A Golf Story

jrhendy

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I played my first game of golf around 1955 in a little room in Monterey Park, just outside Los Angeles, called Steve’s. Steve was an old guy from England and he and his wife ‘Mom’ had this little room with four 5 x 10 snooker tables and two 4 x 8 pool tables. I started hanging in there when I was 13, and Steve and Mom made me get a note from my mother that it was ok for me to be there because they sold beer. I was starting to get into a little trouble and my older brother, who had hung out there, told her it was better than what I was doing. Steve was a good player in his time and taught me the basics of playing. We played everything on those tables, three red ball snooker, golf, bottle pool and English billiards.

When I was 16 I started working at the sheet metal shop next door. I bought a car and started visiting other pool rooms. In those days there were probably 20/30 rooms a half hour or less away. In the early 60’s I had started a family and got a job at Daily Saw Service in Southgate, just out side Los Angeles. I was a good player by then and golf was my best game. I was a route salesman for the saw company and drove a Chevy van from L A to San Bernardino and back, delivering and picking up saws and cutting tools. I had a route with regular customers and would work it out so I had a few hours a couple times a week to stop along the way and play pool. Most of the bowling alleys had pool rooms in them and daytime golf was a popular game. I wore a green work outfit, was usually dirty and looked like anything but a pool player.

There was a pretty good player at a Bowling alley in Whittier called Friendly Hills Bowl. I had just beat him for a few bucks and he told me, you play good, but stay away from Gage Bowl, nobody can beat Chico there. I went back to the shop, unloaded my truck and was at Gage Bowl by 4pm. Chico was there and we kicked it off for $10/1, not a bad bet in the early 60’s.

The first game Chico fires in a two railer and runs six and out and starts cackling. I said ‘You think that is funny, the bet is now $20/2. I end up blowing around $200, quite a bit when you make $130 a week. I try him a couple more times whenever I get my gambling bankroll pumped up and get the same results. He now has me stuck pretty good. I finally beat him the first few games one trip and have him down a bit, and he looks at his watch and says ‘ I gotta go’.

Years later he started coming into Hard Times in Bellflower and played me some $100/10 on the 6 x 12. I got my $ back plus.
 
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boingo

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...The first game Chico fires in a two railer and runs six and out and starts cackling. I said ‘You think that is funny, the bet is now $20/2. ...
You've got cajones John, that would have scared me off. Thanks for the story; these stories are one of the best parts of this site.
 

Island Drive

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John, nice story, paybacks are a mF aren't they :)

On a similar Payback....note $$$$....1978 So. CA

Paramount Billiards, Long Beach, Adam Brostoskis place on Atlantic Blvd.
In walks three Mexicans from Tijuana, couldn't speak a lick of English and wanted to play me on the front ''only'' bar table.
One was the player, the other two were just his side kicks/friends. He tried too talk me into gettin' on the small table, but I said No, and at the time I didn't play on those small boxes yet. He finally agreed to play on the Gold Crowns, I'm pretty sure this man knew some Engles', didn't matter. During play....situations would come up where a ''rule'' needed to be set in place to continue play. I would try and explain, but ''No Comprendo'' was Always his response....I Always gave em his way. This came up at least 6-8 times during our roll out games. Before play started we posted up one game, then paid each game. No Comprendo started to become part of our conversation Allot.... but I knew ''never argue when you can't lose''. After about 2 hours I got em stuck almost $300, he quits. I went to the counter and hung out....eventually he comes over to me and wants to play on the box. I said to myself, why not? We're playing on his money, I might win or learn something. So we play a set for $400, $200 each/Money on the light. In about an hour or so he wins, I uncork and put my cue in the case....while this is happening, he and his buddies are arguing about the money they lost then won, but the amounts were different and how would the spit work. :) They all had their backs to the table arguing, sooooooooooo, remembering how I was treated in the prior game, and how he Always got the best of it with any Ruling.... I ''took'' the $400 off the light....walked to the counter....sat down and talked with Adam. Soon the short man/player gets up on the table to get the ''steaks'' and realizes the Dinero is Adios. He walks over to me and asks me ''donde es la dinero ''? I look em straight in the eye and said ''No Comprendo''. They walked/the player learned, they never came back, they were in the wrong room to do that. First and only time I ever robbed someone in that manner. And I've got a better story about Lutman, but I'd robbed em legally, what a POwork he was, and still is.
 
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jrhendy

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Back in the early 60’s, playing one of the Mexican players around LA eight ball on a bar table was probably like playing Efren one pocket today. They outmoved you 3 to 1, and don’t even think about playing them last pocket.

We used to joke they would not let them come across the border unless they could run five racks. Over the years I became very good friends with many of them. They respected the action, would pretty much bet what you want, and if you did win, they usually did not have one foot out the door when you matched up and you made a nice score. Just like all the other pool players, you learned who was good or bad to gamble with.
 

Island Drive

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Back in the early 60’s, playing one of the Mexican players around LA eight ball on a bar table was probably like playing Efren one pocket today. They outmoved you 3 to 1, and don’t even think about playing them last pocket.

We used to joke they would not let them come across the border unless they could run five racks. Over the years I became very good friends with many of them. They respected the action, would pretty much bet what you want, and if you did win, they usually did not have one foot out the door when you matched up and you made a nice score. Just like all the other pool players, you learned who was good or bad to gamble with.
That reminded me of one of em, that was a fixture around the La area. He always acted drunk, GOOD BAR TABLE PLAYER/Mexican. Portly and kinda heavy and liked last pocket 8 ball. We did lock horns one time Five ahead. He got too 4 many times, but never closed the door. After both of us throwing quarters in for at least 4 hours, we both decided to pull up. I think he was one of the TWO Sergios? I also remember playing Arturo at 6th and Main down the stairs, WOW....had em buried going to 11 9 ball set. As he neared and got too the 10-10 score for the hill, the crowd Around the table got Larger/andLARGER (50) at least, with all of em woofin' and hollerin' etc as I learned was part of the deal. I won and Never went in their again.
 

Island Drive

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Here's good one, from Costa Mesa Ca. the original Hard times where McCready and Charlie the Ape? Hung out. First pool room I was in that had a leather couch and a fireplace. Went in there one day and a good player (name?). He was tall with black hair and hung out with the best pros at the main events, cashing often, I think he was from the east coast....he always dressed well, often wearing a vest. Was in there one day, he went busted and was hocking his new Fellini cue case, the pool players only wanted to give em $15 for it....no more. I offered to pay $25 but had to take my personal check. He knew I was working and didn't quite roll like the rest of the crew. It of course cashed, but the players knew that case new was $80 at the time, so paying more, would of took em longer to sell and make a slimmer profit. I think he hung around with Allen Hopkins.

"Paul Brienza"
 
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jrhendy

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That reminded me of one of em, that was a fixture around the La area. He always acted drunk, GOOD BAR TABLE PLAYER/Mexican. Portly and kinda heavy and liked last pocket 8 ball. We did lock horns one time Five ahead. He got too 4 many times, but never closed the door. After both of us throwing quarters in for at least 4 hours, we both decided to pull up. I think he was one of the TWO Sergios? I also remember playing Arturo at 6th and Main down the stairs, WOW....had em buried going to 11 9 ball set. As he neared and got too the 10-10 score for the hill, the crowd Around the table got Larger/andLARGER (50) at least, with all of em woofin' and hollerin' etc as I learned was part of the deal. I won and Never went in their again.
That room could be a little treacherous. I went in there quite a bit when I was young and before it became the room the good Mexican players hung out at. I was getting ready to play Veracruz a set of nine ball one time and went to the bathroom before we started, and when I came back they had switched cue balls and put the big bar box ball in. The $ was posted and everyone swore that was the same ball I was practicing with. I lost and took the heat and played another set with the right cue ball and got even and got out of there.
 

LuckyLeon

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Great stories! I was about 19 years old in Lawrence,ks.,working at an army ammunition plant, in 1968, where I met a good snooker player. He told me he was collegiate snooker champion. I had no reason not to believe him , after becoming friends and watching him play. Anyhow, I would sometimes go to Kansas City with him when he was looking for a game. I never really got to see him in very much action but what I saw, he never lost .
 

Island Drive

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Great stories! I was about 19 years old in Lawrence,ks.,working at an army ammunition plant, in 1968, where I met a good snooker player. He told me he was collegiate snooker champion. I had no reason not to believe him , after becoming friends and watching him play. Anyhow, I would sometimes go to Kansas City with him when he was looking for a game. I never really got to see him in very much action but what I saw, he never lost .
What did he look like, roundish head thinning hair? If it's the same guy, Melton drilled this guy, and he broke his cue in half and walked. I kept the butt/blue and made $80. The guy Jeff player, was Canadian thick arms/strong man.
 

Frank Almanza

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That reminded me of one of em, that was a fixture around the La area. He always acted drunk, GOOD BAR TABLE PLAYER/Mexican. Portly and kinda heavy and liked last pocket 8 ball. We did lock horns one time Five ahead. He got too 4 many times, but never closed the door. After both of us throwing quarters in for at least 4 hours, we both decided to pull up. I think he was one of the TWO Sergios? I also remember playing Arturo at 6th and Main down the stairs, WOW....had em buried going to 11 9 ball set. As he neared and got too the 10-10 score for the hill, the crowd Around the table got Larger/andLARGER (50) at least, with all of em woofin' and hollerin' etc as I learned was part of the deal. I won and Never went in their again.
That portly mexican sounds like it could have been Vera Cruz (Sebastian) Doesn't sound like the Sergios
 

Island Drive

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That portly mexican sounds like it could have been Vera Cruz (Sebastian) Doesn't sound like the Sergios
Yep, that's who it was. I think he played better than King Kong in 8 ball on a box, but 9 ball, it was too close for both. He for sure matched up better/tougher than Kong.
 

LuckyLeon

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What did he look like, roundish head thinning hair? If it's the same guy, Melton drilled this guy, and he broke his cue in half and walked. I kept the butt/blue and made $80. The guy Jeff player, was Canadian thick arms/strong man.
The fellow that I referred to had actually been a Kansas University student and he was from Los Angeles.
 

unoperro

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I got in a cheap 7 handed golf game with some college kids. They played it often. 6×12 with leather drop pockets and gaff/golf pockets.
I rifled a cross table bank into the 2 hole which popped back out due to the sagging leather pocket. It was six against 1(me) after that. Playing cheap so it was fun to play a couple 3 games just to see their schemeing.
 

Island Drive

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In Colorado Springs, there was a Bowling alley along Fountain Creek, probably 50 lanes, attached to it was the Sportsmans bar with bar talbles, Also, a they had a food counter/grille, and withing 10 feet, a pool room, with (1) 5x10 GC golf table and 5 Gold crowns. There was a guy named Merl Bales? I think he was a drywall man. They used 2.25'' centennial pool ball set and played EVERY day for as long as I can remember, at least 50 yrs till it closed. Leroy Font the owner, was a Great man, and smoked those BIG cigars. Merl Bales won on average, 30-$80 Every day for at least 40 years. He had no life, no gal, no personality but he kicked better than Anyone I've ever seen in Any pool room. He also had perfect speed. I asked em one time if he could give me a pointer on kicking. NO he said. He knew I never got interested in that game, and would Rarely play. If the boyz didn't like ya (Jr. Harris for example, back in the day) they all would make sure you Never won, it worked, tho JR got better and would run out once in awhile. The men consisted of the old timers, wealthy business owners, sports and tv commentators and allot of construction company owners. But ''mr. personality'' Merl Never lost, ever.
 

jrhendy

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In Colorado Springs, there was a Bowling alley along Fountain Creek, probably 50 lanes, attached to it was the Sportsmans bar with bar talbles, Also, a they had a food counter/grille, and withing 10 feet, a pool room, with (1) 5x10 GC golf table and 5 Gold crowns. There was a guy named Merl Bales? I think he was a drywall man. They used 2.25'' centennial pool ball set and played EVERY day for as long as I can remember, at least 50 yrs till it closed. Leroy Font the owner, was a Great man, and smoked those BIG cigars. Merl Bales won on average, 30-$80 Every day for at least 40 years. He had no life, no gal, no personality but he kicked better than Anyone I've ever seen in Any pool room. He also had perfect speed. I asked em one time if he could give me a pointer on kicking. NO he said. He knew I never got interested in that game, and would Rarely play. If the boyz didn't like ya (Jr. Harris for example, back in the day) they all would make sure you Never won, it worked, tho JR got better and would run out once in awhile. The men consisted of the old timers, wealthy business owners, sports and tv commentators and allot of construction company owners. But ''mr. personality'' Merl Never lost, ever.
I stopped in there in the 80’s before I saw you at Pinks. I jumped in a ring game with Jr. Harris in it for 10/1 and when it looked like Jr. Might win a game a guy rolled out and sold out to another player so Jr could not win the game. To say they did not like him is an understatement. I quit and beat one of the guys playing heads up, did not know his name. The best golf player I saw in Colorado was a guy that beat me in Denver. There was supposed to be another good player there named Sid, but he was not around. Danny Medina was there, but I did not fool with him either.
 
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