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AUTHOR : ELDRIDGE MILES

author-eldridge milesAffectionately, known as "Big E," Eldridge Miles has spent more than 50 years as a PGA professional in Dallas. He's been the head professional at Dallas County Club, Bent Tree Country Club and Gleneagles Country Club. In 1978, he was the first recipient of the PGA of America/Sports Illustrated Merchandiser of the Year.

A personal friend and playing partner of Ben Hogan for 20 years, Big E has given golf lessons to the likes of Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Don Meredith, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Dan Reeves and Yogi Berra.

He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Keeping a close eye on Joe Campisi

Written by Eldridge Miles on 01 January 2011.

When I was the head pro at Bent Tree Country Club, we hosted the LPGA Mary Kay Golf Classic. During the day of the pro-am before the actual tournament started, I had four of the LPGA pros in my office.

Sally Little, Beth Daniel, Hollis Stacy and Judy Angel were visiting with me when Joe Campisi, the owner of the very popular Campisi's Egyptian Lounge on Mockingbird Lane close to SMU, came by my office door to say hello.

I invited Joe to come in and meet the LPGA pros. He was excited to meet them and gave them all a nice, enthusiastic handshake. A few minutes later, he said, "I'm playing in the pro-am today. Does anyone know what time it starts?"

All four of the LPGA pros looked down at their wrists. To their surprise, none of them had their watches on. They couldn't believe that all of them had left their watches in their lockers. Joe suddenly started to leave and said, "I better go. I'm probably next on the tee!"

As he walked away, I said, "Joe, come back here and give the ladies their watches back." He had taken all four of their watches off their wrist during the handshakes he gave them. So he kindly returned their watches, and we all had a good laugh about it. I knew Joe very well and had seen him do that trick before. He was a big jokester and would have given them back the watches anyway.

A few minutes later, the ladies and I went to the 10th tee to watch Joe tee off in the pro-am. As he stepped to his ball and addressed it, I stopped him. There was a gallery of at least 200 people there, as Campisi's was a very popular restaurant and Joe was a popular guy about town.

When I stopped Joe before his opening drive, he said, "What's the matter, pro?"

I made him pick up his golf ball and toss it to me. I suspected something was up because I could tell the ball looked smaller than normal.

It turns out that it was an English golf ball, which is smaller than the U.S. golf ball and therefore it flies farther, especially in the wind. But it's also illegal to use here in the States.

I showed the gallery the illegal golf ball and made Joe take out a legal one. Everyone had a good laugh about that.

Joe addressed his ball again. Just before he hit that drive, I stopped him again. He said, "Pro, what's the matter now?!"

This time, I walked up on the tee, and I said, "Let me see your driver." He put it behind his back and wouldn't let me see it. I demanded that I see it, and he finally handed it to me. I took my thumb across the clubface and felt the Vaseline he had smeared across it. That's also illegal. Putting the Vaseline on your driver clubface takes all the spin off the ball and makes it goes straighter. That's an old trick gamblers use, and Joe was a big gambler himself.

I told the scorekeeper to add four shots to Mr. Campisi's score on this hole because he had an illegal ball and illegal driver in play. I said this very loudly, so the gallery could hear it. They all busted up laughing.

Once the gallery calmed down, Joe said, "Pro, you're really taking all the fun out of the game!" That sent the gallery into another fit of laughter.

Joe probably thought he was just playing another gambling game that day. But I wasn't going to let that happen in an LPGA pro tournament. Joe would have to play those kinds of tricks on his regular gambling group.

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