The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 19 - February 3, 2010


Fix your swing with Cathy Schmidt

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Cathy Schmidt teaches at Suncoast Golf Center.

During the years I’ve lived in Florida I’ve heard people say you can play golf or you can boat, but you can’t do both. Turns out I was wrong, some people can do both, and Cathy Schmidt, a golf pro who runs The Golf Boot Camp, is one of them.

Cathy Schmidt says “I know your golf swing before I shake your hand,” and this LPGA, Class A, GSEM teaching pro isn’t kidding. After teaching golf to everyone from young children to senior citizens, professionals and amateurs since 1993, she can figure out pretty fast what she can do to help you develop and improve your golf game.

Growing up in a golfing family - her grandparents owned a golf course on the east coast of Florida - Schmidt was exposed to the game early on. During her first year of play she was a scratch golfer demonstrating a lot of natural ability. But the pull of the Pacific Ocean was stronger than her eventual love of golf. She lived in Hawaii, surfed and sailed for a while before returning to her original love. After four years as a tour professional on the Futures Tour, Schmidt co-founded the Golf Boot Camp first in Washington state and then in California. After relocating to the west coast of Florida with her daughter and settling on Anna Maria, she started her third Golf Boot Camp located at the Suncoast Golf Center in Sarasota.

Schmidt, who is a LPGA member in good standing, believes your golf swing is only as strong as your foundation and her teaching program is designed to build a strong foundation. She utilizes a video camera and laptop computer as a teaching aid. Using a split screen, her students can immediately see and better understand their weak and strong areas. The videos can be either e-mailed or a CD burned and given to students so they can review the lesson at home. And if your schedule won’t permit you to get out to the golf course, Schmidt can set you up with the technology to have a mobile golf lesson at home or at your office for what she likes to call a “Lunch Time Fix.” She’s also been known to give advice via an I Phone instantly to students during a non-competitive game.

Schmidt points out that getting appropriately fitted for a set of golf clubs is essential to the game. She as well as the manager at the Suncoast Golf Center are both certified fitters. The nine hole executive course and driving range is open every day from 8 a.m. and is lit for night time use. Starting on March 29, Schmidt will be offering a five-day Spring Break Junior Golf Camp at the Suncoast Golf Center.

Schmidt still loves boating and gets out on the water as often as possible, but her first love will always be golf. Ask her to teach you the secrets to a good golf game, and while you are at it, ask her how she manages to do both.

Cathy Schmidt

The Golf Boot Camp
Suncoast Golf Center

7741 15th St. E., Sarasota
(Behind Sarasota/Bradenton Airport)
Golf Center: 941-351-2666 Cell: 941-720-9080
Major credit cards accepted

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Quality stocks likely to lead

Investment Corner

The 2009 recovery rally fit the pattern of other early phase recoveries from steep market declines in that lower quality companies tend to experience the largest appreciation from the nadir of the selling panic phase. This trend is sometimes called a junk rally, a risk rally or, most creatively, a dash for trash.

This characteristic is largely due to the fact that lower quality companies decline more during corrections since investors are not confident about the ability of less sound firms to survive the economic slowdown or financial crisis of the moment. Once the panic phase is over and the fear of bankruptcy wanes, investors rush back into these more speculative names to try to get the biggest bang for their buck.

The results can be startling. In 2009, the 363 companies which paid consistent dividends were up 26 percent on average. The 137 non-dividend paying firms were up 65 percent as a group! Before getting too excited and starting your search for companies without dividends, make sure to read what happens next as we continue below.

A lot of factors go into determining whether a company should be classified as high or low quality, and there is no official designation. Rather, it is a subjective opinion based on the investor’s interpretation of financial data. In general, higher quality companies are more stable financially due to larger cash reserves, lower levels of debt, consistent sales or, as indicated above, payment of a steady or rising dividend.

There have been eight distinct periods since 1980 where low quality outperformed high quality stocks. Each of these followed significant periods of decline in the equities market and, on average, lasted about 10 months. If we count 10 months from March of 2009 when the latest low quality rally began, we find ourselves in January 2010. In recent months, we have begun to see better relative performance by higher quality stocks, and there is a good chance the best gains will come from these companies as the new bull market trend continues to unfold.

Sun readers know I write periodically about owning quality, dividend paying common stocks. Despite the excitement a junk rally can create, the facts are simple. With the exception of the 10 month periods which tend to occur about once every 4 to 5 years, quality stocks outperform lower quality companies the majority of time and overall.

Of all the financial factors that logically could fit into an assessment of the quality of a company, most have some level of subjectivity or interpretation required. Additionally, companies in certain industries may look good on one measure but not on another, due to characteristics of that particular industry. One indicator rises above all in my opinion in ease of use and understanding – the payment of a consistent, or preferably rising, dividend over time.

Over longer periods, dividends contribute as much as 33 to 45 percent of the total return achieved in owning a diversified portfolio of equities. Perhaps more importantly, a recent report from Pioneer Investments showed that dividend paying common stocks outperformed non-dividend payers more than 60 percent of all six month and one year time periods since 1972, and more than 75 percent of all two, three, and five year time increments during the last 37 years.

As mentioned above, obtaining information on a company’s history of paying and increasing its dividend is relatively easy to do. provides dividend history on companies, and most firms that have been paying consistent dividends like to brag about it in their annual reports and in the investor relations section of their Web site.

Remember, if selecting individual stocks for your portfolio, make sure to be sufficiently diversified to reduce company specific risk, and also make sure that you dedicate an appropriate portion of your portfolio to stocks. Even high quality equities can decline in value over short periods, so understand your emotional limitations to put up with fluctuation in the value of your portfolio.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing.

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