Rick Umali and Golf

I love golf.

I maintain the Unofficial Tiger Woods Home Page.

When I can't play in real life (which is all too often), I play Links.

Me and Golf: The Beginnings

The first club I ever hit was a five iron, at the Disney Institute in Orlando, FL (USA). It was February 1997. I was there on vacation with my wife, and that shot was the beginning of my golfing career.

I am a fan of golf by way of Tiger Woods. His dramatic match play victory in the 1996 U.S. Amateur over Steve Scott was completely enthralling to me and my wife. Prior to that, I did not watch much televised golf (although I did watch the Greg Norman's horrific final round in the 1996 Masters).

Quite soon after Tiger turned professional, I created a web page for Tiger Woods. Then a good friend got me a bladed putter for Christmas. My Dad gave me a few books on the game. And very quickly, I decided I wanted to learn how to play.

I bought a set of clubs from a colleague at work. I remember cleaning those clubs every night. Shortly after, I discovered the nearby driving range (Stone Meadow, Lexington, MA), and I would be a regular there on the weekends, and on many mornings before work.

I would be a range rat for almost a year. Eventually, I'd play Stone Meadow's small pitch and putt, but my swing was just too erratic. I took a few lessons from the club pro at the range. I wanted to swing well.

In 1998, I attended a terrific beginner's golf school at the Billerica Country Club (Billerica, MA). It was there that I hit my first tee shot on a "big" course: a five iron that split the fairway. A golfer was born.

I would play there a few more times, but eventually I settled on playing two courses with any regularity: Lexington's Pine Meadows, and the Woburn Country Club.

Since I began golf, I have played with numerous groups, and I've played at some splendid locations. I am fascinated by every aspect of the game, and I am so grateful I took up this sport. (Tiger Woods is certainly among my list of favorite players, but I can watch any televised golf, whether or not Tiger's in it.)

Miraculously, in November 1999, I hit my first birdie at Torrey Pines. I hit a pitching wedge to the par 3 third hole. It landed just five feet left of the pin. Nervously, I stroked home a 2. I announced to my playing partners that I just hit my first birdie, and I received the usual praise. Sadly, I would achieve only bogeys or worse the rest of the way.

With the birth of my daughter, I have been away from golf, but it's my not so secret wish that she take up the sport.

Rick Umali rgu@world.std.com
Last Updated: Mon Feb 18 22:54:59 EST 2002