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Brief exerpt by Matt Charles
Special to the Register & Bee
Published: January 6, 2009 @

“Life is good,” says Mike Goodes with a smile.

After taking another bite out of a turkey club, the Reidsville, N.C., native settles into his chair in a private dining room at the Danville Golf Club. “I’ve played a lot of tournaments and had some great times here. It’s nice to be back.”

Unexpected greatness
Growing up in Reidsville, odds were that Goodes would at least become a skilled recreational golfer. His father, Ben, instilled a passion for golf into Mike and his brother, Larry, as soon as they could stumble around the course. “I was seriously one or two years old when my Dad introduced me to the game,” remembered Goodes.

“Mike’s father, who was an excellent amateur golfer, was a great ball striker. He had the innate ability to put every last bit of weight he had into a shot. Appropriately, Ben’s nickname was Alfred Hitchcock due to his profile, so he obviously had that kind of body,” said Danville Golf Club President Harry Lea with a chuckle. 

Goodes played golf scholastically at Reidsville High School before taking his game to the University of North Carolina. Once on campus, Goodes realized he was burnt out from a lifetime of golfing, so he opted not to play. Another seven years would pass before he would pick up a club.

His sabbatical ended due to an unexpected reason. “I got married, plain and simple,” said Goodes. “I wasn’t hanging out with my buddies anymore, and I needed something to do, so I figured I would start playing again. And let me tell you, I was terrible when I got back into it. My dismal performance drove me crazy. All it took was somebody telling me how good I used to be. That really lit a fire within me.” 

Goodes tirelessly practiced all facets of the game, and it showed. However, something told him that if he enlisted some professional help, the sky was the limit. “I never took a lesson until about twelve or thirteen years ago,” stated Goodes. “My dad had taught me everything I knew up until that point, from mental approach to technical preparation. I started doing well on the amateur circuit, but felt I needed something extra so I contacted PGA teaching professional Robert Linville.” 

Goodes couldn’t have paired with a better instructor. Linville was an All-American golfer at Guilford College and played professionally for several years. He is entering his 20th year as owner and lead instructor at Precision Golf School located in Greensboro. Upon his many accolades as a teacher, Linville has been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the “Top 10 Instructors in North Carolina” and featured on the Golf Channel’s Golf Academy Live.

“We have a great friendship. I admire him in all aspects of how he leads his life. Since he has turned pro on the Senior Champions Tour, he hasn’t changed a bit, just the same old Mike,” said Linville. “But as a golfer, when he showed up here he was a bit raw. But with hard work and discipline to staying within the parameters of my teachings, he has been able to compete with the likes of Hale Irwin and Nick Price. Mike works his butt off. As soon as we analyze his swing via studying video, he’s out on the range or in the hitting bay applying what he’s learned. He’s a consummate professional and real role model.” 

Goodes always had great game control and accuracy from tee to green. But it was when Goodes learned that he finished the 2008 PGA Champions Tour second in total driving that he knew Linville’s instruction had truly paid dividends. Total driving is an indicator of power and control, combing total driving distance and accuracy. The only player ahead of Goodes in this statistical category was legend Jay Haas.

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