Calvin Peete: ‘Golf’s Most Unlikely Success Story’

Embed from Getty Images PGATOUR.COM HAS SOME GOOD longform content. But you have to scroll to the bottom of the site to find it. Once you do, there are some gems.

Like this 2017 story by Helen Ross, on Calvin Peete. It’s the kind of story that makes you want to get back on the course and play golf. To hit some balls and practice your short game on a lonely muni.

Calvin Peete faced seemingly every barrier to the game of golf. He was black. He started too late. He had a bad left arm. The list goes on.

Here’s an excerpt from Helen’s feature on Peete, describing his first round (with rented clubs):

“[Calvin Peete] said when he first put his hands on a golf club, it felt like that’s where they belonged,” [Pete] McDaniel said. “He had found his calling, and then he knew that it was going to be his life from that moment on, and so he attacked the game.”

After 18 holes were in the books and Peete’s buddies drove him back to the hotel, in fact, he turned right around and went to the driving range. Peete’s single-minded determination fueled a session that lasted so long he all but lost track of time.

“He stayed there until the range manager told him, ‘I can’t sell you any more golf balls because I’ve got to go home with my family,'” said Dr. Tony Parker, the historian at the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Peete was 23 years old, and he had finally found the direction for his life. Even so, to imagine that Peete, who died in 2015 after battling cancer, would go on carve out a career with 12 PGA TOUR victories was the stuff of fantasy.

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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