Even though Bailey is one of our new members, most of us already know Mr. Ogrin. His first tournament was the Club Championship. He won it. He also currently sits on top of the Inferno Cup standings. If this were a foot race, no one would recognize Bailey because he’s usually so far out in front, all competitors would see would be his back.
I’ve had the pleasure of playing with Bailey a few times and have learned much about his secret to golf success. If you consistently hit the ball straight and a long damn way, if you putt so that most shots go into the hole, if you chip like a demon, if you stay calm and focused, frankly, the game of golf isn’t all that tough. Despite what we’ve all seen, Bailey is (or at least used to be) human. A mere five years ago, Bailey carded a round that included six bogeys, six double-bogeys and a quintuple bogey. He had to rally to keep his score in double-digits. This was on Oak Grove Golf Club, a 6,625 yard course in Illinois. I’m betting even Bailey was in a bad mood after that one.
We now know that with discretion being the better part of valor, it’s not wise to tangle with Bailey on the golf course unless you’ve brought your “A” game. But if you’re really feeling good about your game, you might consider tangling with Amy, Bailey’s wife. She’s only a stroke or two out of single-digit handicap range herself. If I get lucky and don’t get caught cheating, I suspect I can beat her at least half the time.
Amy and Bailey live in Mesa. They’re headed for the central coast of California next week to play a ho-hum little golf course called Pebble Beach. Bailey graduated from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay with majors in Finance and Accounting. He does have the good sense to not be an avid Packer’s fan. He is a “Medical Device Representative” with Smiths Medical, a Fortune 100 company traded on the London Exchange.
When not working, Bailey tries to stay active. He plays softball in a couple of beer leagues in Tempe. He also gets plenty of exercise hauling golf trophies around the house.
Bailey’s path to Arizona was one that’s very familiar to many of us. At the end of his fourth consecutive day of shoveling snow at his house in Chicago, he said to himself, “This is April. There’s got to be a better way.”
Bailey views golf as an escape. It’s a trip into an alternate reality where life’s real challenges are temporarily suspended. Although he played high school golf in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, he didn’t really start honing his golf skills until after he left college. He has never taken a lesson. His skills have been sharpened by good old fashioned hard-work. He puts in the time and effort to improve and lo and behold, he improves. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
Bailey offers an interesting bit of golf philosophy when he says, “We all beat ourselves up over the bad shots, but we don’t take the time to celebrate the good ones. They can’t all stay out.”
Oh, yes – almost forgot. You may be wondering how Bailey is related to Frank Lloyd Wright. In June of 2009, Bailey played in the Wisconsin State Amateur Qualifying Tournament at Johnson Park Golf Course in Racine, Wisconsin. The course was built by Sam Johnson of Johnson’s Wax fame. Sam’s headquarters were designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. There you have it – Bailey’s almost a direct descendant of one of the most famous architects in history. And you thought he was only a golfer.