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Do You Remember Your First Tournament?

My First 8-Hole Golf Tournament & Trophy

In the summer of 1974, right before my 10 birthday, I played in my first golf tournament. 

My Dad  was teaching a golf class at ENMU and I spent the last year on the driving range with him learning the fundamentals.  He would drop me at the range and head out  with his buddies for a round of golf and gambling.  The games were fierce at our little club in Portales, NM.  Everyday at 1:00 the boys would convene and work out the game for the day.  High stakes for a small town.

Our range was small and really no more than a mowed pasture with discs at the 100 yard, 150 yard, and 200 yard intervals.  There were no “range balls”… you brought your own in your “shag-bag”.  Each shag-bag held around 75 golf balls– usually cast offs from Dad or balls that we had found.  I would begin with a bag full of wedges to a small mound about 65 yards away that we called a “chipping green”.  Then I would work my way through my bag hitting all of the clubs and emptying the shag-bag 4-5-6 times.  After each bag I would walk out and pick the balls.  My Dad told me to hold the shag-bag with the last 3 fingers of my left hand… to strengthen my grip.  As I picked up the balls… I could see the patterns and walk the yardages for each club.  It also gave me time to reflect on what I was doing… and what I needed to improve on.

It would be months before he would ask me to join him on the golf course.  But once I got out there… I was hooked!  I joined a summer recreation class that summer and hit balls everyday.  Finally– they announced a tournament and we were flighted by boys/girls and our age.  When I saw the trophies laid out that morning… I had to win it!kathy schowe golf


My flight consisted of 4 girls, ages 8-11… playing nine holes and walking, carrying our clubs.  I really don’t remember a thing about my game that day.  Only that we started on a par 5, #2… and it was a long walk down the par-5, #1, just to tee off on the first hole.

When we came around from #9 and reached the clubhouse– the other girls were tired and discouraged… and did not want to finish the round by playing #1 and walking all the way back in.  So they refused to play the last hole!  They said that I was too far ahead of them and they were done!

I was exasperated and afraid that my round would not count if I did not complete the entire nine holes!  I thought that we would all be disqualified and that the trophy would go to NO ONE!

The pro told us to go sit in the shade and have a Dr. Pepper… and later I was awarded the TROPHY!  I was thrilled!

I went on to play golf competitively — juniors, high school, college, and eventually professionally.  I have played in many, many golf tournaments since then… but this is my favorite TROPHY.  I still have it.





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