Posted Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Golf a stress reliever for Stoops

Coaching can be a very stressful way to make a living. Especially if you are coach at a big-time program with big-time expectations.

OU Coach Bob Stoops finds golf to be a big stress reliever. Stoops keeps up with the game, knows several touring pros and plays as much as his schedule allows.

He has been known to escape during the season for a quick 15-minute session of hitting practice balls on the range just to clear his head. He gets his golf fix and head cleared in 25 minutes15 minutes pounding pellets and the  10-minute round trip from his office in the Switzer Center to the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course. 

He swims, bikes and finds ways to stay in good shape despite a hectic schedule. Golf doesn’t fall into the category of sports that keep you in good shape, unless you walk. 

That’s exactly what Stoops did recently when he played two days at Augusta National, where he enjoyed the luxury of having a caddie. In fact, the Sooner coach was one-under after two holes: “knocked one in from the bunker at the par five second.”

Stoops is like a good many football coaches when it comes to golf. He loves the game, doesn’t take long to get warmed up and plays fast.” Stoops plays to around a twelve handicap after initially learning the game from one of his mentors, Steve Spurrier. The South Carolina coach is an avid player and carries a single-digit handicap. Stoops learned the right wayplay the back tees, play it down in the rough, add well and don’t cheat.
His two favorite courses in Oklahoma are Oak Tree National and Southern Hills, and  he often plays at OKC Country Club. He wears his emotions on his sleeve on the course, hits several quality shots a round and has a very good understanding of the game and its history. Stoops is accommodating to golf course staff and players who want to say hi, get an autograph or a picture, and rub shoulders with the head ball coach.

It should come as no surprise that Stoops is one of those guys you like on your team when he’s standing over a five footer with the match at stake. He’s a grinder, just like he is in his football life.

Earlier in the day, during a taping of a segment for Sundays Oklahoma Sports Blitz at KWTV, Stoops talked footbal. He said this upcoming team is like several of the ones that won conference titles. He said he really likes the way QB Landry Jones has developed but said that in the end, things like injuries will probably determine how far his team can go.

There was not much talk on the golf course. However he did say one thing that made sense. While talking about the busy schedule AD Joe Castiglione has, the coach said that the thing that could drive him out of the game faster than anything is having to speak to small crowds day after day after day. He enjoys the interaction and is quite good at it. It’s just the non-stop go-here go-there 24/7 world of college coaching that can ultimately wear coaches down.

As long as Stoops can hit a few golf shots every now and then, the OU coach might just be in Norman awhile longer. 

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