My earliest memories of my Grandfather had nothing to do with Golf. I was 4 or 5 and we were at a gas station and he and I were alone. I was outside the car watching and he had convinced me that his car ran on water. I can also remember my Grandmother mostly because Gramps was teaching golf 6 days a week, although I did not know it then. My brother and I would walk to the store by their house on 9th avenue in Los Angeles which is not near a South Central High School.
The first golf memories happened during the Christmas Holidays. I’ll never forget him putting two golf balls, one in each hand and affixing my little hands around the ball to form a grip. This is something I have done with all of my Grandchildren to date. Dakota is my princess and she has taken up my Grandfathers golf swing mostly because she loves me and we came to an agreement called “Quid Pro Quo”
I play dolls with her, play just about anything with her and devote most of my time with here when we are at her home. Then at some point I mention “Quid Pro Quo” and she allows me to give her a little golf lesson. I try not to get too involved with it because she just turned 6 and she likes so many other things but she knows I love golf and teaching my Grandfather’s swing and loves me dearly so she spends a little golf time. She and my other grandchildren have called me Grampy but recently I asked her to start calling me Gramps.
She asked why and I said that’s what I used to call my Grandfather. I don’t even remember when I started calling him Gramps, it was so long ago, I always called him Gramps. Every now and then she calls me Gramps and I feel so happy that she does.
Gramps used to come over for Christmas after my Grandmother passed away in 1968. He would make the 45 mile trip by side street in his old car, show up and give us a card with $5 in it. He instilled something in me that took hold because by the time I was 9 or 10 I was smacking golf balls around with some other kids. I would pretend I was Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer playing for the big tournaments.
My father took me to my first golf tournament in 1962 when I was 12. It was a Whittier Narrows Golf Course and I remember it well because I shot a 121 and came in last. Dad was just happy that I got to play, I thought this course was a monster of a course but it was only because I was 12. It’s really a bit of a short course. I played many rounds at Whittier Narrows during my early teen years.
Gramps loved baseball and golf and decided to teach golf instead of play baseball as this was back in the early 1900’s. He felt his career would last longer in golf, it did as he taught from 1910 to 1990, he was 98 years old when he passed away, still fighting for more time to help golfers.