Nearly 40 years ago, I distributed an 18-page golf survey via snail mail to the top 200 mid-amateur golfers in the country.
The vast majority of these 200 players were strangers to me.
The survey that stretched on forever needed to be filled out by hand (remember, it was 40 years ago). It covered a wide variety of subjects, some of which could easily be construed as too personal.
In retrospect, this out-of-the-blue request may have been a monumental imposition on some very busy people.
In fairness, I did provide return postage.
To my amazement, however, I received 125 responses (a 62.5 percent success rate), chock-full of the very informational jewels that I was shooting for from these elite players.
Among the respondents: Vinny Giles and Bill Campbell (both U.S. Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur champions); Allen Doyle, a perennial Walker Cupper until he turned pro in 1995 at the age of 46, who then won two U.S. Senior Opens; and Doug Roxburgh, three-time Canadian Amateur victor.
You get the picture. It was the cream of the mid-amateur crop.
With those 125 18-page surveys in hand, my labor of love then was to pore through and succinctly summarize the findings, without bias or preconception, solely relying upon the myriad great observations provided by these state, regional and national champions.
In October 1984, the USGA Golf Journal agreed to publish the “10 Commandments for Amateur Players,” with the tried-and-true principles offered by these elite players as the reason behind their golfing successes.
In 1984, the author published the original 10 commandments for amateur golfers in the USGA's Golf Journal.
So I decided now, with the U.S. Senior Amateur about to begin at The Kittansett Club, Marion, Mass., on Aug. 27, to see how those commandments hold up nearly 40 years later.