Laura Baugh and National Senior Citizen’s Day

The twenty-first day of August marks a number of auspicious, famous and infamous events.  The Nat Turner slave revolt began in Virginia in 1831;  the Lawrence, Kansas massacre was perpetrated in 1863, the Olds Motor Works was founded in Lansing, Michigan in 1897; Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959; and in 1991 the attempted coup against the government of Mikhail Gorbachev collapsed in Moscow.

So, today, I’m gonna talk about…golf, about which I know nearly nothing other than I can’t play it.  My hands, you see…can’t hold anything that long, and of course my neck…doesn’t move that way anymore.  But, I appreciate accomplishment when I see it.

Laura Baugh was born in 1955, and was introduced to the game early by her father, Hale Baugh, a gifted amateur in his own right.  While I was hanging around truck and car shops, Laura won the National Peewee Golf Championship (under eighteen) five times, and the Los Angeles Women’s City Golf Championship (the first at fourteen). On 21 August 1971 Baugh was sixteen (and so was I), and won the US Women’s Amateur Tournament, the youngest woman up to then to have won that particular honor (and I was portering used trucks in Detroit).

Laura Baugh turned down college scholarships and turned pro at eighteen.  She made a good living and was Rookie of the Year in 1973, but never won an LPGA Tournament.  She turned instead to alcohol until about 1996, wrote an autobiography in 1999, bore seven children, and at this writing is 62 and an announcer for The Golf Channel.

I think I’m an underachiever: I’ve only written ten books, finished two degrees, did a quarter century in the Army and earned two college degrees.  But, I digress…

Today is also National Senior Citizen’s Day in the US, signed into commemorative law by Ronald Reagan in 1988, when he himself was 77.  Now, the term “Senior Citizen” has come to mean different things to a lot of different people: AARP allows members as young as 55 (and will they ever stop sending me stuff); our favorite movie theater says “senior” is 62 for tickets, seating and parking; our favorite restaurant says “well, if your wait-person thinks so”; and of course most insurance companies start the “senior” clock at 60.  But if you don’t play golf, and you’re not considered “senior” at your favorite watering hole, eatery or anywhere else, you’ll have to spend the day not commemorating anything at all today.  But if you know a “senior” or two take some time to do something nice for them.  Just remember: old age and treachery always beats youth and a bad haircut…unless you’re up against Laura Baugh in 1971.


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