Most amateur golfers would understandably say they could play better if only they were younger and had more time and fewer responsibilities. Then there is Ed Gibstein, 53, who is a partner in a Manhattan brokerage, has children ages 6 and 4 and currently holds three Long Island Golf Association titles.
"I don't think there's any secret sauce. I practice," said the Engineers Country Club member who this week won the Michael Hebron Championship, the LIGA's stroke-play title. "When I'm not playing on a weekend, I'll go to the club at 6:30, off in a corner by myself and work for an hour and a half until my kids are ready to start their day. If I don't give myself the best chance to win, I'm cheating myself."
Gibstein does lift weights, so he hits it long enough to keep up with competitors 30 years younger. Mostly, he is the reigning champion of the L.I. Mid-Amateur, Richardson Memorial and Hebron because he has skill and makes the most of his time. His advice: "Take lessons, because if you don't, you're going to develop bad habits. And in between lessons, at least once or twice a week, practice what you've learned."
His club now holds the Island's stroke-play and match-play titles, as Tim Rosenhouse won the Long Island Amateur last month. "That's a tribute to the quality of the golf course at Engineers," Gibstein said, adding that he would like to compete in national senior events when he is eligible at 55. Then again, he wants to be near home, too, for youth sporting events. "My kids deserve the same parenting that I got," he said.
PGA Junior event at his home course last week, sinking a gap wedge from 118 yards on No. 17. Braunstein, 15, also won the Long Island Boys title at Cherry Valley (without an ace) . . . Mark Reilly, 17, of Peninsula Golf Club, was the second-youngest qualifier in the Met Public Links at Bethpage Black on Thursday, and finished second overall, at 3 over par for 36 holes . . . Although he missed the cut, it was a huge week for David Prowler, an amateur from Manhasset, who made it into the U.S. Senior Open as an alternate . . . The New York State Open, at the Black Course on Tuesday through Thursday, is open to the public. Admission is free. It will be interesting to see preparations for the Barclays . . . Long Island Nine and Dine Series -- 631-539-2084 -- is a business that offers anyone a chance to play nine holes on a private course, then have dinner in the clubhouse. Next up is the Hamlet in Commack on Wednesday.