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My favorite Boom Boom stories

Written by Eldridge Miles on 01 December 2010.

Seeing Fred Couples shoot a 7-under 29 on the final nine of the Administaff Small Business Classic last month got me thinking about "Boom Boom."

I've known Freddy a long time. We go back to the mid-1980s when I was the director of golf at Gleneagles Country Club and Freddy was living in Dallas. I thought you might enjoy reading a few of my stories about sweet-swinging Freddy Couples.

The first is about when he decided to join Gleneagles. Once he did, he requested a meeting with me. I invited him into my office and closed the door. Fred then told me that he was a shy person and didn't really enjoy having to interact with people all the time.

He wasn't oblivious to his popularity. He'd already won three times on tour, including the 1984 Players Championship and '87 Byron Nelson Championship. So he told me that if I thought it would help the club, he'd be willing to play rounds of golf with some members. It wasn't something he really wanted to do—he told me he'd much rather play golf with junior golfers—but he was willing to do it for me.

I told him, "Fred, I'll never ask you to play with anyone, members or guests." I also told him that I didn't want him to give me his phone number or address. I knew many, many people would ask me for those, and I wanted to protect myself while being honest. That way I could tell everyone that I didn't have his number, and it was the truth.

I ended up pairing Freddy with a group of my most talented junior golfers. Fred didn't like to practice much—beating balls on the range was hard on his back—but he loved to go out and just play. And he loved being around kids. Freddy ended up playing 36 holes a day all summer long with the juniors. It was hard for me to tell who had more fun: the juniors who got to play with one of the best golfers in the world at that time or Freddy himself!

Another one of my favorite Freddy stories happened one day when I walked out of the golf shop and noticed an agitated member standing on the tee. I went over and asked him what the problem was. He said, "I've been here for 10 minutes, waiting on my golf bag. That's not like your staff; they're usually pretty prompt."

So I marched into the bag storage room and heard laughter. There was a circle of young bag room attendants and, in the center, Fred Couples was holding court. I didn't say a word. They didn't even see me. I grabbed the member's bag, walked past Freddy and the boys—again, they never saw me—and I took the bag to the member.

I didn't mind running to get the bag in the least. The thing was, I didn't want to break up the bag room boys' fun. They were having such a good time with Freddy.

The last Freddy story comes from a Monday morning when Fred was to give a golf clinic to 50 guests of Raytheon Aviation. Five minutes before the clinic, Fred asked me if I would do the clinic instead. He knew they were going to ask him technical questions about the golf swing, and he didn't want to answer the questions.

I told him, "Fred, you are being paid very well to be here and, besides that, these guests don't know who I am." I told Freddy to take a 5-iron and hit some low shots, high shots, draws and fades. He did exactly that. Then I told him to ask for questions.

That's when Freddy said, "Our director of golf is here in the audience, I'm going to let him explain how I just hit all those different shots."

The truth was that Freddy didn't know how he hit all those shots. He just saw the shot and hit it. I went on to explain the mechanics Fred used in all the shots. Then I said, "Freddy, hit some drivers for them." As he walked by me to grab his driver, he whispered to me, "Do I really do all that crap you just said?"

That is classic Fred Couples. He couldn't tell you a thing about the mechanics of his golf swing. But he can hit every shot in the book—and some shots that only a few people on the planet can hit.