Palmetto Championship

Congaree Golf Club

The Loop

The Loop

Ike's Golf Career

March 24, 2008

For Minnesotan Richard Rasmussen Golf Digest's April story on President Dwight D. Eisenhower's prodigious golf habit brought back memories.

For a ten year old in 1955 there was no First Tee or Tiger Woods to inspire one to be a golfer,but there was President Eisenhower.An iconic figure who had led the Allies to victory in Europe and with great dignity led America as its President. He was a figure we looked to emulate and > his passion for golf was transferred to a whole generation who have become lifelong golfers. Thanks for the nostalgic visit to our youth.

Richard, I was ten in 1955, too, and while I liked Ike, his golf didn't get me excited. What pulled me into the game, about four years later, was a Michigan club about a half mile from my home where, if you paid attention and were really well behaved, they'd pay you $3 to carry a golfer's bag around for a few hours. Amazing! Dearborn Country Club was the place. And Dearborn's caddy program, under the irascible oversight of pro Faust Bianco pulled my brother and I into the game and eventually helped us earn Evans Scholarships to the University of Michigan.

So as much as I miss presidents who aren't afraid to say they play a lot of golf, I miss caddy programs more. I'm happy to say Dearborn is still turning out Evans Scholars, as are many clubs in the Midwest where the program thrives, but carts--and our misguided belief that they somehow make the game easier or more fun--have done away with the best "first tee" program ever invented.

Thanks for the letter...and for the memories.

--Bob Carney

(Photo: AP)