Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Good Old Harvey

Twenty years ago I fell in love with golf. I remember reading every book or magazine I could get my hands on. I wanted to read about every theory of the golf swing. I read books about the short game. I read Arnold Palmer Complete Book Of Putting. 
It eventually got to the point were it was information overload. I was confusing myself reading about so many theories about the golf swing.
I then came across Harvey Penick's Little Red Book. I remember thinking in my twenty-one year old mind, "What does this old guy know about the golf swing?"
Turned out he probably had forgotten more golf than I remembered. He had been around golf since 1913 as an eight year old caddy. Even at his advanced age in his 80's, he still considered himself a caddy still studying golf. 
I bought the book for $20. Pretty pricy for a small golf book. But his tips were so simple. I read the book in a few days. I read it again. I loved it. 
I remember thinking I wasted so much time and money reading all the golf books whose theories were too complicated to apply. 
The Little Red Book became my golf Bible. 
I then got in a money pinch. I needed cash fast. So I gathered all the golf books I spent hundreds of dollars on and went to a used book store. I remember including The Little Red Book in the pile. I was thinking I would get $50 to $75 for my books. I got $24. Even back in 1996 that wasn't very much. But I was desperate and I took it. My eventual love of golf went out the door.
Forward to present day 2013. Seventeen years have passed. I got to thinking of Harvey and his Little Red Book. I had forgotten most of the lessons. So I went to Amazon.com and bought a copy. When the book came in the mail, it brought back so many good memories. I remembered most of the stories Mr. Penick wrote. I appreciated them more in my forty-one year old mind. 
I have eventually bought the follow up books, If You Play Golf, Your My Friend (aka The Little Green Book) and The Game of a Lifetime (The Little Blue Book). 
Reading the books made me wish I could have met Mr. Penick and gotten a lesson from him. Good old Harvey died a week before my twenty-third birthday in 1995. A week later Ben Crenshaw, a pupil of Mr. Penick won The Masters. I still get goose bumps when I see replays of Ben Crenshaw's emotional victory. After his sinking the winning putt, he dropped to his knees and cried. Then he dedicated the win to Mr. Penick. 
I would love to see a biopic or a documentary made of Mr. Harvey Penick. I would be first in line to see it. But for now, I'll just have to re-read his books again and again. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Santa Ana College Football

Yesterday I saw my cousin for the first time in eleven years. Last time I saw him he was a single guy like me.
Now he's a family man. He married a wonderful woman and he is a father of two boys. One plays football, the youngest plays baseball.
So yesterday I made the trip to surprise my cousin with a visit. It was perfect. I just happened to walk through a tunnel and as I turned to a random seating area, there he was. He was surprised!
The whole game we sat next to each other and caught up.
His son plays football for the Santa Ana College Dons. A defensive lineman. Great football player with great football instincts. He made many tackles, had a sack (didn't get credit for a half sack) and blocked a extra point. It was a treat to watch him play.
It was the first time I saw a JC football game. It's great football. It's pure and these kids are giving their best so they can get on with a four year school. My cousins son Billy has caught the attention of New Mexico, Utah State and Portland State. I have a funny feeling I'm going to be watching him play football in Utah next year!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Country Club Life Is The Life For Me

I was invited to play in a best ball tournament at Green Valley Country Club this past Monday. The tournament benefited Vacaville Christian School.
I have only driven past the course once. It looked immaculate! I could have only dreamed to play that course.
So Monday morning arrives and we set out to the course. We grab our bags and head to the clubhouse. As soon as we get there, an attendant takes our bags to our assigned cart. We check in at the pro shop and we were given a goodie bag filled with the essentials for a day of golf. Breakfast was served behind us, just coffee and donuts. I already ate. I explored around the locker room. It was everything I dreamed it would be! Wood paneled room with rows of lockers. There was a large shelf of towels. I walked into one of the two wash rooms. It had all the toiletries you would expect at a fine club.
I think the locker room was my favorite part of the grounds!
After we checked in, we headed to the driving range. It was as big as three football fields! There were small golf bag shaped baskets full of balls. You could hit all you want. If there were no more, an attendant would get you more. Oh, we were driven to the driving range from the clubhouse and back again.
After that, we headed to our assigned tee. We started on #8.
The next five hours I was in awe. The course was just gorgeous!
We were fed good food all day long. At the turn, I took a quick shave to freshen up.
My final putt brought us to a finish of 9 under. We finished tied for fifth.
It was an amazing day of golf.
Afterwards we enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. We were treated to a mini concert by Lenny Williams of Tower of Power. There were retired athletes there. Vida Blue, Sherman White, Marv Hubbard, Harold Pressley, Dana Stubblefield and Eric Wright Sr.
It was a day I'll never forget. I want to do it again!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I Got A Golden Ticket

This is the last year the 49ers will be playing at Candlestick Park. I went to my first sports event there in 1982. I will get more nostalgic in a future post.
I'm going to see the St. Louis Rams take on the 49ers December 1st.
It's fitting my last game there will be againts a team I loved (the Rams) and a team I hated in the 80's (the 49ers). I just know a lot of memories will be flooding my mind that day.
Now Im gonna try to figure out what I want to take from the place.