Mike Nelms, the head golf profesional at Creeks Bend, had an indirect but lasting impact on the life of Paul Hickman.
Nelms began teaching Hickman's wife the game of golf more than a dozen years ago. Hickman later became addicted to the game of birdies and bog eys.
"My wife took lessons and he introduced her to the game," Hickson said. "We moved to Hixson from Brainered in '04, and I was looking for something else to do sin ce I retired from the post office."
His retirement became an addiction.
"I play from three to five days a week, depen ding on weather," Hickman said. "I retired in 2000 and I began trying to learn the game."
He has learned a few things about how to get the ball in the hole. He'll shoot in the high 80s or low 90s on regular occasions with better and worse scores at times.
But his greatest benefit from playing golf is the exercise he gets every - well, almost every - time he plays. Whether his day includes nine holes or 18 holes, he walks until the summer weather gets unbearable.
"When I retired, I was probably about 40 pounds heavier than I am now," Hickman said. "I walk the Riverwalk every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and walk almost every time I play. I've probably ridden in a cart one time this year.
"It's really helped me. It's good for me. The game is addictive, and it's good for my health."