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Origins

John M

Each golfer has a unique story to tell and one of those is how one started as a golfer. I am interested in hearing from other Team Titles members about their origins in this great game. I'll start with my own tale. For some strange reason, about a week before I was to be discharged from the Navy, I was walking through the base exchange and my eyes caught a set of irons. I had caddied a few times for my Dad growing up, but in those days, fathers didn't include their kids in a lot of stuff and golf was meant to be a time for my Dad and his buddies from the Plant to hang out, drink some beer and hit some golf balls. That was made my purchase so strange. A week later, I was out of the Navy and sitting in a classroom at the University of Oregon going through severe cultural shock. A few months later, in November, actually, I looked in my closet one Saturday morning and pulled the clubs out. No matter that it was a typical Eugene November day, 40 degrees and pouring rain. I headed off to a small course called Oakway. There were only a few cars in the lot (no kidding) and I was happy to see the course was empty. As I entered the pro shop with my bag, there were 3-4 middle aged men sitting around eyeing me as I came in. "Are you sure you want to go out in that, the pro asked?" Yes, I was sure and after buying some tees and some balls. I believe, I went out to the first tee. Sure enough, I had the course to myself and even though it was wet and cold, I was so happy. Happier than I had been in a long time. I once read a interview of Seve Ballesteros and he talked about how much he enjoyed playing in the rain by himself. It's true, it's a special thing. Needless to say, when I went back inside the pro shop, the men stared as I dripped water all over the floor with a huge smile on my face. They asked, "had a good round?" "Oh yeah, I sure did!"

8 Replies

  1. Tom B

    Found an old hickory shafted "niblick" in my grandparent’s garage, with a leather wrapped grip that was fraying off. Put a piece of electrical tape around the bottom to hold the grip together and I quietly sneak away. Walked along the road by the golf course that my paper route took me past and found a bunch of balls. How about "Acushnet Club Special" (dating myself). Starting watching Shell's Wonderful World of Golf on TV on Sunday's. Took my balls and club to my grandparent’s backyard and used a small "Dixie" cup upside down as a tee, and about 50 yards away buried a "Green Giant Niblets Corn" can in the dirt. Worked OK until I started figuring things out and began hitting off the roof of the house behind. Had a friend whose grandfather built a par 3 course and one summer day hanging out with he and a bunch of friends, with nothing to do, he asked if anyone would like to try golf. Yeah!! I yelled and jumped up. The addiction was born. My father got a ticket to a nearby PGA Tour stop and I road there with a friend of his who was marshaling on one hole, and went all about by myself. From watching the golf shows on TV, at 12 years old, I knew who Bruce Crampton, Homero Blancas, Charlie Sifford, Art Wall and lots of other lesser known golfers were. That was a long time ago in a Galaxy far, far, away. And the Golf Channel has only served to fuel that addiction even more to this day.
  2. Frank P

    In 1966 several of the kids in the neighborhood went up to the local golf club to get a job caddying. It turned out that the caddie master knew my uncle and he hired me. $5.00 a bag for an 18 hole "Loop" or $2.00 an hour to shag balls on the range (No range pickers back then). A retired club pro lived a few houses down from us and he had a net set up in his yard next to his driveway. One day on the way home he spotted me and called me over and mentioned that my dad told him that I had started caddying. Then he asked me if I was playing yet. I told him that I'd like to but I didn't have any clubs. He took me into his garage where he had 2 or 3, 55 gallon drums full of clubs and put together a starter set for me. An Abercrombie and Finch 3 wood with a 3,5,7,and 9 iron and a putter. My dad took me to the local department store where we got a small bag and a dozen balls and I played on Mondays, which were the only days that caddies were allowed to play.
  3. Steve S

    Hey John M, great post. I have been working at the same min I golf course for the last 23 years. The first 17, I never played golf. Too slow, I was a college basketball player. One day after work, I went out to just hit a few shots at an empty green. That's all it took. It was frustrating and humbling at the same time. I loved it! Still do! Full blown golf nut. Thank God for Titleist!!
    Play Well,
    Steve S.
  4. Rick D

    Growing up we didn't have a pot to piss in. There was no money for things like golf. Dad talked about playing golf with Gramps when he was younger, but I think I remember him only playing golf 2-3 times in my lifetime. He had a set of hickory shafted clubs Grandpa had given him, which I have today. Niblic, Mashie, Driving Iron. The driver and 3 wood must have been beaten up and discarded, which is too bad. Those clubs were the first ones I used. My brother and I played a few times a year with money we made from our paper routes, shoveling snow and mowing lawns, and with balls we scrounged from around the outskirts of the local course. I played baseball, but there was something about hitting one in the sweet spot and sending it on target that got me. Mom was always patient and sat to listen our shot by shot replays of our rounds. The first set of clubs that I bought and were actually mine, not borrowed, was a used 70's era set of Titleist, driver, 3 and 5 wood I bought in 1984. The irons a blade style that have two weights in the back of the club, near the toe and heel. I still have that set and pull them out once a year. I still only played a few nine hole rounds per year until after my kids got a little older. Once I was able to play regularly I was really hooked. I still have a lot of hobbies; hunting and fishing, but the winter months when I'm not able to play golf are too long.
  5. Chuck Z

    Took up the game in 1985, when I was 38. At that point in my management career, I figured it was time for something more than work and there was the opportunity (living on the coast of South Carolina) to learn the game and to play. I decided it was time I had some me time. Kinda of a workaholic. My new District allowed me great opportunities to play and so my clubs went with me and I played after work on the road in Florida and Georgia. Not very well but I played and it beat sitting in a hotel room. Joined a club and played after work and walked about 15 holes when in town during the week and played in a blitz on the weekends.
  6. Roger K

    My grandfather on my mom's side played almost everyday, and as a retired Lt. Colonial from the Army Air Corp., he'd always play at a nearby base. El Toro was his home course, and either there or when he came visiting, we'd find ourselves under some flight path, loving both the game and the F4s screaming or C-130s roaring overhead. He gave me his old set of Spaldings, taught me the game and required etiquette, and is the reason I still play to this day.

    After hearing how much I had been playing, my other grandfather on my dad's side finally, begrudgingly, took the 12yo me and my brother out to his country club to see if I could play. We're standing on a par-3, 160 yard hole and I pulled out his 6-iron. He said, "You can't hit a 6-iron 160 yards." I responded with a "Watch me," and I drop the ball within 10 feet.

    So there I am walking up to the next tee, driver in hand, ready to show what else I can do. I load up the backswing, release the hounds, and glance the ball of the toe, sending this 2 foot high missile off at 2 o'clock, right into the nose of the golf cart my grandfather was sitting in. Jack and Coke went flying as much as the swears did, and to this day not sure who pee'd themselves more: my near-death-experienced grandfather, the worried-what-happens-next me, or my brother laughing his head off.

    The lessons of both my grandfathers have shaped my experience with and respect for the game. One I look forward to passing down to my sons and their children...and I'll remember to play the game with a smile and park the cart 90 degrees behind any shot.
  7. Rick D

    Unlike the wonderful grandfather you almost took out, one of the few times my Dad played golf it was with a friend who was a cop, a guy who was never nice to us kids. "Howie" was a cop 24/7/365, brash, rude, and their choir practices were legendary. So my Dad tees off, toes one into a tree 45* offline. Hits it square, it comes almost straight back and hits Howie [who was bending over his golf bag, hard in the keester. It sent Howie sprawling and howling. Dad always tells the story "Did I ever tell you about the time I got a a$$hole in one?".
  8. Roger K

    Rick D

    Unlike the wonderful grandfather you almost took out, one of the few times my Dad played golf it was with a friend who was a cop, a guy who was never nice to us kids. "Howie" was a cop 24/7/365, brash, rude, and their choir practices were legendary. So my Dad tees off, toes one into a tree 45* offline. Hits it square, it comes almost straight back and hits Howie [who was bending over his golf bag, hard in the keester. It sent Howie sprawling and howling. Dad always tells the story "Did I ever tell you about the time I got a a$$hole in one?".

    Golf clap

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