The Washington Times-Herald

April 18, 2013

A lifelong love of golf

By Gregg A. Sims
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — It was an unusually cold, snowy day in April as I looked out the window at the clubhouse nearly 20 years ago.

Winter was hanging on, and golf on that particular Monday was not going to happen.

The snow was especially disappointing because I had been scheduled to participate in a playing test by the Indiana PGA.

I had started on a trip to try and become a club professional, something that I had wanted to do for some time, and the test was the first step, at the time, down that road with the exception of gaining employment.

The playing test was gone, but that was just the beginning.

During the previous summer, I had applied to Augusta National for practice round tickets for the Masters that were being awarded on a lottery basis. I had won the chance to attend on Monday. Some buddies in Huntingburg had received notice they had tickets for Tuesday.

The trip was on.

But that was before I had applied, and received the chance to serve a golf club as the assistant professional. The first playing test of the season was in Seymour and the same Monday as the practice round.

There was really no decision to be made. My trip to Augusta National would have to be postponed until a later date. There was work to do.

Then the light snow hit Sunday evening.

I had wanted to travel to the Masters for several years. It has been on a list of things to do for many years.

I first played golf in 1965 at the age of 12. I played on and off through high school and college, but I really didn¹t take up the game seriously until my late 20s.

Soon after, I became interested in golf history. That led me to learning to putt as though the stroke was nothing more than a short version of the stroke itself. It also led me to learning more about Bobby Jones and the Masters itself.

I have several books at home concerning both. Each has been read more than once.

Golf became an important, and loved part of my life.

I’m not certain that I will ever make it to Augusta. My wife is trying to plan a trip to Scotland in the future for us. She has been a couple of times, and was within 50 miles of St. Andrews more than once. She brought home some items that I have kept. Seeing the Old Course would certainly be on that list as well.

At the same time, I'm not certain if I really wish to go south anymore.

Augusta National had a hard week. Penalizing a 14-year-old for slow play during rounds that took everyone nearly six hours to play seemed avoidable.

His group was out of place, and a penalty was legal. It seems to me that he was not the only one a bit behind.

The Tiger Woods situation with the drop was legal, depending upon interpretation. It seems that he should not have been penalized if the tournament committee said his drop was acceptable before he signed his Friday card.

All the committee had to do was say we looked at the situation and didn't feel the drop was improper. No penalty. Play on. And that's what Woods did, as he most certainly could.

As we all know, the violation was cited late Friday night, and a penalty imposed on Saturday morning. There was plenty of support for the action.

By the way, the sun did come out and the snow melted before.

But last Saturday afternoon, it felt like it had snowed again.