By Senior Airman Kali L. Gradishar, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 28, 2009
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
A new Saber came putting and swinging into town in June, landing at the Eifel Mountain Golf Course. Children, adults and everyone in between can to take advantage of the new golf pro's expertise through private lessons, group lessons or the Kids for Golf program until the beginning of September.
Golf Pro Clive Bond brings 27 years of golf experience to Spangdahlem AB, which started when he traded in his hockey stick for a golf club. Mr. Bond's first attempt at golf was when a friend coaxed him onto a course while serving in and playing hockey for the British military.
"That's not James Bond. I'm not here to do double-O-seven work," he joked, referring to his last name. More than sharing his knowledge of golf skills and techniques, the quirky golf pro brings a rolling chuckle and a stockpile of amusing tales to the course.
Mr. Bond became a self-employed instructor in 2000 after working for three years as the director of sports with the International Management Group, a global sports, entertainment and media company founded by World Golf Hall of Famers Mark McCormack and Arnold Palmer.
"A golf pro enhances the capabilities of growing golf," said Terry Hatch, golf course manager. "The demographic of golf right now is old. With a golf pro, the children and adults are getting the proper instruction and learning the right way. This will hopefully make golf more enjoyable for all ages."
"Right now we're giving people time to realize someone is here," Mr. Bond added.
In February, Mr. Hatch filled the position of new manager at the course, and not long after, he knew he needed to get a pro on base, he said.
"I started asking around in April. Then a few mutual contacts said they had 'just the guy,' so we started up the contract process to get him working on our course," said Mr. Hatch, a retired master sergeant from the 23rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit.
Coming from a jam-packed sports background, Mr. Bond has more than his share of athletic knowledge and experience. From being a gymnast and attending a physical training school, to working on certificates in various sports activities and entering an adventure training center.
"I don't know anything else," said Mr. Bond, referring to a lifetime full of sports achievements.
Mr. Bond's days are booked full, as he also works as the golf pro at courses in Burbach, Germany, and St. Vith, Belgium. After a day of teaching in German, he makes a quick switch to his native tongue.
"It's challenging to teach in German, which I've been speaking for 20 years, then at the end of the day, I teach in English," Mr. Bond said chuckling. "Sometimes I search for words - just the other day it was 'hazard' and 'obstacle,' which eventually came to me."
Adult lessons are available for $45 for 60 minutes and $25 for 30 minutes. For more than one person lessons are $20 per person for 60 minutes.
"I teach the different aspects of golf - the chip, the putt, or how to improve a handicap," Mr. Bond said.
The children's program involves six hours of instruction for 90 minutes per day and include lunch and a T-shirt, which costs $110 per week. The pro takes special consideration for the children's group, depending on age and skill level.
"We play games with the children. For putting, they roll a ball across the green to see how a ball should roll, then when we move into chipping they toss the ball onto the green to see how it falls. Then we slowly introduce the club, bringing it on slowly, but I pay no mind when they hold it like this," he said, demonstrating how a child might hold a club with hands far apart "Happy Gilmore style."
Why does he take the time, patiently teaching those eager to learn?
"I do it for fun," he said. "I only golf for fun. I'm not going to make the millions now because I'm too old. I'll leave that to the young lads I teach."
The children's program will continue until approximately the beginning of September when children flock back to school, while the adult lesson will continue until October. During that time, other opportunities will be available for golfers of all levels.
"Along with lessons from the golf pro, there's also the driving range, intramural golf, tournaments all summer, and glow golf - night golf that involves glowing balls and other glowing lights throughout the course," Mr. Hatch said.
The Eifel Mountain Golf Course is open 6:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant opens with the golf course and closes at 1:30 p.m. For more information, call the golf course at 452-4653.