Lovie Smith’s Golf Tips

Football games run together. But I remember every round of golf I’ve played.

Now that I’m retired and coaching Illinois, I can get in 18 holes every morning — and if practice runs smoothly, another 18 before sunset.

My favorite day of the month is when the new issue of Golf Digest comes out. I don’t have it mailed to me; instead, I like to walk to the nearby Walgreens and chew the fat with Andre, the cashier, and buy it right off the rack. I love the writing, the pictures, and of course — the tips!

I thought I’d try my hand at offering some pointers on “the greatest game.” Here are six thoughts “straight from Lovie” that might help shave a few strokes off your score:

      1. When you arrive at the course, leave your phone in the car. So you might miss a few calls, an email, or maybe your defensive coordinator takes a quality control job in the SEC. No problem — plenty of coaches out there.
      2. Be mindful who you invite to your open foursome. When Mike Martz canceled one day, I invited Rex Grossman to take his place. Big mistake. We didn’t get two holes in before Rex brought out “Molly.” Said she was more beautiful than any cart girl. That brings me to another pointer: Save the drinking and drugs for “the nineteenth hole.”
      3. Have you ever tried to putt a football? I have. Let’s just say I’d rather hit a Callaway.
      4. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” That laugher comes from Mark Twain. But Mr. Mark forgot one other kind of lie: the downhill lie. Then again, maybe a downhill lie is a damned lie.
      5. Back when I coached football, the play I feared most was the draw run. That sucker could come out of nowhere. Nowadays, I fear draw spin on the ball. It just goes to show, the same things haunt you no matter what you do.
      6. The putter is the most important club in the bag. Take it everywhere with you. Bob Hope did, and look how far it got him.
      7. And how about an “extra pointer”? At the end of the round, always shake hands with your playing partner, and tell them how much the time meant to you. Look them squarely in the eye and say: “It was a pleasure.” This communicates respect. And best of all, it’s true.