As a 15 year old I would watch his drives take off on a line drive for almost 200 yards before rising up to a peak, finally dropping at about 265 yards. Sometimes he would really smash one and hit the fence of the tennis courts (or even land in the courts!) located at the end of the range. At that time, Dan Pohl was a local hero and one of the longer hitters on tour at around 280. 280 yards was LONG back then. The choice between balls was not between the V1 and the V1 X. The choice was between the Low Traj or the Pro Traj.
I can’t remember if Randy played a Tony Penna or a MacGregor Eye-omatic, but I do know the number of degrees of loft was not stamped on the club. There were screws in the club face and the sign of a good driver was the grain running perpendicular to the clubface. There were no launch monitors to help you find optimum launch angle and spin. It was trial and error. And when you found a good driver, you were sure to keep it! The major choice to be made was between cherry or a darker walnut color.
I’d bet that if you looked at Randy’s old driver, the screws would be slightly protruding from the insert. Randy made a habit out of hitting it on the screws.
The small town country club where we played was not worthy of any state championships. It is essentially flat farm land turned into a golf course. In fact, the green-keeper at that time was a local farmer. (Much to his credit, however, he knew how to care for the greens. The greens were always good.) The practice facilities were almost non-existant. No target greens on the range. A single, crown-shaped putting green. No practice bunker. No where to play 30-100 yard shots.
All in all, it was an ok course. But not a course to help prepare someone for a world scene like the Masters! No, something else was needed to help Randy get to that level.
The love of the game. Maybe it was simply the love of the game!
It was the love of the game that would take him to the course nearly every day after work to practice. It was the love of the game that had him choose his vacation days to play in tournaments. It was the love of the game that left foot-prints on the putting green 3-feet from the hole when he was done practicing.
Maybe it is the love of the game that is needed to prepare someone for the Masters!
In 2011, Randy Lewis became the oldest winner of the US Mid-Amateur and is now fulfilling the dream of every 15 year-old playing golf in America: to play in the Masters. Nobody deserves it more than Randy.
There is no doubt that Randy no longer plays with his persimmon driver, his Macgregor irons or the Pro Traj ball. I am sure that the flight of his drives has changed, but Randy’s love of the game certainly has not.
- Stephen Moskal, PGA