Golf Memories

I have always loved the game of golf.   I was taught by my dad when I was about 8 or 9 years old. 

Unfortunately, I have never been much good at it.   Although I played an average of almost once a week for nearly 40 years, I never shot scores that today seem ordinary.   The lowest I ever achieved on a 9 hole round before I came to Utah was a 44, shot at a course in Minnesota during the late 70's.

But once my wife and I settled into our present home and I began to play more often, mostly twice weekly, my averages began to drop.   While I still consider myself to be mediocre, I take some comfort in knowing that only a small percentage of America's public routinely play better than I do.

I do know that a part of the reason for my improvement is equipment, especially the larger headed clubs that are more forgiving of mis-hits.   I have known for many years that I cannot swing hard and expect to strike the ball with any consistency at all.   Even with a controlled swing, I occasionally fail to hit the ball on the face of the club.   But equipment combined with more frequent play has lowered my handicap to 19, where it has remained fairly constant over the past several years.

My lowest 9 hole scores are now 39's, which I have been able to do 3 times, twice on the same 9 holes, the front nine of nearby course that I have played many times.   My lowest 18 is an 84 and I have one 85, neither of which I have been able to repeat.  Other scores in the high 80's have occurred a number of times.   I did score a one-over-par 28 on a par-3 course once,  (Four Lakes in Salt Lake City) and made 6 pars, 2 bogies, and one birdie.   It demonstrates what I have long known, that my only 'talent' in golf is my short game.

My longest putt was a 99 footer made on a course some distance away that I have only played twice in my life (Bear Lake in Utah- 9th green).  I was playing with my son Jared and hit an approach to the green that went off the back center into the fringe.   The hole was near the front in the center and the green sloped back to front with a slight left to right tilt.   After I paced off the distance at 33 paces from hole to ball, Jared sat down behind the hole with his legs stretched out in a V shape and watched while my ball swung about 3 feet out to his left and curled right into the middle of the cup!   We were both dumbfounded!

I have only made two eagles in my entire life, although I came close a few other times.   One that I made came on  a short par 4, playing about 335 yards, with sand traps on both sides of the front of the green (# 15 on the Mountain Dell Lake Course- Utah).  I hit a good tee shot,  about 200 yards  (about as far as I ever drive) in the middle of the fairway. The pin happened to be in the middle of the green and I hit a perfect 7-wood that bounced just in front of the green, rolled up to the pin and dropped in.   I was playing with a very close friend and got him to sign my score card.    The most amusing thing about the incident was that I birdied the next hole and so was 3 under par for two holes on that nine.   The second one was very similar (#10 at Glendale, in Salt Lake City).  I hit a good tee shot, but a bit left of center and again, struck a 7-wood from about 140 yards.  The ball went straight at a huge sand trap in front of the green but amazingly enough, rolled through the trap and up on the green.  My partner and I could not see the hole because of the huge lip on the trap and thus I spent about 5 minutes looking for the ball before my partner found it in the hole.  On four other occasions, I just missed making a hole-in-one on a par-3 course, and once I almost sank a 7-wood third shot on a par-5 from about 135 yards.   The ball ended up about 18 inches above the cup but just missed dropping in when it went by.

I was blessed to witness a hole-in-one by my current playing partner during the summer of 2002.   At the number 2 hole on the same course where I made my 39's, he hit an 8-iron that bounced once, and rolled right into the cup, a distance of about 128 yards at that time.

One of my fondest memories is of watching play at the PGA Golf Tournament in Minneapolis and taking pictures of Tiger Woods.   I used a digital video camera and picked off several frames from the video and present them here:    Tiger