PCHS golfer swings into spring 2000

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Featires Editor

Feb. 2, 2000 10 PM

Three years ago, Taurus Myhand had never set foot on a golf course. He had never even picked up a golf club.

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All he knew about the sport was that it demanded a lot of walking and whacking of a little white ball. And, he didn’t think it was his sport.

Two years later, Taurus was in Kingston, Rhode Island waiting to tee off on the first hole of the U.S. Scholar Athletes Games and there were butterflies in his stomach.

Taurus was one of only 36 golfers who were invited to play in the 72-hole event which was played on four courses in the area. And, he was the only black golfer in the nine foursomes but he wasn’t intimidated by that. What bothered him was his inexperience among experienced golfers who had probably cut their teeth on nine irons.

"The first time I ever thought about playing golf was my sophomore year," Taurus said. "They wanted to have a golf team at Pike County High School and I thought I might give it a try just to see what it was all about."

And, it was about exactly what he thought. Walking and whacking.

However, for Taurus, the whacking came first.

"I had everything to learn," he said. "We would go down in the Hole and hit those little plastic practice balls and then go and pick them up. For more than a month, we’ hit and pick up."

Finally, Taurus walked onto a golf course. Finally, he hit a live golf ball. It hooked and he got hooked.

"I played five holes that day and I didn’t do too good but I hung in there. In five holes, I was hooked on golf," he said. "It’s a real challenge and I like challenges."

Taurus had a lot of time to make up so he used all the resources available to him.

"I read every magazine on golf that I could find and I watched it on TV," he said. "I learned what to do and what not to do. I learned which clubs to play where and how to get out of sand traps. Then I went out and tried out what I had learned."

Taurus tried it out with a set of Wal-Mart specials and he did okay.

In fact, he did better than okay. Last year he got his average down to 82 for 18 holes which was not a lot less than he had on the five holes of his first round ever. He was also named the MVP of Pike County High School’s golf team. His golfing year was topped off by the invitation to the Scholar Athlete Games.

Taurus didn’t have any reservations about going so far from home. He had been to New York City and he didn’t think Rhode Island would be such a stretch. But he thought he might be a bit of an oddity in a golf tournament and he was right.

"I was black and I was from Alabama and the others didn’t know what to think about me," he said, laughing. "You know what people think about the South. They asked things like do we have outdoor plumbing in Alabama."

Undaunted, Taurus responded with His own brand of humor and his wit broke the ice and soon he was on "even par" with the rest of the scholar athletes.

"I’ve always liked to joke around and have fun and they all did, too, so they loosened up and everything was fine," Taurus said.

Taurus wasn’t one of the low scorers for the tournament but he did make his mark.

"They had several contests, the longest drive, the straightest shot and the closest chip shot to the pin," Taurus said. "I did pretty good on my drive but the clubs make a big difference and some of them had some mighty good clubs."

But, when Taurus pulled out his wedge for the 50-foot chip shot, he did so with a high degree of confidence, for the short game is the best part of his game.

Taurus’ shot hit and rolled to within four inches of the hole and that would have been good enough for first place. But, another golfer chipped in the hole, leaving Taurus with second place which was better than the 28 others who competed.

"I was proud of that ," Taurus said. "I didn’t play bad and I had a great time. I think I came home more confident in my abilities as a golfer and I can’t wait for our golf team to get started again."

Taurus is president of the PCHS Student Government Association and battalion commander for the PCHS Junior ROTC. He is planning a career in the military and, in his leisure time, he plans to whack a little white ball around the golf course.