Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Passing of a Semi-Legend

I was greatly saddened by the recent news of the passing of Jimmie E. Taylor. That name probably means nothing to Texas Golf readers. But perhaps the name Red Taylor does. It's a sure bet that if you ever spent any time playing golf in Corpus Christi - in the 1940s, '50s or '60s, the 1970s, '80s or '90s - you knew, or at least knew of, Red Taylor.

Red Taylor worked in the golf business in Corpus Christi for 55 years, and all of it as an assistant pro or head pro at the same course: Oso Beach Municipal.

Red joined Oso in the late 1940s as an assistant professional. He oversaw construction of the clubhouse, with its distinctive arches, in 1967. He ascended to head professional in 1978. And he was still the head professional until very recently.

And that, frankly, amazes me. Because as a kid and young adult to who played Oso probably 500 times in the 1980s - there were only two golf course in Corpus Christi then, and today - I would have guessed that Red was around 70 years old back then.

But when he died last week, he was 79. Perhaps his war service and the thousands of hours he spent in the sun and South Texas wind over his lifetime weathered him. And he probably seemed older than he actually was because he couldn't hear anything.

I always hated getting Red on the phone when I called for a tee time, because it would mean having to repeat myself three or four times before he understood what I wanted. "Hi Red, I need to make a tee time for a foursome, walking." And Red would reply, "There's two of you and you need a cart?"

Every conversation with Red - at least for me - was like a "Who's on First?" routine.

Red was a great player, too, with a career low round of 64, and he was shooting his age just three months ago, according to his obituary.

For me, Red was a crusty ol' codger, and I'd guess he qualified as a "codger" even as a younger man. He was the sort of guy you didn't always appreciate when he was around. But I'm absolutely certain that if I ever visit Oso again, Red Taylor's absence will be a source of sorrow and wistfulness.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please refrain from using profanity or insulting other commenters your comments. Use common sense; in other words: Play nice! Thanks.