One day I’m flipping through Golf Digest, as I’m wont to do, and I see an ad that says:

World’s Worst Swing ContestDo you know someone whose golf swing would make a baby cry? That looks like a robot having a seizure? Or maybe it’s you?Send us a video of the offensive swing, and the “winner” will receive six nationally-televised lessons from world famous golf instructor, Dean Reinmuth, and also be featured in Golf Digest!

The above is paraphrased, but you get the idea.

Most contestants saw the ad and went out to film themselves specifically for the contest. But I was fortunate to already possess footage. Not of me, but of my good friend, Brian. He lives in California now, and we meet every year for a golf weekend or two, and I usually bring the video camera.

So, unbeknownst to Brian, I put together a compilation of Brian’s worst efforts and recorded some funny commentary over the top of it. I almost choked to death laughing as I made the thing. The voice-over took forever because I kept laughing as I recorded it.

Then I dropped the DVD in the mail.

A few weeks later, I get a call from Brian. The first words out of his mouth were:

“What did you do?”

Of course I played dumb, and then Brian says, “I just got a call from a girl who works for the Golf Channel. She congratulated me for being a semi-finalist in the World’s Worst swing contest. Then she laughed.”

Then I laughed.

A few weeks later, there was a show on The Golf Channel about the contest. Several of the homemade videos were featured.

They led with mine.

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect practical joke than to watch one of your best friends on national TV being made fun of for his heinous golf swing. Especially since he enjoys the game so much.

Four finalists were invited to Orlando for the selection show. I joined Brian there and we played golf and partied and waited to find out if he would win or not.

Then, on a Monday night, the winner was announced.

It was Brian.

Over the next several months he filmed lessons with Dean Reinmuth, who is one of the best-known instructors in the country and a regular contributor to the Golf Channel. There was a fold-out section in Golf Digest that broke Brian’s swing down with a high speed camera (I was present for this photo shoot, and Brian actually whiffed a few times!)

For the final lesson, the Golf Channel invited me to be on the show so I could make fun of Brian one more time before the end. I also played in a Celebrity/Charity golf tournament with him. Brian didn’t fare very well, but we tied for first, and I won a bottle of Patron tequila for being closest to the pin on a par 3 (215 yard 5-iron to ten feet. I’m sure you wanted to know that).

Brian is better now, and besides the lessons, he also got a new set of Nike golf clubs out of the deal. In the end he loved winning the contest, even if it wasn’t the most flattering thing in the world.

These days everyone seems to have their camera around. You can’t do any embarrassing thing without it showing up on YouTube.

But most of the footage on this video was shot before 2000, some as early as 1997. It pays to be ready, no?

Every single time I watch this video I laugh.

I hope you do, too.

Happy Friday!


P.S. Here a link to the article in Golf Digest if you’re interested.