monday afternoon he says,”Do you want to go see Gary Player?” Having been witness to a lot of our stunts and knowing that the Black Knight lives in South Africa I had to measure my response carefully. Why not and I jump in the cart. Seems he is playing on the course with journeyman Leonard Thompson and some people from the Golf Hall of Fame.

High on the hill the fourth tee overlooks the ocean but the view is the man. He may be 10 plus years older than any one else in the group and smaller in stature but you know it is him. Attired in black as he has for all these years there is not a hair or pleat out of place. His swing is effortless and the ball flies off that club as it has thousands of times. He broke into the PGA world in 1957 and proceeded to forge a career of 165 tournament wins including nine majors on the regular tour and an equal number on the senior tour. TTG is in the company of royalty.

Usually as one who enters the court we often are required to doff our chapeau, kneel or at least genuflect but that just won’t cut it here. His smile and manner make any man or woman feel at home. He has no idea who this goof ball in the “NAVY GOLF ” hat is but to him I am just another fellow traveler on this incredible journey called life and more specifically golf. I tended the pins and raked traps the rest of the way with a smile in my heart.

I marveled in so many ways. This guy is in phenomenal shape. He doesn’t overindulge in any sense of the word. His eyes sparkle. He has a jaunt in his step and his heart as he pushes 80. He is taking in the surrounding area and shape of the golf hole. He is seeing who is within earshot to tell them how lucky they are. He bemoans the shape of America not as a carping hag but as one who looks upon his brood and wonders how they have become so out of shape. He is not cruel or judgmental but rather a man who has been honest and straightforward all his life.

Kathy and I were in Hawaii a couple of years ago. There was a senior tournament not far from where we were staying on the Big Island. When I go to these affairs I hang out by the practice range. Hey, I come to watch golf swings and what better place to do it. There could not have been more than a handful of fellow spectators. Fred Couples, Jay Haas, Fuzzy Zoeller, and Ben Crenshaw were there. The latter walked no more than a few feet away from me. There was not a hint of recognition on any of their part. Look straight ahead,. The world does not exist or at least I don’t need it. I understand if there was a crush of people and this was the US Open but this is a laid back affair in Hawaii and we were a chip shot away. . Nada. Zilch towards any of us. I wonder how my new found buddy, Mr. Player would have handled this?

I also fast forwarded to the members of today’s crop of prima donnas. They helicopter in from home and fly by private jet between cities. Just a third of the way into the season the top money winner, Jimmy Walker is just shy of $4 million in earnings for the year. #50, Mark Leishman has pocketed $750,000. Mark who? Most of them are well endowed in the ego department. Not so in tact and approachability. I am standing next to a guy who has travelled over 25 million miles in pursuit of his craft but more importantly his love of a marvelous game. There are no airs here except pure class.

Whether you are a golfer or a corporate honcho there’s a lesson to be learned. No matter your office is a corner suite or a tee box you are a lucky dude or dudette.
Whether you make a little or a lot of money you are far better than some poor bastard in China or Sri Lanki that makes $1.50 per day for a lot harder work.
Whether you are a happy camper or someone with a bitch in your heart you at least have he ability to express yourself as I do without fear of retribution.
Whether you live in a mansion or a one bedroom apartment you have a roof over your head that is not corrugated or leaking. You have running water and indoor plumbing.
Whether you are healthy or desperately ill at least you have access to the latest medical technology has to offer. How horrible you had to wait a couple of hours.
Most and best of all, we are on the right side of the sod. Think of friends and children that have passed far too soon. On the wrong end of an insidious disease or an angry gun barrel. Just thank your lucky stars for where you are and don’t ever forget where you came from.

As always
Ted The Great.

Sawgrass Country Club’s 27 holes are littered with agua. There are 300,000,000 golf balls lost in America every year. A lot of them right here. A golf ball takes 500-1000 years to degrade. There have been over 5,000 patents issued for golf ball design.

Golf 4 Disabled helps those with spinal cord injuries, amputations, stroke residuals, visual impairments, head traumas, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis enjoy the game of golf.

Tiger Woods has earned over $1.25 billion in his golf career. His daily workout is around 10 hours. He does 2-3 hours of conditioning and 7-8 hours of hitting balls, playing, chipping and putting. See Kath I am not that bad after all.

Golf as we know it probably started in Scotland in the 1450’s. The oldest 18 hole course in the US is the Chicago Golf Club founded in 1892 by Charles McDonald. Today there are approximately 17,500 courses in the US.




What Color is ?……

We as a nation and as a world are hyper about skin color. Nosey applications ask you if you are caucasian, black, brown, yellow and who knows what. How sad we are defined by just that. But let’s leave all that surface BS behind and get to the crux of the matter. Literally what is the color of your heart? Your soul? Scalpel please.

I have seen heart transplants on TV having been spared the open zipper approach my self.  As they flip the defective one in a stainless steel bowl, slimy and a bruised shade of purple doesn’t engender a symbol of love and affection. Yet think about your own. Is it warm and welcoming or cold and gray? Black like ebon keys or a ruby red like a good wine. Does it say I am open to all or is it granite like, a fortress not willing to be challenged?

That incredible masterpiece of  valves and plumbing sends a part of you coursing through your veins and arterials and begins to unmask your true mettle. Is your skin flush with crimson because of a soulmate’s kiss?  Maybe irate? Maybe embarrassed? Do you even  have feelings or are you wan and gray beyond signs of life? Does your skin radiate not from a deft surgeon’s hand but from depths of your personal canyons? Do you wear your age well and proudly or have you just let yourself go?

If you are your lips, are they red and vivacious or does the blue match the coldness in your heart? Your eyes. Are they soft hazel or steely blue? Maybe a deep mahogany betraying complexity? No matter how you try to be impervious they are a window into your soul. They can have the warmth of a fire or the chill of a rain soaked night.  Can you see clearly or is your existence blurred as through opaque glass?

Time to leave the friendly confines of us and move out into nearby space. Are your children and family in general an amorphous pale blob that must be tolerated or does each one stand out like a facet of a beautifully cut ornate diamond. Daring to be looked at from a totally new angle and appreciated in an ever burgeoning beauty. Wow! I have never seen you more striking. So alive. So special. This is great stuff but I must move on.

Do you look outside and see the multitude of greens and reds and purples in the prism of life or is your sky sullen and overcast? Even worse are you devoid of any sense of person or at best oyster white? Do you see the rising and setting of that orange orb in all its splendor and really grasp what this thing called life is? What color or texture is your air? Is smog laden like wet insulation or crisp like a cold Perrier that feels so good to be sucked in? Do you see the dew glistening or  just curse it for ruining your freshly buffed shoes?  Can you meditate and take in each breath savoring its power to regenerate and let go of all things toxic on the exhalation? Are your days precious to be lived second by second or just another stop on this local train to oblivion?

What color is your job? Does it sear and challenge, dying for you to take another bite or is it bland like cold cereal or maybe a cold block of  day old risotto? When you look at life are you a ref in zebra stripes or a coach with a faded red ball cap. Do you lay down rules for yourself and others or do you want to instill passion and excitement for the task ahead?  Push your limits as well as theirs. Or are you and your charges full of don’ts.

What color is your favorite room? It is rich in leather with that slightly musty fragrance or perhaps bright and airy bombarding the senses? Does your living room have chairs that beckon you to sink  deep down or are they stiff and formal warning off any interlopers? Monochromatic and indirect fluorescents highlighting beige walls. Elevator music. Viewing hours of the body will be between 7:00-9:00 PM. Donations in lieu of flowers.

What do your clothes say about you? Do you wear vibrant pinks, yellows, greens and poplins in the summer? Why don’t you wear them all the time? Do you shun the outrageous because you really don’t like to be bold or because you think your world won’t approve? An outrageous scarf or jaunty chapeau is just the thing for those mid winter blues.

So many questions.  So few answers but then again…. Don’t tell me you don’t know because deep down you do. Life can be a palette of colors like beautiful balloons beckoning you to come on up and lift off. Paint with abandon. Try color variations by mixing and matching. Go ahead. Be avant and hurl those pellets of imagination at the canvas and revel as they explode into new delights. You are the only one judging this art fair and you get a ribbon no matter what.

I don’t like blacks and whites or even grays.  Onyx and Pearl  are interesting in geometric shapes but in a living room they seem to scream “Whoa” and leave your spontaneity at the door. I love tulips and roses and daffodils and daisies. Azaleas and peonies as they crack open. Seems like they go on blooming forever. But that is just me .

Do some of us embrace  being neutral or do we just not know the way?  It’s not fair to judge and I won’t try to tell you how to do things. But we should question from time to time. We should stop and take stock. We will never pass this way or that again and we owe it to ourselves to give it our best shot. Paint on mes amis. Paint on before those tubes of oil and acrylic dry up. No one is watching. Just do it!

As always

Ted The Great

Factoids…None this week. Gone painting.

It’s Life, Stupid !

We watched a great movie the other night. “Nebraska” starring Bruce Dern. It was about good old Middle America, warts and all. It was in black and white and as it went on you knew the medium was apt. There was nothing special other than the weirdness of family. The was nothing out of the ordinary except the incredibly stupid things we do as humans. And that was the absolute beauty of it.

A plane is missing as of post time. Malaysian Air with 273 people aboard. A sleek Boeing 777 with every aeronautic contraption known to man. A flight deck chock full of computers of every sort and three very capable people in charge. If you know anything about Malaysia itself  you know this populace to be meticulous and its airline followed suit. The pilot even has a flight simulator in his house but no one has any idea what happened. No record. No trace. Something either mechanical or human went terribly wrong.

This is somewhat similar to an Air France flight on its way from Rio to Paris. Lost somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean with little if any hint of what happened. Turned out the air speed pods had frozen and given the plane’s computers faulty readings. The pilots probably had never seen a malfunction of this sort and reacted if at all, too late. The most bizarre part of all of this is people and legislators are screaming for answers. We have millions of successful flights every year. We have defied gravity with the aluminum behemoths and when one fails we cannot believe it.

Accidents of any sort are so contradictory to our lifestyles today. Everything seems capable of being ruled by algorithms. On Wall Street we have trading computers that do everything on automatic with no human interventions. They buy or sell in nanoseconds and at the end of the day all you have to do is check the machine as to how much money you made or lost. That is all loaded into another machine which then defines your profit or loss in the form of a share price for your entity. And the beat goes on.

We can program the electronic and environmental systems in our houses. Set the mood or the temperature. Maybe a little of both. We outfit our cars with devices to warn of danger and even apply the brakes. Soon your Ford or Chevvy will take care of everything.  Wristlets monitor your heart, blood pressure, blood sugar and your state of sobriety. Uh oh. They’ll monitor your genomes and tell you all you want to know. Maybe even some little pearls you don’t want to know.

We bundle up our kids in helmets, and safety straps. We have allergies and anatomical reactions that were unheard of years ago. For you old farts, how many of you knew kids with peanut allergies when we were growing up? On my bike I had no fenders and the handlebars were flipped backwards to hold my mitt and my bat. The center bar was just perfect for Lee Hayes to hop aboard so I could ride him home from PBC baseball here we didn’t wear helmets. Probably why I turned out as crazy as I am.

I am not fighting progress or science but just trying to give it some perspective. It can’t solve everything. The markets don’t always go up or down as predicted by this spread sheet or guru or Wall Street savant. The economy does defy and even outperform the forecasting of intellectuals locked in their Ivory Towers. People do have a stroke or heart attack  just after being thoroughly checked out in a two day physical at the Mayo Clinic.

We think we have the weather figured out and just when we get smug Mother Nature says, up yours. Global warming? Tell that to the Midwest and Northeast this winter. We were supposed to have 6 major hurricanes last summer and really had none. The more planes and satellites we throw at these things the better we will get but don’ t ever think you have it total wired. That really is the folly of man.

We played golf this morning. You have every rangefinder known to man that now tell you how far it is to the pin and what club you should use. You have a ball and set of clubs that are calibrated to your particular swing. Actually that is an impossibility with my crazy swing. Your sunglasses are designed to help you see the breaks in the green. But as we all know golf is played between the ears. Yes dopey, it is you that has to put the swing in motion. It is you who has to execute. Can’t blame your 95 on the equipment and once again that is the poetry of things.

One night on the beach as we were having a cocktail we noticed an older man sitting by himself watching the sunset. As we chatted he spoke of his grandchildren. He said he had ten and then corrected himself and said nine. His grandson had died of brain cancer and was buried last fall. At the funeral his wife noted how sad it was that the little guy would not know anyone in heaven. She sat down in the pew and then proceeded to collapse and die. With tears in his eyes I couldn’t help but think this man probably hadn’t put a lot of stock in  science. He knew life as it is, for all its unpredictability and brutality. A wonderful but sad lesson for this author to learn.

As always

Ted The Great


There are approximately 30,000,000 airline flights per year with an infinitesimal number of accidents. The longest scheduled non stop today is form Sidney to Dallas. A distance of some 7500 miles taking up to 16 hours. That is two third of a day in the air.

Contrary to popular opinion, in golf a player’s handicap is intended to show a player’s potential, not a player’s average score. The frequency by which a player will play to their handicap is a function of that golfer’s handicap, as low handicappers are statistically more consistent than higher handicappers. The average male golfer  in the US has a handicap of 16.1, while the average female has a handicap of 28.9.

A few cool automobile safety features. Parking assist. The car will automatically size up a parking space and then proceed to maneuver into it by itself. I wonder if you can use this in your driver’s test? Collision avoidance. This will sense when you are too close to the car in front and apply the brakes automatically. Side view mirror blind spot warning. Will actually tell you before you change lanes of a car in your blind spot.

In 2011, adults drank too much and drove about 112 million times per year – almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving a day.

In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Of those, 122 (54% percent) were riding with the drunk driver.

Gated Communities……

Gated communities are all the rage here in Florida and elsewhere. Pull up. Security gives you the once over. May I please see some form of identification? Who are you visiting? What is the purpose of your visit?. How long are you staying? Is this customs or Checkpoint Charlie in old Berlin? I just want to drive down the palm lined  streets to my old  buddy’s house. Can I go now? Yes, I will keep my pass on me at all times and not go past the due date. Thank you officer. You are so kind. What’s that? German shepherds patrol at night? I’ll put that in my memory bank. This must be paradise. Later dude.

The concept sells. Paranoia reigns. Even inside the massive gates people lock their cars when they come to your house for dinner. Is this for real? I have left the keys in my car while it’s sat on the street in Denver. I know I am the other side of the spectrum but Ted’s Head got to thinking about this whole form of living one’s life. That’s where the trouble started. Is it paralyzing fear or just the ability to withdraw into one’s own little world?

Inside the gates we are among our own kind. There is a marvelous realization that the rest of the world doesn’t exist or at least I don’t have to deal with it. You are going to play by my rules or else. If you don’t like it you can tee up your golf ball elsewhere smart ass. We do things a certain way here and have done so for a long long time. Stability instead of creativity. That’s the Golden Rule. Why? Don’t ask such a stupid question.

But wait, there’s more. If you really think about it there are lots of communities that exist with or without the gates that are the same. Isn’t the whole state of Florida just like one of those? We don’t worry about the fact that the Northeast is getting the crap kicked out of it weather wise. We are just fine down here. The drought in the west? Serves those weirdos right. This is starting to get good.

Could we consider the wrong side of town one of these enclaves? I believe they have rules in the “hood”. The guys guarding the gates are sitting in low riders.  I think if I were to show up in my pinks and greens I would have to be violating the dress code. You would probably fear more for your life than you car. Teeing off probably uses your head instead of a ProV.  C’est la guerre.

Jews,Mormons,Muslims, Catholics? Sure, they are  gated communities. How about Polish, Italian and Korean parts of town? We keep to ourselves. Let’s not even talk about nations. Ukraine? What business is that of ours? We have so much to do at home. India, China, Mexico. Let’s just build a big fence. I think we have tried that already.

I am knee deep in LaLa land down here in the Sunshine State. That’s not a shot but an observation. Some guy asked me once what I thought of Florida. Very nice, I replied. He said,”We kind of look at it as God’s waiting room.” Holy Shiite! This is a mindset and its contagious. I had to shake myself from the doldrums to conjure up this version of Ted’s Head. Don’t fear I am getting back to my feisty self as we speak and I pound the keyboard mightily.

But think about it. As we stand behind our fortresses of whatever sort we don’t even look out. There’s gentility here in Pleasantville. We claim we are too busy to keep up with current events. Sound bytes are just fine. Don’t want anybody messing with my deeply held beliefs.  We despise the government but won’t raise a finger of our own to do something about it. And then from environmentalists to Occupiers of Wall Street we decry the activist. Jerks. Bums. Get a job.

I watched Bill Moyers this weekend. He is as left as you can get but there is a beauty to his show. It lies in its intensity. The guests have a passion whether misguided or not that comes out as sweet prose rather than hyperbolic rhetoric. Harshness can have a smooth edge. I think I have told you before about Louis Farrakhan, the black radical. I watched him speak on the telly one afternoon for over an hour. I didn’t agree with him but it was fascinating to hear him. He actually made some decent points. And at least I listened. Does that make me a weirdo too? Please don’t answer that.

We are all entitled to live our lives any way we want. You can stay behind the gates and make the by laws for your part of town, your belief and even your own home. You call it freedom. I call it incarceration. As in everything it is just a matter of semantics. But when things go bad don’t blame anyone but ourselves. Our government is out of touch but we don’t hold them to task. We are just so thankful they haven’t really hit our beloved self interests. Minor inconveniences. That’s all.

My gated community is the world. It is moving so fast and uncontrollably that it really is hard for this old fart to keep up. But I am going to keep at it. There are streets and neighborhoods to travel. There are people to meet and ideas to exchange. There is so much to understand and learn. If we are going down life’s highway and you are doing 25 mph, please get in the right lane. I really don’t want to run into you. I am doing at least 75.

As always

Ted The Great


Florida is not the southernmost state. It is Hawaii.

The oldest average age for a state in the country is not Florida(40.5) but Maine(42.7).The National average is 37.2 and the youngest state is Utah(29.2) It does have the oldest percentage of their population considered seniors (17.3)

There are 1484 golf courses in Florida with about 200 being private. It will cost you from $5,000 to $200,000 initiation fee to whack the little white ball in seclusion.The annual dues? Somewhere between $1,000-30,000 per annum.

The world wide population of people 60 years of age and older has doubled since 1980 and is forecast to reach 2 billion by 2050



a part of a city, occupied by a minority group or groups…..Hmmmm!