Leading up to my recent 50th high school reunion, snippets of old stories, long forgotten, would just burst from my memory. These were events that happened with old friends as I grew up in East Lansing, Michigan. During the reunion, I would see the person that a story was centered around and then go up to him or her and share that story. I was surprised to see that many of my stories were not remembered by the person that I shared it with. Go figure!
Today, I decided to play golf at the MSU golf course, called Forest Akers. As I was getting ready to leave LeuC to go play golf, another story from so long ago, came to mind. Back during my early high school days, my older brother, Don, played for the high school golf team. He was a very, very good golfer and in his senior year (he is three years older than I), he won the Michigan Jaycee Juniors Golf Championship. This was no small feat as this signified that he was one of the best high school golfers in the State of Michigan. He received a golf scholarship from MSU but decided to turn it down. He told our dad that he wanted to go to MSU to study, not play golf. At the time, I thought that it was foolish for him to do so but when I graduated from high school, I actually did the same thing. I had won the Mid-Michigan Journalism award for the best high school sports writer, which resulted in a journalism scholarship to MSU. However, I wanted to go to the University of Michigan to study Oceanography. Looking back on all of this, our parents must have been pulling out their hair about this since our two scholarships would have saved them tons of money. They never said a word of this to either of us, ever.
Anyway, Don went on and studied Russian and graduated in 4 years from MSU. During those 4 years, he never played golf. Once he graduated in 1969, I came down from Ann Arbor (I was a Sophomore at UM at the time), and challenged him to a round of golf. I was playing the game and was usually shooting in the low 80s. I felt I could easily beat him…for the first time in my life.
Don graciously accepted the challenge and with a couple of rented sets of clubs we both headed off to the Forest Akers golf course at MSU. To my dismay, he shot a 76, which was only 4 over par. Man-o-man, he was such a natural! I shot a very respectable 81 but lost the match by 5 strokes. It wasn’t even close.
With that story in mind, I played today for the first time in 49 years at Forest Akers. However, as I played each hole, I kept the above story in mind and wished that Don was out there with me, hitting those beautiful shots that he was famous for. I ended up shooting a 95 with a respectable round of 47 and 48. I say “respectable” because this was the first time I have played this course in so long, I am now 68 years old, and I am still trying to “rediscover” my game.
We will be starting our journey to the Pacific Northwest on Friday. We hope to arrive at Don and his wife’s house in Blaine, Washington by mid-October. At that time, Don and I are planning to play a round or two of golf on the beautiful golf course that they overlook. Don shared with me that he is dusting off his golf clubs and recently shot a 96. It sounds to me, that I will be in trouble when we play again…
Needless to say, I am so looking forward to seeing Don and Debbie again, even if I have to lose another couple of rounds of golf to do so.