published Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Who golfs? Vietnam veteran Jerry Fitzgerald

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    Jerry Fitzgerald
    Photo by David Uchiyama.
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Jerry Fitzgerald



Jerry Fitzgerald loved softball.

But more than 15 years ago he needed to find a new sport. So friends of his from Norfolk Southern, where he worked as a shift supervisor, introduced him to golf.

He broke 100 in his first round.

"I'd practiced for about three months before," said Fitzgerald, a Vietnam veteran. "We were down in Trenton."

Fitzgerald now plays all over the Chattanooga area. He's a member at Valleybrook and plays the courses in "Luken's Loop" as well as the other area public courses. He plays them well and claims to be a single-digit handicap.

With one drive on the range last week at Moccasin Bend, it was easy to see that he's not exaggerating. Especially when he added, "I spend more time over there chipping and putting."

Golf has become a key part of Fitzgerald's life since his retirements from senior softball and from the railroad job. He can spend five days a week either playing or practicing, and on some days he does both.

"There's a fine line between the elation of a great shot, a good chip, a fantastic putt and the frustration of a bad shot," said Fitzgerald, who has a granddaughter headed to Northwestern University and a grandson who plays high school football for Notre Dame. "It's hard to describe the line. That's golf."

about David Uchiyama...

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 ...

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