Thursday, June 9, 2011

The book on Bill Tindall: Great golfer, better person

Former Junior Amateur champion comes back as honorary chairman

BREMERTON, Wash. -- He was as reluctant to leave the golf course as a kid called home when there's still late-evening light in the late-summer sky.

There was still a whole back nine to play. But Bill Tindall, no kid anymore, had to go see about one of his own: a grandson, in this case, and a playoff baseball game.

Bill Tindall addresses a
U.S. Junior Amateur
news conference June 8
at Gold Mountain.
He even tried to work it so he could get in a couple-three more holes and end up close to the clubhouse, but Gold Mountain Olympic doesn't lend itself to that kind of cross-country improvisation.

So he left, with sincere regrets, and in fact the regrets were ours, the other members of yesterday's foursome. Pretty simple: he's a great guy to play golf with.

Tindall at 68 still has the smooth game that made him one of the Northwest's finest playing pros. His ability to look at a swing and help a struggling player begin to fix it has earned him a reputation as one of the region's best teachers of the game.

But it is his unforced people skills that make him a natural as the honorary chairman for the U.S. Junior Amateur, July 18-23, at the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain.

And there's this: Tindall is a former U.S. Junior Amateur Champion himself. In 1960, he overcame a precarious first-match position -- one hole down on No. 18 -- to win in extra holes, then won his next six matches to claim the trophy.

He won an Oregon Open, played on 20 Hudson Cup teams (18-1-1 match record), won a Pacific Northwest Section Senior PGA championship, and was inducted into the section's Hall of Fame.

Tindall worked 22 years as head professional at Seattle's esteemed Broadmoor Golf Club, and later worked at The Members Club at Aldarra in Sammamish, Wash., and The Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Wash.

His first club pro job was at the Longview Country Club in Longview, Wash., my hometown, from 1969 to 1977. I didn't play any golf in those days, but I read about Tindall in the local sports pages.

It wasn't until yesterday that I met the man, in a round of golf that was about half as long as it should have been.

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