Interview With Jim Frutchey, Jr. Owner Morningstar Golfers Club
A Light Hearted Golf Q & A Interview
By Brian Weis
Below is an interview with Jim Frutchey, Jr., the Owner at Morningstar Golfers Club. The following are a few traditional and non traditional golf centric questions that I love to ask influential people in the golf industry.
Can you provide our readers a brief biography?
Played in my first golf tournament at age 8. Played on a golf scholarship at Temple University. Turned professional in 1973 after graduation. Class A professional in 1976. Head professional positions in Philadelphia, PA, Pensacola, FL, Gulf Breeze, FL, Navarre, FL, and Crestview, FL before building Morningstar Golfers Club in Waukesha, WI. Qualified for and played in the Pensacola Open (PGA Tour) (1980, '81, and '82). Had a weekly TV show while in Florida (The Swing Doctor) and a weekly radio show of the same name in Milwaukee currently (WISN). Served as the Temple University Golf Coach (1976-1978). Owner of one of the Top 100 Golf Shops in America (1987). PGA Teacher Of The Year, Florida Section (1990). Voted the Best Golf Professional in NW Florida (1989 and'90). Involved with the design, construction, operation, and now own Morningstar Golfers Club, Waukesha, WI.
When did you start golfing and who introduced you do the game?
I started hitting balls when I was 5 or 6 and played in my first tournament (Father & Son) at age 8. Got really serious about golf in high school. Was introduced to the game by my father, who was introduced to it by my grandfather. Full golf scholarship at Temple University. Turned professional after graduation 1973. Best memory.........I was playing the finals of the club championship in 1965, having worked all night prior to playing the 36 hole final. With four holes to go I was 2 down and dragging. Dad came up to me in the 15th fairway and asked me how I felt.....told him I had had it, was out of gas. He looked me straight in the eye and said "well, you have all summer to rest up!"..........and walked away. I had quit mentally and he knew it, and that shocked me out of it. I birdied 16 and 17 to get even and won it with a birdie on the 39th hole. I gave the trophy to Dad.......he really won it.
What is your current home course?
Morningstar Golfers Club in Waukesha, WI. I was fortunate enough to be involved in all phases of Morningstar, from conception to design to construction to daily operation, and now I am the majority owner. My son is now the General Manager and directs the daily operations of The 'Star.
To date, what is your proudest golf accomplishment?
I have been fortunate to play some good golf at the right times; to work with lots of players finding their swings, from PGA Tour star Jerry Pate to beginners; to attain a little notoriety on radio and TV; to garner a few awards here and there over the last 50 years.......
But my proudest accomplishment would have to be my association with and eventual ownership of Morningstar Golfers Club. I think most golf professionals, at one time or another, harbor a desire to own a golf course. You know.....that "Walter Mitty" thing. Well, I was able to do exactly that. I was involved with every step along the way and now I own it. It hasn't been easy by any means.....if you want to follow your dream you had better be able to survive a few nightmares along the way.....and we have fought through a great deal. But I would not trade any of it. Would not want to have to go through it again, but I like where we are and what we've done. And continue to do........
What is your biggest golf pet peeve on or off the course?
I have two pet peeves.....# 1 SLOW PLAY. Doesn't matter if I am playing or running Morningstar, there is no place for slow play. Be ready to play when it is your turn, and keep up with the group in front of you. If your group plays the par 3's in 11 minutes, the par 4's in 13 minutes, and the par 5"s in 15 minutes, you are in under four hours. No more than 30 seconds over a shot after it is your turn.
# 2 Two rules of golf.....# 1 you should be able to fix spike marks, just like ball marks. What's the difference? # 2 Stroke and distance penalties for lost balls and out of bounds. In either case, drop a ball with a one shot penalty and move along. My reasoning? The worst shot in golf is a whiff.....if you whiff it and I boom one out there 300 yards, but it hits the cart path and bounces 2 feet OB.....we are both still on the tee, but I am hitting 3 and you are hitting 2. Something basically wrong with that.
What is your favorite club in your bag and why?
I have several........my 52 degree SW because it is my spot on 100 yard club, plus I use it a lot around the green. With the irons I tend to favor my # 7 and my # 4. They just seem "strong" to me.
With the metals, my hybrid gets a good workout. And, of course, you'd better like your driver. It is the club that determines whether you are playing offense or defense on any particular hole.
If there is a club I would really like to love, it would be the putter. I am a good putter, but that love affair is always off and on. I wish it was on all the time.
What is your favorite golf destination?
I don't really have one. I spend almost all my time at Morningstar, so I don't go to many "destinations." I really like the Pinehurst complex, and I enjoy the Kohler courses, all four of them. We are pretty lucky here in Wisconsin.
I grew up in Philadelphia and you can't throw a rock without hitting a great course there..................Merion, Aronimink, Manufacturers, Philadelphia CC, Lancaster CC......there are a lot of them.
What course is on your bucket list that you have not played yet?
Lots of courses in this bucket. I have been fortunate to play a lot of the great courses in the US, but I've never been across the pond to play Scotland and Ireland. Would love to experience that while I can still get the ball in the air. St Andrews, Muirfield, Carnoustie, Troon, Prestwick in Scotland as well as Ballybunion, Lahinch, Royal County down, and Berwick in Ireland. That would be a thrill.....to play where it all started.
If you woke up tomorrow and could play one course you played before, where would you play?
I am tempted to say The TPC Stadium course at Sawgrass because the last time I was there I shot 69, playing with Pate (73). Maybe the best round of golf I have ever played.
However, I am going to go with Olympic in San Francisco. I got to play it in 2011, but with a borrowed set of clubs and I didn't play very well. Would love to get another crack at it. I played it about 9 months before the US Open.
If you could change one aspect, rule or thing about golf, what would it be and why?
Oops! Hit this one earlier. The two rules about not being able to fix ball marks and the stroke and distance penalty. The worst swing in golf should be penalized more than a good shot that just goes a little awry.
Dream foursome (living)?
Me, my two sons Jimmy and Rob, and my grandson James IV. Will have to wait.....JT IV is only 3!
But I think you were looking for Jack, Arnie, Tiger, and son Jimmy...........I'll just watch!
Dream foursome (living or dead)?
Would have loved to play with Hogan.....met him, but didn't play....., but here it is.......
My Dad (died in '09), me, Jimmy, and James IV. James I, II, III, and IV. Dad would have enjoyed that.
18 Rapid Fire, Off The Cuff Questions
1) Hitting Long Drive OR Sinking Long Putt?
Used to be the long putt, but now, at my age, the long drive!
2) Having Round of Life OR Hole in One?
The round of my life
3) Golfing at the crack of dawn OR twilight?
Twilight, when the wind dies and the shadows start to fall.
4) Hit a power fade OR power draw?
The power draw
5) Beverage cart OR halfway house?
Bev cart........good for business. Hit each group 3 times per nine holes!
6) Bathroom OR bushes?
Bathroom if available.
7) Hot dog OR wrap?
8) Around the green, being in sand OR thick rough?
In the sand.....spin for control
9) Walking OR riding?
Love to walk, but the knees no longer allow it. No cart = no golf for me.
10) Do you carry traditional 3 iron OR hybrid? Hybrid..............now.
11) Do you prefer long par 3 OR long par 5?
Long par 3 (but would rather have a short "either."
12) Pants OR Shorts?
Shorts, weather permitting
13) Palmer OR Nicklaus?
Love 'em both. It was Arnie when I was growing up, but Jack won me over.
14) Beatles OR Elvis?
Neither, but Elvis if I have to
15) Play for fun OR play for money?
Jimmy and I always play for The Family Dollar.......a silver dollar that changes hands. Traveling trophy! Money IS fun!
16) Bump and run OR flop shot?
Loft is risk........bump and run whenever possible. Flop as a last resort.
17) Lay up OR gamble?
Used to gamble.........now it is definitely lay up.
18) 18 holes OR 36?
18 usually, but only because of time restraints.
Revised: 01/28/2013 - Article Viewed 21,757 Times
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
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GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler