Golf writer Andy Reistetter loves the history of THE PLAYERS, a major emerging in our lifetime like The Masters did back in the 1960s. In the early days before TPC Sawgrass, the PLAYERS was hosted on different golf courses much like the U.S. Open and PGA Championships today. The East course of Inverrary Country Club in Lauderhill, Florida hosted the 1976 event where Jack Nicklaus won the middle one of his record three PLAYERS titles. To relive a past PLAYERS, is what brought Reistetter, along with Merri Daniel, to Inverrary. What they found there, however, was Carly Ray Goldstein, a high-school senior champion golfer and her father Barry, a prominent golf instructor. Join Merri & Andy and let us introduce you to Carly Ray, who no doubt will be making an impact on and off the golf course in the years to come.
If you are a friend of Barry Goldstein on Facebook there is no need for you to read this article.
If you are not a friend you should be. Not so much to be his friend but to get updates like this latest one on the golfing career of his daughter Carly Ray:
"A three birdie 70 in the wind at Country Club of Miami for victory 98 today for my lovely daughter Carly Ray Goldstein with her brand new Ontic putter! SADDD DADDD as she heads to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the fall to play for the LSU Tigers and begins her college career! Ha...well, we celebrate the wins and her previous 97 were with her 'trusty' Odyssey blade...today she won by 5 over 30 players, and loved her Ontic blade. Proud Dad, I LOVE YOU CHAMP. Goes for 99 next Sat and Sun, same course....Daddy/Caddy/Teacher/Best Friend/Coach/Bank Account will be there!"
Of course I love Barry as we have the same hometown of Binghamton, N.Y. We did not know each other there though. We were a couple years apart in high school. I was as excited to meet him as Merri and I were to meet Carly Ray when we ventured south to play Inverrary.
Barry was a notable amateur golfer who played in South Florida tournaments as a teenager with Tiger Woods. He chose to follow his passion and become a professional golf instructor. Featured over the years on the Golf Channel, Goldstein recently was honored by Edwin Watts Golf in their first annual "Top Golf Teachers in The World" List and was picked by Golf Tips Magazine as "One of America's Top 25 Golf Teachers" in 2012. Inverrary CC is also home to the Barry Goldstein Golf Academy. Of course if you are his Facebook friend you already know these things.
When we first met the State of Florida's individual Div 2A high school girls' golf champion, it was in Carly's Corner out behind the practice facility. Amidst what is known as Nicklaus' Nook, the five holes Jack birdied to finish off his win 36 years ago, the 17-year-old young lady was practicing her short game with grace and skill.
After some pitches we move to the back of the range and witness her full swing of grace, skill and power. Then we saw her stroke a few putts. She is of the age that grew up with a long putter that may not be in play in three year's time. By the post above, it looks like she has made the conversion with her magical stroke intact.
Carly Ray's earliest childhood memory is being in a high chair watching dad swinging a golf club and him calling her "Champ." Perhaps out of Carly's Corner will come a fighter who makes her way to the LPGA tour and the Olympic golf tee in Rio de Janiero or elsewhere in 2020? Someone who wins nearly one hundred events by the age of 17 is that good. This proud father is not exaggerating his daughter's talent; it is there for all to see.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., Inverrary is a golfer's golf course. Where else do they post Stimpmeter readings on the first tee? Golfers be forewarned though if you do have to warn others by yelling fore a lot Inverrary is still accommodating to your game with wide areas in play. Tee it from the tips and it is all the golf course you want or need to challenge your game. A wide variety of hole designs keeps one engaged in the round as fiercely as Nicklaus and his blue eyes were in his heyday. Check out the 8th green, it is 50 yards deep.
The East Course hosted Jackie Gleason's Inverrary Classic before and after the 1976 PLAYERS. Ralph Kramden used to tell Alice on the Honeymooners, "one of these days, bang, zoom you are going to the moon." By the end of the show Ralph would come to his senses and let Alice know how much he loved her by saying, "Baby you are the greatest."
This father says, "Champ, you are the greatest," and likely that golfing prowess will come to the daughter in terms of future golfing competitions. Unlike Ralph, Barry got it right from the start. Greatness in terms of life and the love between a father and daughter is already a rerun in the Goldstein household. Like golf on television, that is a show worth watching and cheering on. And away she goes to LSU…
Merri's Marvelous Moments
1. Inverrary CC is a place a women can feel comfortable. Greeted by an outside staff that is willing to help you to a Golf Shop that is accommodating to women (has a selection of women golf gloves), the telltale sign is foursomes of women teeing off the first tee.
2. I loved the hallway painting with Jackie Gleason… and away we go! I made Andy strike that pose and love to smile at him and say "and away we go," when we go!
3. The Inverrary Vacation Resort across the street from the golf course had its heyday back in the 1970s but is undergoing a Renaissance with major renovations in progress. The upgraded rooms have a mini-kitchen that is functional, a corner sectional couch that is comfortable and a four post bed that is a heavenly retreat. It's a nice place to stay when you play Inverrary CC.
4. The bar & grill area is inviting and the chicken salad sandwich excellent. We ran into owner Jordan Ross on the golf course. He is onsite every day and one of three owners. You can tell the owner, staff and operation folks get along. This is a fun place to visit and a good place to play golf.
5. We picked up a short game practice tip from Carly Ray and her dad. When practice putting makeable 20-25 footers, lay down the flagstick about two feet behind the hole. Try to putt the ball hard enough to finish between the hole and flagstick and you will never leave a makeable birdie putt short. One more tip, check out the Chicken Kitchen a great place to eat and it is a healthy addiction.
Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer and a broadcast assistant for the various golf networks. He spends time on all four major American golf tours- the PGA TOUR, Champions, Web.com and LPGA.
Reistetter resides within two miles of the PGA TOUR headquarters and the home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.
A lifetime golfer, Andy enjoys volunteering at the World Golf Hall of Fame and THE PLAYERS while pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it.
Friend Andy Reistetter on Facebook or touch base with him by e-mail at AndyReistetter@gmail.com