Learning golf without a car in the world
Once I decided to embrace golf, I realized I needed lessons. Since I was a tennis player, I figured two or three and I would be good to go.
Unfortunately, tennis skills are not golf skills. All they have in common are a weight shift and a swing, striking a ball somewhere in the process.
After my first set of three lessons, I still had not gotten the ball into the air. Not discouraged, I figured out that I had a cute teacher who could play golf but not teach it. After my second set of three lessons, the teacher was as frustrated as I was. Maybe golf and I were not meant to be.
Before giving up the game, I went to Golfsmith to buy some golf shoes, hoping footwear was my problem. There I met Chris Hamlin, a recent University of Texas grad who played on the Longhorns golf team. Hamlin - who's now the assistant pro at Champions Golf Club - was selling golf stuff at Golfsmith while waiting for the opening of the golf club where he had been hired as a teaching pro.
I told him that I was hoping golf shoes would help my golf game and he laughed, saying he didn’t know if that would help, but he would be happy to sell me some shoes.
He also said he had been teaching golf since he was 10 or 11 and gladly offered to give me a lesson. We agreed to meet after work at Memorial Park’s driving range on Friday, which just happened to be the 13th.
As usual, I was running late, and there were no parking places, but I could see Hamlin waiting for me on one of the coveted practice tees. Surely there would be no harm in parking in a No Parking zone at this late hour?
I eased into the forbidden spot, quickly grabbed my clubs and rushed to the tee. Within five minutes, Hamlin had me hitting balls into the air with the desirable right-to-left draw.
I was so ecstatic that I called my husband, John, and told him to come quickly to Memorial Park, saying, "Chris has me hitting the ball in the air and he can get you to as well!” John had never so much as made contact with a ball, so he quickly rushed over to the range.
Like I, he could not find a parking place. Like I, he also parked in a No Parking zone. We figured since the sun was setting, no one would really mind.
Soon Hamlin had us both striking balls like pros, and it was a high that only a golfer would understand. As darkness spoiled our fun, Hamlin said he had to leave because it was his birthday.
He had big plans. Little did any of us know that his plans would not turn out the way he thought.
We carried our clubs to our cars, only to find both of them had been towed away. We had little option but to ask Hamlin (who drove a two-seater) to take us home.
Once we got home, we realized we still didn’t have cars and called the police to learn that John’s automobile had been towed to a lot 30 miles east of town, while my car had been towed 25 miles north to a lot near the airport.
As a result, Chris the birthday boy and soon-to-be golf pro, was Chris the chauffeur. He hauled us to Baytown to pick up John’s car so we could drive to the airport to get mine.
Chris Hamlin did not finish his driving duties until 10 p.m. – not a great way to celebrate his 22nd birthday.
But for us, it didn’t matter. We got the ball in the air!