Brian Ruggieri here, you remember me? The guy who wanted to beat his brothers!!! That's what I wrote a little over three years ago in your questionnaire you hand out before your three day school.
That was 3 1/2 years ago and I just wanted to tell you, I have been beating them for 3 years but I'm writing you for another reason.
Generally in every phase of my life I write down goals. In golf, after attending your school I wanted to break 100. I was told that only 20 percent of golfers do that, which I thought was weird. I did that and then wanted to play bogie golf, what's the big deal with that was my thought. You are giving me a mistake per hole, my theory. My brothers thought otherwise. Did that and wanted to stay in the 80's. Did that and finally, this year, 2012, my goal was to break 80. I set the calendar for July, I had to do it before August 1st.
I had several rounds of 81 and plenty of 80's, once scoring an 81 after slicing a drive OB on 18!!! Well, finally on a par 73 course, Ashley Plantation, Roanoke, VA, I scored a 79 on July 31st!!!! I kid you not, on the last day of my goal schedule. Since then I have had several 78's, on three different courses, playing from the blue tees also, that's been my best.
I wanted to pass this on because your school has helped me more than you will ever know. You, Ed and especially Natalie, have been the backbone to my success. It wasn't only the teaching. All of you have such a passion for golf and you care about your students, that's obvious. I was definitely out of my comfort zone never having picked up a club before your class, yet all of you made me feel at ease. My love for the game has strong roots, the roots you all gave to me and I wanted to share my story and thank you for caring.
A special note and thanks to Natalie. I was down last winter and ran into her, she was playing with a bunch of gals. We said hello and off she went. I happened to be on the range and as Natalie drove off of 18 shouted out, how's the swing? She dropped off her partner and to my pleasant surprise, drove back over to see me. She got out of the cart and watched me swing. She took the time to correct a few things, which I thought was extremely thoughtful of her. Those several minutes made a big difference and I will be always grateful to her. Since that day last winter I made a commitment to myself to concentrate more when I practice, why should Natalie take time for someone who doesn't follow through, that was my thought. Well, Natalie, I did pay attention and certainly did when you took the time that evening, I thank you kindly.
I do need to practice my chipping and pitching, when I get better at that I'll be low 70's, guaranteed!!!
Again, I just wanted to share with you my excitement breaking 80. I can't tell you how many times you all pop up in my head, even while playing a round. Ted, hold that club softly, Eddy, hit that ball out to right field and when I'm on the tee box, I do look at that smiley face up in the sky that you say is there. It is, it's you buddy.
Natalie, I can remember putting, my first ever lesson, "trust your line Brian, trust your line". Of course in that cute voice of yours. I say that almost every putt I take!!! So you see, you guys will always be a part of my golfing life, thank you. Not to mention looking around at everyone after Natalie told us to get our sand wedge. I am wondering why we needed to get our "sandwich", I thought we were getting lunch in the package, boy did they all have fun with me about that? That's how green I was. Still learning everyday though.
Just for the record, my brothers and I have a tournament each summer amongst ourselves, I won every year so far, even the first summer.
Last year we had a four day tournament and the third night I was so far ahead they just gave me the Flag, our Championship Flag.
I am getting a knee replacement this winter if everything lines up with the doctors, will find out Friday. That would put me on the shelf for several months, but I'll be back!!!
Sorry for the long email but I wanted to express my feelings toward you and your staff, keep up the good work and keep on caring. That must be hard, seeing hackers every day. That's one reason why I wrote to you, I was a high school basketball coach for a long time and when a kid wrote back or I saw one and they gave me thanks, it made all the time and effort I put in worth it.
To you and your staff, thank you and God Bless. I'll be sure to stop in when I'm down in your area. I would still like to take the course management two day school sometime in the future. By the way, Brian and Royce also have been very accommodating to me as well.
Thank again, Brian