Tell you a story about golf in North Carolina?
Charlie Price, who spent his last several years living in Pinehurst, was one of the great golf writers but before he took up the pen, he tried to play the pro tour but found little success. He asked Clayton Heafner, a tour regular from Charlotte with a couple of second places in the US Open to his credit, "Why can’t I play better golf?"
Heafner eyed Price’s 5-8, 135-pound frame and said, "Have you ever noticed that most of the young guys who come out here are pretty big? Most of them are built like a truck driver. And did you notice they can all putt? Most of them have the touch of a hairdresser.
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"Well, the trouble with you is you’re built like a hairdresser and putt like a truck driver."
Price told that story. I never believed it but I liked it.
Here’s another one:
After he was badly burned in an airplane crash, Skip Alexander, a tour pro from Lexington, had minimal use of his left hand. It could have put an end to an excellent tour career that included selection to the Ryder Cup team.
But Alexander asked his doctors to shape the hand into a permanent grip that would hold a golf club. They did and he returned to the tour and won the Ben Hogan Award for exceptional achievement after overcoming a physical problem.
One of the top amateur players in the world for many years was Dale Morey of High Point. He won 270 tournaments, including two USGA Seniors titles.
Before he got serious about golf, he was a boxer. His most memorable bout was against the great Joe Louis. Who won? Who do you think won?
The late Dugan Aycock, longtime pro in Lexington, planned to play golf from one town to another – if memory serves, it was Lexington to Winston-Salem—to raise money for charity.
A newspaperman whose name and city will remain unreported (it was not a Charlotte writer) wrote a detailed account of Aycock’s journey along the highways, through the fields and over the hills and all that, and published it the day after the trek was to have taken place.
Unfortunately, Aycock had postponed the event to another day.
One final one:
Bill Harvey of Greensboro, who for many years was one of the top amateurs in the country, was watching a match come to the final hole in the North & South Amateur in Pinehurst. One of the contestants had a putt of little more than a foot in length to win and his opponent conceded it.
Harvey said, "I wouldn’t give it to him. He might catch polio before he can hit it."