Big egos? Power trips? As the pro at a course where stars from
Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Eddie Van Halen
and Heather Locklear practice, I deal with celebrities every
day. My vibe is that nobody's special. You may be an icon, but
if your mind wanders during a lesson, I'll say, "Cut the s---
and get to work."
Jack Wagner of Melrose Place has Tour-level talent. Don't bet
with Jack--he plays better with a few thousand dollars on the
line. Don't bet with Joe Pesci, either. He'll give you that
killer look and say, "Look, fella, you don't wanna do that."
George Clooney and Denzel Washington could be good golfers if
they played more. The same goes for Will Smith, who joined
Sherwood Country Club for $250,000 and built a par-3 hole in his
backyard. Kevin Costner doesn't hit it far, but he works hard on
his swing. Richard Roundtree loves the game so much that he says
he's not just Shaft anymore, he's Graphite Shaft. As a golfer,
Richard Dreyfuss makes a hell of an actor. Jack Nicholson? The
king of the biz is a master of the foot wedge. Rockers play,
too. Motley Crue's Tommy Lee had his tattoo artist engrave a
rose on my right arm.
Of all the stars, I think the game is hardest on macho types
like Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Golf torments a man's
testosterone anyway. Imagine how hard it is to tee off if you're
the Terminator or Rambo. Arnold might get annoyed and chew his
cigar down to a stub, but Stallone is absolutely driven to be a
scratch golfer. Recently he eagled a par-5 hole, looked at me
and said, "Bring on Apollo Creed. I'll kick his ass."
One day I was doing my best Stallone impression, saying, "Hey,
get over here, knowwhatImean?" when he overheard me. "Hey, I
don't talk like that, knowwhatImean?" he said, and punched my
arm--bam! Now, he may never be a scratch golfer, but that guy
can punch. I think he knocked the petals off my tattoo.
May 17, 1998
Ron del Barrio is head pro at Studio City Golf, near Hollywood.