This month's member spotlight is Charles Allen. Allen is currently an assistant professional at The Golf Club of Dallas. Allen had a career in law enforcement before changing paths to a golf professional. He was elected to PGA Membership in 2013, and has spent time at many other facilities like Phoenix Country Club and McCormick Ranch in Arizona as well was GolfSmith, The Old Brickyard GC, Tierra Verde GC and Country View GC. Charles and his wife Brenda have been married for almost 37 years. They have a son named Christopher who just made Charles and Brenda grandparents for the first time. Charles noted that "if you see a Titleist golf ball imprinted with EKA while playing with me, it stands for my 7 month old granddaughter's initials...Elizabeth Kathryn Allen." Below are a few more interesting things that you may not have known about Charles.
What do you love about the golf business? In teaching, I like when the student has the "aha" moment. I also love when a customer returns to tell you how much they enjoyed playing the course and the hospitality that was provided. Also I enjoy being recognized as a golf professional and having someone tell me how much they enjoyed playing golf with me.
Who got you started in the game? Well, I had just started working for a corporation that owned a savings & loan company, a mortgage company, an insurance company and several other small entities spanning from Florida to California with most branches in Texas. Owner/Chairman of the board Robert Hopkins had talked me into taking a position to help organize these companies under one roof. Robert was a member at Lakewood Country Club and several of the senior managers also played golf, but I didn't play. Robert set about trying to change that after about a week on the job. He called me at the office and told me to hurry over to Lakewood to help with a golf tournament raising money for the March of Dimes. On arriving, he had me take off my coat and tie and he found a golf shirt in the golf shop for me to wear. This fundraiser featured the Dallas Cowboys players paired with amateurs paying big bucks. Danny White was quarterback and Tony Hill was a wide receiver for the team. Robert told me to grab a golf cart and then led me over to a tee box that was a 165-yard par 3. He said to just stay there and greet players as they came by, and if anyone asks you what to hit on this par 3, just tell them to use a wedge. I didn't know what a wedge was, so I said "Ok." Tony Hill was the first to ask me what to hit and I answered "a wedge." Everyone in the group turned and looked at me as if a little stunned. I don't know exactly what Hill hit, but he swung hard and bladed it with a low trajectory. The ball actually hit the green and stopped not far from the flag. Hill just turned toward me and said, "Thanks." Robert died laughing when I recounted the event to him later. The first time I returned to Lakewood CC was for the NTPGA Section Championship held there in September. I didn't use a wedge on any of the par 3's.
Did you play college golf? No. I went to work straight out of high school as an undercover police officer doing drug buys/busts in Dallas.
What is your most memorable moment in golf? While working at Phoenix Country Club, I got to know Maggie who was married to Bob Goldwater. Bob was the brother of Barry Goldwater, a former United States Senator, and Barry had also ran for President of The United States. Maggie suggested I caddie for Bob in the upcoming Phoenix Open Gold Pro-Am because Bob is well known and the one person responsible for helping establish the Phoenix Open back in the 1932. Also, Bob (92 years old at the time) could be a bit of a grouch, and no one else wanted to caddie for him. This was three years after Tiger's famous hole-in-one at the Scottsdale TPC par 3 16th, and the hole was now almost completely encircled with grandstands making it much like being in a football stadium. On arriving at the 16th, you have to walk through a tunnel, and I was not expecting the stands to be full. But the stands were not only full, but a lot of fans were college students drinking and betting on who gets closest to the pin, caddie races, etc. Our group included Pro Shigeki Maruyama and former Vice President Dan Quayle. Quayle had just eagled the par 5 15th, but Bob had not been playing particularly well, mainly because of finding himself in the deep rough and sipping on a flask he kept in his bag. When it came time for Bob to play they announced him as being the father of the Phoenix Open, and he is also known as a local celebrity. At the draw party for the pro-am he got up on stage and did some soft shoe while singing Mack The Knife with Glen Campbell on guitar. The yardage was 145 yards, and I had a 7 wood and 5 wood in my hands. Bob ask for the 7 wood, but I insisted he use the 5. He grunted and snatched the 5 wood out of my hands, took a couple of practice swings (while I prayed) and hit a beautiful draw to stop 8 feet right, pin high. Nobody else was even close. The stadium erupted in loud cheers, and I nearly peed my pants. Bob asked "What did I do"? When I told him, he turned and just waved at the crowd. Maggie later, in her lovely British accent, said "Charles, you may have just made history here because this may well be Bob's last tournament."
Where is your favorite golf destination that you have played? Torrey Pines South.
Who makes your dream foursome? Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. And, of course, my wife Brenda.
Have you played golf with anyone famous? When I was still in Phoenix I got to play with Skip Rimsza, the then current mayor of Phoenix. Rudy Giuliani was supposed to play but couldn't make it. Also, rock legend Alice Cooper.
What is a course that you wish you could play but have yet to have an opportunity to do so? St. Andrews of course.
What is something interesting about yourself that other members may not know about you? Besides being a former undercover police officer, I am also certified as a rescue scuba diver, firefighter, and critical care paramedic and have my pilot's license as well. I have personally recovered two drowning victims and assisted with several more recoveries.
What are some of your hobbies? Scuba diving, water skiing, snow skiing, fishing, and hunting to name a few.
What is your favorite type of music? Country and Rock.
What is the best golf book that you would recommend?Seven Days in Utopia by David Cook.
What is your go-to karaoke song? "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding. I sometimes sing it to myself when I need to calm down in a tournament.