Red has played golf since his Dad bought him a set of clubs for Christmas the year Red’s mother passed away. Red was 10 and as you can imagine, kind of lost without even knowing it. Red doesn’t recall that he played a round of golf with his Dad much more than a handful of times, but that doesn’t really matter. His Dad gave him something that would last a lifetime. “Red, all those games you like to play now are great; but when you get older, the game everyone will be playing is golf and you’d best learn it now.” When Dad was right, he was really right.
Shortly after that Christmas, Red’s Dad joined a second-rate country club (we’ll call it BCC). BCC was beyond the outskirts of town then and something of a getaway from the house where the ghostly presence of Mom seemed all too real and painful. The clubhouse at BCC was adequate, there was a very nice pool with 1 and 3 meter boards, some tennis courts, a shack of a pro shop and a 9-hole cow pasturish golf course.
Red got his first golf lesson along with some other kids from the pro – who was undoubtably pretty desperate to take a job at BCC. The instruction was probably adequate but not particularly inspiring. The pro did impart some valuable lessons about golf etiquette and respect for the course – a subject on which Red could pontificate for quite some time. “When you are walking on the green, it’s like you are walking on $100 bills.” He was also able to teach Red some of the basics. Red pretty much still uses the same grip and stance that he learned on that first Saturday on the driving range at BCC.
Red immediately liked the game and it helped that his friend John and some others wanted to play and that Red could occasionally take them out to play at BCC. There were not many golfing options in Red’s hometown back then and BCC was not a bad place for a young golfer to work on his game. And man, you felt grown up when you were out on the golf course playing with your friends at your country club in between two foursomes of men or the occasional women. It all sounds a bit more idyllic that it probably was – but Red has learned not to mess with memories too much.
Red distinctly remembers the first time he hit a ball off the first tee. It may be hard for some to believe, but it was an exciting moment – at least for 2-3 seconds. The ball came crisply off Red’s driver and started straight down the fairway before taking a sharp right turn onto the driving range and golfing purgatory. But it was a glorious 2-3 seconds and Red was hooked (or in this case sliced).
To be continued . . .