FUN FACT 1 – Lee Elder
One of my favorite pictures of Lee and I playing golf together.
My stepdad is the great, barrier-breaking PGA Golf Legend, Lee Elder. He is most well-known as the first black man to play in the Masters and is therefore sometimes referred to as “The Jackie Robinson of golf.”
Lee was honored at the 2021 Masters as an Honorary Starter with fellow golf legends, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus.
Lee passed away Thanksgiving weekend 2021 at age 87. I’m very happy that I had the chance to enjoy Thanksgiving with he and my Mom that year, and that we had the tremendous pleasure of having him in the family for 30 years.
Another one of my favorite photos of Lee. Originally used for an article about Lee in Golf Digest.
Lee and I having fun in Northern Ireland. We were there for the Senior British Open. He was posing like the Big Kahuna.
FUN FACT 2 – Moe Norman
I had the great pleasure of watching Canadian Golf Legend, “Pipeline Moe” hit balls on 10 different occasions. I’ve never seen anyone who could hit the ball as straight and solid as he could (and I’ve watched a lot of awesome PGA and LPGA golf legends hit balls).
Moe and I got to be friends. I’ll never forget when he asked for me to be his escort for one of his amazing PGA Show driving range demonstrations. Of course, I immediately said YES! My favorite time was when it was just the two of us talking together at the back of the range while he was warming up.
If you do a search on google, you’ll see he’s known as “the greatest ball striker of all time.” After witnessing it for myself, I wholeheartedly agree!
PHOTO CHALLENGE: This is a picture of the great Moe Norman hitting balls. He was one of the only golf professionals that other PGA Tour Players would stop to watch. Admiring the straightness, solidness, and uniqueness of his swing are (from left to right): Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw, Brad Faxon, Nick Price, and Nick Faldo.
This is a picture of Moe and me talking on a driving range in Florida while he was hitting balls. There was a small group of teaching professionals there admiring his unbelievably straight and solid ball striking prowess.
FUN FACT 3 – Natural Athlete
Here I am playing tennis as a youngster. I took it up as a Junior in High School and became ranked as one of the top junior players in Northern California. Thankfully, that helped me receive a tennis scholarship to UOP.
I’ve been a natural athlete my whole life. A good friend of mine used to call me a dog because I loved chasing balls so much – softballs, basketballs, tennis balls, golf balls, soccer balls, etc. I took up golf as a junior in college while on a tennis scholarship at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. The 2-week golf class was a requirement of my Sports Medicine major.
I got bit by the golf bug that following summer and turned in my tennis scholarship my senior year to focus on golf. I became a 3-handicap within 2 years and went on to turn pro shortly thereafter.
FUN FACT 4 – Favorite Sport
My inspiration – Grace Larsen of the San Diego Splash, 80+ women’s basketball team (although most of them are over 90 now). Grace didn’t take up basketball until the age of 78!
Grace turned 97 in January this year (2023), and I love getting to watch her play every Sunday! It’s true to say, “It was through Grace that I discovered Senior Women’s basketball at age 48.”
I love golf! I think it’s one of the greatest games ever created – for many reasons. People who know me well though, know that my favorite sport to play is basketball! I’ve played since I was a kid. In fact, before choosing to go to UOP, one of my conditions was that the tennis coach had to allow me to play on the basketball team, too.
I played on the 55+ San Diego Seabyrd’s women’s basketball team in the 2019 National Senior Games (pictured on the left below). We became the top 55+ women’s team in the US after winning GOLD.
Our new team, the 55+ San Diego Fusion recently won the 2022 California State Senior Championships, which qualified us to have another chance to go for GOLD this July at the upcoming 2023 National Senior Games in Pittsburgh.
The 55+ San Diego Seabyrd’s win GOLD at the National Senior Games in 2019.
The 50+ San Diego Avalanche win GOLD at the Huntsman World Senior Games in 2011.
FUN FACT 5 – Ambidextrous
I’m very ambidextrous. I became a switch hitter as a softball player. And, when I sprained my ankle playing soccer many years ago, I started playing golf left-handed (since I couldn’t shift my weight to the left to play right-handed).
For years now, when playing in competitions, I hit right-handed and putt and chip left-handed, since my left-handed short game is better. For fun, back in my 30’s, I played 3 rounds completely left-handed and finally broke 100 the 3rd time out.
FUN FACT 6 – Double Gloves
I like to wear a golf glove on both hands. When people ask me about it, I usually say it’s because I’m trying to be cool like the baseball pros. Or sometimes I say that my glove sponsor can sell double the gloves that way.
Seriously though, it all started when I was playing golf on a very hot day (many years ago), and my right hand was slipping on the club. I remembered I had a right-handed glove in my bag for when I played lefty. I put both gloves on and I’ve been playing that way ever since.
As you can see, I also like to use what’s called a “baseball grip” or “10-finger grip.” I have a fun story I’ll share with you about that during one of our golf classes.
FUN FACT 7 – Animals
Our baby girl Charli, all warm and cozy.
I LOVE animals! I’ve had numerous dogs and cats over the years, and I used to have a pet cockatiel that lived with me for 15 years. His name was Sir John. He flew to me on command, and we whistled sitting on the dock of the bay together.
Right now, I’m co-mom to a beautiful 20-pound baby girl named Charli. We rescued her from a shelter when she was 1 and 1/2, and she’ll be celebrating her 11th birthday this month. Even though she’s an adult now, she’ll always be my baby. She’s a mix of a Havanese and a Shih Tzu. So, people sometimes refer to her as a “Hava-Shiht” for short 😊.
(Havanese are originally from Havana, Cuba, hence the name. They get along great with people and animals and are sturdier than Shih Tzu’s, having a more barrel-like chest.)
Ain’t life grand!