I was introduced to the game of golf by my father in law. Now, growing up, I was a better than average athlete. I could run, jump, catch, kick, throw and hit a ball. So at 19, when I was told to hit this little white stationary ball with this crooked stick, it took me three trips to the driving range and hitting (well trying to hit) hundreds of range ball before I could hit that d@&n thing in the air! Straight didn’t come until MUCH later. I have always loved a challenge, so I was immediately hooked!
Here are a few of my most memorable moments in golf:
- Hit a ball on every continent except Antarctica
- Hit a ball from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere (over the equator)
- Hit a ball from today to tomorrow and visa versa (International Date Line)
- Shot even par in competition (amateur)
- Was part of two winning Rainier Cup teams (set up a little like the Ryder cup, but between services)
- Eagled a golf hole from at least 80 yards or more out 15+ times
- Has two hole in ones (141 yds, 194 yds)
Navy Dave's Story
For 20 years, I proudly served the US Navy. I boarded non compliant illegal Iraqi oil smugglers from 1996-2001 and did 2 tours boots on the ground in Iraq out of Al Asad. I ended up completing 10 total deployments.
In my time, I suffered injuries. Some seen, others not seen. I retired in 2014 and tried to go to work. I was a first assistant manager in the Safeway non commissioned officer to first assistant manager program. When Albertsons bought out Safeway, the program went away. I found a job as a manager for Starbucks. I started losing my mental acuity with writing schedules. My next issue started when I could tell you how to make the drink, but couldn’t physically do it. The final “act” was when I thought I was having a heart attack. In the ER, I was told I had an anxiety attack, something I’d never even heard of. Soon after I was diagnosed with PTSD.
Since 2017, I’ve been struggling with depression, anxiety, self worth and not being able to work. In going through counseling, I was asked what I liked to do outside. I said golf. He said “then you should golf!” A doctor actually prescribed me golf! Since I couldn’t seem to hold down a “normal” 9-5, I volunteered as a state director and assistant Regional Director for the Veteran Golfers Association. Those positions gave me purpose and allowed me to help others.
In that same way, a few things that I’m proud of are leading others by example and finding ways to help others. Every individual is unique and gifted in a very specific way. We don’t all learn the same. I earned my Master Training Specialist certification by finding ways to reach everyone. During my down time in Iraq, I helped teach an ASVAB prep course to Soldiers and Marines to raise their scores high enough to apply for warrant officer programs. The students named me their favorite and most valued instructor. I truly enjoyed being a part of their success!
I’d been acting as a volunteer marshal at a golf course one day a week for the past year. In that time, I’ve helped people with their golf swings. Not with an entirely new swing or a “PGA tour” swing but with adjusting their own swing to help it work better for them. I’ve worked with old and young, men and women, good and “weekend warrior”. I’ve helped them all get better!
I’ve also caddied for a few professional golfers on the mini tours in Arizona and Utah. I was proud to be a part of 5 top 10 finishes including 2 seconds!
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