The 60’s would be the decade of playing golf with my father, most of time. Little did I know, it would be the last decade of playing golf with my father. For some reason, he quit playing the game. That may have been partly due to the fact, that I did not play much golf in the 70’s, and for the first half of the 80’s, but that is for another blog. As I wrote in the previous blog, we played only on the weekends, in the early part of the 60’s, and the course was always crowded. One of the things my Dad did, when we had to wait on the tee box, for the group to clear, was to look for golf tees. I still do this today, walking around the tee box looking for tees, just as a reminder, of how much I enjoyed playing with my father. The man was my one and only mentor. I went to school for twenty years of my life, but I can honestly say, I learned more from my father, than any other person I was ever around. He died in February 1999, at the age of 83, and the memories still live on, and I see him in my mind many times. The rounds we had together were great and so enjoyable, that even though they were very competitive, I do not recall the first time I beat my Dad for 18 holes. Certainly as the decade ended I was beating him on a regular basis. There were lot’s of good times and golf would always give us something to laugh and talk about.
Every once in awhile, my Dad and I would play some evening golf, arriving at the golf course about 5 to 6 o clock. Most of time the first tee would be empty, and we would get around with no problem. This particular Saturday was no exception, and the tee box was empty when we went in to pay. The first hole was a straight away par 4, that went uphill a little bit, about 200 yards out, and then flattened out about 120 yards from the green. When we got down to the first tee, it seemed like there was a lot of people, about 50 yards short of the green. They were out of range, so we hit our drives. We walked out to our drives, and it was quite an entourage that was on the first green. But the one thing that really caught our eye, was a baby carriage right on the green. We stopped counting when we got to 10 people on the green. When they brought out the movie camera, and started taking pictures of everybody, that was too much for my Dad. He just looked at me, and told me to pick up my ball, we were heading for the second tee. It was the first and only hole, he ever skipped in his life. Sometimes, my mother would just walk the course when we played in the evening. By the 8th tee was a picnic area. In the evening there would be guys playing volleyball, and of course drinking and eating, but mostly drinking. These games could get a little intense, and there was always a lot of yelling and screaming, while you were hitting your tee shot on this long par 3, of over 200 yards. One evening the combination of intensity and drinking, probably got carried away, because as we were getting ready to hit, there was more screaming, than yelling, then it got suddenly quiet. The quiet made us look over to the volleyball game. Then the yelling and screaming became more intense. Here, one player had stabbed another one, right in the belly. I think it was only superficial, but the panic was deep. The guy that was stabbed, was bleeding pretty good, but they used somebodies T shirt to put pressure on the wound, and the game came to an abrupt end, with everyone hauling ass to their cars. My mother looked at me as said” Please, Bobby stick to golf.” We didn’t see a volleyball game there for awhile. Another time in the late 60’s, my buddy and I were playing on a Sunday and we got to the 7th hole. These two guys came up to us, and just wanted to play this hole, so they could get to the food behind the 8th tee. We said sure, since play was slow anyway, due to the outing. The first guy was what I call, a feeling good drunk. In other words, he was loosie goosy, and he could swing the club, and hit the ball. The second guy was gone drunk, which meant he could barely stand and walk. After several failed attempts at trying to hit the ball, he just started the long walk of 568 yards, to get to the picnic area. About half way there, he just whipped it out, and started urinating right down the middle of the fairway, as he was walking, with most of the urine going down his leg and pants. When we got to the 8th tee finally, there was a big delay as usual, and they allowed us to go over a get a sandwich, to show their appreciation. The seventh hole, the par 5 would give one more unique story. We were playing with this guy who had joined us, and again because of slow play, he was debating whether to quit after the 6th hole, because the green was not far from the clubhouse, about 150 yards. He first said, he was just going to hit a drive, and walk in. He hit such a good drive, by far the best of the day, he said he couldn’t end the day like that. Low and behold, he hit a great 2ond shot right up on the green, and would be putting for an eagle. He then proceeded to 5 putt. Without much fanfare he picked the ball out of the hole, said good bye, and walked about 600 yards to the parking lot. Never let you golf shots, affect your decision making process.
In the 60’s there would be two shots that I would always remember. My first hole in one that was struck with a 7 iron on the par 3 second on July 31, 1968. It hit about 10 yards short of the green on a rock hard fairway, and took 2 big hops, and then on the third hop hit the pin, which I heard all the way back at the tee box, and disappeared. The other shot I will always remember was just strange and more unlikely than the hole in one. On the par 3 sixth hole at Mazeroski’s, I hit this beautiful high 6 iron, and was watching it intently, thinking this was going to be a good shot, when suddenly, the ball collided with a bird, and both dropped from the sky, with the bird being killed. I do not remember what kind of bird it was, only that it was killed with a golf ball. Believe it or not, this would not be the last time, I would see an animal killed with a golf ball. I would finish the decade getting my first taste of competitive golf, but it would not be until the 70’s, that I would do anything competitively worth writing about. As I mentioned before, the 6th green was fairly close to the clubhouse, and it was nice, that as darkness approached, you could get in that extra 6 holes. One day I was playing the 6th hole, and I could see that there were some pretty good storm clouds, moving in. By the time I was putting out, there was thunder in the background and the wind was blowing. I started running toward the clubhouse, that was about 150 yards away. I was running pretty hard, with the golf bag over my shoulder, and getting a little winded, as I approach the first tee, where I was going to have to run uphill. I was slowing down, thinking I was pretty safe, when a bolt of lightening hit a tree about 200 yards to my right. Needless to say I got an adrenalin rush, that gave me that new surge to run my ass off, the remaining 50 yards to the clubhouse. If I had been dumb enough to continue playing, there may never have been any 70’s stories.