Snuck out for a late afternoon round today. It was beautiful with a nice wind coming off the bay… played nicely hitting the first 7 greens and a couple birdies. After giving a couple back on 8 and 11, I played solid coming in just hitting greens and making pars putting me square with old man par teeing off on 18. I like beating the old man.
Out of seemingly nowhere, two older gents pull up in cart… apparently they were skipping a few holes to get in before sunset.
The first gent shouts to his buddy… hey look at this guy… he’s using persimmon! The tall guy starts walking over and says… is that a Tommy Armour? I said no… its a Tony Penna. Assuming they are just two amateurs, I show them the difference between the lie angles of mine and their frying pans. About 15 degree difference. I give them a brief lecture on the virtues of flatter lie angles for both power and control.
The tall guy says "I haven’t seen anyone hit persimmon in a while. Half kidding, I promised them I would out drive them both by 40 yards… Making such a claim, I felt the need to hit one really solid,which I did, absolutely piped down the middle. They both hit, and I was just that. 40 yards by them.
The tall guy then tells me he has over 3000 vintage golf clubs in his garage. I raise an eyebrow of course! He decides to walk down the fairway with me… and we chat some more. By the time I get to my ball we have talked about M85’s VFQ’s, LFF’s, ceramic faces, Propel #1 shafts that I was playing today… R 20 and R 90’s and what kind of grain we like on our persimmons. I hit a 5 iron right at the stick, but it’s a slight blind shot up the hill…
The tall guy then starts to tell me how he used to play on the PGA Tour in the 1960’s and 70’s, and won the US National Long Drive Championship in 1973 beating Jim Dent and Mike Austin. He was also the pro at Pasa Tiempo in the 1960’s and is a member and golf teacher with the Shivas Irons Society and the Esalen Institute that was founded by Micheal Murphy who most would know as the author of Golf in the Kingdom. He and Micheal are close friends. I was telling him how much I liked George Knudson’s golf swing, and as we crested the knoll I could see my ball right next to the hole about a foot away. He then told me about how he finished 8th in the Canadian Open one year, it was his best finish on tour. And he had played with George.
I tapped in my birdie to beat old man par for the day , and Johnny Allen suggested I come and have a visit of his vintage club library. It sounds a lot deeper than mine. He even said he might have a few extra propels I might need to finish out a set of Mac 945 Custom grind split soles I have.
It was the best two shots I had ever put together on the tough 18th at Mare. It’s not a hole you see birdies on often… yet alone kick ins. It was almost as if some kind of Shivas guide showed up out of nowhere as the sun was setting to play the 18th with me today. On another strange note, he lives just a few blocks from me, and has a canyon in his backyard that he uses as a driving range. Turns out, it’s the next canyon over, and we laughed, because we both wait for the goats to come and mow the grass, them we pick up our balls twice a year. The direction I aim my drives off the deck basically aims right at his house. Something was in the air tonight.