Being retired from the NBA doesn’t stop one of the game’s true legends, Rick Barry, from striving to excel in his daily athletic activities. That includes golf, and his skills are on full display as he’s “Ridin’ with Rymer” on this segment of “The Charlie Rymer Golf Show” as seen on ESPN2!
Today I’m at Rivers Edge Golf Club in Shallotte, North Carolina. This is the top end of Myrtle Beach, and I’m hanging with Basketball Hall of Famer, Rick Barry. I’m Charlie Rymer and this is Ridin’ with Rymer. Rick Barry, come and get in my golf cart. We have got some golf to play today. This is Rivers Edge. It’s one of Mr. Palmer’s courses. I know you knew Mr. Palmer.
Rick Barry (01:12):
Charlie Rymer (01:13):
This one is one of his beauties.
Rick Barry (01:14):
All right, well, it looks pretty right now as I try to keep it out of the marsh.
Charlie Rymer (01:17):
I think you won’t have any problem. I’m ready to watch you bust some drivers. Let’s go. Rick, you are very likely one of the best athletes to ever lace up any kind of shoes. And looking at your record and everything that you’ve set, the Basketball Hall of Fame and the success you’ve had in other sports, the thing that interests me is being a great athlete, do you think you were born to that or is this something that you worked at?
Rick Barry (01:46):
Well, here’s the situation. I think that for any great athlete it’s born and then if you’re fortunate enough to have people to refine what it is that you have there inside your body naturally, and to take it and to utilize it in the best way possible… When you look at a player, what is it that you’re looking for? And I tell them, because in basketball, what I look for is, does the player have a natural feel for the game? There’s such a thing as a natural feel. If you don’t have a natural feel for the game, you’ll never be as good as someone who has a natural feel for the game even if you’re incredibly gifted athletically. And then you get the special players who have the natural feel, who are gifted athletically, and those are your superstar players. Those are the ones that take everything that they have within them to maximize that potential to be as great as they wind up becoming. But without that natural feel, you just don’t have it. I tell people, I can teach you how to pass a basketball.
Charlie Rymer (02:40):
Rick Barry (02:40):
I can’t teach you how to see.
Charlie Rymer (02:42):
Rick Barry (02:42):
Okay? You either have that feel or you don’t. And that’s what I think it comes down to. I think it’s the same situation for probably in golfers. These guys had a natural feel for the game.
Charlie Rymer (02:53):
Rick Barry (02:53):
I mean, because it’s not something… I mean, golf is so difficult. Oh my God, the respect that I have for golfers, Charlie, the most difficult sport I’ve ever tried to play. And I’ve been very good. I mean, I got to be a one handicap, and the better I got, the more frustrated I got. The more time you have to put into it, boy, it is such a difficult game.
Charlie Rymer (03:09):
There’s so many games in one. I mean, I know basketball-
Rick Barry (03:11):
Charlie Rymer (03:12):
Rick Barry (03:12):
Charlie Rymer (03:13):
… So many games in.
Rick Barry (03:14):
But it here, it’s the mental part.
Charlie Rymer (03:15):
And you’re not reacting so many times.
Rick Barry (03:18):
No, nothing. No, no, there’s zero reaction to golf. That’s the whole thing. That little silly white ball is just sitting there and you just have to look at it and figure out what to do and the different shots you have to have, the different clubs you have to use, the conditions you play in. I tell people, you can play golf 365 days a year, 366 at Leap Year, same tees, same pin placement, never will have the same shot twice, ever. It’s an impossibility.
Charlie Rymer (03:39):
Rick Barry (03:39):
That’s how difficult golf is. All right, so let’s go hit some golf balls.
Charlie Rymer (03:47):
You’re going to love what I got for you today.
Rick Barry (03:49):
Charlie Rymer (03:49):
This is River’s Edge Golf Club designed by Mr. Palmer. We got some great views and I’m going to get you to hit some long drives. I mean, when you’re World Long Drive Champion, you need to hit a driver, right? I got to hear about this juju swing, the load and explode.
Rick Barry (04:09):
Oh, no, no, no. I used to do that. I did that with, yeah, with Brad Peterson who got me. It was a great story actually. I’m at a retired players associates deal in Las Vegas, and I see this guy talking to some of the guys that I know after the meeting was over. So I see him doing this crazy thing and this is what he did here. He did it here, this up and do that. I’m always open to things, right?
Charlie Rymer (04:29):
Rick Barry (04:29):
So I said, “Show me.” I went to the driving range right over there by the airport in Las Vegas and he showed me what it was and I started to practice with it. And my first competitions and all, I went out and used that swing and I wind up winning a World Long Driving Championship.
Charlie Rymer (04:43):
One of four.
Rick Barry (04:44):
Yeah, one of four. I came close in a couple other ones. I mean, one guy, I hit a ball, it hit and plugged. His ball hit and rolled and he beat me just by a little bit and I wound up losing that one. Yeah, so I went back to my other stuff and I don’t swing any differently than I swing when I play and I still wound up winning.
Charlie Rymer (05:00):
Let’s see it. Let’s see you launch one out there.
Rick Barry (05:02):
Interesting to see if I could do anything without getting all warmed up and stuff here. That’s pretty darn good for not really warming up.
Charlie Rymer (05:15):
Folks, Rick Barry. He’s still got it. Well, I just heard it land. What a great swing. That’s awesome.
Rick Barry (05:24):
Not bad for an old man.
Charlie Rymer (05:25):
That’s perfect. You spend your whole life trying to not hit the ball in the water.
Rick Barry (05:31):
Charlie Rymer (05:31):
I’m seeing this really cool river right there.
Rick Barry (05:34):
Yeah, okay. Okay. I’m going to try to see if I can get it to splash right in the water over there. Just my challenge in the day. My wife always did that when we went skiing, the challenge of the day. So let’s see if I can hit it straight enough to get a splash in that water.
Charlie Rymer (05:47):
You got 20 yard wide river.
Rick Barry (05:49):
All right, let’s see what we got here. Oh yeah, baby. I did it.
Charlie Rymer (05:54):
Yes sir. You carried it too far.
Rick Barry (05:56):
I carried it too far. I hit it over the water.
Charlie Rymer (05:58):
You’re too strong.
Rick Barry (05:59):
God, I hit that good.
Charlie Rymer (06:00):
It was right down the middle too. Good hit. You are among the two most competitive people that I’ve ever been around in my life. Four time World Long Drive Champion, you’re ranked in pickle ball, you have various business interests. I see so many parallels between you and Jack Nicholas. Jack Nicklaus with his business, with tennis. I know you played a lot of tennis. I’m sure you probably played a lot of tennis with him. And now his main form of competition, he loves raising money for Nicklaus’ Children’s Healthcare Foundation.
Rick Barry (06:33):
And he loves to fly fish.
Charlie Rymer (06:34):
And he likes to fly fish and he wants to beat you in anything that you do. And the two of you are the most competitive I’ve ever seen. Where does that competitive spirit come from for you?
Rick Barry (06:45):
Well, probably my father. My father was a semipro player and coach. He’s the one that laid that foundation and taught me how to play the game the right way. He was a perfectionist. I mean, he was never satisfied. And I remember, and I try to tell kids still, my father instilled in me one of the best things ever, and I try to instill in all my boys, is take pride in everything that you do in life. Always give your best effort and don’t be afraid to fail. We’re human beings. I mean, we’re not some supernatural person or we’re not a robot or whatever it may be. You’re going to fail. But intelligent people learn from the mistakes that they make and you minimize those mistakes and try not to repeat them and that helps to make you better.
Charlie Rymer (07:22):
What I love hearing from you today is so much of it. The concepts that work in sports, this is what you’re talking, is that intersection of how you learn things that work in sports, that work in business, that work in family. It’s common sense. Put people in a position to succeed. Treat people with respect. Work hard, team. That’s what I love so much about hanging out with somebody like you, because I’m thinking of things that you’re talking basketball, but I’m thinking, well, how do I put that in play in my family? How do I put that in play in my business? And that whole intersection of sports and business, I think it’s just a wonderful mesh.
Rick Barry (07:59):
Life and sports, I mean business and sports especially, I mean, the correlation when I talk to businesses, I think the same talents and skills or qualities that I had as a person to be successful in basketball applied to the business world as well. I mean, it’s just a matter of preparing yourself properly, being honest with yourself, and again, the other thing is that so many people are afraid to fail. I mean, everybody fails. I mean, it’s okay to fail, just don’t keep doing the same dumb things over and over again. Right?
Charlie Rymer (08:29):
Learn from it.
Rick Barry (08:30):
Learn from your mistakes.
Charlie Rymer (08:34):
So Rick, it has been awesome spending time with you. I want to finish up here at 18. You got the unusual putting technique. You got to show that off for me here at 18.
Rick Barry (08:44):
All right. Happy to do it.
Charlie Rymer (08:45):
All right, Rick, I know you like a good challenge.
Rick Barry (08:47):
Charlie Rymer (08:48):
We got this 15 footer for birdie here at 18. I’m going to put a hand in your face and see if you can make it.
Rick Barry (08:53):
Well, here’s the thing is that I can shoot my free throws, and when you have enough confidence, with my eyes closed. I can make 80% with my eyes closed.
Charlie Rymer (08:58):
All right, let’s see. Hand in face.
Rick Barry (09:00):
So I just… Let me get lined up first and then see if I can putt it without having to look at it. Once I get lined up, let me get, so here. Because if you have it down enough, you should be able to do it.
Charlie Rymer (09:12):
Hand in face.
Rick Barry (09:12):
Go ahead. Well, you can actually do that. I could actually close my eyes too. I can close my eyes.
Charlie Rymer (09:22):
And that folks is why this man is in the basketball Hall of Fame. Rick, it’s a pleasure. I learned so much from you today and I know our viewers did too. Appreciate you spending time with us here in Myrtle Beach.
Rick Barry (09:32):
My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Charlie Rymer (09:33):
Hand in the face, it didn’t slow him down. I’m going to keep this one. This is going on my shelf. That’s so awesome.