Gowf is a mighty teacher never deviating from its sacred roots, always ready to lead us on…And I say to ye all, good friends, that as ye grow in gowf, ye come to see things ye learn in every other place…Ye’ll come away from the links with a new hold on life, that is certain if ye play the game with all your heart.
Many persons have pointed the way to the goal of evolution of consciousness and culture in golf and life. Special thanks to Dad and Mom, first golf partners and caddies, then and now. It was December 1, 1948, that launched the beginning of the golf journey: Dad wrote a check for $100 to purchase share #124 in The Buckeye Golf Club Company, doing business as Orchard Hills Country Club, Bryan, Ohio. I was eight years old. The family took lessons from Shorty Stockman, Head Golf Professional; and shagging golf balls and playing golf became a part of life, then and now.
How did Doug and I get started in the game?
The author grew up in Sherwood, a small town in Northwest Ohio, fifteen miles from the Indiana state line and 27 miles from the Michigan state line. The town was all of 500 folks where Dad owned a family operated hardware store. Customers were hard-working corn, wheat, oats, and soybean farmers.
Other than work or church, Orchard Hills Country Club, Bryan, Ohio, was a frequent “place to be” for Dad, Mom, my brother, Dan, and me while Dan and I we were growing up as kids. Dad closed the store every Thursday afternoon and played golf with Harry Gardner, the hardware store owner in Bryan. Golf is in the genes.
The first golf clubs were Wilson Staff, a brassy, a five iron, and a putter in a nice light brown. canvas bag. These clubs were to last through son Doug’s backyard days in Colorado. The second set of golf clubs was a set of Wilson Staff Sam Snead matched woods and irons. This set of clubs was passed along after they became too heavy for Dad and he began to use Mom’s clubs, a set of Wilson Staff Babe Didrikson Zaharias matched woods and irons. The set of Sam Snead woods and irons were partners at West Point, made the trip after 1962 graduation to Winter Haven, Florida, in the trunk of a 1962 Corvette, made several trips across the United States during the U.S. Army career and found a home in Arvada, Colorado during a business career at Coors. An interesting story. During Ranger School the Corvette was kept in a parking lot at Fort Benning, Georgia. During the swamp phase of the training at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the Corvette was stolen and recovered from a swamp near St. Augustine, Florida. Other than parking the car in water covering the floorboards, the thieves were kind enough to steal only the tires, rims, and camera from the pried open trunk. The golf clubs remained!
A note of thanks to son Doug for keeping the golf fire buring: he wanted to learn to play golf in summer 2004. He was 31. The first lesson with Doug at Indian Tree Golf Course, Arvada, Colorado sparked wife Cindy’s interest in learning to play. She took lessons from Tom Thorne at Indian Tree and has been a fearless, patient golf partner, and favorite instructor ever since. Daily, I am grateful for her endearing smile and voice, wisdom, faith, hope, patience, and love, on and off the golf course.
The golf rocket took off for Doug in 2009. In 2007, at the beginning of the recession, Doug had chosen to relocate to Arizona and attend the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, subsequently working for Ride Now, Peoria; Bourget’s, a custom motorcycle shop, Deer Valley; and a Harley-Davidson dealership, Scottsdale. One evening in late 2008 Doug called and indicated he needed to change professions. Because of the recession, the motorcycle business was struggling—Harley-Davidson had laid off over 7000 employees—and he was considering changing to the golf industry and contemplating attendance at the Golf Academy of America. Absent zero research, Dad’s thinking was that this sounded like fun and something Dad wanted to do with Doug. And the golf fire was re-kindled.
While attending Golf Academy of America-Phoenix for 14 months, Doug and I chose to live in the Fairview Apartments, Chandler, adjacent to San Marcos Golf Course. This course was created in 1917, is proud owner of the oldest green grass greens in Arizona, and is site of an Al Capone historic house.
The Golf Academy was a blast: weekly competitive golf with classmates, great practice, books, study, instruction, exams, friendships, and parties. Following graduation in 2010 Doug landed a position with Sunland Village East golf club, Mesa, working for the course superintendent. A next career move was to Desert Mountain, Scottsdale, with seven Jack Nicklaus courses. Initially, Doug managed the maintenance crew for the Outlaw course, moved on to manage the maintenance crews for the Renegade and Chiricahua courses, added a third course, Cochise, and finally, a fourth, the Seven course. Most recently, he works in the Engineering Department managing the Custom Woodworking Shop and facilitating golf club member activities. Golf and Desert Mountain have been good for Doug and his family. My Dad would be proud that passing along the golf genes was a good idea. Yes, golf has been good for both Doug and Dad; and the journey continues.