The Golfer's Corner Part 1


(written in 2014)

In the Beginning

In the beginning, I had some clubs but I didn't have a bag. I had to use a loaner bag from the course my stepdad and I were about to hack our way around. Unfortunately for me, it was a pink bag. I was 12 years old when I first stepped foot on a golf course, not knowing it would become a passion for me all my life.

I remember playing that day as if t were yesterday. I was absolutely horrible, shanking, topping, missing, and losing balls right and left. I hit every hazard that was in front, beside, or even behind me. It was a wonder we even made it through the 9 holes we did. My stepdad wasn't much better, but he had some practice playing on the company golf team at the brake plant in Tennessee.

That first day I even tried my best to keep score, even though the math was so complicated it could merit an invisible algebra equation. I can't remember exactly what I came up with, but the score for 9 holes was probably around 100 if I were to count all the penalties. And if I were to keep a good score, I would have had to disqualify myself I'm sure.

Nevertheless, the rusted old blades my stepdad got me back in the early 90s were my first set of clubs. I cleaned them up and even got a used bag later for them. I constructed a mini golf course around our farmhouse with hula hoops and a Wiffle ball. I challenged my brother, stepdad, and mom to compete. I kept score and we all had a lot of fun. I even drew out the course design and put the stats on paper. It was the beginning of a lifetime love affair with golf.

Getting Better

As time progressed, our family moved back to where we were from in Oregon. I didn't get the chance to play golf for a while, but when I entered high school the opportunity to play again presented itself with the golf team.

As I lived in a small rural place in Eastern Oregon, having a golf course was a dream come true. It was as if God put it there for me. I played that course all the time, every chance I could get. Because I was a member of the high school golf team, they let me play all year round for a membership of $90/year! I even had a golfing buddy who would come with me often and we would challenge each other to get better.

Those times were the heart of golfing in its essence. I didn't know about St. Andrews or the Masters. We didn't have cable or the internet and I knew very little about professional golf, or even where golf came from. All I knew was that I loved the game.

In the first year of high school at our 1A school, I was about the third best player shooting rounds around 110-135 on eighteen holes. By this time, I had learned the rules and was playing tournaments where I needed to show golf etiquette. 

I became a strict rule-keeper and wanted nothing to do with mulligans and cheating whatsoever. I was tempted a few times of course, and admittedly even bent the rules, but was deeply burdened at my lack of integrity until I became an uncompromising rule keeper as I still am.

This is how I got better at golf, playing on a lonely course in Eastern Oregon, playing on the high school golf team. We played 1-3A schools and in my 10th-12th grade years I was the top player.

I progressed each year until finally in the last tournament I broke 90 with an 88. This was the highlight of my high school golfing career. This was the district's tournament and I believe I came in right in the middle of the pack after the two-day tournament was over.

The Dream is Still There

In high school, I began to dream of becoming a college golfer; after high school when I was in the Air Force I began to dream of becoming a professional golfer. I played on the Air Force squadron golf team where I was the second-best player out of our security forces squadron.

I played all the time, read magazines, and started to learn about the golfing scene and history. Tiger woods was emerging about this time and I remember being pained if it was nice outside and I had to work and couldn't play golf. 

At this point, I was threatening to break 80 on many occasions but never did, nor have I shot better than a +8 on any 18-hole course to this day. One time I played a par 71 and shot a 79, but this didn't count in my book. Still, I chase this elusive goal of breaking 80. (Update, I did finally break 80 a few years after this article with a +7, but only one time).

I was an 11 handicap playing on one of the toughest courses in Utah, Hill AFB course, where they often held the state amateur championship. And at one point during a squadron competition, I shot an -1 on 9 holes, so a 35! Too bad on the front nine I shot a 50!

The dream was there and I thought all the time about golf. When I got out of the Air Force all I wanted to do was work on a golf course. God had other plans for me though, and I had a long road of discovery in my personal life to go through. I needed to get right with Jesus, and my search for truth overrode my dreams of golf. Still, the dream has always been there.

The Aging Dreamer

As I got older, I would go through golfing phases and still do. At times the dream would awaken and I would play more golf, and other times I would put it away and pursue other dreams which I had in me. As I also wanted to be a writer and a musician.

At one point when I was 26 years old, I got my handicap back and entered two amateur tournaments in Oregon. I was an 18 handicap at this point, a bit rusty. In the first tournament, I barely was able to shoot under 100 the first day, and on the second I shot 102 or so. I came in about 97th out of 120 golfers. This was discouraging, but I was very excited to be competing again.

The next tournament I entered was different. I was ready for this one and I ended up shooting two rounds in the mid-eighties and winning the net score for the entire tournament! So, I am actually a winner of an amateur golf tournament with my net score. Although I had a high handicap, it was accurate at that time in my life.

About ten years later, here I am about 35 years old. I still golf about 10 times a year and have a driving range across the street from my house. I have been keeping meticulous stats on each round I complete and I always keep a tournament accurate score. I don't have a home club or an official handicap, but at this point, I am about a 15 handicap.

The dream is still there, but there are other dreams and priorities that are more important in my life at this point. I am married and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, own and operate a lawn care business, and am a part-time writer on the internet.

My plate is full you may say, but when I do get out there on the course it's like I'm out there on my home course in Eastern Oregon again; I start to think if I could just shoot par I could become a professional. The dream is still there.


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