“The Trouble with Girls”
Don’t let the title of this blog fool you… I love girls! I have been fortunate to have met the love of my life during my third year of college. We have been married for 28 years and it has been unbelievable! Even though she is Bob and Delsie Rowe’s daughter and Rob’s sister, my wife Connie has never been into the game of golf like I have. Early on in our marriage she tried to like golf….she really did. But the golf “bug” never bit her and she always found something more enjoyable to her. And that’s OK! She has always supported my love of the game and has always understood my need to spend hours on end playing this great game. I grew up in a time and place where there were always women at the club that played golf, but you sure didn’t want to get stuck behind them while playing a round! I knew there was an LPGA but I never paid much attention to it. I mean I knew who Nancy Lopez was, but my heroes were all the PGA Tour players in the 70’s and 80’s like Arnie, Jack, Lee Trevino and Chi Chi. That was until one day in the mid-90’s.
In the summer of 1996 I was invited to play in a Super-ball tournament at Pine Needles Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines, NC, just outside Pinehurst. The Turlington Golf Tournament was a charity tournament started by friends of Randy Turlington who had become a victim of leukemia. The goal was to raise money to provide playground equipment to the area’s local schools. It promised to be a great weekend of fun and fellowship in one of Golf’s meccas. The tournament was setup to include some really strange, but fun rules on each hole. Stuff like having to tee off with a Medicus Driver, using a long shafted Anchor Putter (before they were cool), playing an entire hole left-handed, etc., etc. One rule in particular was the owner, an older woman, of the club was going to tour the course and play a hole with each group. When she arrived at your group, your team would be required to use her ball until you reached the green.
My group was playing fairly well and made the turn at 3 under par. Not too bad considering all the crazy rules and obstacles in our way. We were teeing off at number 10, a long 524 yard par 5 with a slight dogleg left. I had just CRUSHED my drive splitting the fairway leaving us no more than a 5 or 6-iron up the hill to reach the green. A birdie or maybe an eagle was in sight! Just as we were leaving the tee box, the owner of the club pulled up behind us. OH NO!! My best drive was going to be wasted! We were going to have to use this 75-year-old woman’s ball until we reached the green. Our potential eagle was ruined.
We watched as she arrived at the tee and got out of her cart. This older woman had an air of grace around her. She was very pleasant as she said “hello” and asked if we were enjoying ourselves. She then pulled out her driver and proceeded to airmail her tee shot about 25 yards past my “stellar” drive. When we arrived at her ball, we all took turns dropping a ball and playing our approach shot. None of us hit the green and the best shot would need a short pitch and putt to get our birdie. Then the woman played her shot. It never left the pin, coming to rest about 8 feet away from eagle. Wow! This old woman could play! Of course we all missed our putts and Ms. Peggy Kirk Bell stood up and drained her eagle putt like she could have made it blindfolded. She gave me a putting tip and said goodbye and rode off into the sunset. From this moment on I have never looked at women’s golf the same. I later found out that Ms. Bell is regarded as one of the best women’s amateur players in golf history as well as the premier female golf instructor of all-time. Since then, I have attended several LPGA tournaments and even the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open at none other than Pine Needles. As I walked around the course marveling at today’s best women golfers like Annika Sorenstam, Christie Kerr, Paula Creamer, and Morgan Pressel, I could never forget that hot July day when that 75-year-old woman changed the way I felt about women playing The World’s Greatest Game forever!
Long and Straight!
PS-Rob’s moving to Atlanta today and will resume his light-hearted
take on the World’s Greatest Game tomorrow.
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