Veteran golf sales rep Stuart Miller, well known throughout the Capital Region’s numerous pro shops for selling top-level equipment and tournament favors, has a unique perspective on the game of golf. His new book, “A Wonderful Journey in the Game of Golf,” takes a look at not only his immense passion for the sport, but it also gives readers a look behind the scenes of his long and colorful career that spans four decades.
“Writing this book is, without a doubt, the greatest single accomplishment of my life,” Miller said.
Currently an independent sales rep for his Stuart Miller Golf Sales company in Clifton Park, the 64-year-old San Diego native studied marketing at Arizona State University. He started working for PING while in school and decided early on that his summer job with that well known golf equipment company would someday lead into a sales rep job.
“I worked 31 years for PING, including 28 as a sales rep,” Miller said. “It was an integral part of my career. I saw them grow.”
Miller, who nearly made the ASU golf team as a youngster, reaching the final cut, originally began working in PING’s factory, helping to make fairway woods. He then branched out to work in several parts of the PING company. He soon got to know the Solheim family, creators and owners of PING, extremely well.
When the opportunity came around to become a sales rep for the company, Miller jumped at the chance. He’s worked in numerous regions down through the years, including a brief run in Indiana and a special stint in Germany, because the company trusted him to see how the foreign sales were coming along.
Eventually, Miller ended up in the Capital Region, and he supplied all the area clubs with PING equipment. He began to sponsor numerous events in the NENY PGA — more than 100 overall — and ran the Lou Torre Champions Cup, a special event for local club champions, for eight seasons.
“I’ve always thought that it was important to give back to the game, and I tried to do that,” he said.
Along the way, Miller met some of the most famous golfers in the world, including Arnold Palmer. He still recalls to this day a brief encounter with the late legend.
“We were getting ready to tee off, and another sales rep points out that Arnold Palmer was on his way over to pass us toward another hole,” Miller said. “My friend introduced us. I was using a fairway wood, so I didn’t use a tee. I just used a little bit of turf. I flushed my drive down the middle. My friend duck-hooked his tee shot. As we were walking down the fairway, I asked him, ‘Did you feel the pressure?’”
Over the years, Miller attended more than 50 major tournaments, including numerous Ryder Cups. His observations of those events are priceless, especially from his unusual viewpoint.
He kept track of every trip and every venue he visited, and that made writing this book much easier than it could have been. It’s extremely rare to have a golf sales rep write about his experiences. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it.
“I want this book to be a winwin for everyone,” said Miller, who pointed out that hard-core golf fans will enjoy it the most but that it also is a good read for young people thinking about getting into the golf business. “I love golf, and I love my customers.”
After his long and successful run with PING, Miller was let go for business reasons as the company began to downsize a bit. He was “disappointed,” but quickly bounced back and started his own independent company.
When the COVID pandemic began in 2020, Miller figured it was time to do something he had been thinking about for a long time.
“I wrote golf stories for the newspaper at Arizona State when I was in college, and they had 40,000 students,” Miller said. “My mother always said that I should write a book about myself and my career because it’s so interesting. When COVID hit, I was going to be by myself for a long time. We were told to stay indoors and work from home, so I decided it was a great time to write this book.
“I spent 16 weeks in the summer of 2020 recollecting the great many events that occurred during my long, illustrious career with PING. It was a true honor to represent this marquee brand for 28 years as a sales representative in my territory of the northeast section of the country.”
Miller still recalls his PING years fondly, even though it was difficult leaving the company.
He enjoyed the fact that Viktor Hovland won the Tour Championship to claim the prestigious FedEx Cup last weekend using PING equipment.
“What is truly amazing — and hopefully the reader will recognize this — was my grit and determination to shrug off being let go by this giant of the game and rebounding by establishing myself as an independent sales rep. I am now entering my 14th year as an independent rep and my 42nd year in the business,”
The book contains 64 chapters and 261 pages, including some interesting historical pictures.
Many well-known people in the golf business had some excellent reviews of Miller’s book.
Jim Jeffers, the former assistant pro at Pinehaven CC and The Edison Club as well as the head pro at Eagle Crest Golf Club before his current gig as Director of Golf at Hiland Golf Club in Queensbury, has known Miller for more than 30 years. He was impressed by the book.
“Stuart will always be true to the bone, aggressive yet flexible, forthright and a competent sales and marketing genius. Above all else, Stuart has perfected the lost art of listening. Perhaps we could all take a page from his book and learn to listen. You may be surprised by how much you learn,” Jeffers said.
Miller, who has received several awards over the years, is proud of his accomplishments and believes being a golf sales rep is a special kind of career.
“I also just wanted to add that if you are a golfer with as much enthusiasm about the game of golf as I have and would like to follow my path in this industry as a golf representative, then I have only one thing to say to you,” Miller said. “If you have the drive, please go for it as I did. Maybe with a little luck, good timing and hard work you, too, can find the success and joy that I have had. I want to inspire people through my book, so I’m donating 10% of the proceeds to junior golf. I hope you all enjoy my book.”
I’ve known Miller since I started my run as The Daily Gazette golf columnist in 1988. I’m sure it will be an excellent read.
The book costs $15.99. It can be purchased on Amazon by going to https://www.amazon. com/dp/BOCDJYYGV5.
Very sad to hear of Stan Ziobrowski’s passing last week at age 87. I interviewed Stan many times over the years about his outstanding golf career that included 11 holes-in-one and a memorable junior golf match with the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
Stan lost the match, but Nicklaus mentioned it in his 1997 autobiography. The Schenectady native earned a golf scholarship to Florida State and worked for both The Edison Club and Mohawk Golf Club as a caddie and in the bag room.
A longtime member of Ballston Spa CC, Ziobrowski had a career-best of 66, and he won the 1956 Schenectady County Amateur.
The RPI tandem of Matt Buckley and Jacob Lindsey fired a three-day total of 198 to win the Championship Flight of the Shaker Invitational for the second straight season last weekend at Shaker Ridge Country Club. Buckley and Lindsey split $1,000.
Entries closed for the 66th annual NYS Men’s Senior Amateur Championship on Tuesday.
The tournament is set for Sept.12-13 at Yahnundasis Golf Club. Guilderland native Bob Royak, the 2019 champion, reached the semifinals before bowing in the 68th annual U.S.Senior Amateur at the Martis Camp Club in Truckee, California.
Royak, 61, is now living in Alpharetta, Georgia. He also reached the semis in this event last year and has appeared in three U.S. Senior Opens.
Karen Feldman, a two-time NEWGA champion out of Columbia G&CC, qualified for the 61st U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, to be held at Troon CC in Scottsdale, Arizona. Feldman won the NYS Women’s Super Senior Amateur title last week and is also a NYS Women’s Fourball titlist.
Clint Lange won the open division of the Schoharie Amateur Open with an even-par 70 last weekend at Cobleskill G&CC.
Dennis O’Neill (77) won the men’s division, Bruce Bartlett (78) won the senior division from the silver tees and Dannah Smith (80) took the women’s division off the red tees.
Mary Scatena of Pinehaven CC shot a two-day total of 156 to win the overall low gross title, and Linda Kolnick of Canajoharie G&CC fired a 158 to win the low gross crown in the super senior division of the NEWGA Peggy Enos Senior Championships at Windham CC.
The Normanside CC Invitational will be played next Saturday and Sunday with a better ball of partners format both days. Entry fee is $400 per team.
Briar Creek GC will host the Mark Powers Benefit Golf Tournament to aid the medical mission of Dr. Tom Catena on Sept.
22. Dr. Catena, an Amsterdam native, is the only permanent doctor serving in the war-torn region of the Nuba Mountains in Sudan for more than a decade.
Entry fee, which includes golf lunch and dinner, is $120, but there is an early bird special price of $100 if signed up by Sept. 8. There are also several sponsorship opportunities. The scramble tournament will begin at 9 a.m. Reservations can be mailed to Schenectady County Bar Association, P.O. Box 1728, Schenectady, NY 12301-1728. For more information, call Frank Tedeschi (518-377-6839) or email the SCBA at email@example.com.
The Vern Foster Memorial Golf Tournament will benefit a young local girl with leukemia and will be held Sept 19 at Stadium Golf Club. Foster was a Scotia barber who was very passionate about golf and both sponsored and played in many leagues, especially at Stadium GC. There will be a 9 a.m. shotgun start. Entry fee is $150 per golfer or $600 per team. The fee includes golf, lunch, dinner and $4,000 in prizes. There are many sponsorship opportunities available. Send entry forms and checks to Vern’s Golf Memorial c/o Glenn Jones, 9 Berchman Drive, Ballston Lake NY 12019. For more information, contact Stadium Golf Club.
Van Patten Golf Club is hosting the #StaysToEndAlz Tournament Sept. 29 at 9 a.m. The tournament will benefit the Walk To End Alzheimer’s Association.
Entry fee is 150 and includes breakfast, dinner and beverages. Make checks payable to Keith Stay, Alzheimer’s Golf, 20 Fiddlers Lane, Averill Park NY 12018. For more information, contact Van Patten GC (518-877- 5400).
Schenectady Municipal Golf Course will host the 15th annual Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame Golf Tournament Saturday. The format will be a modified four-person scramble. The entry fee is $460 per foursome and includes golf, cart, awards and a buffet.
Call Bob Pezzano (518-346-9297) for more information.
Van Patten Golf Club is hosting the seventh annual Malta Veterans’ Appreciation Program Golf Outing Sunday. Entry fee is $150 for a single player or $600 per foursome. For more information, contact Renee Farley (518-577-8863) or Jim Peterman (203-257-1893).
EAGLES Ryan Barbera eagled the par-5 second hole while competing in the G.E. Lab league at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Reach Bob Weiner at Weindog58@gmail.com.
‘I spent 16 weeks in the summer of 2020 recollecting the great many events that occurred during my long, illustrious career with PING. It was a true honor to represent this marquee brand for 28 years as a sales representative in my territory of the northeast section of the country.’
Author of “A Wonderful Journey in the Game of Golf”