Birdies and bogeys

Published February 8, 2007

I was invited to play in the 1977 Colgate Dinah Shore in Palm Springs, Calif. President Gerald Ford was there; he had just left office a few months earlier. Prior to teeing off, I was on the putting green and so was he. We talked for 10 minutes about Michigan football and golf. He was very friendly and joked about Bob Hope's remarks on his golf game. My favorite from Hope: "I loved to play with the president, because when you walked down the fairway the trees walked with you." A close second came on June 12, 1986. I was invited to play in a Golf Magazine outing with Greg Norman at Rockaway Hunting Club on Long Island. The day before, he had lost the U.S. Open after leading through three rounds at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. He had breakfast with the guests, performed a clinic and played 18 holes with us. All this after a disappointing loss. He was a real gentleman the entire day.

Tom Jewell, Oldsmar, former tournament director of the JCPenney Classic

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On May 25, my great-granddaughter was born and my son, her father and I decided to play golf and celebrate her birth. On the par-3, 157-yard 17th hole at Willow Creek Golf Course in Rochester, Minn., I hit a 6-iron and it hung on the lip. I made the birdie but was disappointed because a hole-in-one would have been a great accomplishment on my great-granddaughter's day of arrival. We talked about it all that day and decided after visiting mother and daughter to play another round. Lo and behold, with a 6-iron on 17, I holed it. It was only my second (ace) in 35 years. My first came in 1985 at Quail Ridge in Hudson on the eighth hole, 120 yards with a 9-iron. Today I need an 8-iron to reach 120 yards. That's what getting older does to you in golf, but we can play the game no matter what age.

Joe Fratto, Hudson

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