Harding Park

What I Love about golf. Harding Park

I Love Harding Park. I took my first junior clinic at Harding when I was ten years old. I remember we met on the putting green behind the 10th tee. My Dad dropped me off then watched from a distance. There were two pros who taught the class. I don’t remember what they said, but after a short amount of time on the putting green we headed to the 1st tee on Fleming, the nine hole course, in the middle of Harding Park. I can still see the wooden driver the first pro hit off the tee and the flight of the ball. Everything got quiet, then contact, the soft crack of balata and wood wood connecting. Then the ball flight, I couldn’t take my eyes off the ball going up the ladder in the sky, seemingly going up one step, one floor at a time until it reached it’s apex and starting falling towards the middle of the fairway. I was “activated” to say the least. I felt it to the core of my being – intrigue, curiosity, passion, interest – my eyes were big as we walked down the fairway towards the pro’s tee shots. After that, I don’t remember much, I just remember feeling at home on the course. I was ten and I was hooked. For the next two years, my Dad would take me to play Fleming with my brother Vin. We would play nine and then hit a large bucket of balls. There was a friendly lady, Joanie who worked at the range. She let us play for free and gave us the bucket at no charge. I liked her, she was sweet and always kind to my brother and I. The range at Harding was mats, with little green wooden walls in between each stall. The balls were not very round, used balls someone put a stripe on. There wasn’t “range balls” back then. I would get dressed up like my Dad’s friend Ken Venturi once a month, play 9, hit balls and then go home. It was the perfect tease, the perfect monthly cadence to grow my love of the game. I love that about Harding Park, I love that I developed a passion for the game there. My life in golf, my love of the game, and of this special place started that day at Harding.

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