Category Archives: Interview

Maderas Golf Club in San Diego California

Maderas: Flavor To the Max – A Q & A W/Maderas Sous Chef Max Walder

Maderas Golf Club in San Diego California

Variety is the spice of life and the same goes for the kitchen, where Maderas Sous Chef Max Walder says variety and spice are his two favorite ingredients.

“I don’t like to limit myself to a style,” he says. “Ultimately, I’m all about flavor and giving people the maximum (experience). Some chefs use spices subtly. I’m the total opposite. I want my food to punch you in the mouth. You should take a bite and say, ‘Wow.’”

Max has been spicing up his dishes at Maderas since October, when he joined the kitchen staff after working at Avant at Rancho Bernardo Inn. His culinary creations have often appeared as specials at Maderas and will soon be part of a new lunch menu the club is rolling out in the new year. A vegetarian sandwich Max created is especially anticipated by the regular guests.

Sandwiches and their role in his dishes are one of the things Max discussed about his cooking and career in an interview before the holiday that we present here as a Q & A.

You grew up in North County (Valley Center) San Diego and started cooking at an early age. What motivated you?

I have always loved cooking from the time when I was probably 8 years old. I’d jump in the kitchen with my parents and make whatever I could, like eggs. I was really lucky to grow up in a family that food was a big part of. Both my parents cook and do it very well, so they were a big influence. And we did things organically.

You took advantage of growing up on acreage. What did you enjoy about that?

That enabled us to have a nice garden and tons of fruit trees – oranges, peaches, plums, tangerines, guavas, avocados. There was a lot of experiment with.

I got my first kitchen job at 16 and every summer tried to get a job at a great restaurant and consequently had some amazing opportunities (including in Napa).

How does travel benefit you as a chef?

I take a lot of influence from my travels. For instance, when I think of cooking Mediterranean food, I think of cumin, coriander, paprika, cilantro, parsley and mint. And that’s how I think of places in the world, which I’m sure is what it’s like for all chefs. Then you branch out from there and be creative.

What’s different about cooking at Maderas for you?

It’s a completely different style of restaurant and cooking for me. I want to do things that get me excited and try some cool stuff but to also remember we have a traditional clientele base. I’m trying to find that right balance.

I have a background that’s exposed me to a lot of high-end food. It teaches you how to build flavor and think outside the box. I think from that background, I’ve grown a lot and eventually want to open my own restaurant and have it be a lot like Maderas, where we’re doing everything from scratch, from the sauces to the condiments.

How does the new vegetarian sandwich play into your cooking philosophy and creativity?

With my fine-dining background, I’ve developed a lot of ideas and techniques that I can bring to a place like (the Grille) to make quality food in an approachable way. That’s why I love sandwiches. You could put something on a sandwich that people haven’t tried before, but they’re more likely to try it because it’s in a food vehicle they’re familiar with.

The themed dinners at Maderas were one of the things that attracted you. How do you they challenge you as a chef?
I had a good time with the French dinner. I don’t tend to cook French, so that was fun. I made a lot of dishes that you don’t see here often, like duck confit. It involved a lot of interesting ingredients.

What overall do you value most about your opportunity at Maderas?

What attracted me is that I’d have a lot of creative freedom – and I have had that.

I’m able to really expand on anything I want and can experiment, especially with soups and tacos and try those as specials. That’s the creative freedom that really drew me.

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Southland: UVO

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Sun protection for golfers and others on the golf course can be a messy proposition.

Sunscreen that’s good for your health isn’t always so good for your golf grips and shirts. Laguna Beach dermatologist Dr. Bobby Awadalla has a cleaner alternative – UVO, a sun-protection supplement you drink.

This year, UVO has been available at a few Orange County courses, but Awadalla is hoping the product will be more widely available, and possibly national, a year from now.

The product is more prominent in the beach- and ocean-sport communities right now, but Awadalla says UVO is just as much a fit for golf.

“Golf is very right for this product,” he said. “The normal round takes between 3-5 hours, and golfers don’t like to get sunscreen on their hands and gloves so they can drink UVO to provide supplemental protection for the entirety of their game. Golf is an ideal sport for it.”

Monarch Beach Golf Links, Tijeras Creek and Marbella Country Club are some of the courses where the product has been available thus far. The product is best served chilled, so it’s been hosted on beverage carts and snack areas rather than in the pro shop.

The flavor is billed as Orange Peach, but it tastes more like a tangerine-flavored Gatorade.

The idea for a supplement solution for sun protection came to Awadalla after years of seeing people with preventable skin cancer pass through his office due to inconsistent, or lack of, use of sunscreen.

“It just boggled by mind that this was still happening,” he said. “I did some research of the use of topical medicine to treat skin conditions, include psoriasis. I found that people didn’t use it very consistently, even if they had skin disease.

“I thought, maybe we need to rethink this. What we do every day is drink and eat, regardless of what’s happening in our lives, and there’s a lot of evidence that shows vitamins, anti-inflammatories and phytonutrients protect us from the sun.

“After five years of formulation, I came up with scientifically based formula to provide skin protection, and that’s now UVO.”

In essence, Awadalla said, a sun burn is an inflammation, something the body’s immune system can fight. UVO’s special formula bolsters that ability.

In its first test among 15 people, Awadalla said UVO proved to increase sun protection, measured in the amount of UV radiation required to burn, by 40 percent 30 minutes after consumption. Then came a positive result Awadalla hadn’t expected.

“We discovered UVO worked retroactively to stop a burn from happening and worked to heal the burn, so it works proactively and retroactively,” he said.

That made UVO a much more versatile and beneficial product than Awadalla ever expected and give it a major differentiator for sunscreen.

“You can compare sunscreen and UVO this way: Sunscreen does one thing well; UVO does many things well,” he said. “It also stops DNA damage, collagen damage and protects and repairs cell membranes. It also stops free radicals.”

While the drink has many benefits, it also has limits. For instance, it can’t match the maximum protection of a sunscreen.

“UVO will probably never get to the level of a 50 SPF, but even an SPF 5 provides 80 percent UV blockage so having baseline protection makes a difference,” he said. “Overall most people who drink UVO should have a good experience and will receive different levels of protection from it. We encourage people to be conservative in the trial phase while finding out exactly how it works for them.

“We all have different skin types and we all absorb and utilize supplements differently, so there will be variation. That’s why we say 3-5 hours of protection on the bottle.”

You can find more information about UVO, including an FAQ, at drinkuvo.com.

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X-Golf X-Plained: A Q & A With X-Golf Founder Chris Mayson

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With the advent of swing-analysis technology and video, the teaching of golf has changed greatly in the last decade, but practice, at least for amateurs, largely has not. For many, it still consists largely of solitary swings on the range with indefinite results and a random regimen.

This is the learning experience Chris Mayson is looking to change with X- Golf. X-Golf incorporates teaching and practice in a group setting in hour-long sessions with a single-skill focus and a competition at the end to increase intensity and engagement.

Mayson conducted a successful pilot of the program two years ago at Maderas Golf Club, but he held off on the launch until an optimal web site – x-golf.net – and compatible app. could be developed since X-Golf is a technology-driven and tracked experience.

“We wanted to make it as good an experience as possible when we launched and the app. really (improved the program),” Mayson says.

X-Golf will debut at Maderas on Oct. 19th. Mayson will conduct four classes daily during the week and a two a day on the weekend. Class attendance is unlimited and costs $150 a month.

Mayson is the Director of Instruction at the Maderas Golf Academy and coaches players on the PGA and LPGA tours. X-Golf is a concept gleaned from his nine years of instruction and wanting to see more players experience meaningful and successful practice.

He shares more about the X-Golf experience in the following Q & A.

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What was it in your instructing experience that led to this concept?

I wanted to get people more engaged and involved in their practice. Too often a lot of people get bored with their practice and don’t know what to work on or how to get better.

(As an instructor), even when I’d give people really detailed practice advice after a lesson, I’d still rely on them going away and doing what I asked them to do, sometimes for weeks or months at time. Some would do (what I instructed), but many wouldn’t.

I wanted to create something with simple skills to learn that culminated in a competition at the end to keep people engaged.

And what’s the benefit of buying sessions vs. individual lessons?

This way, the player can see the instructor as much as they want – they can come every day – and really work on improving and making sure they’re on the right track every day.

How did you structure the pilot, and what made it successful?

We did mornings and evenings in groups of eight to 10, with different ages and levels of ability. Everyone loved it.

They got a very structured, detailed practice for an hour but there was also a social element to it. It makes it more fun when you can meet people and develop friendships. And that’s the culture we want to develop – and that culture helps keep people engaged and focused.
We did for two weeks, covering putting, short game and the swing, and ended each with a competition.

The feedback was very encouraging. I sent out a survey and everyone loved it so much that I knew I was on to something.

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What do you like about the app., and what role does it play?

It’s really clean and simple. You book your classes on there, view your instruction videos and it shows your personal records. All your results get graphed so it tracks your progress and there’s a leaderboard to show how you did against your peers.

And some of the instruction videos are quite creative. Here’s one with the “Happy Gilmore” swing.

X-Golf will have you doing the Happy Gilmore to improve your power, sequencing and swing speed. For more out of the box, fun practice like this, join X-Golf.

We’ll also do a little training Big Break style. I will have a flop shot wall, six-foot circles, goal posts, SKLZ training aids, etc.


What level of golfer are you targeting?

It’s good for anybody from beginners to Tour players, but I think it’s really going to be perfect for people who play golf and love golf but don’t have time to play a lot or practice much – and maybe they don’t have a lot of money for instruction.

This provides them focused practice in a short amount of time – and it’s fun and affordable.

What benefits as an instructor have you seen from focused practice?

I think in a typical practice someone grabs a driver or 7-iron and starts hitting balls without any real rationale, so it lacks engagement.

With X-Golf, there’s a single skill every day – whether it’s bunker shots, flop shots or short putts – and you get the entire hour to work on that discipline. So by the end of the hour, you’ve had a focused, engaged practice and the competition simulates the competitive aspect of the golf course and gives you that intensity you need.

What’s the ideal class size?

Between eight and 16.

How long to does it to take to complete the full course in X Golf?

Every day is an hour, but it’s randomized practice. You might repeat a practice, but that could be three months out. There’s not really an end to the program because there’s always something to learn or work on.

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How are fundamentals addressed in the program, like grip, aim and set up? What if I have a fundamental flaw hampering my progress?

We’re going to discover those things organically. If someone can’t hit a draw, then the coach will look at why they can’t and correct what’s limiting them. That’s where the individualization comes in.

I think you actually see that a lot in professional golf these days. Jordan Spieth doesn’t have a textbook golf swing, but it’s very effective. Phil Mickelson is another one. There are a lot of different golf swings out there, but they all know how to play the game and compete.

That’s what matters.

Classes will be mixed?

In the beginning, yes, but I can see cultures developing that give the classes identity. For instance, I can see hosting a young executives group in the morning. And maybe juniors in the afternoon. We’re going to do four sessions a day during the week and two a day on the weekend, so I think those things will just develop.

What’s the overall intent of X Golf?

Fun. Social. Focused. Quick. Competitive. That’s X Golf.

You can register for classes and download the app at www.x-golf.net. Media inquiries can be sent to socalgolfblog@yahoo.com. Questions for Chris Mayson can be sent to chrismayson@hotmail.com.

Southland: Meet Century Club CEO/President Peter Ripa

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The Century Club of San Diego, the nonprofit promotion arm for the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance at Torrey Pines, derives its name from the original donation amount asked of members.

When the club formed in 1961, members were asked to give $100, a gesture of support for their commitment to help raise funds for the fledgling tournament then known as the San Diego Open.

Just as the cost of membership has gone up – it’s now $1,250 – so has the significance, influence and impact of The Century Club.

In May, The Century Club announced that the tournament generated $3.1 donation to local charities. Century Club CEO and President Peter Ripa says awarding those donations is among the most meaningful parts of his job.

“We work with a lot of medium to smaller-sized charities,” Ripa says. “The numbers we are able to provide to them are meaningful, more so than they might be for some of the larger charities. For some of them, they’re able to do an entire summer program for kids that they otherwise couldn’t have done.”

For its overall contributions to the community, the San Diego Hall of Champions honored The Century Club with its 2015 Humanitarian Award in February. Ripa says the award had dual significance.

“The award is named after Ernie Wright, who started Pro Kids First Tee San Diego, which is one of our primary beneficiaries,” he says. “So it was ironic and special all at the same time.”

In his fourth year as CEO, the tournament has enjoyed the type of success Ripa envisioned when he took the job after serving in a similarity capacity for The Colonial, the PGA Tour’s stop in Fort Worth.

“I saw the opportunity of what this event represented. San Diego. Torrey Pines. Late January. I felt like I could sell that,” Ripa says with a wry smile.

Ripa coordinates the efforts of a group of 60 club members, the ones sporting the navy jackets at the tournament, and says the expectation of members is set from the outset.

“Our first-year members are provisional members,” he says. “Their duty is to provide warm introductions into relationships in the community, those businesses that value promoting San Diego, and let us help drive their business.”

Planning, promoting and especially improving the tournament experience are all year-round duties of The Century Club.

Ripa travels to industry events and at least six tour stops a year to glean ideas and foster relationships and partnerships. His overall emphasis has been to improve the fan experience, a primary example being the relocation of the entrance gate to near the Gliderport last year to improve efficiency of security and ticket checks.

“People were waiting 30 minutes to get in. They only way to improve that was to move the entrance. There wasn’t the opportunity in the old footprint,” he says. “We’re all fans. No one wants a 30-minute wait.
“We’ve now got the capacity, as more of our guests come through, to handle up to a 25 percent increase per year.”

Surveys showed the impact. Ticketholders and guests reported a 97 percent satisfaction rate, up from 96 the year before.

“It shows the incremental improvements from the investments. We’re working toward 100.”

Part of improving the fan experience is expanding it, Ripa says, through attention to concessions, the social experience, etc.

“What we’ve worked hard in promoting is that there’s more to experience than just the golf,” he says. “We’ve worked hard on the social areas to allow people to gather with friends and family and have a sandwich or a beer and enjoy a great day outdoors. We want them to realize the beauty of Torrey Pines and San Diego. It’s a world-class golf course.”

And as another world-class golf event – the 2021 U.S. Open – creeps closer, the Farmers, Torrey and San Diego will all benefit from the anticipation and exposure but will also be challenged to continue to provide a world-class experience.

One area getting lot of attention, Ripa says, is the rapidly expanding world of television, apps and online media and projecting what that will look like in 2021.

“The exposure for golf is growing, which will only benefit San Diego,” Ripa says. “In the end, it’s great for the players, the sponsors and the Tour as a whole, but it’s something you have to be prepared for. We want people from around the world to have access, and we’ll be ready.”

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JC Golf: Trick Shot Showman Craig Hocknull Returns For Golf Fest 2015

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Photo courtesy of www.youtube.com

Out of all the tricks in Craig Hocknull’s bag of amazing golf trick shots, the most impressive one at Golf Fest last year might’ve been one the crowd never knew about: Hocknull performed both shows with a significant injury.

“My thumb was broken,” Hocknull said, referring to the recurrence of an injury that forced him off the professional tours and for a time threatened his performing career.

But that context also makes the compliment he received for his performance at Oaks North all the more impressive. One of the show’s vendors told him, “You know you’re one of the best ball strikers in the world, right?”

A healthy Hocknull will return to Golf Fest on March 6-7 to perform his Outback Golf Show at 1 p.m. each day and amaze audiences again with his unique ball-striking display.

Watching videos of Hocknull’s shows evokes comparisons to a one-man golf X Games. Hocknull hits balls rapid fire. He hits shots from his knees. He hits balls off tall tees and with crazy clubs, including one with a hammer head and another with a whippy seven-foot shaft.

Seeing the shots on video is one thing, Hocknull said. Seeing them live is another.

“I hit each ball solid and for distance,” he said. “A lot of people can hit the ball, but they don’t have the control or hit it as far as I do. I can shape shots.”

Hocknull, who teaches in Arizona and has been a teacher of the year, is in his 13th year of performing and does around 20 shows a year. Hocknull is from Australia’s Outback and got introduced to the game at a young age. His show contains a lot of Aussie themes and elements – and audience participation.

Hocknull often hits balls thrown, or bounced, to him by audience members.

“That’s one of my signature tricks,” he said.

After coming to America to play college golf at Jackson St., Hocknull started to dabble with trick shots after he began his teaching career. He found the routine came easily to him.

“I was able to do most of them the first time I tried them, or within a few swings,” he said. “It was all pretty natural.”

After adding a little showmanship, such a golf magic tricks, Hocknull had a career.

Hocknull said his primary purpose is to entertain, but he hopes the show recruits people to the game.

“I went people to leave the show shaking their heads about what they’ve seen, but also to realize how much fun golf can be.”

He said he’s caught kids on the driving range after the show trying to toss balls in the air and hit them or emulate other parts of his act.

With his hand healed, Hocknull said he’s eyeing a return to competitive golf and possibly the Web.com Tour.

“It won’t be this year because it takes time to line up sponsors,” he says, “but I figure to have a good year competitively.”

Until then, the show goes on.

To purchase advance tickets or learn more about the show, go to www.golffestshow.com.

To learn more about the show and see Craig perform, or to book him for an event, go to www.outbackgolfshow.com.

AmateurGolf.com Q & A: Wilson Golf GM and Turnaround Specialist Tim Clarke

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Editor’s note: Our two-part look at revitalized golf brands, which began with Ben Hogan, continues with Wilson’s return to relevance after a serious slump at the end of its first 100 years.

When Tim Clarke took over as General Manager of the Wilson Staff golf division nine years ago, the brand was arguably at the nadir of its first 100 years.

The glory days when Wilson Staff bags filled the fairways of the PGA Tour were long gone. In fact, Wilson’s Tour presence had dwindled to one player.

Clarke made regaining Tour presence his No. 1 priority – and got a serious reality check. Clarke says he literally couldn’t pay pros to play Wilson clubs.


www.amateurgolf.com/golf-equipment-reviews/Irons/14104/Executive-Interview–Turnaround-Specialist-Tim-Clarke-of-Wilson-Golf-

JC Golf: Degaldo Named Head Pro at Carmel Mountain Ranch

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http://www.jcgolf.com/2015/01/12/jc-golf-names-delgado-head-professional-at-carmel-mountain-ranch/

Brandon Delgado, previously the First Assistant Professional at Encinitas Ranch, has been named the Head Golf Professional at Carmel Mountain Ranch.

Delgado, who’s originally from San Jose, takes over in the midst of a continuing turf-reduction transformation at Carmel Mountain Ranch. After being closed for two months while 50 acres of turf was removed, the course re-opened around Christmas and is continuing its efforts to evolve into San Diego’s first desert-style golf experience.

Delgado says it’s an exciting time to be working with the course while it’s re-defining itself.

“It’s always been a goal to achieve a head professional position,” he says, “and this is an incredible experience to learn. It’s almost like opening a new golf course.”

Delgado has actually done that twice in his career. He was on the staff at Arrowood Golf Course in Oceanside when it opened in 2006 and was managed by JC Golf.

After working at the Lawrence Welk Resort as the First Assistant Golf Professional, Delgado took a position at Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Beach, where he spent almost seven years. During two of those years, Pelican was closed while renovating its fairways.

Delgado arrived at Pelican Hill at the end of a two-year golf course renovation. “The experience I gained being a part of the opening teams at Arrowood Golf Course and Pelican Hill has benefited me greatly here at Carmel Mountain Ranch,” Delgado says.

Thus Delgado has experience with courses in a transformation phase and embraces the experience. This one is unique, however, in that he feels it’s going to be a trend-setter.

The turf reduction is being done largely for environmental and maintenance reasons in response to the current drought in California. Among other benefits, the course will ultimately conserve more than 40 million gallons of water a year, enough to annually supply 400 households.

The renovation makes Carmel Mountain Ranch more environmentally responsible and a better community partner, Delgado says.

“You’re going to see a lot more of this, especially in San Diego,” he says. “It’s the way the industry is headed, and I hope we lead the way and a lot of courses follow us after they see the benefits of what we’re doing.

“We’re going to have a one-of-a-kind golf experience in San Diego and hopefully one of the best golf products out there.”

To book a tee time at Carmel Mountain Ranch and take advantage of its January renovation specials, including a $25 playback voucher, go to www.jcgolf.com.

Any questions about the renovation can be directed to Delgado at 858.487.9224, ext. 233 or bdelgado@jcresorts.com.

January Southland Golf: Tony & Pat Perez and Operation Game On

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Below is the link to the story I did for the January issue of Southland Golf. The story is my preview for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey in February. I profile PGA pro Pat Perez and his father Tony, the tournament starter, and their non-profit joint venture, Operation Game On, a program that introduces disabled combat troops to golf.

I really enjoyed doing this one. Thanks to Tony and Pat for sharing their story.

Also, I will say, professionally, I find it pretty cool that I’ve previewed this tournament for two years now.

http://southlandgolfmagazine.com/t-News-Perezes-are-on-a-mission-01-02-15.aspx

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Tony Perez

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Dave Rayder, a program alum

Maderas: A Q & A With John Ashworth, The Soul Behind Linksoul – Part 1

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Left: Photo by theaposition.com

Improve your golf swing with the SKLZ Gold Flex- Only $69.99!

As golf souls go, John Ashworth is decidedly an old one. He favors persimmon clubs, relishes golf history books, is renovating an old Oceanside golf course (more on that later) and prefers walk to riding.

He relates to the game this way because it speaks to his soul, and the embodiment of those belief is his new clothing brand, Linksoul.

Launched three years ago, Linksoul speaks to golf culture and surf culture and creates common ground in a clothing line that has quickly populated pro shops in Southern California, including Maderas Golf Club, and nationwide and recently went international.

Linksoul is the third evolution of Ashworth’s apparel career, the most notable being the clothing line of his namesake now owned by TaylorMade-Adidas.

After a brief break from the corporate world, Ashworth decided to spin a new line off of the Linksoul name he had trademarked years earlier and set out on his own.

Ashworth set up shop in Oceanside and has been happily re-conquering the world of golf apparel in a new way ever since. These days Ashworth seem to enjoy designing for the game as much as he does playing it.

“We’re very lucky to design for the golf market. It feels like we’re off the grid from the real world,” he says. “It’s great when coming to work feels like getting away with something.”

At age 55 and at a time when his career could be winding down, Ashworth is perhaps busier than ever. Besides launching his clothing brand, Ashworth is restoring Oceanside’s neglected Goat Hill Park golf course, which is just a mile from his office.

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The goals of Ashworth’s twin passion projects are to get ahead and give back. He recently took some time to talk about both.

Q. What’s the history of the Linksoul name?

A. I used it on t-shirts with Ashworth and trademarked it. I always liked the name and what it stood for. I thought if I ever did another brand that’s what it’d be because it has a real deep meaning to me. It’s true and it’s real, and that’s what you want in a brand.

The timing was right three years ago to make it a brand with its own personality, culture and thumbprint.

Q. What is the origin and meaning?

A. I came up with it when I was playing a lot of links golf in Scotland. I was also reading Michael Murphy’s, “The Kingdom of Shivas Irons,” in which he wrote, “Golf is what links the flesh to the soul.” I always liked that. And that’s how it started.

Q. How does that apply to the brand?

A. The true definition of links is, “The sandy dunes land that links the land to the sea,” and we’re trying to link the land to the sea by linking the golf culture and the surf culture.

From that point of view, it’s perfect for what we’re trying to do from a clothing and culture standpoint. And “soul” is the spiritual essence of the human body. And golf has a spiritual competent.

Four guys from different parts of the world can show up on a tee box and have their souls linked through golf.

Q. How much do surfing and golf have in common?

A. A lot. You can surf with a group, but ultimate you’re in charge of your own game, just like golf. And they’ve both tough to learn.

They are very similar in a lot of ways, and both very soulful.

Q. Growing up in California (Escondido), did you golf or surf more as a kid?

A. I was a range rat as a kid. My parents would drop me off at the course and I’d be there all day. But I had buddies who were surfers.

Q. When and why did you take up surfing?

A. I surfed a little as a kid, but didn’t really get into again until my 30s when I lived right near the beach. I had just had my first kid, and I wanted to learn how to surf because I wanted my kids to surf.”

It’s a tough sport. There’s a huge learning curve.

It took me a least a month to feel like I could go surfing and actually catch a wave. And that was after going every day.

Q. Which is tougher: Golf or surfing?

A. Well, land doesn’t move. (Laughing.)

Q. Three years in, how do you feel about the growth of the company?

A. I like where we’re positioned. I like the quality of our clothing and our look. We’ve got a full line, but we do a lot of cool graphic t-shirts. And we’ve got a board walker short that is a board short you can swim in. Guys love it. It’s super comfortable.

In our golf shirts, we use mostly natural fabrics with some very special treatments so they don’t shrink, fade and are very soft and comfortable with easy care finish for and no ironing needed. Guys love them.

We mostly want to come into the golf industry and give people a choice. And a lot of people are choosing us.

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Q. Geographically, where has the brand had its best success?

A. Obviously, California, but we’ve done well in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. We’re better on the coasts, though we’ve gotten a great response in places like Denver.

We’ve had requests from all over the word, back when we didn’t ship internationally. We’ve just now started that, which is awesome.

But we have fans called Linksouldiers – they call themselves that. They’re really into it. They like the clothing and what we stand for.

Q. That includes Geoff Ogilvy, John Merrick and Lucas Glover, the guys who wear your gear on Tour. How did those relationships start?

A. They all came to us so we sent them some stuff, and that’s how it started. It’s nice to have somebody wearing it unpaid and just because they like it. They’ve become good friends and are really behind what we’re doing.

It does help (to have Tour presence). We’re so lucky, because we couldn’t pay to get that. But the way the world is now, you’ve got to have a presence to have that credibility in the golf world.

Q. How is the business challenge most different for you this time?

A. The interesting thing about this go-around is the Web. That really wasn’t a factor starting in starting my businesses before. This time around, it’s crazy how everything has changed. We decided from the beginning we had to have our own web store and to make that our own TV station so to speak.

Q. Do you feel like you’re at the top of your game professionally?

A. I’m 10,000 hours in (editor’s note: reference to Malcolm Gladwell’s definition of a professional) and I finally feel like I kinda know what I’m doing. But you still can’t take anything for granted because the business changes every day.

In part II of our conversation, Ashworth will talk about his Goat Hill project and his affinity for wooden golf clubs.

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Southland Golf Book Review of “Mastering Golf’s Mental Game” by Dr. Michael Lardon

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If you’ve ever battled multiple swing thoughts, shot indecision or given in to negative thoughts on the golf course – and who hasn’t? – Dr. Michael Lardon has a book for you.

Lardon, a San Diego sports psychologist and professor at UC-San Diego, has worked with elite athletes, including golfers, for nearly 30 years and has distilled his mental game plan for golfers into a book called “Mastering Golf’s Mental Game.”

Whereas golfers will spend hours on the range honing – or looking for – their swing, few amateurs have given much thought to their thought process on the course and managing emotions. Lardon says in these areas amateurs could benefit greatly from an approach he uses with the pros.

“I think everybody has an idea of what they want to do with their swing,” he says, “but nobody really has an idea of what they want to do in terms of their mental game.

“This gives them a template for it. It gives them a playbook, if you will.”

By mental approach, Dr. Lardon means managing emotions on the course, having a vision and process for each shot and then distilling your “swing thoughts” into one thought to guide each play.
While these techniques help athletes became elite, the principles have potentially greater applications for amateurs in terms of score, Lardon says.

“For the Tour pro, we’re talking about a shot a round here or there because they’re obviously pretty darn good,” he says. “But for the 20-handicapper, it could make a tremendous impact on their game and in many ways.”

Lardon preaches a pre-shot process that consists of calculation (factoring variables: wind, club, shot), creation (visualizing the shot) and execution (hit the shot with one simple thought – or none).

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Lardon reinforces his process by citing anecdotes from his work with the pros, including Phil Mickelson, who provides a foreword for the book. They were introduced over a game of table tennis at The Bridges County Club at the invitation of Tim Mickelson, Mickelson’s brother and coach of the University of San Diego men’s golf team.

Lardon, a UCSD professor, had worked with the golf team and ended up working with Mickelson prior to his 2013 British Open victory. Mickelson actually coined the term “mental scorecard” for Lardon’s process.

The mental scorecard Lardon advises players keep during their round rewards process independent of result and gives them a measure of their mental focus for their round.

In short, if you go through the process on your drive, for instance, and slice, you still get a point. Whereas if you thoughtlessly hit a nice chip, no point is rewarded.

“He was probably at 98-99 percent that week,” Lardon says of Mickelson’s British performance, “but that’s what it takes to win a major.”

The score is normally expressed in a score equivalent to a players’ actual score, but Lardon it can also be termed as percentage of time that they execute the process.

Over time, players realize a connection with process and results that, when included with a pre-shot routine, provides a framework for growth and success.

Just prior to this interview, a 12-handicap who’d read the book e-mailed Lardon about his breakthrough round.
“I shot 71 … out of the blue,” he wrote, “a quantum leap for me. Shows what can happen when you get out of your own way.”

That’s the type of success Lardon wants for more players and he believes his book can achieve.

“This book is a playbook for the average guy and the Tour guy,” he says. “But I’m hopeful that it will end up helping everybody play better golf.”