Perfect Day for Golf

Sandra PalmerIt occurred to me recently that almost-forgotten old campus haunts can be powerful memory stimuli. As I walked past what had once been the first hole of the North Texas golf course following a football game at Apogee, the remembrance of a distant spring day during my sophomore year came to mind.

It had been a beautiful day with a sunny afternoon that had easily sabotaged my plans for a few hours of study at the library. The library could wait. It was a perfect day for golf.

I always kept my clubs in my ’51 Nash Rambler station wagon (named “Little Turk” for its faded turquoise patina) and, at any rate, one round of golf wouldn’t take so long. Armed with that rationalization, Turk and I were soon climbing past the big cage where a real live Scrappy had briefly lived and on to the clubhouse and the first tee.

My sticks back then were vintage with proper names such as Mashie, Cleek and Niblick. My bag was a patched-up MacGregor containing a couple of overused Dunlops and a sweat-hardened leather golf glove.

Approaching the first tee, I could detect the unmistakably sweet "Thwack!" sound a golf ball makes when hit by someone who knows how to play the game. As I became closer, I saw that the someone was a young woman, probably a coed, and I briefly considered asking her if she would like to play a round with me. Closer still, however, I realized that I was just a few steps behind the comely Miss Sandra Palmer ('63)  of Kendall Hall (pictured).

Sandra Palmer. Homecoming queen and cheerleader, runner-up in the National Collegiate Championship, four-time winner of the West Texas Amateur and winner of the Texas State Amateur in 1963. Play a round with me, indeed. Who did I think I was — Don January ('53)?

Desperately trying to keep my Brassie from clanging against my Baffy, I slowly backed down the hill, if not quite on little cat’s feet, then as surreptitiously as my PF Flyers would carry me. Back down the hill to a waiting Little Turk who in 15 minutes had me safely across town at a pleasant little nine-hole affair on the campus of TWU.

In the years that followed, Sandra won 21 LPGA tour events, including the U.S. Women's Open. She won 30 tournaments worldwide and was LPGA player of the year and top money winner in 1975. She is in the Texas State Golf Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Hall of Fame.

I may still have an old rusty Spoon lying around somewhere, but I gave up the game a long, long time ago.

A.B. Thomas ('66)