The Range at Stanislaus

Let me paint a picture for you – A soccer field with no lines on it, a corn field to the left, a baseball diamond behind me, and straight away at about 220 yards a road. This was our range. I remember how excited J Drew (Trout) and I were to find it on our first day at Stanislaus. We grabbed our shag bags and headed out. There were a couple of old greens, which hadn’t been taken care of for years with a few flagsticks in them, which we could use for chipping and other than that it was an old unused athletic field where we could hit balls. I hit a lot of balls there, I loved that place. Trout hit a lot of balls there. He loved his G, a true player, and a pure ball striker. We later played the Gateway Tour in AZ together and he became a very good player, winning a couple of events on that tour.

A couple funny memories of the range:
– Braga flagging a sign 190 yards away, shot after shot, absolutely flushing it to 10 feet or less with a 4iron, then grabbing his lob wedge and hitting every shot 40 feet away. Everyone’s laughing and Coach walks by and says “Bruga you’re terrible”. The look on Marc’s face was priceless, we all laughed so hard we were crying. Poor guy could hit a wooden driver 330 yards and a Ping eye 1 iron 285 yards, but couldn’t hit a green with a wedge. Oh and he putted with a long putter (the duck) in 1991.
– I’m hitting wedges to the 50 yard sign, and for some reason Coach stops to watch me. I’m peppering the sign almost hitting it with every shot. Coach kinda nods at me like he likes what I was doing and I’m thinking “Holy shit, Coach actually knows I’m alive”. We go out to Turlock CC later to play and Coach follows me for the first hole. I snarf one almost into the range, then punch out to 50 yards, and I’m very confident I’m gonna stuff it in there and get up and down for par. I pull out my ping L wedge and one hop my shot long left, off the side of the green onto a cart path and into a bush. Coach looks at me and says “Aleo… you’re terrible!” The other players in my group are bent over laughing and Coach just turns and walks away.

I have a lot of fond memories of my time on that range, shagging balls, really getting a feel for my swing, searching, guessing, and at some point starting to help others with their swings. The range at Stani is likely where the first seed of becoming a teacher were sowed. Side note: Mike Bender is a Stanislaus graduate.

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