After I played in my first golf tournament at 13 I realized I liked this game. It’s a game one can play alone and it’s not really a team sport and I was able to find teenage friend on my block who liked to pass the time in the afternoon after school slapping a golf club around.
At first in South San Gabriel I would go over to a friends yard and we would make holes about 30 yards apart and use long irons as putters to just hit the ball on the ground. I realize now this was the beginning of my ability to make contact with the ball. There was no real stance, at 13 there we had no lessons, just playing with other boys during the afternoons. We subsequently moved to Highland Park on a street called La Prada. This street had 6 grass islands about 40 – 50 yards in length and the street had a strong up hill grade. So we would get those practice balls with holes and wrap them with black electrical tape so they would go 50 yards and we would play up and down La Prada Street for hours in the afternoon. It’s here were I began to get some sort of golf swing and grip. Each Island had little trees at each end and we would use them as holes. I would go out by myself and play many an afternoon.
Soon I was introduced to Arroyo Seco Golf Course and I remember using a 6 iron on the first hole which was 98 yards. My friend Tony and I would be dropped off at ASGC and we would play into the late evening hours jumping from hole to hole and play until the course closed at 10 p.m. It was here at ASGC where I began to get serious about golf. They had a putting green and driving range and is was along a river so Tony and I would go out along the dry river and rocks and collect golf balls so we could hit them at the range. ASGC was my first step toward playing, my second step was The Griffith Park Junior Golf Club which I’ll talk about later.
I remember as a kid how hard ASGC was but I’ve been back over the last 7-10 years playing once a year taking my wife and playing with friends and PAR is 27 and scoring PAR was really quite easy. As I look back ASGC was my first introduction to tiny greens which is probably the reason I like courses with small greens today.