Posted by: sandestin | May 14, 2013


We have arrived at the end of another season at Sandestin! Each year they seem to go by a little faster.

This year seemed to fly. I reached my 83rd birthday. My number 1 son, Anthony is going to announce his retirement in July and plans to move to North Carolina. Denise my daughter-in law is planning to retire in July and they; my son Scott and Denise are planning to move down to their IHome in Freeport and spend the summers with us in Vermont.

Our extended family here at Sandestin is shrinking and growing at the same time.This year we lost our beloved Dr. Fred and John Prewitt from Bardstown, Kentucky.

Dr. Fred was a member of our golfing gang here at Sandestin. He loved to play in our weekly games and was constantly trying new techniques to improve his game. His latest was his search for the 2-plane swing. His bantering  for a weekly reality show. At our Senior clinics we worked constantly at improving his take-away and move through the ball.He was a great student, worked hard and put up with my attempt to inject some humor into our program.I miss you  a great deal Doc and share the love of golf that you exuded to all you met.I thank the Good Lord for the gift of you in my life. You were that special ingredient that makes Sandestin the gift it is to all of us lucky enough to be here!

John Prewitt, was introduced to me by Jerry Sayres. I never tire of thanking Jerry for being responsible for our staying here at Sandestin. Jerry became my “Godfather” and directed my movements into the ‘golfing gang’ here at Sandestin. When I latched on to Jerry, I was brought into the Kentucky circle of his dearest friends. The included John from Bardstown,Ky.,Neal Kindervater from E-Town, Ky. And ‘Berber,’ whose last name I never discovered.These guys came down to Sandestin every winter and our friendships were familylike! I soon discovered that I was taken into this great circle of friends and our time at Sandestin became a ‘special time.’

This year we were slowly getting over our loss of Dr. Fred when just 2 weeks ago, Jerry called and I was able to slowly make out his muffled voice exclaim- “John is gone.”

I am not ashamed to say that we both shared our tears and just murmered “ I’ll see you.” And hung up, each of us holding back the tears that flowed as years of stories and events flew through our minds. Another member of the Sandestin gang had been called home.A day did not pass this season when recollections of hilarious times did not flood my mind. Golf trips that became classic stories that we could share. Many of the guys,during these retelling of these adventures would always exclaim:”when are we going to go on some of these trips and have such good times?” I always seem to experience a doubt at these times- “how could it be the same?The guys are gone”

I’ve tried to explain the gift we call Sandestin. I REALIZE IT IS AN IMPOSSIBLE JOB. You have to be here and take part in the games and our breakfast groups. We are all family and we care and look out for each other. You have to be here-words do not do it justice. I can play golf anywhere on great golf courses but no where have I met the warmth and friendships that have taken me in like Sandestin. I have many friends from Vermont. Young men that I gave lessons to when they were young kids. Some of them have ventured here to Sandestin. It is a love affair that is unbelievable. They are all planning to settle here. When we can go back to the ‘Lake’ in the summer and spend our winters here at Sandestin you will truly be able to-KEEP IT OUT OF THE ROUGH!

Posted by: sandestin | May 3, 2013


The Masters’ Golf Tournament at Augusta; if any golf tourney was properly named, it is The Masters! Each year in April golf lovers from all over the world eagerly await the gathering at Augusta to see who will win the Green Jacket! I would like to share some quotes and thoughts about this great tournament and its chairman CLIFF ROBERTS, who served as chairman of the MASTERS’ from 1934- 1977.

Arnold Palmer said:”he was a person who was truly dedicated to golf and the quality and standards of the game. He was one of the most important contributors to the present structure of tournament golf.”

Jack Nicklaus said-“the standards and quality with which he conducted the Masters are unmatched anywhere. All of us in golf appreciate what he has done for the game!”

The 1st Masters was held in 1934 and was an immediate success. The winner, Horton Smith, made a 20 foot birdie putt on the 17th hole and followed that with a par four on the 18th for the win. Besides the Green Jacket, Smith received a check for $1500! During the past 79 years the prize check has increased tremendously but it is The Green Jacket and what it signifies that the winners cherish the most!


Golf lovers constantly review some of the great shots the Masters tournaments have produced. I would like to embellish on just 3 shots that stay in my mind. 1st] the famous hole out by Gene Sarazen for a DOUBLE EAGLE 2 on the last day. He holed out a 230 yard 4 wood on the par 5 15th hole! It measured 485 yards and it placed The Squire;as he is known to golf lovers all over the world, in a tie for 1st with Craig Wood. Sarazen went on to win the next day’s 36 hole play off by 5 shots!. This was the 1935 Masters!

The next 2 shots that have been branded in my memory bank, simply because Iwas able to witness them on TV!

The year 2010. Also on the par 5 -15th hole. Phil Mickelson,popular left handers, found himself off the fairway on the very same par 5 -15th hole that Sarazen had holed out on in 1935! Phil found himself some 10 feet off the fairway on some scrubby rough wit 2 pine tree blocking him out from his shot.The 2 trees were 5 to 7 feet apart and Phil saw the opening gave him a view of the flag  just to the right of the right sided tree. Phil is left handed and in his mind he saw a shot!All great players have a great gift of visualization. They see the shot in their mind before they play it. Phil later said;”it was a piece of cake!” He asked ‘Bones’ his faithful caddy for a 5 iron and proceeded hit a solid 5iron through the opening and land the ball some 12 feet from the pin. He had a eagle putt and proceeded to make the putt. The announcers later stated that the ensuing roar from the gallery was heard all over the course.Phil went on to win the Masters!

Last year another left handed player was involved; Bubba Watson, from our area on the Panhandle, was involved in a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen from South Africa for the Green Jacket. They were playing the difficult 11th hole. A par 4  of over 400 yards that demanded a perfect tee shot to put the player in position to hit the green in two. Bubba pulled his tee shot to the right and landed in a tight grove of trees. The ball was found nestled it pine straw with overhanging trees all around.Once again the visual gift of the player emerged. Bubba was quoted”if I can see the shot in my mind I can play it !” Bubba stared out to the fairway and then asked his caddy for a pitching wedge! He had some 147 yards to the green! Looking up at a small opening in the trees Bubba hit a magnificent shot! His wedge shot flew high and found the opening in the trees and then began to hook in the air to the right[he is left handed] and land on the green some 27 feet from the pin. His 2 putts were enough to win him the Green Jacket for 2012!

I hope that my feeble attempt to describe these 3 shots that have thrilled millions of golf lovers all over the world have in some small way touched your hearts and minds;especially if you play golf. May the love for the game grow each time you gout to tee it up with the guys or girls. May the breezes always be at your back and may all your shots fly straight and true. This was you will be able to KEEP IT OUT OF THE ROUGH !

– Joe DeCandia

Posted by: sandestin | April 8, 2013


Well, we are approaching the MASTERS at Augusta. This has to be one of the most favorite tournaments for players as well as spectators. The drive up Magnolia Lane when it is in full bloom has to be the dream of all golf lovers. The players on the PGA tour work hard and dream of being invited to play at the Masters. Bobby Jones tried hard to make his love of golf a physical reality in the building of the Augusta golf course. We can all agree that his dream became a reality in the course and the actual tournament itself. The caliber of play never fails to appease the spectators and tv viewers; golfing back the Gene Sarazen’s never to be forgotten double eagle 2 on the par 5 13th to last year’s Bubba Watson’s amazing wedge shot from deep in the pine straw on the 1st playoff hole. Bubba was able to hook a wedge from deep in the pine straw for a winning birdie to capture his first Green Jacket.

The following information use to be provided to all spectators and players at the Masters. It was personally written by golf legend Bobby Jone.

“In golf customs of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play. It is appropriate for spectators to applaud good shots in proportion to difficulty, but excessive demonstrations by a player of his partisans are not proper because of their possible effect on other competitors.

Most distressing to those who love the game of golf is the applauding or cheering misplays or misfortunes of a player. Such occurrences have been rare at the Masters, but we must eliminate them entirely if our patrons are to continue to merit their reputation as the most.

It might be wise for those of us who love this great game to make a self-evaluation of how we would stack up to Jones’ love of the game!

The reader should think of Mr. Jones’ words next time he hears the boorish shouts of spectators – “It’s In The Hole”. Then a player drives his tee-shot on a par 4 hole!

Bobby Jones was the epitome of  a true amateur and lover of the game of golf. We would do well to learn as much as we can about the amazing love affair that Jones’ had for this great game!


This past week, Marge asked me to re grip her clubs. We drove to Florida Golf on ’98 and I had her pick out the grips she would like to have, We were helped by a fine young man who was also a golfer. Marge picked the color grip she wanted. Our helper asked if I knew what to do and when I mentioned that I has some experience with this work. He added a very nice discount to our price. However, when we returned home and I started to work on the clubs, I noticed the diameter would not fit the shafts. So, the next day we returned and I sheepishly asked if I could change to a larger diameter. We were waited on by the same gentleman. However, I forgot the receipt from the sale. I gave him my name and he mentioned he knew me from Sandestin. He was gracious, knew his work and made me feel comfortable in my errors. The exchange was done professionally and simply. We shook hands, Marge was pleased and I would never hesitate to return to Florida Golf or recommend them to all of my golfing buddies. They certainly helped me to keep it – OUT OF THE ROUGH!

Posted by: sandestin | March 20, 2013


As we approach the Majors season on the PGA & LPGA tours

Here at Sandestin we have completed our 2 Major tournaments. Our Ladies just finished their Bonnie-Bonnie Ringer Memorial Tournament and the men finished their 11th year of the Emerald Cup. It was an exciting week with the men playing Monday-Wednesday and Friday and the Ladies’ competing on Tuesday and Thursday. A new and welcome addition is the growing guest lists to compete in these popular events. The DeCandia household entertained 3 guests from Vermont who participated and had a blast! One group went house hunting before they left for Vermont! They absolutely love this place.

This week of exciting golf ends with 2 fabulous lunches for each group. The men enjoy the hospitality of the Acme restaurant in the Villages and the ladies head over to Carrabba’s Italian Grille for their feast! The men have been going to Acme’s for the past 11 years. They have treated us to a wonderful afternoon of food, drink and cheer. They reserve their upper room for us and the verbal spears blend in with an excellent blend of food. It is no wonder that we start getting requests to play in our Emerald Cup as early as December ! Our number of 40 players and usually 4-8 alternates is filled by the middle of February for our playing date of the 1st week in March! I would like to take this chance to thank Rick Hileman and the Sandestin Golf Group for their outstanding care of our Tournament Week! You guys are true professionals the way you take care of us and put up with some “INTERESTING” moments! We are fortunate to have you here at Sandestin.


Apologies are in order from ‘your truly’ to the members of my Ladies’ and men’s clinics. Between our medical problems and tournament week I have been remiss in getting my schedules of clinics on time! I PROMISE YOU that I will get the calendar part of my time back in order! Our next Ladies’ clinic will be the first Monday of April,2pm we will meet on the Baytowne Porch as usual. Also the men will be on the 1st Tuesday of April, Baytowne at 1 pm!. I look forward to seeing you all and getting together to delve into Golf- The Game Of Life’s Fragments!


A great way to pick up golf tips is by watching the slow-motion shots of players on TV. Be very aware of the right handed players’ right knee as they set up to make a swing. Left handers watch the left knee! As the player begins his[her] back swing watch the knee mentioned. It stays flexed and does not move laterally to the outside. As the downswing begins-pay close attention the the movement of the mentioned knee-it will start moving toward the ball and leading the club into a powerful strike of the ball and continue until the weight has moved to the left[right] side in the finish of the swing. If your knee has the habit of buckling on the backswing you will find your ball flight has a tendency to fly to the right[right handed players] or to the left[left handed players]. Learn how to load up your back knee and you will start keeping it –OUT OF THE ROUGH !

Posted by: sandestin | February 25, 2013


A Happy and Blessed Valentine’s Day to all my readers! Especially to the Ladies in my clinic. I must thank you for your patience and your attention. I hope that each clinic will leave you with an increased love for this GREAT game that has come into our lives ! Always remember that GOLF is the –Game Of Life’s Fragments and all the time that you spend in practice will be amply compensated! Especially the gift of PATIENCE. Don’t forget to prepare a pre-shot routine and we can work it into your game. It will amaze you as it improves your shotmaking !

How about this Linda Ko ! This youngster is taking the girl’s game apart with her game and her maturity!. If you get a chance to watch her- pay attention to any slow-motion reviews of her swing- it is a work of art ! She is leading in Australia and at the last viewing I noticed the Yani was making a charge and it should prove to be an exciting finish. Also, the youngster seemed to be showing some nerves in her putting. Perhaps, she was watching the leader board and noticed Yani’s move closer to the top. After all, she is only 15 years old!

Earlier, I mentioned the word –‘PRACTICE’! Always be aware that if you practice an error you will have engrained an ‘error’ into your swing. Do not be ashamed to ask some questions. As Abe Lincoln once said:” donot be upset because roses are filled with thorns, rather be happy that thorn bushes are filled with roses.” I would love to go over that one with our gang of ladies!


Congratulations to Matt Kuchar and his outstanding win over Hunter Mahan in the Accenture Match Play Championship. Under the most difficult weather conditions consisting of a freak snow storm, biting 30mph winds and 40 degree temperatures Kuchar was able to outlast Mahan to a 2 and 1 victory. Also involved was a $1.5 million 1st prize. Now,if we couldonly get our young people away from tv and video games, we might be able to develop some golfers. I am directing this comment especially to our young ladies! If you happen to watch the LPGA HONDA CLASSIC this past week,which was played in Thailand. A 17 year old Thailand born young lady after leading for 3 days fell to the pressure and was overtaken by a young Korean lady-Imbee Park and the last hole. Our Asian counterparts seem to have a stronger delf-disciplined approach to the game of golf.Note;’see the President Lincoln quote in the above paragraph.


Since Golf is a Game Of Life’s Fragments,a strong personal dedication is needed. Our own Bobby Jones often said-“if you wish to know the true character of a person,just play 18 holes of golf with that person and he/she will reveal their true character to you! This is just one of the many ways that Golf will help you to KEEP IT OUT OF THE ROUGH-OF LIFE!

Posted by: sandestin | January 30, 2013


We are making the turn into our golf season with week-day events, senior men’s and ladies’ clinics and the eager preparation for the Emerald Cup and the Ladies’ Ringer Tournament. The teams are just about signed up and it looks like we are going to enjoy a banner week in March. The teams are about full as we approach the deadline[2/15/13]. Our Emerald Cup should have 40+ players and the Ladies are

Out collecting door prizes and items for their silent auction.

This week I am a little late in getting the column written. I had some eye surgery done and it has been hard to see the keyboard. So please forgive my errors. I was lucky enough to have “my buddies” come to my rescue. As usual “my Sandestin family was there for me! Roger Haberern as my driver for a 6:30 am appointment at Andrews’ hospital in Gulf Breeze. He picked Marge and I up at 5:15 and we were off. How patient and good of him to be there for us; no wonder we call Sandestin our extended family!

Everything went well and I am looking forward to continue my usual schedule of golf and my 2 clinics in the next week. I am anxiously looking forward to seeing all of my friends as soon as possible.



A belated ‘Happy Birthday to Jack Nicklaus;73 years young. A true gentleman and lover of the game. A champion

Professional golfer and a loyal husband, father and example for any youngster who wants to get involved in our GREAT GAME! I would recommend Jack’s great book, Golf My Way and anything written about Jack by his only teacher-Jack Grout.

You will learn a great deal! This book should be read by all youngsters who are interested in golf!

Also, conratulations to ‘Tiger’Woods on his 75 win. Just 7 short of Sam Sneads’ 82 wins on the tour ! Sam a native West Virginian always said thatS

he was self taught, but brother Homer would argue that remark. Homer was Sam’s older brother and I’m sure that he helped young Sam with his game. Sam was titled-“smooth swinging Sam” by his fellow pros and sports writers. Samwould often attribute his smoothness to practicing barefooted! Snead played the tour for 40-50 years ! And was not only known for his golfing prowess but also for his ‘hillbilly humor.’ He once asked a New York reporter-“how could they get his picture, when I’ve never been to New York? I would ask any young people to read anything they can about “Slamming Sammy Snead.”



In this age of information and “stats” everyone is searching diligently for the ‘secret” to golf. This week I noticed that on the European tour for driving accuracy Two Italian pros are 1st and 3rd in the top ten, Matteo Manasaro in his early 20’s is 1st and Facesco Molinari,ealy 30’s is 3rd. Is it possible that the Italians’ innate love of music is ingrained in their rhythm. Good,solid rhythm produces not only excellent distance but also unerring accuracy.So, instead of trying to ‘KingKong’ every drive why not try humming a gentle tune, it works! This American of Italian heritage trys it constantly and KEEPS IT OUT OF THE ROUGH!


Posted by: sandestin | January 18, 2013


The Sandestin golf groups have made the turn. Our Ladies’ group is diligently preparing for their Ringer Tournament to be held March 5th and 7th. This popular event is being filled with requests to play. Also, our men’s Emerald Cup is starting to be filled with requests to play. The latest reports are that 20 requests have already been signed in and we should hit 40 to 48 players this year; our 12th meeting to date. Our Cup dates are March 4-6-8 and will be played at the Links, Baytowne and Raven courses. Both the men’s and women’s events are finalized by a great luncheon for all the participants. The laughter is unbeleivabe and the memories last for years. For our readers you will find some great pictures on our Sabdestin Golf Click on some of these pix and have a laugh with us !

The Sunday couples game is starting to take off. All those interested should call the Baytowne proshop and sign up. As we always say-“TRY IT, YOU’LL LIKE IT!”

Also, moving along are the mens’ and womens’ clinics’. Do not be ashamed, just show up and join in for some great fun and –believe it or not- you will learn about golf and get to meet some great new people. It’s all about the people! The Ladies’ meet on the 1st & 3rd Mondays of each Month at 2pm. We gather on the porch at Baytowne, share some stories and head for the range where I will share with you some 50+ years of background and experiences that will help you! Golf is a game that you can enjoy for a lifetime and make lasting friendships.The men meet on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 1pm at the Raven range. Join up and have a blast with the guys.


We are now experiencing 5 straight days of-‘golf with the boys’ here at 3 of Sandestin’s beautiful golf courses.Monday and Wednesday- The Coates Group meets at Baytowne and Links. Just A $5 entry fee and picking a colored tee will give you a team and a place[1st tee or 10th tee] and to compete against the other teams in one of many team games such as best 2 ball, team points,3-2-1 and many others assigned by our affable Don Coates. Roger Haberern will set up the Tuesday and Thursday games which include individual ‘skins’ all for a $10 entry fee. Friday will open up a great game of individual points plus a all for a  closest to the pin on 2 holes. This will cost you a $7 fee.

You just cannot beat this ‘action’ anywhere.

Have you been informed about Rory McElroy’s signing with the Nike Sports to play their clubs, ball and wear their apparel for a payment of-Millions! I must share this stiry with my Vermont kids clinic. I have worked with my Vermont youngsters since 1964. Young men and women ages 8 to 16.

These youngsters have kept me ‘young!’ I must inform them this summer that my insisting on their search for perfection in golf will be worth it and it should help to KEEP THEM OUT OF THE ROUGH!

Posted by: sandestin | January 7, 2013


A Happy and Blessed New Year to all of our golfers and their families. As we journey into 2013 wondering what this

New year has in store for us let us look with confidence that if we have our health we are blessed. Also, we are lucky to live in the USA which has been blessed by the Good Lord with so many gifts that we often forget our good fortune and take things for granted.

Posted by: sandestin | December 28, 2012


Christmas in Sandestin! Words are hard to find to describe this idyllic scene.The various Associations lighting up their entrances with scenes depicting the beauty of this great holiday. We have added a part to our December stay here at Sandestin. Marge and I take an afternoon ride down ‘old’ 98 and park along the Gulf view.Snow white beaches embellished by the assorted aquamarine hues of the Gulf are hypnotic and very often we park and daydream of the beauty that The Good Lord allows us to enjoy. It is a peace that words will not describe. The time takes us to another place that artists would love to capture on canvas!

Somehow we are  taken back to our early Christmas times we were lucky enough to spend in Vermont. Our backyard was the beautiful Lake St. Catherine filled with a multitude of colorful scarfs embracing both young and old as they skated around the lake. Their laughter composing a symphony of pure joy. The fireplace burned with the scent of applewood and seemed to crack to any tune we wished to sing. When you looked out upon this scene especially after a new snowfall which blanketed the evergreens in the hills, you realized where Norman Rockwell received all of his beautiful Christmas scenes.


As we turn to the new year our golf programs are starting to take off.Each Monday and Wednesday at about 8:30 AM we meet at either Baytowne or the Links to sign up with our version of “jolly old St.Nick”[Don Coates} He hands us  a Royal Crown bag filled with assorted colored tees. We pick and our color determines the team we are paired with, then the tee assignment and the game of the day. We meet our partners and head for our tee assignment.Friday, we assemble at about 9am to sign in with the affable Dan Hover. He assigns the teams, because this is an individual match and we play a Modified Stableford match and sometimes we include our own individual games. It is a BLAST!

Also we have started our golf clinics. This year I have included a women’s group as well! The Ladies’ meet on the 1st and 3rd Mondays, 2pm at the back Raven range. The men are on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 2pm at the Raven range as well. We seem to be gathering a great group in each division and I am sure that we will have a great time as we learn how to


Posted by: sandestin | December 17, 2012


The first thing that I must do is print a retraction for several errors I made last week. My dear friend, Paul Pazos,had his name misspelled and I erred on the hole for his 1st ace. The great shot came on the 7th hole  at the Baytowne club. Sorry Paul and thank you for the beer and super conversations we all enjoyed about your great shot! Again, may there be many more, so that we can enjoy the conviviality that these occasions provide us with.

The golf world has been buzzing with the proposed ruling regarding the anchoring of the putter to the body. There will be many discussions before this ruling is settled! Look for the Senior tour to be very vocal about this ruling. Iam sure that the younger players will be able to adapt much easier than the Seniors. 2014 will be an interesting year on the professional golf scene. I also read a question regarding distance. At the present time 175 yard 8 irons are becoming normal. At this progression will we have to build 8500 yard golf courses? The future holds some interesting problems. Especially since we have been told to-Tee-It-Forward for our older players. The common complaint among seniors is:”it just isn’t fun anymore !” How can we keep players coming back, when they are not enjoying this wonderful game any more? Please,if you have any thoughts,ideas or remarks get in touch with me at this column and let’s talk it over.

Our breakfast group is starting to fill up and as soon as the holidays are past we should be at full table. Why don’t you join us for some great food and vibrant talk at The Broken Egg, here at Sandestin. Every Saturday AM at 7:45. You will have a great time and meet some wonderful men. ‘Try It You Will Like It!’


This week we lost one of our dearest players. Dr. Fred Nussbaumer,or DR.FRED, as he was lovingly referred to. A golfer who LOVED The game and all of us who played it with him passed away this past Wednesday. I will miss Dr. Fred immensely. He was a steady member of our Senior Golf Clinic and also the Saturday breakfast group. He was always there for a comforting word or thought after someone had a poor shot or a missed putt. You could also count on Dr.Fred to place a loving arm around a slumping shoulder. Always at the right time! I would like to share a special word to Dr. Fred’s family and for each of us who were privileged to have been a part of his life here at Sandestin.

“Come away with me my beloved Fred,come away with
For you the days of winter are gone-so come with
Me into my Eternal Springtime.
Come away with me my beloved Fred, come away with
For you the days of mourning are over so come away
With me into the Kingdom of My Joy!”

God bless you Dr. Fred. You will always be in our thoughts and prayers as we battle to KEEP IT OUT OF THE ROUGH.

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