“Jim dared me to yell ‘Fore’ and then smack the ball.”

Children learning to putt

My brother and I took golf lessons when Dad was stationed at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. I believe this was 1964. I would’ve been 10 and Jim 14.

The base Youth Activity Center arranged things and we were eager to participate. Dad and Mom weren’t golfers, so they had nothing to offer us where golfing tips were concerned. Reese A.F.B. Golf Course provided loaner clubs, while we purchased our own balls for good reason. Students were instructed to write names on them with a marker.

I was lousy at hitting from a wooden tee. Most younger kids had a hard time getting balls to merely sit on top of them, especially when the wind was blowing. The wind always blows in Lubbock.

This was mid-summer and Texas heat was unbearable. Reese’s Pro Shop had a dispenser on the wall next to a water cooler. The machine provided free, salt tablets. I believe those tablets were meant to keep golfers from sweating too much. Kids were downing the pills like candy until someone stopped them.

We were all lined up around a hole one day practicing putting. Our instructor was on the opposite side demonstrating the correct procedure. Jim dared me to yell ‘Fore‘ and then smack the ball. I drilled it all the way across the green directly into the man’s knee.

Some kids thought it funny, but our golfing instructor didn’t, warning me not to do that again. Fearful of being kicked out, the fellow didn’t have to tell me twice.

At the end of our weeklong practice session there was a tournament for different age players. Jim was in the older boys bracket and me in the younger. We were provided score cards and pencils. After numerous lame attempts to reach the ninth hole, some players resorted to cheating in order to win. I don’t recall their names, but it wasn’t Jim or me. Those self-determined winners probably went on to be successful attorneys or politicians.

I haven’t played golf since that time other than miniature golf in Phoenix and Colorado Springs. My wife, Joleen, golfed for a while in Anchorage, Alaska with good friend, Pam Franger. Our kids and their spouses play, as well as grandsons, Decker and Kevin. I’m happy they chose a sport that isn’t dangerous, unless of course you’re the instructor.

When Joleen and I moved to Lake Havasu City, we purchased two sets of used clubs from the local Hospice Store, along with vintage golf bags. Total for everything was $30.00 including several balls. We’ve never used them and I don’t intend to. I bought mine solely because the player’s names on some putters are now ancient history. One of my antique putters currently makes for a nice walking companion. I’ve carried it on occasion when my back’s out of whack.

I no longer look at them as clubs or putters, now viewing the relics as inexpensive canes. We have enough metal walking sticks to last us a lifetime!

Walking sticks

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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