A recent visit to Westbury Country Club, south of Interstate 40 on Morgan Road, was a pleasant surprise.
I found a beautiful new building which houses the pre shop, locker rooms, dining facilities and a swimming pool. It was a stark contrast to the old converted mobile home that served as the clubhouse for several years.
The "Old Shack," as it's called by Westbury members, was being torn down the day I visited.
I arrived just in time for a free breakfast with Jim Mallory, club manager; Bill Fields, who built the new clubhouse, and Don Maddox, head golf pro.
All three were still talking about the grand opening several days before. Jim said, "I was happy to see so many people come out nd was so busy shaking hands, I didn't get to eat any of the hors d'oeuvres."
Don't feel sorry for Jim. After watching him chow down at breakfast, I suspect he found a way to get his share.
After breakfast, 14 members of the Westbury Women's Golf Association arrived, ready for the monthly instructional golf clinic conducted by Maddox.
Don grabbed his clubs and hustled out to the practice green.
"These gals are serious about their golf," he said.
At the instructional clinic, Don put on an excellent show with tips on chipping and putting. At one point, to emphasize the firm stroke required to execute the chip shot, Don stepped on the golf ball, pushing it into the soft ground until it was more than half buried, then proceeded to chip the ball to within inches of the cup.
After the lesson, the women loaded their clubs on carts, ready to play their weekly Wednesday morning round.
There are actually two groups of women that play at Westbury Country Club: The morning group, whose president is Marion Eckel, and the evening group for business and professional women, whose president is Betty Orrell.
Before playing their weekly round, I managed to talk to Pat Burleson, sports chairman for the morning group. In addition to the Westbury Women's Golf Association, she serves as president of the 18-hole Lake Hefner Women's Golf Association.
Pat said, "I normally play golf four or five times a week." I asked Pat how her game was coming around. With a wide grin and a twinkle in her eye, she replied, "I'm a 22 handicapper."
Sorry, Pat, I don't think anyone will buy that.
After pairing the players and getting them started, Pat turned to me and said, "All the ladies are thrilled that Don was chosen as the head pro here. He's so friendly and always has time to help the ladies with their game, in spite of his busy schedule which also includes men and junior activities."
After the ladies left, Don introduced me to his new staff of assistants, Jim Hulett, Steve Darnold and Rito Palacios.
Then he took me on a tour of the clubhouse. Westbury Country Club members can be justifiably proud of their new facilities.
Don and his wife, Diane, Bethany residents, are not exactly strangers to metro area golfers. Before accepting the position as head professional at Westbury, Don was a golf professional at Lake Hefner Golf Course.
Don said, "I knew early in life that I wanted to make golf a career. From 1964 to 1968, I purposely took jobs at night so I could practice during the day. During that period, I hit golf balls from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day it was possible."
After turning professional in 1968, Don accepted a position as an assistant at a Chicago country club for about a year, then returned to work as an assistant pro at Lake Hefner.
During his 3 1/2 years at Lake Hefner, his golfing skills developed rapidly. He won the Oklahoma Open Championship, the South-Central Section PGA Club Pro Championship and the Oklahoma Assistant Professionals Championship, all in 1972.
Don played on the PGA tour in 1974. Returning to Oklahoma City, he worked as an assistant pro at Quail Creek for a year and then worked for a local air-conditioning firm in 1976 and 1977.
A phone call from Mike Smiley, head pro at Earlywine Golf Course, got Don back into golf. He worked as an assistant pro there until 1981, when he again returned to Lake Hefner.
While at Lake Hefner this time, Don placed his emphasis on teaching and learning the business end of golf.
Don became Westbury's head pro March 1. BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 225770