It was April, 1959. I was 14 years old and standing at the magazine rack in a drugstore in Charleston, W. Va., trying to decide between Road & Track and Sports Car Graphic. That's when I saw him: sweet-swinging Samuel Jackson Snead, with his trademark straw hat, on the cover of a brandnew magazine simply titled GOLF. I'd get the other magazines later. I had to have this one! I still have that copy.
Lordy! Fifty years is old in the magazine business. I eventually convinced my dad to front me the money for a subscription, since it would obviously be an investment in my game. I've learned over the years that it helps to call it an "investment" when you want to slide something like a new Callaway FT-9 driver by your wife. But be careful, because it could backfire with her "investments" at the mall.
I come from a family of rabid golfers, and I still subscribe, though I did closet the sticks for a while. Why? I found it's difficult to transfer your weight to your front side when your ex-wife's lawyer has you by the cojones.
No, I'm not bitter. [Laughs]
I enjoy comparing that first issue to today's issues, to see what's changed in 50 years. In '59, Sam Snead's driver is in full view on the cover it's so old, the head cover has worn the finish off the heel. Contrast that to Camilo Villegas telling us that the oldest stick in his bag, his putter, is a year-and-a-half old.
What's my handicap? Honesty. Okay, okay, you can put me down for 11. I once shot a 73. Then, on the backside...
Golf Magazine still manages to teach me things. Last year, Stewart Cink said for more power, widen your stance. It worked! Well, actually, I'm not sure I got longer, but I did start hitting it straighter. So that's something. The bottom line is, you have a marvelous magazine, and I've enjoyed all 50 years of it. With each passing year, my swing evokes more moans and groans, but I keep swinging. My great aunt Susan B. Everett was still playing at 90. If I make it that far, it will be your 75th. You'll be here. I hope I am, too.