76 degrees, blue sky, non-hurricane force winds. It's this kind of day when the golf course starts calling to me. Of course, I didn't get a single swing in through the winter months so I packed up Grant and headed to the driving range instead. We got a giant bucket of balls and I set up the boy several spots down from myself (he will be an amazing golfer someday if he chooses to pursue it, but in the meantime, he's a little unpredictable). About 10 balls in, an older gentleman sets up shop a couple spots down. He chats a little, I turn and listen, respond, and go back to my practice. Ahead of me, Grant's getting a little wild, swinging so hard that the club wraps around him so far and fast that he can't maintain a two handed grip on it. I jumped right on him about it and the gentleman behind me chimes in, "No no, don't get onto him for it. He's taking a good full swing. That's great!" Politely, through gritted teeth, I respond, "Yes sir, I understand, but you've never seen how far that club flies when it slips out of his little hand." The guy just chuckles and keeps talking. And talking. And. Talking.
He talked about his family, why he was in Lbk, where he was from, property taxes in the Northeast as compared to the Midwest, planes of motion in baseball and golf as they pertain to one's swing, and the list continues... He mentioned several times, as he was trying to instruct me and also instruct me on how to best instruct Grant, that he was once on the PGA circuit. The more he talked, the more annoyed I got. As I finished my last few balls, he launched into a sweet story about how in 1978 he played in a PGA tournament in Florida. When he discovered he was playing with Bobby Cruickshank he was elated because this was obviously the son of the legendary Bobby Cruickshank who played in the 1920's. But when the son arrived, this gentleman discovered it was not the son at all, but Bobby Cruickshank himself! "He was 75 at the time and shot a 75 that first round and he was pleased as punch because he'd shot his age! It was 50 years after he'd finally beaten ol' Bobby Jones in 1928 and he was still playing!"
When I'd finally escaped and we were headed home, I got to thinking how rude I'd been not doing a better job of engaging in that mans conversation (as distinctly one-sided as it was) and how I didn't even introduce myself or Grant or even find out the man's name. And then it occurred to me that he might have been a perfectly famous pro-golfer himself and I might have missed a fabulous opportunity.
Thoroughly dejected by the time we got home, I had decided not to even tell anyone my story of how I met a pro-golfer that played with Cruickshank in 1978. Sigh. On a whim I Googled Bobby C on the off chance I might learn the name of the pro-golfer at the driving range, and do you know what I learned? Cruickshank retired in 1969.
And DIED in 1975.
He was born in 1894 which would've made him 75 in 1969, not 1978. And I can't find any record of Cruickshank ever beating Jones.
Things that make you go hmmm...
Oh well. I still love getting out in the sunshine with this big hitter: