A Duffer's Dream
Fantasy Golf Camp at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas Pairs Amateurs with Top PGA Tour Players
From the Print Edition:
Ron Perelman, Spring 95
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"I'd love to tell you," Koch says, peering into the distance. "But I can't see that far."
"It has nothing to do with strength. I can't bench-press more than 150 pounds," Sellinger tells his audience. "One day you'll hit it that far, too." He pauses for effect. "I mean, this is a fantasy camp, right?"
After three or four days of fraternization, most of the campers feel comfortable enough to stop being amazed with the pros and start being chums. Whether hitting the Vegas gaming tables together or sharing an evening meal, the campers take great pleasure in merely being around the greats, basking in their aura, hoping perhaps to capture some of their ability through osmosis. Eventually, near the end of the week, some campers have achieved the ultimate level of familiarity: the ability to needle one of the world's greatest golfers when he hits a less-than-great golf shot.
"Hey, Peter," a camper yells to Jacobsen on Angel Park's 14th green. "You left that putt way short. What's the matter, you trip on your skirt?"
"No," Jacobsen replies, rubbing the blade of his putter on his sleeve. "Just gotta wipe the mascara off this thing."
When Kite pulls his approach shot to the 6th far left of the flag, a member of his team says, "It's OK, Tom. I guess you were shooting for the Sunday pin placement."
And when Wadkins hits a soaring 9-iron toward an island green for the camp's "closest-to-the-pin" competition, the former PGA champion says to the plummeting orb, "Hurry, ball. Get up."
"Come on, ball," a competing camper from Davis Love's team yells. "Get wet!"
Later, when the Love team has their shot at the pin, Wadkins exacts his revenge. "Hey, Curtis, are there any fish in that pond?" he asks the straight man. "Don't think so, Lanny," Strange answers. "That's good," Wadkins says. "Cause after this team hits, they'd probably all be dead anyway."
Like most sports fantasy experiences--baseball and basketball camps come to mind--interaction with larger-than-life idols is what draws most participants. Unfortunately, at most fantasy baseball camps, the players are retired, heroes in repose. At Fantasy Golf Camp, you play with golfers in their prime, the guys you see on the "Sportscenter" highlights. That's why it's such a powerful experience.
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