'Putter Head' Makes Another Comeback
Sam Bankhead, the man everyone likes to call “Putter Head,” just keeps on reinventing himself.
Bankhead hopes he has it right this time, though. He’s down-sized his new facility to the point that the overhead is viable, and he’s going with the principle that less really can be more.
If you know Bankhead, you know that he’s a man in love with the game of golf. And he’s spent most of his adult life attempting to help others enjoy it as much as he does.
Now located just off N.C. 211 near the Pinewild Country Club entrance, at 2105 Juniper Lake Road, 3.5 miles west of the Pinehurst Traffic Circle, Putter Head’s Indoor/Outdoor Golf gives Bankhead what he has been searching for — a facility large enough to house a golf simulator featuring 54 golf courses, and an intimate setting that allows him to conduct lessons inside or outside in a netted area.
“I’m a teacher,” Bankhead said between serving cups of hot coffee to a guest. “I’m 64 years old and I’ve spent 59 years of my life playing and teaching the game.
“Right now I’m more into teaching. I’ve got a smaller place now, and I just need for people to learn where I am and what I’m doing.
“What does it take to be a good teacher of the game? Well, in those 59 years in this crazy game, I’ve learned a lot about teaching professionals … some are very good, some are pretty good, some are fair, and some ought to be selling grapes or something instead of teaching golf. Some of them just want your money.”
Bankhead’s philosophy is simplicity. The simpler you can make the swing, the better it’s going to work for you. And the better your swing works for you, the more you’re going to enjoy the game. Simplicity.
“The biggest problem I see in teaching is making the game too complicated,” he said. “If you come to me for a lesson, there isn’t one mistake you can make that I haven’t seen a thousand times over. I don’t try to change a lot with your swing; I just show you what the problem is and we fix it.”
Bankhead is so certain he can fix your swing problem that he’s offering a free introductory lesson.
“I normally charge $70 for a lesson,” he said, “but I’ll give a complimentary lesson to anybody who needs help. I want people to know that I can teach and I’m ready to help them. That’s how confident I am in what I’m doing.
“If you’re tired of trying to figure out what’s wrong with your game, come to me. I’ll fix it.”
Bankhead almost retired “Putter Head” earlier this year. Despite a somewhat successful run at a location in Southern Pines, he was forced to close because of various complications that included leasing.
“I thought about retiring,” he said. “Then I thought about building a teaching studio at home. But then I found this location with enough room indoors for the simulator and a 5,000-square-foot hitting area out back. I closed the other location right after Christmas last year and opened here in June.
“We still have our membership list and we’re thinking about forming a golf league again. The league usually meets on Thursday nights, but you can come out anytime during the week and play your round on the simulator.”
During his time between openings, Bankhead discovered a new talent, and now he’s an author. He’s still unpublished, but has gotten positive comments from some who have read the book, a recollection of happenings and memories from his years in golf and life titled “Golf—Inside/Out.”
“I reached a point where I wasn’t sleeping at nights, and I just decided to go on the computer and start writing about some of my experiences,” he said. “Some people think it’s kind of funny, and we’re working on getting it published online.”
Meanwhile, Putter Head would just like for golfers to stop by, share a cup of that great coffee, eat a doughnut and let him take a quick peek at their golf swings.
And, if you’ve got time, he may even share a couple of paragraphs from that new book with you.
If you’d like to call in advance and let him know whether you like your coffee high-test or decaf, he’ll have it waiting. The number is (910) 255-0077.
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