Lee Raper took it as a treat when his father took him to play golf a couple of times a year as a teenager.
He enjoyed it so much that he spent some high school graduation money in 1996 on a set of golf clubs.
"Then I started down that path of love," Raper said Tuesday while swatting some balls on the range at WindStone. "I played mostly at Nob North. Then I played Brown Acres, Fields Ferry, Brainerd and the other public courses."
Raper made a decision less than a month ago to become a member of the Ringgold club at the Tennessee state line. As he fired shots across the range, his three daughters played in the pool.
"My youngest sometimes likes to come out and hit with me," he said. "They'll come out and ride with me. They're teenagers.
"I tried to get them into golf. They're into their girly stuff."
Raper dreams of becoming a scratch golfer, but he knows his limitations. He's a competitive person and strives to go low. But a round in the 70s usually keeps him satisfied.
"Getting better is what drives me," he said. "It's what makes me come out and practice."
The Callaway clubs he bought in 2008 are the set he still uses. They're the sixth set he's owned in the last 18 years. And they're his favorite. Even though technology has advanced and improved, he doesn't see himself heading to an area retailer such as the Chattanooga Golf Center, GolfSmith or Golf Headquarters and trading up.
"I don't like changing clubs, especially good clubs," he said. "That'd be like cheating on your wife."
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 ...