John Gonzales, Middle Valley staff developer.Staff photo by David Uchiyama/Chattanooga Times Free Press
John Gonzales has an appreciation for the outdoors and a growing appreciation for golf.
The former high school and college football player pulled into Moccasin Bend Golf Course to check it out after working just down the road for about 15 years.
“My previous view of golf is that it’s men with crooked sticks, hitting a ball, finding it and hitting it again instead of putting it in their pocket and being thankful they found it,” Gonzales said. “My view is still the same, but I understand the determination to hit the ball again. It’s like anything else. If you have a passion for it, you’ll do it again.”
His current passion is hiking the many trails in the greater Chattanooga area. He hasn’t hiked around a golf course in a few years and has played only about 10 times in his life.
“I’m not a super big fan of golf, but I have friends who play,” Gonzales said. “Out of the 10 times I’ve played, five involved alcohol and free drinks, so there was motivation to play.
“The other five times, it was about trying to play and realizing there’s more skill involved than what I originally thought.”
The outdoor aspect and the beauty of different courses appeals to his hiking side.
“The fact you’re not confined to a specific field and that it’s very open and the scenery constantly changes is nice,” Gonzales said. “You can’t get used to one particular area.
“But the verdict is still out on whether it’s something I want to do all the time.”
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...