Okinawa (Part IX)

May 24

Let’s go golfing . . . 

Editor’s note:  While I can certainly understand why people could get the idea that soldiers on Okinawa had to struggle between the options of going to the beach or going on geographic field trips, we occasionally would visit Awase Meadows, once the home golf course for Lee Trevino . . . 

[Nothing could be finer than to be on Okinawa in June 1971 . . . ]

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[Our cute little course . . . ]

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[This is Dick Frook, likely the guy who got me into golf again.  Dick was a super golfer, likely a 1 or 2-handicapper, and he was looking for guys to play with him . . . ]

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[I bought my first set of golf clubs ever here, Wilson X-31’s, and started playing again for the first time since high school 6 years previous.  Luckily, I still remembered to swing as hard as I could in case I hit it . . . ]

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[And this is oft previously mentioned Terry Bess, the 6’3″ football player for Purdue.  Obviously a very good athlete who could hit the ball a mile, and a golfer good enough to give Dick a run.  I was just happy to tag along for levities sake . . . ]

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[The side effects of golfing here were the scenic distractions . . . ]

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[And there I go, heading in a direction golfers prefer not to go . . . ]

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[And here if you trend off the beaten path, you may run into a Habu (波布), a Japanese name used to refer to certain venomous snakes.  OK, I never did see on there . . . ]

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[Dick checks out his flight plan . . . ]

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[A real trend setter with white crew socks with black golf shoes . . . ]

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[Another distraction . . . ]

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[Dick bombs one . . . ]

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[As you check the scorecard, there were several par 4’s the three of us could reach in one.  Yes, even me, if I could hit it straight enough . . . ]

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[This one, however, looks a little long to be reached off the tee . . . ]

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[Here, maybe, if you avoid the bunkers.  And remember, we were playing with wood-headed drivers in those days . . . ]

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[Distraction . . . ]

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[And fortunately, we weren’t stuck with the hardship of only having one course to play.  Kadena AFB was just up the road from us, and they had a golf course too . . . ]

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[This was its signature hole – hit it through the gap in the “mountain” . . . ]

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[Kadena was a bit more of an open course than Awase.  We usually played Awase because it was closer and it was the Army course . . . ]

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[They did have the fancier club house . . . ]

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[This is a round in December 1971, and we’ve picked up Ferdinand “Frendo” Suarez as our regular 4th member.  Frendo outranked us all – he was a staff sergeant (E-6), meaning he was likely career military (lifer).  He was a good guy and a lot of fun . . . ]

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[The 1st tee . . . ]

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[As a really good golfer, Dick could really get down on himself if he wasn’t playng well.  At least he always dressed well – the original Rickie Fowler . . . ]

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[I could smack them pretty good in those days too.  But while Dick and Terry would usually hit them straight as well, mine could go all over the place . . . ]

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[Fore!!  Anywhere and everywhere!!]

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[I remember this guy but not his name . . . ]

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[Tom Morris again, from Fridley.  Tried to find him a couple of times, but no luck . . . ]

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[A good golfer always looks like he/she knows what they’re doing . . . ]

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[Fore on the left!!  Looks like a pull hook . . . ]

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[Yup, opening up a little quick . . . ]

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[Oh-oh, Dick’s in the bunker . . . ]

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[Star of stage and screen and a favorite of the group.  All the caddies there were women.  While we likely could have, we lower paid NCO’s thought them an extragance we couldn’t afford.  But Frendo was a staff sergeant, so he went first class.  His caddie we named “Hollywood.” Both for her looks, her sunglasses, and her smile (I guess that’s more than “both,” is it “troth” then?).  She always seemed to be available for Frendo.  I don’t remember if I ever heard her talk – don’t know if she understood English (though she almost certainly did).  But she was always part of the group, treated her as such, and always called her Hollywood . . . ]

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[Now here’s a hole – obviously an old rice terrace.  You hoped to get your tee shot up to the 3rd terrace . . . ]

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[At this time of year, things were pretty dry, the fairways a little hard . . . ]

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[Frendo and I trudge up the hill with another distraction in the background . . . ]

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[Dick follows his flight . . . ]

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[Frendo and Hollywood . . . ]

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[Don’t go right! You’ll be in Habu land . . . ]

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[And yet another view . . . ]

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[Sayonara to Hollywood and Frendo . . . ]

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[As I recall, the house in center, on the edge of a cliff, was a GI’s who likely married and retired here . . . ]

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[OK, this really is sayonara to Frendo and Hollywood . . . ]

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[And this is sayonara to Awase Meadows . . . ]

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Spilt water will not return to the tray.  ~  Japanese idiom

Up Next:  Okinawa

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