Golfers count on lucky charms

By Liliana Castillo and Mickey Winfield: Freedom New Mexico

For some golfers, the game cannot go on unless they have their lucky putter or a special divot tool.

For a group of regulars at Clovis Municipal Golf Course, it’s mostly about the company they keep. The fivesome graced the golf course Friday afternoon, because Friday counts as part of the weekend they say.

Richard Garcia, a Clovis resident and 10-year golfer, said he gets out to the course at least every other weekend during the summer. He said his lucky charm was his friend, Angel Martinez, a city golf champion.

“But it’s not about the score,” Garcia said. “But how you enjoy the game.”

Another in group, Greg Trujillo, said his 2-iron is his lucky charm, but he doesn’t know why.

“It just works for me,” Trujillo said.

Trujillo also emphasized to never mark a ball with a nickel.

“It’s bad luck,” he said. “No nickels.”

Tim Tapia makes sure he carries a divot tool — for repairing spike and ball marks on the greens — with him that was given to him by a friend and fellow golfer.

Tapia said he is at the golf course every day, if possible.

“It relaxes my mind,” said Tapia, “takes away the pressure from the hustle and bustle.”

For the past two years, Portales resident Oscar Robinson brings a dollar coin to mark his ball on the green.

“I don’t know (if it works for me),” Robinson said. “I like to think it does, but it’s all in the mind.”

“We have a friend — I shouldn’t mention his name, but he won’t hit the ball if you are moving or walking. He’ll just stop and look at you,” Robinson said. “He left us, but he’s very superstitious.”

Mike Stratton has been playing golf for 23 years in Portales.

“I bring my golf balls,” Stratton said with a grin. “That’s very important.”

But Stratton said he’s not superstitious on the golf course. “Not at all,” he said.

Don McDaniel is the golf pro at the Portales Country Club, and in his 10 years in Portales, he’s only seen one strange trend among golfers.

“A lot of golfers who mark their balls with pennies, make sure that they put the penny heads up when they put it down on the green.”

Another pair of golfers and friends, Jim Cowman and Bob Hughes, have been playing golf together for about three years, but don’t claim any superstitious behavior.

Cowman’s goal when he retired was to walk nine holes every day, and he said he’s kept up with it.

Hughes insists on wearing sunglasses when he golfs. No matter how cloudy it is outside, Hughes will have his sunglasses on while on the course.

“I guess it’s just to keep the wind out of my eyes,” Hughes said. “It doesn’t feel natural without them on.”