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Chris Cates plays to the golf crowd

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

During the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony and reception Aug. 25 in Pinehurst, a young man got up from my table, grabbed a guitar, went to the microphone and sang a song that had everyone laughing out loud.

The name of the ditty was “Triple Bogey with 17 Holes to Play.” It chronicled a golfer’s agony when he’s practiced hard all summer and has a meltdown of epic proportions on the very first hole of play.

Every golfer in the room, pro and amateur alike, giggled and grinned while Chris Cates wailed about a good drive that was followed by a not-so great approach, that was followed by a chunk, followed by a chip that was hit too thin, that led to a three-putt and a triple bogey.

We’d all been there, everyone one of us.

During dinner, Chris and his wife, Adair, talked about their lives. He’s a golfer, a songwriter and a performer. Adair is a motivational speaker and author. They are co-hosts of a radio show (with Tom Horan) called “Speaking of Golf” at station WWNC at 570 AM in Ashville, where they live.

They planned to be in Holden Beach with family the following week and agreed to meet me for an interview. Last Friday, we sat and talked for more than an hour, and that wasn’t long enough. It was as though we had known each other for years.

Chris and Adair are energetic, sincere, talented and funny all at the same time. They’re young. He’s 34, she’s 29, but they have plans and goals.

Chris told me he started writing songs before he was a teenager.

“I started writing down songs when I was only 10 years old,” he said. “I loved to make up stories and even created my own comic books. After starting with drums, at the age of 16, I switched to guitar.”

Chris loved Neil Young’s music and patterned his sound after his hero, making cassettes in high school and moving to CDs when that technology became available. Today he has recorded 27 albums.

“Songs come to me all the time,” Chris said. “I once wrote a song while waiting in a line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Some of my lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and humorous, but others are serious ballads.”

Today Chris is an admitted golf fanatic, but the golf bug bit him later in life.

Chris’ family belonged to the Mimosa Hills Country Club in Morgantown. Although his father was an avid golfer and his brother Brian was the club champion, Chris did not have an interest in the game at that time.

“I went to Appalachian State and only played golf two or three times a year. I never broke 90 until three years ago, when I joined a course near Ashville called Quaker Meadows. I wanted to play more and more. One year, I played almost 250 rounds, got my scores down to the 70s and even got into the 60s a few times. I was a goner.”

Quaker Meadows is a very popular Russell Breeden Course. As always, Chris saw humor all around him at the links. That led to more songs, this time about golf.

He compiled them, cut a CD, and it became one of his best sellers. Chris is now invited to perform his golf songs at guest days, PGA events, merchandise shows and other golf-related venues. The tunes are a country-rock-blues combination with guitars and harmonicas, the kind of songs you’d sing in the shower after hearing them a few times.

The lyrics tell the story of the foibles and fantasies of a golfer. “Three Putt King” includes the lines: “I’m the three-putt king, I’m the three-putt king. In regulation I’ll hit the green, but unless I knock it close, I’m the three-putt king.”

“A-Man playing as a D-Man” chronicles the adventures of a golf hustler. “Bogey Train” is the sad story of a golfer who can’t make par anymore. Other titles include “I Try to Work but Golf Gets in My Way,” and “Early Tee Time.”

Christ owns a recording studio in Ashville.

“I’ve created 100 albums for other people,” he said. “Now I want to make music for me, to get my own career moving. My songs move people, make them laugh, reach them in the ways that only music can do.”

Adair is supportive of Chris’ efforts to carve out a musical career.

“Chris is doing what he loves, what he was meant to do,” she said. “I know he’ll be a success.”

In the meantime, Adair has her own goals and dreams. She began as Spanish teacher at a community college, where she taught for several years.

“I loved interacting with my students, not just teaching them Spanish, but helping them find life goals and to realize them,” she said. “I gave of myself and cared about them. That process led me to read books and to attend seminars and learn how success and abundance and happiness can be achieved through goal setting and visualization. Soon I was writing my first book, ‘Live with Intension, 10 Steps to Creating the Life of Your Dreams.’”

Adair became a life coach and consultant and now works with corporations and individuals conducting seminars and workshops and one-to-one counseling.

Her book is an instructive journal in which the reader writes down goals and feelings as directed by the author. It explains in simple steps how to live with joy and imagination, how to achieve your heart’s desire whether it be in relationships, career or leisure time.

As part of Adair’s new career, Chris wrote an album of positive, motivating songs. Called “Passion and Purpose,” Adair does some of the backup singing on the CD, a whole new experience for her.

Adair believes her book will appeal to everyone, but she especially hopes to reach young people.

“Kids in high school and college suffer from a lack of clarity,” she said. “They are insulated and need to find goals that can move them forward into the life they really, truly want. My book helps them to create a purpose statement and then shows them how to move towards that goal each day.”

A few years ago, I worried about the young people of today, but I no longer do. Everywhere, young people are actively searching for meaning, helping others through mission work and volunteering. They are writing motivational books and songs, using their God-given talents to teach others how to live in abundance.

Part of that abundance is laughter and in that, I wish every success to Chris and his crazy zany songs.

I, for one, know what a triple-bogey feels like.

GOLF GAB GROANER

Agnes, a retired lady golfer, was asked by her daughter and son-in-law to baby-sit while they attended a convention, so she traveled several hours to their home, leaving her clubs behind in the garage.

The first night, she put the grandchildren into bed, changed into old slacks and a faded blouse, took off her makeup, then washed her hair.

The children grew more and more rambunctious in their bedroom with shrieks and giggles getting louder and louder. Finally, there was a huge thump. Agnes’ patience finally ended. She threw a towel around her head, stormed into their room and put them back into bed with several stern warnings.

As she left the room, she heard the 3-year-old say with a trembling voice, “Who was that?”

ELSA BONSTEIN is a golf columnist for the Beacon. Reach her at elanbon@atmc.net.