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Tom's Students -- "Where Are They Now?"

Meghan Bolger Stasi
Women’s Mid-Amateur Champion

When Meghan Bolger was a 9th grade student, she worked with Tom Gees on her golf game in Palm Springs. In spite of her outstanding athletic abilities in both basketball and soccer, she was only the sixth player on her high school golf team and shot scores from 50 to 55 for 9 holes. After golf instruction sessions with Tom, Meghan returned to her New Jersey home to apply new found enthusiasm, as well as new mental and physical skills for playing golf.

The following year Meghan became the #1 player on her high school team. The next summer she won the New Jersey Independent High School State Championship. Meghan did not quit there. She passed up basketball and soccer to attend Tulane University in New Orleans where she was an outstanding collegiate golfer. After college, Meghan, at age 23, became the youngest Division I golf coach when she was hired by the University of Mississippi and coached there for seven seasons.

Meghan’s competitive golf spirit took her on to win the Philadelphia Amateur Championship seven consecutive times. Most recently, she has won the United States Mid-Amateur four times in the last nine years. Over the years Meghan has proven she can take her game to new levels of excellence.


George Brett
Baseball Hall of Fame

Tom Gees first met Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, George Brett, in 1979. After quickly agreeing to help George with his game, at the first session with Tom, George hit a few 7 irons to show where his skill level was for golf. Tom remembers seeing tremendous power, but consistent, solid contact and direction needed some work. Tom made an instant connection with the baseball star when he compared the golf swing with baseball’s power hitting. Twenty minutes later George was hitting 300-yard straight drives. The following major league season, George batted .390, with 118 RBI’s, and 24 home runs. Could it have been that his golf power swing carried over to his batting swing? We may never know, but we do know that George Brett felt so confident with his new golf swing that he played in many PGA events and with partner Fred Couples, won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Today, George is a solid, single-digit handicap and enjoys playing in celebrity outings.


Conrad Ray
Men’s Golf Coach
Stanford University

Conrad Ray played his collegiate golf at Stanford University, where he was a teammate of Tiger Woods. As a Stanford player and team captain, Conrad helped win the NCAA Collegiate Golf Championship in his freshman year.

Shortly after turning professional, Conrad began to work with Tom Gees at his Wisconsin Learning Studio, and also at Conrad’s Hilton Head golf club. The focus was on improving Conrad’s mental game, course management skills and ball striking. Conrad made two appearances at the final stage of the PGA Tour School. He finished two shots away from obtaining his PGA Tour card in his second appearance, shooting 8-under-par 64 the last day. He advanced to play the Nationwide Tour producing a number of top 10 finishes. One day the call came from his alma mater, Stanford University, asking Conrad to become the Head Men’s Golf Coach. Tiger Woods had recommended Conrad for the job. He took it.

Conrad quickly fashioned success for his then 55th-ranked Stanford golf team, by taking them to number one, by capturing the NCAA Collegiate Championship. Conrad was named Collegiate Golf Coach of the Year. Still a high-level player, Conrad has qualified and played in the U.S. Open.
 


Wayne Levi
PGA Tour Player

PGA Tour Player Wayne Levi and Tom Gees became friends in the 1970s while both were playing the Mini-Tour circuit in Florida. While Tom chose a PGA business and teaching career, Wayne joined the PGA Tour. When Wayne came to California for tour events, he would always be Tom’s house guest. Needless to say, over the years Tom has become a trusted resource for Wayne’s golf game as Wayne has gained great respect as one of the most successful PGA pros to play the game…with 12 wins on the PGA Tour and two wins on the Champions Tour.

One of the bonds that fostered a long friendship for Wayne and Tom was their long-standing, spirited 72 hole putting contest they played against one another for many years. In 1990, Wayne was out in California playing in the Bob Hope Desert Classic. Coming into the event, he was really down on his putting effectiveness. He asked Tom to come out to the course and observe his putting, to see if there was anything that Tom could detect as the culprit for keeping the ball from falling in the hole.

Tom watched Wayne play and continue to putt poorly during the first round of the tournament. Afterwards, Tom met Wayne on the practice green and offered him a putting lesson without a single word spoken about putting…and the impact of this lesson would serve Wayne Levi quite well!

Tom approached Wayne on the practice green and proceeded to drop his money clip at Wayne’s feet. It quickly sent Wayne to his bag for a putter and ball for Tom. Their traditional 72-hole putting match was on! Wayne made the first putt and never looked back, defeating Tom by making putt after putt.

Tom knew the competitive spirit of his friend. He knew that Wayne would quickly realize that it was more important to beat Tom than to worry about what putting stroke he was using to drop the putts. In other words, he went back into his subconscious that already knew how to putt. And quite well at that.

That year Wayne won 4 times on the PGA Tour and was player of the year. To this day Wayne Levi has no idea what happened that afternoon when a simple putting contest was able to rekindle a fallen putter. Today the two old friends reminisce about their many times together and the enjoyment of success their careers have produced.
 


Tom Gullikson
Former U.S. Davis Cup Tennis Coach

Tom Gees’ relationship with the Gullikson twins, Tom and Tim, goes back to the late 1950's when the three of them lived in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The three were ball boys for the La Crosse state football team and played little league baseball together. In later life, the Gullikson twins chose tennis as their path and went on to play on the ATP tour from the mid-70's to the mid-80's. Helping to maintain their contact with Gees, they met in Palm Springs when the pro tennis tournament stopped there. Tom was the long-time Director of Golf at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and always made time for the Gullikson boys to help shape their golf games when they were out in the desert.

After Gees’ move back to La Crosse with wife Anne and their three daughters, Tom Gullikson always checked back in with Gees when he came back to Onalaska to visit family. A few years ago Gees reworked Gullikson’s swing and what a difference it made, taking Gullikson from a 6-handicap down to a 1 and a career low-score of 66 on the Conservatory...Gullikson’s home course in Florida.