My first opportunity to earn money was by caddying for local golf courses around the Columbus, Ohio area. I was one of the first caddies to carry clubs for golfers at Muirfield Village Golf Club (the course that Jack built). I learned the ethics, manners, and how to play the game from my dad and by personal observation. I was able to practice and hone my swing by taking advantage of caddie Mondays. Each Monday during the spring, summer and fall, the golf courses would close for maintenance and allow the caddies to play all day long for free. I’ve never had an official golf lesson or any professional instruction. All that changed today but I will conclude this post with that later.
As a caddie I carried clubs for some great golfers such as Tom Weiskopf, Johnny Miller, and Tom Watson. I was actually caddying for Tom Weiskopf in a Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio when I met Jack Nicklaus for the first time. During the tournament I tried real hard to work up the nerve to ask Jack Nicklaus a question I’ve always wanted to ask him. The question?
When my dad was in high school he played on the high school golf team. He played for the North High Polar Bears. A young rising golf star from opposing Upper Arlington, home of the Golden Bears, also played golf. His name? Jack Nicklaus.
My mother, on several occasions, would show me a newspaper clipping she received from my dad’s mother that reported on a high school golf tournament between North High and Upper Arlington in which Stan Schneider, my dad, tied one young Jack Nicklaus at 70 on the Ohio State University Scarlet Golf Course. My grandmother had no idea at the time she clipped that story out of the paper that this young Jack Nicklaus would become one of the most successful professional golfers of all time.
So back to the question for Jack Nicklaus that was never asked. As you can guess, it would have gone something like this:
Mr Nicklaus, do you remember paying to a tie of 70 with an older student golfer from North High school on the OSU Scarlet course? That older student golfer is my dad.
My dad lost his eye sight due to diabetes at the age of 30 but he never lost his love for the game of golf. I remember caddying for him on several occasions. He was completely blind, but I would help him by giving him my yardage estimate to the pin, placing the golf club head behind the golf ball, and he’d swing away. Most times it was an amazing shot.
All that to say, I had my very first professional golf lesson today. I haven’t picked up a golf club in almost four years so I knew my golf swing would need some major analysis and correction after such a long time. I signed up for a series of five lessons at Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was right, my swing doesn’t suck, but it can really use some pointers and patience. Thanks to my pro Denis, I am learning some excellent tools and having a blast ramping up my game again.