Adopt-A-Golfer Blog

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Mid Winter Classic at Rogers Park in Tampa, FL

John Montgomery

My first hole of the tournament was the 10th. It is a short par 4, up and over a hill that plays a little under 400 yards. Next to the tee box, there was about 15 to 20 people watching me tee off. Most of them were Swingtime supporters, who came just to watch me play golf. It was awesome to have that many supporters! I hit my first tee shot just over the left side of the fairway to a perfect position to score on the approach shot. Alan Duval was caddying for me and swingtime media team was right behind Alan. When I walked off the first tee and looked behind me and seen all my followers and supporters and I got goosebumps! I never had that many people follow me in a round of golf. As I was walking down the fairway, I imagined myself playing on the PGA Tour with people lined up and down every fairway and green. I will never forget the feeling of the first hole at Rogers Park Golf Course.

The Mid-Winter classic is a 36 hole tournament. I played most of these 36 holes good. My ball striking was great on the first day. I was hitting my tee shots exactly where I wanted them to go and my iron shots where hitting the greens.

Mr Stroble
Ted Rhodes

My biggest problem was not getting the putts in the hole. I had 6 good attempts at birdie on the front nine of the first day and only made 1. Then, on the ninth hole i made a triple bogey, in turn, i finished my round at 3 over par. On the second day, I was putting much better, but my ball striking was not good enough to give me chances to make birdies. Then on the same hole I made triple on the first day, I doubled it the second day. In addition, I also had a triple on the 3rd hole. Those holes with big numbers came from mental errors. I was not committed to my shot and in turn hit a bad shot that lead to another. Besides the 3 bad holes that put me out of the competition, I was playing good golf. I hit some amazing shots that lead to birdies. I made 5 birdies in 36 holes.

Besides for the golf, I met some people who made an impression on me. Nick Wade was a young man a little older than me who had a great golf swing and even better attitude. He was a gentleman and I really enjoyed playing golf with him. On the other hand, I played with an older man who was grumpy! His name was Bobby Stroble. Bobby had a problem with me on the first hole of the tournament. He told me that my clothes were to bright and I needed to stay out of his way! I knew what he was trying to do. He wanted to get a reaction out of me to try to mess up my golf game, but it didn't work. I knew how to handle the situation. We shot the same score and were paired together again on the second day. To my surprise, I was greeted with welcoming good morning from Mr. Stroble. He also apologized for his action yesterday and told me that if there was anything that he could do to help he would be willing to do so. Bobby and I became good friends. The most impressive person there was Calvin Peete. Winner of 14 professional tournaments and number one in driving accuracy for 10 years in a row on the PGA Tour. I got to take a picture with this living legend in African American golf history.

Playing in the National Black Golfers Hall Of Fame tournament sparked my interest in black golf history. While I was researching black golfers I found a player name Theodore "Ted" Rhodes. What really caught me eye was how similar we are. Ted was about 6 feet tall, slim build and a medium to dark complexion. Also his swing is described as smooth and rhythmic, just like mine! It was amazing to see that there was a golfer exactly like me in the 1900s.

I would like to thank the pioneers of golf for African Americans. They fought and struggled so much for the rights that I have today to play the game of golf. I never want to forget how grateful I should be to be able to play any golf course without and racial problems today.

Remember, One Step at a time!

If you have any question or comments feel free to reach out to me on the contact form below.

John L Montgomery III

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