I do not recall the first time I played a full 18 holes. But as a young boy I would go to Western Hills where my dad’s brother (Uncle Bill) was pro. He would give a clinic and then the kids would break into 3, 5 and 9 hole groups based on age. I am sure I was 5 or 6.
I recall winning the 5-hole group, first time I recall score being kept. The first prize was a new (and we only had been given used balls to that point) Doug Sanders golf ball. My uncle presented it to me as the first prize. I think there were 8-10 kids in that 5-hole group. He encouraged me to use it “as a putting only ball.” I did the next round – until No. 5. It was a straight away par five with no water, no trees, square in the middle of the golf course. I thought no way it could go into trouble. I hit it right down the middle of the fairway off the tee. It probably only went 120 yards, as far as a good poke by me could go as a youngster. Never found it.
I got back to the clubhouse and was crying. I explained that I hit it right down the middle and we never found it. He gave me another new one and said, “Bub, it’s a putting ball. You can’t lose it on the green.” I kept that ball a long time.
Who remembers Doug Sanders golf balls? I think what we got to play with mostly were used Club Specials.
Club Specials were our balls of choice at Jaycee Golf Course in Pine Bluff. The pro Paul Krause sold used ones found on the 9 hole layout cheap. I played my first golf there with dad. He bought me a guitar and a set of Wilson Blue Ridge golf clubs to quit football. He hated football and really didn’t like golf but he played to spend time with me. I was slow and small which didn’t make for a good halfback. Played Jaycee for years and eventually could afford new Club Specials. Wonderful memories at Jaycee before moving on to Rosswood Country Club. Jaycee is still there and Rosswood has been closed for years. Sad.
I didn’t pick up golf till I was about 25. Just played the local course in Mississippi… I do not remember my score though… but it had to be over a 100 because it was a couple years before I could break a 100. I didn’t have any lessons, just kind of had my brother and frustrations for me to figure it out… eventually got down to about a 10 handicap though… haven’t played since my brother died a few years ago, plan on getting back out in the spring and playing again
Duncan Park Golf Course in Natchez MS. We lived in Natchez for a couple of years in the 60’s and I had a hand-me-down set of Jack Nicklaus Junior Clubs. I believe it had a 3, 5, 7, 9 iron, driver and putter. My balls all had smiles and were found in the woods around the course. My buddy and I would keep score for about 3 holes. After putting down an 8, 10 and maybe a 6 (with a couple of mulligans) we would give up on score keeping.
Razorback Park in Fayetteville, which we called Pebble Beach because the fairways were full of rocks. As a golf course it was a great cross country course (which it was until UA built the XC course at Agri Park). I signed up for an Introduction to Golf course the spring of my freshman year at UA because I had always wanted to play and the only golf course in Arkadoo at the time was the private country club, which my parents wouldn’t join because (horrors) they served alcoholic beverages.
Because of the winter weather, first scheduled class meeting was at 9:30 a.m. on the Monday after spring break. I got back from Houston at 6:30 a.m. that morning, having been on a road trip with the baseball team (we swept Rice that weekend) that carried over until Sunday because of a rainout. Missed my 8:30 class that day, but dragged myself out of bed to drive to Razorback Park because I was motivated.
That summer I used money from my summer job to buy a set of clubs for like $75 at a discount warehouse, and played those clubs for about 10 years until I bought a second set in Tulsa. Still have that set from Tulsa in my (seldom-used) bag 35 years later.
I don’t remember my first score, but I do remember my first birdie, which was a year or so later at Paradise Valley in Fayetteville on a par-4 (might have been the 9th, which is 304 from the white tees, and I remember it was approaching the clubhouse). It would be about 10 years before I broke 90 at Rebsamen Park in Little Rock. It was raining, I had the course to myself so I could play as fast as I wanted, and the greens were holding.
I shot a 100 the first time I played. FS Country Club in Ft Smith. Played all by myself. I had borrowed a set to play. Actually it was given to me. Later I went to Barling and bought a heel and toe weighted set that was a big deal at that time, I think. Titleist Clubs. In Jr high I took Billy Aguiar’s place for the State Cham. in War Memorial golf course by the stadium.
I long for the days to play again. 2009 is the last time I played. Long game not to good, short game above average.
Amazing what we started out with vs the equipment of today. My mom and I met a widow who sold me her late husband’s set for 25 bucks. The woods were made of wood. lol
If the woods are persimmon, you have something of some value (although maybe not much). If they are laminated, then use them to stir the fire.
I walked Razor-rock way too many times. Miss that course.
Richard Richard mine were Persimmon woods. They were all wood when I started. I loved that 3 wood. And the 5 wood. One time I followed Lee Trevino at Fianna Hills. He said don’t care about what people say about using a wood if you have trouble hitting a 2-4 irons.
Played with then.
I’ve broke 80 only 4 times in my life. Two of those were on Razorback. Which (as anyone who has played it) is nothing to brag about.
I got you beat, LD, I have broken 80 dozens of times, sadly it was while I played only nine holes.
My parents were members of Pine Bluff Country Club as I grew up, but I lived so far from town, I just did not play. My aunt lived in Crossett so I played Crossett Country Club which had a nice 9 hole course. My aunt was a pretty good stick who played with Chris Wellons and Nedra Dumas who were 2 good women amateur players.
That course had the longest par 5, almost 600 yards and a lot of St. Augustine grass. I loved golf from the get-go. Crossett was a great small town back in the 60’s will a lot of pretty girls.
I shot a 71 at Big Creek a few years back.
Too bad we were only playing 9 holes.
Even at the age of 65, I remember my first par, my first birdie, my first eagle, the first time I broke (for nine holes) 60, 50, 40. The first time I broke (for 18 holes) 100, 90, 80 and 70. Alas, I also remember being three under for the day and in contention at the Tennessee Junior State tourney in 1973 and going 14 over on the last 12 holes of the second round. I’d have quit and gone home and skipped the last round but it was in Shelbyville, Tn and I had ridden down from Nashville with another golfer and had to stay. Good thing…my father would have killed me if I’d just quit. No opting out or transfer portal in those days. Of course, official visits were different in those days in the minor sports. I took an “official” to Lipscomb College. I got a campus tour and the golf coach bought my lunch in the faculty cafeteria. Two bucks. Total. For the two of us. Sweet tea refills, though. But it’s a Church of Christ school and back then all the girls had to wear these super long skirts. It was a deal breaker for a hormonal 17 year old boy.
And a note to Dudley: my first birdie was a hole out from the trap on what was then the 8th hole (now it’s #2) at the beloved Newport Country Club.(At that time it was a 9-hole course)
Genese Country Club Geneseo New York. Snow and sleet 1972. Clubs I found in mud under the fraternity house. Still have Wilson Birdie putter. First full set Sam Snead Blue Ridges. Played Wilson since with one venture into Big Berthas which got swiped. Best thing that ever happened to me
The first round I played was at the Waldron Country Club in my hometown. My uncle lives in London and came for a two-week visit during the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. He was an avid golfer and wanted to play a round, and offered to teach me.
I’m not his best protege. I like the idea of golf, but just have never found the time to be any good at it. I might play twice per year if I’m lucky. I haven’t been since my first child was born. I’m hopeful one day we might take up the game together.
The story of my only birdie comes with an asterisk. It was a long putt after I miraculously found the green on a par 3. I asked my playing partner, my wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) to pull the flag. She was a little late doing so and as the putt somehow made the right break toward the hole, she pulled not only the flag out, but the cup, too. The ball stopped dead next to the cup; just my luck!