The Name Game

Playing it safe



Junior Golf at the range

Don’t you just hate it when you are hitting balls on the driving range and a friendly and familiar face comes up to you, says it’s nice to see you, tells you your swing looks great, wishes you a good round, and then walks off all while you are racking your brain to remember their name? You can save yourself embarrassment by simply coming up with a signature “term of endearment” and use it when you find yourself in a bind. It doesn’t, however, guarantee that the other person will be saved embarrassment. Case in point:

I can remember when Phil was just starting to make a splash on the PGA Tour and people would kindly come up to him to wish him well. He would instruct me that if he ever called someone “Big Guy”, that meant he did not know their name and I was supposed to introduce myself in hopes of the person sharing their name in return. It was a tactic that worked well……or so it seemed.

I was working as a golf professional at Steele Canyon Golf Club and one day a gentleman came sauntering into the golf shop. He came up to me (hands on his swaying hips) and said, “Hey! I know your bro. We’re like this”, as he proudly held up a “fingers crossed” sign high in the air. 

“Yep,” he continued, “We’re buds. Uh huh. When you see your bro you just tell him Big Guy said hi. He’ll know exactly who you’re talking about.” Just then he pointed both index fingers toward me and lifted his thumbs (I think he was trying to make “finger guns”) as he did a double pretend “bang bang” and clicked his tongue. He turned on his heel and sashayed away, quite proud of himself all while I was pulling an ab muscle trying not to lose it right there in the golf shop in front of all his friends. I counted the seconds until I could call Phil and share the story so we could have a good laugh.

But you know what? It made the guy’s day every time Phil called him Big Guy. Isn’t that better than him realizing Phil had no idea who he was? Somewhere in this big beautiful world Big Guy (never did catch his real name) is walking around, finger guns a blazing, happy as a lark. Good for him.

Now let’s be careful here. If the person whose name escapes you is female, I would highly recommend that you NOT, under any circumstances, refer to her as Big Girl. You can come up with ANY other term of endearment, but if you choose to refer to her as Big Girl, you and you alone are responsible for what follows. Good luck to you.


Fore! San Diego's Best Golf

Golf tips, advice, and stories from Tina Mickelson

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Tina has been a teaching professional since 1991 and has been a PGA Class 'A' Member since 1994. She currently teaches out of the Santaluz Club in San Diego, CA where she also serves as their Golf Ambassador.

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