The Star-News


Still teeing up after all this time

Thu, Jun 10 2010 04:12 PM Posted By: Richard Pena

Don Jackson, the individual whom members of the Retired Educators Golf Association (REGA) refer to as their fearless leader, has sent out a notice that the group will meet this coming Sunday at the Admiral Baker Golf Club for their annual brunch.

Jackson does not say how many years the group has observed this function. As near as we can remember it must have had its start some 30 years ago and has been staged yearly at various venues. It seems that most golf clubs, or similar institutions in San Diego County, have hosted the group at some point. For the past few years the event has been staged at Admiral Baker for a variety of reasons, the principal one being convenience for many of the members who live in North County.

The annual brunch has been a festive time for the golfers and their guests - more than likely, spouses - since its inception. It is a time when awards are handed out, some serious, most whimsical, stories and anecdotes are shared and wives get some idea about what is so important about Monday tee-off times.

On that first day of the work week the REGA members who are still around, and who can get around albeit with a little aid, will gather in the dining room of the Bonita Golf Club. There, Matt, the genial waiter, will bring the individual his habitual Monday morning fare, one that can vary all the way from a full breakfast to a glass of water.

Jackson will enter and distribute his weekly newsletter, which will invariably commence with a succinct, "Good morning, gentlemen."

The golfers will read the newsletter, generally prefaced with the progress made and the health condition of ailing members. The golfers will also read what type of game is to be played on this Monday and either nod in agreement or make some small protest. The protest is small because anyone bordering on the vociferous type might result in inheriting the clipboard and becoming the new "fearless leader."

The Bonita Golf Club and, I suspect, almost every course in the county have a number of groups similar to REGA. They are a group of men, and sometimes women, who love getting together once a week for a round of golf. Many of us remember the day when we walked the course with no problem and could launch a golf ball into the next zip code. Those games were filled with much camaraderie, a jovial type of meeting where golf was important but it was not the principal objective. It was a time for relaxation, a time when one could forget the work week and reboot our personal mechanism.

REGA sort of has that tradition. It started in 1980. The late Don Chamberlin and I had retired from city schools at mid-year and we started the Monday golf for fun, but also to antagonize those who still had to report to work. In a very short period of time, however, others followed suit, trading the rigors of the work week to the uncertainty of retirement. REGA was there for the retiree and, before too many years, the group had grown to where we numbered 16 golfers which added up to four starting times, classified as a tournament at most golf courses.

The group, in those early years, traveled from golf course to golf course, and probably covered all the courses in the county. The group even had a few ventures out of town, the Los Angeles area and El Centro, for example. Some of the latter involved long weekends that became, for many of the members, family outings.

But like any other institutions, the years with their accompanying maladies have taken their toll. To paraphrase "September Song," the members have dwindled down to a precious few.

But at the brunch on Sunday those who are there and their spouses will conduct themselves as in past years. They will trade anecdotes, tell stories (some of them even true) and, in general, enjoy themselves.

And one thing is certain. Plans will be made for next year's brunch and for Monday golf at Bonita.


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