Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Samelson Stays in shape with Golf

Harry Samelson practices his golf swing

Harry Samelson practices his golf swing

     I remember growing up in Kalihi, on the island of Oahu, and trying to compete for my father’s attention along with my three other siblings.

    One thing that got my dad’s attention was my love for baseball.  My dad was a St. Louis Cardinal fan and he worshiped Stan “the Man” Musial.  I could recall getting the sports page each morning and thumbing through the St. Louis stats to see how “The Man” did the night before so that I could update his seasonal batting average and get it to my dad before anyone else.

   My relationship with my father, during those youthful days, was special because of baseball and it is one of the fondest memories that I hold of him about him since his passing eight years ago.

   Such was the case with Harry Samelson who fell in love with his father’s special sport, the game of golf.

   Samelson grew up in Wantagh, New York on Long Island near Jones Beach and the ocean.  “I started playing golf at the age of six because my dad loved the game,” he said.

   “My dad wouldn’t let me out on the course until I was six because he didn’t want me getting in peoples way when I was too young,” he said.

   “Our whole house was carpeted and I used to putt all around the house, down the stairs, under and through furniture, making up my own putt putt course as far back as I can remember.”

   Samelson fell in love with the game of golf, but more importantly he found the way to bond with his father which has made for lifelong happy memories.

    “I was taken with the game from the first second I picked up a club,” he said.  “It was when my dad bought me a child’s set of clubs, you know, the ones with the plastic heads and plastic balls to hit.”

Harry Samelson
Harry Samelson

Samelson picked up various sports in his youth which included tennis, softball, basketball, soccer, street hockey, running, bowling and, of course, golf.

    “I was on the high school golf and bowling teams and when I attended Bates College I played four years on varsity golf,” he said.

    Samelson was the number two player on his high school team and didn’t blossom as a golfer until he was 18 when he won the club championship at his father’s club, Muttontown Golf Club on Long Island.

    In college Samelson played as the number one golfer during his sophomore and senior seasons.  “During my senior season at Bates I won the state individual championship and our team won the State Championship which became two of the biggest highlights of my golfing career,” he said.

   Samelson had played golf on such notable courses as Pebble Beach and Winged Foot and even went to Augusta National to see the Freddy Couples win the Masters that year.

   “Seeing Freddy Couples win the Masters was the number one golf highlight of my lifetime.   Augusta National is one of the most beautiful places, much less golf course, I have ever seen,” Samuelson said.

   Samelson is the President of Charles Samelson, Inc., a textile firm that manufactures and distributes interior decorative fabrics.  The firm is headquartered in New York with a warehouse and shipping facility in South Carolina.

   “I spent my whole life in New York City until 2004 when I moved to Kapoho.  The sun and sea are both very healing and important to me,” he said.  Samelson serves as the President of the Kapoho Community Association.

    Two times each week Samelson will head out to Volcano Country Club with his buddy Jack Christenson were they will play a round of golf.  “We get there about 6:30 in the morning and we’re always the first ones to tee off.  We play two hours and it’s a blast,” Samelson said.

   Samelson, who is a scratch golfer, will play on his own once per week and can get through the 18 hole course in about an hour and twenty minutes, but enjoys the companionship of playing with others.

   “The maintenance guys at Volcano have named me “speedy” as I’m always hitting though them,” he said.  “We shaka each other and smile.  It’s really nice because the course and the people who work there are really low key and down to earth.”

    Samelson best round at Volcano is a 65 and his only hole in one came on the third hole last year. 

    Samelson wakes up at 3 a.m. each morning when playing golf and at 5 a.m. on his off days.  Each morning he spends time stretching before going out on a two mile run.  Later in the day Samelson will go out for a two mile walk.

   “Exercise is important to me for many reasons,” he said.  “First, I get a great rush from the endorphins released from running.  Speed golf also gives me that same rush.”

    “I love the challenge of golf particularly and the singular battle you have with yourself to beat yourself, and to conquer a game that is unconquerable.  I don’t bet with people or play matches.  I play to beat the course and stretch my abilities to their maximum,” Samelson said.

    Samelson will also watch what he eats as he is very careful about his weight.  “I’m not happy when my clothes get tight and I also have a mildly high blood sugar, so I eat no sugar and very few carbs,” he said.

   “I believe that life is a journey and that is what counts the most.  For me today, it’s all about nature and the very special spirituality that exists on this Island.  It’s been my goal to get into the flow of what goes on here at the spiritual level,” Samelson explains.

   “I don’t let negative things get to me.  Learning to do this has helped me do better on the golf course.  Anyone who plays the game knows what I mean,” he said.

    Exercise, diet, positive spiritual attitude all leads to a better golf game for Harry Samelson and a better life given to him at an early age by his father.


August 3, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , | 2 Comments