THE GREATEST SHOT OF MY LIFE

THE GREATEST SHOT OF MY LIFE

From Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul The Second Round

The Greatest Shot of My Life

Pressure is playing for ten dollars when you don’t have a dime in your pocket.

Lee Trevino

Like most guys I know, I was introduced to the game of golf by my father. My dad was a pretty good golfer when he was younger (5 handicap). When my sisters and I came along, he couldn’t play as much as he’d like, but he still stayed in touch with the game.

In the early sixties, dad bought a bar in Portage Lakes, a nice series of recreational lakes in Ohio. My dad was in his fifties by this time and still liked to play the game. The problem was that after practically giving up the game, he would still take sucker bets from the younger guys who frequented his tavern. One guy bet Dad one hundred dollars that he could give Dad five and use only three clubs. Dad lost one hundred dollars. Another guy bet Dad fifty dollars that he could throw out his worst two holes, and once again Dad lost.

I felt bad for Pop because he was such a nice guy, and although these guys spent lots of money at Dad’s tavern, at the age of twelve, I felt people thought Dad was a joke around the golf course and everyone was making fun of him.

Several days later, Jimmy Ray Textur, a young “hot shot” golfer, told my dad he would give him ten strokes and do all his putting with a driver. The bet was one hundred dollars and, of course, Dad accepted.

The following morning we met at Turtlefoot Golf Course in Portage Lakes, a beautiful course surrounded by water. On the 1st hole, Jimmy Ray hit a sweet drive, high and long, and straight down the fairway. Dad’s drive sliced OB. I cringed and thought, Here we go again.

After Dad’s misfortune on the 1st hole, he settled down and played pretty well. Jimmy Ray didn’t putt as well as he’d thought with his driver.

Dad had lost all of the shots Jimmy Ray gave him by the 15th hole. They tied on holes 16 and 17. The last hole was a par-4 straight away with an elevated green and trees lining both sides of the fairway. At this point in time, the match was tied. Jimmy Ray hit his drive left center and had a flip wedge to the pin. Dad hit an awful slice deep into the woods where it rested on a huge clump of dirt that was the remains of a tree that was removed. By this time a few of Jimmy Ray’s friends had wandered onto the course to watch the match.

I stood at the edge of the woods where I saw my dad climb onto this mound of dirt and debris and address the ball. In my heart, I figured Dad was about to lose another one hundred bucks. I felt rotten, and even worse for my dad. Just then I heard a crack echo through the woods that sounded like a cherry bomb going off under a pop can. The leaves parted, and to my amazement, the ball came out of the woods like a bullet, hit the bank in front of the green, bounced twenty feet in the air and came to rest two feet from the pin. This might have shook Jimmy Ray up a bit, for he chili-dipped his next shot. Jimmy Ray then chipped up within five feet and made the putt for par.

Dad needed his two-footer to win the match. As I walked up to the green, beaming with pride, I handed Dad his Bull’s Eye putter so he could finish off Jimmy Ray. Dad walked past me and gave me a wink. He went to his bag, pulled out his driver and proceeded to knock in the two-footer!

The drive home was one I’ll always remember. We drove straight to Montgomery Ward where he bought me my first set of golf clubs and a cool green, yellow and black plaid golf bag.

I’m still playing golf and running a small driving range in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Dad passed away in ’93, but sometimes when I visit family in Akron, I play Turtlefoot. Whenever I come to the last hole, regardless of my score, I always feel good; for on this hole, I witnessed the greatest shot of my life.

Del Madzay

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