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en Hogan always said that the secret to golf is “in the dirt.” Jack Jaffe discovered it


while strolling along


Stillwater Cove and the iconic 18th hole at Pebble Beach. Sounds a little more fun, right? In an unsolicited moment during


their Saturday round at the Nature Valley First Tee Open in late Sep- tember, Champions Tour professional Rod Spittle opened up to his junior partner about tournament golf. And on the hole that is quite pos-


sibly the most peaceful in golf, Spittle shared how he relaxes in even the most nerve-wracking moments. “We talked about how he handles


pressure and certain situations,” said Jaffe, a 17-year-old Youth on Course member representing the First Tee of Silicon Valley. “He told me his secret to relaxing and staying calm.” Then Jaffe stopped himself.


Jack Jaffe was paired up with Champions Tour player Rod Spittle, who turned pro when he was 49.


“I don’t think Rod wants me to


share it,” Jaffe said. “He hasn’t told many people about it.” It was perfectly understandable


to protect the special bond they had forged through their unforgettable week together. Jaffe found out he was paired with Spittle on Wednesday, and spent the next five days living the life of his dreams as a professional golfer. “I couldn’t have asked for a better


partner,” Jaffe said. “His family and his support ground took me under their wing. It was special to have them rooting for me.” When Spittle shared his secret


with Jaffe, the two still had nine holes to go in their second round. After opening with a better-ball score of 2-under 69 at Poppy Hills, Spittle and Jaffe were stepping on the gas at Pebble Beach to make the cut, which was hovering around 7 under. Implementing Spittle’s secret,


Jaffe played some of his best golf of the week, closing with birdies on Nos. 6 and 9. The birdie on No. 9 was particu- larly clutch, as Jaffe caught a glimpse of the leaderboard on the eighth hole, and saw they were one shot outside the projected cut. Jaffe proceeded to bust a drive to


145 yards out, stick his approach to 7 feet—bravely drawing it over Carmel Beach—and bury the birdie putt to get them to 7 under. “I thought we might have had it with my birdie on No. 9,” said Jaffe, who was quick to point out a slick 10-footer on No. 8 that Spittle holed to keep the team at 6 under. “It felt great to finish like that. We gave it our best.” The cut moved one shot after they


finished, preventing Jaffe from squeez- ing in one more round with Spittle at Pebble Beach on Sunday.


But while finishing in the top 23


FALL 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 47


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