A significant backswing | Opinion

by | Nov 2, 2022 | Driving Ranges

I never gave much thought about having a successful career as a professional golfer.

Perhaps it was because like most sports, I wasn’t good at it.

My total lifetime experience with the activity that now captures hours and hours of weekend TV time is marginal. It would consist of one 18-hole round at a Penn Township public course, maybe 10 rounds of par three golf with my son at a course in Dunbar Township, and about 100 buckets of balls at various driving ranges.

Like just about everything in my life, however, some limited form of triumph or tribulation would elevate the events to a memorable state.

The game at Penn Township was an end of school year celebration with my fellow teachers from Turtle Creek High School.

Like some of the other nongolfers, I had a respectable score — if it was bowling — and my tee shot for hole number 10 landed on the green of 10, about 10 yards away.

A couple of ladies who were playing toward 18, saw me on the green and hollered, Go ahead sir, you can tap in!” They really looked shocked when I drove the ball off 18 green toward cup #10!

Roy Jr. and I played quite a few times at Par Three, owned at the time by a teacher friend. In order to get to one of the greens the shot had to go across a pond. I hit so many balls into that pond it raised the water level.

I guess I was less dangerous at the driving ranges, and I could drive the ball a long way. I can’t describe it in yards, because my drive would hook to the left so severely it was like a boomerang.

But probably the most memorable of my recollections involving golfing or golf related events occurred when I was about 14, and one of my best friends nearly separated my head from my body with a seven iron.

Buddy was a big kid. In grade school at recess softball, he hit mostly home runs, sometimes over the two- story school.

In high school, he was Big Mo, named by one of the football coaches after the battleship Missouri.

We both threw shot put in track at Dunbar Township High School and would practice in the alley behind his house. Sometimes Buddy would walk around with me on the paper route. Usually any activity that looked interesting would provide a few minutes of diversion.

On this particular day, several boys were hitting golf balls in a yard on Stauffer Street. I don’t remember who lived in the house at that time, but another friend, Buzz, Buddy and I decided to join the fun.

There was no organization to the event. Someone had accumulated a collection of used golf balls and an old seven iron and the object was to hit the ball over the garage and as far across Joe Leake’s field as possible.

Several potential future LPGA pros took their turn with the only club available, then Buddy lined up for his turn. I might add that even at his young age Buddy had muscles like a pro wrestler. I believe his intention for the ball was to clear the garage, clear Joe Leake’s field, his house, and all attendant possessions.

However, that swing never happened. I was standing to the right and a little behind Bud. His powerful backswing caught me along the side of my head, lifted me off the ground, they said) and opened up a hydraulic leak requiring about five or six sutures to close.

My friend felt terrible but it was just an unfortunate accident.

We remained friends through high school where Big Mo was a driving force in the Dunbar Township High School Mules successes.

Many years later we met at the YMCA gym at Mt. Pleasant. After greetings, the first thing Buddy asked was, “Hey, do you remember when.?” Yes I did

Roy Hess is a Dawson resident.

original article can be found here