My Dad’s been gone for a couple of years now. But he taught me to love and respect the game. I’m grateful we got to spend a lot of time together both on and off the golf course. He lived long enough to see me be successful and become a decent golfer. He loved the idea of Larry Woodard Golf and even contributed a few articles. Here is his post about how he learned the game of golf.
I started playing golf in 1953. I was introduced to the game by John Simpkins. Funny thing, he never did get that good and eventually quit playing. He had a wicked slice and I remember the group of us laughing at him as he would turn to face the housing area to try and slice the ball onto the fairway. But he kept badgering me to play with him. So eventually I went out with him and rented a set of clubs and started to play. I'm relatively short at about 5'6, so the rental clubs were too long and at first I had a hard time hitting the ball in the air. When I did start hitting the ball, my stance, due to the length of the clubs, caused me to hook the ball.
Being a career military man. I played a lot of my golf on military golf courses. The United States U.S. Air Force (U.S. Air Force) operates 80 golf courses world wide representing approximately 1600 acres of intensely maintained and highly valued government property. Over 1.5 million rounds of golf are played annually on U.S. Air Force courses. The United States military has over 234 golf courses worldwide and I have played more than my share in the United States, Africa, Europe and Asia.
When I was learning I played a lot of my golf on Nouasseur Air Base, Morocco, Nouasseur was located 20 miles. Southwest of Casablanca. They had a 9 hole course there. I have fond memories of Casablanca and that golf course. Two of my five children, including Larry, were born while I was stationed there. When I started I shot in the 120's for 18 holes. I saw guys hitting the ball and I became determined I would learn how to do it. I became a scratch golfer in under 3 years.
When I finally bought a set of clubs, the club pro convinced me I needed to buy a shorter set of clubs because of my height. I brought a Set of Pedersons. Every time I connected, the ball went straight up in the air. I didn't give up though. At that time, we would play as much as 54 holes at a time. I was becoming hooked on the game.
I finally got a set of clubs I could play with. They were a regular length set of Wilson Staffs with copper faces. My ball flight is low and I learned to hit a controlled draw. Through trial and error, I finally scrapped the 3, 5 and 7 woods most guys were hitting. I played with a 2 wood and a 1 and 2 iron. I developed a shot that would hit and then bite. I got very accurate. I started to get lots of eagles and chip-ins. The first hole was a 565 yard par 5. I would play it driver-1iron onto the green.
I practiced a lot. The course had a practice hole so you could practice about 100 yards in. There were also two big practice greens. I would practice my short game and eventually played on the base team and in leagues.
I've played and watched a lot of golf. For long stretches of my life, I have played golf every day. Even now, I play more days a week than I don't. Whatever golf wisdom I have, you're welcome to. Use what you need and pass the rest on to a fellow golfer.
Remember, it's a great day for golf somewhere.