I first met Mr. Player at his home, Blair Atholl, just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was in April, 1989. I had just started working for his golf design company in early 1989. It was my first time living and working outdide of America. It was like a dream coming true. I grew up playing golf and now I was going to work for one of the “big 3”.
I actually stayed at his guest house during my time in South Africa. I had only just arrived and stepped out of the guest house and when I looked over his horse ranch, I could not believe my fortune, there was Mr. Player wearing his khaki outfit and hat, leaning on the fence beside his wife, Vivienne. They were watching some of his horses and looking very relaxed. I hesitated wondering if I should disturb him, since I had only been working for him a short time I didn’t expect him to even know me…but my excitement got the better of me so I went over and introduced myself to him and his wife. I never felt more at home and comfortable, they are such down to earth, wonderful people. The next 45 minutes were a blur, he invited into their home, we sat in the study and just talked, it was like they had known me forever.
I said forty five minutes because at that time he looked at his watch and said it was time for his daily excercises! He told me he did them everyday! I think it was 500 push-ups and sit-ups, could have been more…
I will never forget my time in South Africa and the photo I share is my great pride in, again, building one of his golf courses in March of 2013. To be associated with Mr. Player has been a great experience for me and my family. Happy Birthday!