“Every day, you have the opportunity to better yourself or better your previous best.”
Chattanooga Golf & Country Club
Phil Spitalny might drive a ways to work, but he only lives a mile from the golf course. “That’s the better way to do it,” he says.
When did you start playing golf?
My Dad was a golfer, so I had a club in my hand when I was two or three years old. I started playing seriously the summers between college, and that’s when I got a passion for it. It’s just the best game. I played sports growing up, but as an adult, there are fewer avenues with which to keep your competitive juices flowing. So golf is a great outlet. It’s therapeutic and the most fun game. It’s been an incredible way for me to socialize with friends and meet new people. It’s my favorite way to spend three and a half hours of free time. It takes a lot of work to be good, and it’s the most frustrating game there is – kind of what I like about it. Every day, you have the opportunity to better yourself or better your previous best.
How often do you play?
In the warmer months, I play Saturday or Sunday. After work, I either play nine holes or practice for an hour, two or three times a week. I love getting out there after work, getting rid of work stress and practicing for the weekend. I don’t really go to the gym, so that is my work out.
What’s your best memory while playing golf?
We were on a golf trip last summer when our group of 16 guys ended up playing at the same time on the same hole. Playing golf in Ireland with my dad is a great memory too.
What’s the best golfing advice you have ever received?
Make an aggressive swing to a conservative target. Not sure if it originated with Jack Nicklaus, but he subscribed to it.
Who has had the greatest influence on your game?
My father. He’s a good golfer and we’ve had a lot of good battles on the course.
Who is your favorite pro-golfing legend and why?
Tiger Woods for obvious reasons and Ben Hogan – his work ethic has really made an impression on me.
What’s the strongest part of your game?
Provisional tee shots.
What goes through your head before trying to make a challenging shot, and how do you clear your mind?
Ideally, you don’t try to hit shots you haven’t practiced before. So, it’s really about picking a target and committing. I try to have a pre-shot routine that stays the same for every shot. Go through your routine, lean on it, and try not to get too out of sync, whether you’re casually hitting it or it’s the last shot in the tournament.