Dear Clint Eastwood,
The year was 1995 (the same year you released The Bridges of Madison County). You were practicing your bump and run shot on the practice green at Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, CA. I was stationed at the opposite side of that same practice green, anxious to improve my short game after having played a less-than-stellar first round in a girls’ junior golf tournament.
My 15-year-old playing partner was the first to notice you and as I’m sure you remember, women, teenage girls and grown men alike began to quietly giggle and whisper. I was sixteen at the time and I admit, the only thing that came to my mind was, “Go ahead, make my day.” To my surprise, you began to walk in my direction which sent my friend into a panic-stricken jog towards the nearest bush.
It was just me, my 7-iron and you, Mr. Eastwood. When you casually remarked, “You’re pretty good at that…”, I wasn’t sure if you were commenting on my chipping stroke or my amazing ability to stare at you like a deer in headlights. Thankfully, I snapped out of it and realized you were kind enough to break the awkward silence by asking for some chipping pointers. I have to say, it all got pretty blurry at that moment. I remember mentioning something about keeping your hands ahead of the club face past impact and something else about feeling like you’re putting even though you were using a wedge. Whatever I said, you seemed to appreciate it whether you needed the golf tips or not.
Thankfully, I didn’t quote a famous line from one of your movies or tell you that you looked a lot older in person. I didn’t even ask you for your autograph. (Somehow it ended up on the backside of my tournament player rules sheet. Just in case you were worried, I ended up laminating and saving it all these years).
Interestingly enough, I became a golf teacher a few years down the road, you made a few more movies and gave a speech to an empty chair. It’s unlikely that our paths will ever cross again, Mr. Eastwood, but if you ever read this, I just want to say thanks for being so approachable, gracious and generous.
One more thing – don’t forget to lead with your hands.
A Now, 30-Something Fan