Halstead, Grant
Golf
From humble beginnings as an 11-year-old caddie who received 15 cents a hour for his toil, Halstead went onto become a nationally recognized and celebrated pioneer in public-course golf. _Halstead, who played professionally from 1919 to 1927, even competing in the U.S. Open, and moved with his young family to Fresno in 1927 to become the head professional at the Sunnyside Country Club. He was there 12 years, during which time the club matured into one of the state's top private courses. _But he made his biggest mark at the city-owned Riverside Golf Course, where he ran the show from 1939 until 1961, putting in long hours, teaching thousands of people the game -- and also curing their hooks, shanks and yips. _Riverside originally was a private, nine-hole course on the banks of the San Joaquin River. But then Fresno Mayor Frank Homan engineered the purchase of the course and an additional 40 acres for $11,507. It was turned into an 18-hole public layout, and Halstead was the perfect choice to run the operation. _Described by close friend Charley Seaver as "tough as shoe leather," Halstead became known as the "Mayor of Herndon" while serving as the course's sole pro, manager, starter and greenskeeper for 22 years. When he retired at age 63, he had been a club professional for nearly 47 years. _Halstead's teaching style was to simplify the game, what he called "No Thinking Golf." One of the ways he did this was to place a piece of plywood - backed by a brace - on end and put the ball down about 2 inches from the board. Players had to avoid the board to hit the ball straight and, pretty soon, they had a grooved, consistent swing. _The story of Halstead, Riverside and his daughter Norma's remarkable hole-in-one -- accomplished as a 15-year-old - is included in the book, "Chicken Soup for the Golfers' Soul."
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