Episode 6 - Larry Mowry & Kerri Robinson

Secret Golf's Steve Elkington goes to Atlanta, Georgia and visits Champions Tour winner Larry Mowry, and a professional camera operator for over 15 years in the tournament industry, Kerri Robinson.


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NARRATOR: On this episode of "Secret Golf," the inspirational story of how four generations of golf converged to find that sometimes you have to take the long road to find success.

-Here I am, now playing the what then call Senior Tour and beating Arnold Palmer and Gary Player head-to-head.

NARRATOR: How golf paved the road for a pioneer to break barriers.

KERRI ROBINSON: When I first started CBS Golf, there were a lot of days where it was really hard to go to work because I was a woman in a man's world. People are resistant to change. I'm not a wallflower, and I don't look like a wallflower.

NARRATOR: And a grudge match for the ages.

-Please do it. Please go in.

LARRY MOWRY: Look at that.

-Oh! Whoa!

KERRI ROBINSON: That was a good one.

-Hey. Hey hey.

[LAUGHTER]

-You got to make it now to tie now.

KERRI ROBINSON: Oh, the heat is on.

NARRATOR: Secret Golf is rolling your way.

[HONK]

[HONK]

-Fore!

[MUSIC PLAYING]

THEME SONG: It's Secret Golf. That's what I'm looking for. It's why I get up every morning. Come a good time with friends keeps me coming back for more. Secret Golf. We're headed down the road. We just loaded up the Big Show, going looking for the [INAUDIBLE]. Rolling till the wheels fall off. It's Secret Golf. Shh, it's a secret.

-Let's go to that one right here. This one. That one.

NARRATOR: One of the greatest things about the game of golf is that people of all ages and abilities can play and play together.

-How'd that feel?

-Felt great. I'm back.

NARRATOR: This week we discover four generations whose passion comes from very unique beginnings.

STEVE ELKINGTON: The reason we do this show, one is we only film people that have a passion for golf. We had a old school guy that was-- been around the game the whole time. All he cares about is hitting the ball good. Kerri, she was in it for a different reason. She was filming history, that was important. Then we got me, who's mixed in a little bit of all of that. And now we've got the young fella who wants to start the whole show again.

The second thing we have to have is public courses where anyone that sees our show, they could go and do exactly what we did. And the third would be we're going to get some little tiny ingredient that no one else has ever heard, a little secret about the game that I'm going to dig out of one of these people. And we hope you say, oh, I didn't know that.

I finally got to be with Larry Mowry. I'm in Atlanta.

LARRY MOWRY: Good to see you.

-Larry, I'm so glad that you're going to be with us at Secret Golf this week. You've been a big fan of our shows. I think of Larry Mowry as a player. He won 100 mini tour events. Then he came on to the tour and he literally took over the Champions Tour for a very short burst. He mowed down all these really top players.

While he was on the way, he took little notes of all the great things that he learned from Tommy Bolt, Sam Snead, Jackie Burke, Lloyd Mangrum. All those guys, he took every little piece of information and he kept it for himself. And now, he gives lessons and helps people of all different levels. He falls in the same category as a Jackie Burke.

-I'd heard so many technique conversations from these guys and could watch them on the practice tee and they would really work on it. Not that they would want to tell me exactly what they were doing, but I could copy it and figure it out.

-I know you know how big I am on the grip.

-Yes.

-You've got the-- You've got the grip.

-Well, Tommy Bolt really--

-Tommy Bolt. You knew Bolt?

-Well, I knew Bolt, was a mentor of mine basically late teens all the way up through the Senior Tour.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Hogan loved Bolt because Hogan said that Bolt was one of the best strikers.

-What Bolt really talked about a lot was this-- this part right here of the hand. He liked that.

STEVE ELKINGTON: You talking about that in the lead?

LARRY MOWRY: He says I want you-- When you get down there, you want check yourself out. I want to see a lot of that right there.

STEVE ELKINGTON: A lot of that?

LARRY MOWRY: Yeah, and that gives that little--

STEVE ELKINGTON: Wrinkle there.

LARRY MOWRY: That tiny wrinkle. The thing that I like and that I preach in my lessons is I like maximum speed. This is-- Boy, this is something that Tommy Bolt told me that Hogan drilled into him. He wants max speed right here at impact. At impact, not before impact.

-Mr. Burke always said there's only one time in the swing you can be fast. You can't go fast going back, you can only be fast one time during the whole swing. And you're saying Hogan said it would better be right there.

NARRATOR: Past times evolved through family and traditions. For Kerri Robinson, her life in golf proved that to be true.

KERRI ROBINSON: The first memory of golf I have in my mind is watching the Masters with my grandmother. When I was in college, I took an internship with an ABC affiliate in Eugene, Oregon. I knew immediately upon taking my internship that I had an acclamation to be mechanical and technical behind the scenes, and that's where I gravitated towards.

NARRATOR: In a realm of the sports world typically defined by scramble-savvy men, one woman shot her way through.

-When I first started CBS Golf, there were a lot of days where it was really hard to go to work because I was a woman in a man's world. People are resistant to change, and when I came out there-- I'm not a wallflower, and I don't look like a wallflower. So when I went out there, if there's a job to be done, I'm going to it do well, and I might do it better than you. But there's a reason that I'm out here and I'm here to stay.

NARRATOR: Against all odds, Kerri's optimism and persistence shone through as she worked confidently inside the dividing line. And unlike any other before her, Kerri earned her way onto the sports grandest stage, etching her name into the history of the game.

-Lance Barrow felt that I'd been doing enough CBS Golf that it was time that they allowed me a shot at working the Masters. On that day, I think history was made, not only by Tiger Woods winning, but the first female on the course at the Masters.

NARRATOR: She may have retired her lens in 2007, but Kerri's focus on the game is as strong as ever, and comes through the eyes of her 7-year-old son and golf enthusiast, Brooks.

KERRI ROBINSON: As a mom, it is a lot more pleasurable for me to step back and watch what Brooks is doing with these people that are famous and great golfers and really a part of golf history.

NARRATOR: Kerri's legacy however will forever remain intact. She, among the hes, belonged in the inner circle.

-To this day, I'm not exactly sure how it all transpired, becoming a golf camera operator for CBS Sports. But for women, I think I made history.

-You're a late bloomer. You were a very prolific winner of many tour events and all that stuff when you were younger. You didn't really come into your own until you were almost on the-- on the-- on the-- Champions Tour, is that correct?

-That is true. My best year, say through the many tour things, was 1979. I won 23 tournaments that year.

NARRATOR: All told Larry Mowry won 106 mini tour events before taking the Senior PGA Tour by storm in the late 1980s. And it was that experience that gave him the courage to take on the King, the Bear, and the Black Knight.

-He didn't know if he was that good a player when he was coming through and winning all those mini tour events. And then he started to play in these tournaments where a few of the tour players were in. He'd win one of those. He then got himself on the Champions Tour and was, you know, hustling along, trying to get enough money because, back then, each week, he had to go to the next town and qualify to get in that week. So he was going along pretty well and he got to Richmond, Virginia where he made a 30-footer on the last hole to beat Gary Player. Two weeks after that win, Larry found himself in the final group again and proved himself beyond a shadow of a doubt.

-I was paired with Arnold Palmer, who was 11 under par, and Gary Player, who was seven under, and I was tied with Gary at 7 under. When we got to the 18th hole, I had a two-shot lead at that point over Gene Littler. And I'm standing there on this side of the green and there's Arnold and Gary, humbly putting out to get out of my way. So I had to just give my caddy the elbow and I said, look at this. It may have been just a regular tournament for Arnold or Gary, but for me, that tournament right there was my favorite because of who I beat in that thing. This is the average guy. I mean, I'm doing what everybody out there wants to do.

-That's nice. That away?

KERRI ROBINSON: I stopped playing golf about 15 years ago. And now my son Brooks, he wants to play golf, and so I need to get back out on the links. And so I thought, oh, a real professional teaching golf, that's the best teacher for golf you can find. So just a little chance to pick his brain and get a few things corrected, I thought it would be awesome.

-So the big thing is learning what impact is supposed to look like to you. We had to get her back to what she knew where the impact was. Now, go to impact. That's right, heads back, hips are open.

-Show me impact. Open your hips up more, hands further forward, go back to address, show me address, show me impact.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Show me impact. That's right. So we got her very quickly-- she's very athletic --very quickly, very strong woman into that position, and it started to click for her. There you go. Got some power going there now. We are at Lanier Golf Club. We're going to have our secret smackdown. Who's your partner?

LARRY MOWRY: Brooks. He will putt for me today against you.

-OK. And then I've got my partner right over here, who she just got straight out of a little lesson.

-I might have been as nervous as I was going on the air at the Masters to hit the shot off that tee.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Whoa! Whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait a second.

[LAUGHTER]

[CHEERING]

KERRI ROBINSON: I told you I'm back.

STEVE ELKINGTON: You're back.

-I'm back.

-Kerri hit a supershot up there right next to the pin.

-I feel a lot more comfortable behind the camera, so I think--

-Oh, so you--

-I'm just going to grab this little contraption.

-You're going to take a knee.

-I'm going to take this little contraption he has and I'm just going to shoot some extra footage for us today.

-Oh, Larry, that's nice. 78?

-I'd say right in there, yeah.

-Your age or the shot length?

LARRY MOWRY: My IQ.

-Oh, look out. Watch out, flag. Oh oh, little short. You see that pro-spin on that? Did you see the pro spin?

LARRY MOWRY: Yes, I saw the pro-spin.

-It was going the wrong way. It's going away from the hole.

NARRATOR: After a quick smack from mother nature, the match got back underway.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Hey, Larry, it looks like Kerri's shot is the closest.

LARRY MOWRY: Wholly amazing.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Brooks, what do you think of your mama?

BROOKS ROBINSON: She's awesome.

LARRY MOWRY: Oh, you're kidding me.

-Oh. Ho ho ho ho ho. Don't be getting any crazy ideas here, kid. Oh, that's pretty good putt.

LARRY MOWRY: Put that away, good try.

STEVE ELKINGTON: All right, now come and finish that off. That'll be a tie.

LARRY MOWRY: Right on through.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Atta, boy.

KERRI ROBINSON: There you go, Bobby.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Good three.

KERRI ROBINSON: Good job.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Good three. So I had a quick thought that I'm going to get the little camera that Kerri had and give it to Brooks and let him film his mama. We got the next generation. You filming me, you filming him.

KERRI ROBINSON: Now he's filming me.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Now he's filming you. He's playing.

KERRI ROBINSON: And I'm golfing. Ha ha.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Oh, it's going to be retirement.

[CHEERING]

STEVE ELKINGTON: Whoa. Whoa, look how cool-- Look how cool he is under pressure. As he was walking away, he says, mama, I had-- I had you in the viewfinder the whole time, so he knows the lingo.

-He's my son. I knew he had that and so did I.

STEVE ELKINGTON: OK. The most important thing you do as a golfer is how you learn how to put your grip on. It's like playing the piano or something.

-That was the first thing with Brooks was to get him a grip.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Once you get this down, the game's going to be a piece of cake.

-He holds it, which I know, like with so much strength that it's insane.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Brooks, you're going to have to not grip it like a baseball bat. You going to have to get a little bit more in the tips of the fingers. Feel that? And this is like a puzzle piece. This puzzle piece, there's a spot there, kisses right there, they squish together. It's simple. If the youngsters come to the golf and they can't hit it, they won't come back. So if they get the grip on right, they've got the best chance to get the clubface stable and then they can hit and it flies. Nice.

-Elk was amazing with Brooks because he told him something and immediately Brooks did it.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Very nice.

-Put the club straight up in the air and straighten-- straighten the back of that wrist out so it's dead straight.

STEVE ELKINGTON: You and I were discussing that Jordan Spieth plays a couple of simple shots, but one of the shots that he plays is kind of a throwback shot. He's not afraid of playing the chicken wing.

LARRY MOWRY: Yeah, that's right. Spieth has got a lot of shots that are pretty much old school things, versus all the new-- everybody's doing all this fancy stuff with the arms and hands and turn and blocking things. Spieth has pretty much simplified it.

-That's a real old school shot, right? Where you really use it, punch your right hand against your left and then hold it off. Well, that's kind of like double down in gambling, just not go left. So there it is, right? There's the-- There's the chicken wing.

-That's it.

-And what that does is basically, Larry, for lack of a better term, it's a bit of insurance. He goes over here and then he pulls that left elbow out.

LARRY MOWRY: Out.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Out more here. I exaggerated it but you get--

LARRY MOWRY: Yeah, that's it.

STEVE ELKINGTON: You and I have talked about this a lot. Unless you know what you're looking for--

LARRY MOWRY: You'll never find it.

-I'll never forget a story Mr. Burke told me. Hogan and Claude Harmon were partners at a gasser against Jackie Burke and Middlecoff, and Middlecoff was terrible out of the bunkers. And Claude Harmon said to Hogan, I think I'm going to go over and help Cary out of-- out of the bunker. And Hogan grabbed him and said, he-- do not do it. He will never find out it unless you tell him. So Hogan was happy just to let him suffer the rest of his life.

-That's right.

STEVE ELKINGTON: We're at the second hole of our secret smackdown. Number three hole here, at Lanier

LARRY MOWRY: Beautiful. That's right on the money there.

-That was an nice shot. If I would have done that better this week, I'd be-- I would've made a little money.

LARRY MOWRY: It was beautiful. That second shot, you know, Steve asked me, he says how are you going to play this? And one of my favorite shots was like a 3/4 firm punch shot.

-Larry, what have you got here? What are you doing?

-I'm going to knock down a little nine. I said, Steve, I'm going to hit this in there. It's going to land just short of the pin, one bounce up to the pin and stop below climbing punch.

STEVE ELKINGTON: He's made it. He based it. Wow.

-And I hit that thing perfect. And it was exactly the way I called it.

-What a shot.

-Proud of that shot. Thank you.

-That was awesome. So you'll get up here. Before you knock it in, you move ahead and let it--

-Hard. Yeah, really hard.

-Punch it in and hold it under.

LARRY MOWRY: Yeah. Perfect.

KERRI ROBINSON: That looked pretty good.

LARRY MOWRY: Beautiful shot.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Larry Mowry lesson right there, baby, ladies and gentlemen. It's all about the lesson. I'm getting the old school. I'm getting the old school. So I hit me a good one in there, and now I'm-- my ball is exactly where Larry told me not to be. I've got the craziest part of all.

LARRY MOWRY: Looky here.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Please go in.

LARRY MOWRY: Lookie here.

-Oh! Whoa!

KERRI ROBINSON: That was the good putt.

-Oh, come on. Hey, hey.

[LAUGHTER]

-You got to make it now to tie now.

LARRY MOWRY: You got to make it.

KERRI ROBINSON: Oh, the heat is on. The heat is on.

LARRY MOWRY: Put right in. See this little piece of grass right here?

STEVE ELKINGTON: Oh, what are you doing? Hey, wait. Wait a second.

KERRI ROBINSON: That was awesome. Give mom a high-five.

STEVE ELKINGTON: What are you doing? I haven't had a win in years.

KERRI ROBINSON: Oh, you might not get one today.

STEVE ELKINGTON: What are you doing? So we got a par five. I've got to be the favorite with the ladies. But you got Brooks. Demon putter. Oh, nice. Larry played the hole well. Got himself down into position where he hits that shot again. He's working into his strengths. I felt like I might be able to get home in two so I banged one down there pretty good. Oh, ho ho. Get rid of the kid.

-Get rid of the kid?

STEVE ELKINGTON: Get rid of the kid. And I went for the green, didn't make it. But I was really enthused where I left because I was going to get to use Larry's shot, the big high one. I was going to put it under just a little bit of pressure. We talked about it little bit on the last hole, but you get yourself in front.

-I try to get my buns in my shirt. You know, if you drew a line straight down I got it just slightly ahead of the ball, an inch, two inches sometimes, just depend on--

STEVE ELKINGTON: The shot.

- --how low I want it. And then I make sure that when I come back into the shot, I'm there.

STEVE ELKINGTON: That guarantees the solid contact. There you go. You showed me a shot today that I haven't played in years. That shot with Tiger, which was back and round and letting it all hang out. Yeah.

-That's it.

-Going high, open blade. I'm going upstairs here. All right, here comes the little miniature assassin.

LARRY MOWRY: Ha ha ha.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Uh oh. OK, so I'm going to give you that one. So I had the stage set, if I make it, I win the match. Oh!

KERRI ROBINSON: Oh!

[LAUGHTER]

-I think we should call it a draw. I think we should call it a draw. Thanks for the match, young man. You were a good sport. You're a gentleman. You've been a great contributor to our show and talking to me and all of our people that love watching our show. Thank you very much.

-Well, thank you. It's a great show.

-Thank you.

-It's my privilege.

-Brooks, I'm very proud of you. We're very proud of your mother. She's a very important--

-I'm back. I'm back. I'm back.

-She's a very important piece of our history, of our tour, and I really feel like that people should know that.

-Thanks, Elk. I appreciate it. Larry, thank you for helping me with my swing today also.

-I enjoyed it.

-I'm back.

-And you are back.

-I'm stoked.

-You're back in a big way.

-I am.

-Woo. I knew that I was going to meet people that had very unique areas of golf. Larry Mowry who played a tour in a different era than I did, was so prolific and is just a real consistent provider of good information to all the people out there that are interested in golf.

-You're in the-- You're in business now.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Kerri, and her little son Brooks. She also had her own little slice of golf history.

-This experience was awesome. It brought me back to a time in my life where I was working in golf. And having your son meet these legends of the game, it's incredible.

-I wanted to get those stories out as we do at Secret Golf.

-Shh. Is their a secret to golf? Golf has a lot of secrets and I can't tell you any of them.

NARRATOR: In the heart of the North Carolina sand hills, Elk stumbles across courses steeped in southern history.

-So I'm sitting at Pinehurst No. 2, right behind one of the most famous greens in golf. But if you come to North Carolina, you've got to go to Tobacco Road.

-What makes people come to Tobacco Road is a golf course that you're not going to find in every city. Not going to be able to go around every corner and find a place like Tobacco Road.

NARRATOR: Gets re-united with one of the caddy world's best.

-Willie Miller was one of the greatest caddies on the PGA tour. Nobody moves that fast anymore.

WILLIE MILLER: I know.

NARRATOR: Joins a man whose caddied for legends.

-Hello Mr. Burke. I enjoyed caddying for you. Me and you are the only two living from the 1951 Ryder Cup. And one thing about caddying, if you don't like it, best to not do it.

NARRATOR: And finds a course with an unconventional caddy all to its own.

STEVE ELKINGTON: We found a whole different kind of caddy down here. Talamore Golf Club is a fine golf course, but they have llamas that are caddies. Yes, llamas.

NARRATOR: Secret Golf with Steve Elkington has been a presentation of Secret Golf Incorporated. Shh, it's a secret.