The first golf instruction book I read was “Golf my way” by Jack Nicklaus. Over the years, I have read dozens if not hundreds more. Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and other periodicals have been scoured for that one magic secret that would take me from the occasional career round to a consistent improved golf game. I had instruction from an assortment of professionals as well as on course advice from playing partners.
The magic eluded me.
Now, this has not been a short journey. In the interest of full disclosure, I was introduced to the game when I was about 10 years old and a neighbor needed a caddy. He offered 25 cents. In this day and age of golf carts (gas, electric and manual), caddies are only found at exclusive courses. In 1956, caddies were abundant. In order to earn that 25 cents, I had to carry the golf bag, hand over the club requested before each shot, keep an eye on the ball after it was struck, proclaim admiration for the shot, clean the club and put it back in the bag then lead the way to the next spot where the ball was resting. Once the golfer reached the putting surface, I had to tend the pin (and secretly hope he sank his putt).
It was a 4 and half hour job, walking and watching, cleaning and hoping. It paid 25 cents.
At some point that summer, my boss had a particularly bad outing. He played that “military” golf…hit one right, hit one left, hit one right, hit one left and so on. As the number of his strokes mounted, his usual pleasant attitude began to go sour. He uttered words that a ten year old had never heard uttered in public. Time and again he shared a request for God to banish something to eternal hell or he made sure that everyone one around him knew the correct pronunciation of Jesus Christ (and I never knew that Jesus had a middle initial of H.).
On that day, as I carried his clubs to the car, he said “Here’s your quarter and take this 2 iron as a tip. I can never hit it anyway.”
I was an official golfer.
My journey began.