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By Zach Cavanagh
Golf is a way of life for happy 86-year-old golfer Nick Karnazes of San Clemente. Karnazes loves his family, being Greek, his church (St. Basil in San Juan Capistrano) and golf, in that order.
Karnazes, who lives just off the San Clemente Municipal Course, has a six-word motto: eat, sleep, drive, golf, repeat. Karnazes dubbed himself “The Happy Golfer” and the game took him on a journey.
From his father giving him his first clubs as a teenager, to his high school and college teams through his determination, from competing at the Los Angeles Open at Riviera Country Club in 1973, to playing 96 rounds of golf – two in each of the 48 contiguous states – in 96 days of travel in a Winnebago in 2009, Karnazes saw many fairways and greens.
Drawing on this experience, Karnazes has provided The Happy Golfer’s ABCs of Golf for players young and old to take to heart:
A – Absolutely. the best game in the world.
B- Balance. In golf as in life, you have to have balance.
C – Competition. It’s you against the golf course. Good luck.
D- Don’t give up. Never.
E – Eternal. Play from five to 95 years of your life.
F- Fun. 18 opportunities to have fun.
G – Give. Get it right and the game will give you all you can handle.
H – Happy. Very glad my dad bought me clubs when I was 16.
I – Individual. It’s just you against the golf course.
J-Jump in the air when you birdie, par or even bogey. Show your feelings.
K – Karnazes, Nickname. The happy golfer.
I like every minute on the golf course.
M- Mental. It’s over 100% in your brain before you put it in your hands.
N – Pretty. Nice golf hat, nice clubs, nice shot or nice round.
O – Observe. Is it uphill? Downhill? In the wind? Wind at my back? Always observe.
P – putter. Don’t get me started. More than 50% golf.
Q- Quick. The opposite of slow, and golf is in between. Have a steady tempo.
A- Okay. Always keep the good score for yourself, in golf and in life.
S-Fort. Be strong when you don’t play well, but be stronger when you do.
T – Together. I love my quartet. We played together for 50 years.
U – Usage your brain, your clubs, your ability to perform.
V – Victory. Feel your victory when you put your ball on the tee of hole 1.
W – Whenever you have the chance, get started.
X-ray vision to read tricky putts.
Y- You. There’s your golf ball. There is the hole. You make it happen.
Z – Zzz’s. When you’re not playing golf, sleep and dream about the golf of tomorrow.
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