Creating a connection: Happy birthday, coach

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I received an invitation recently to my former college golf coach’s 60th birthday celebration.

The invitation came through the popular site Evite and included the ability to see the included guest list for the party. Naturally, I scrolled through the guest list to see who else was invited.

Admittedly, I was fascinated to see names such as Jordan Spieth, Justin Leonard and the great Ben Crenshaw on this list.

These three were on just a few of a long list of golfing greats on the guest list.

It was proof that my college coach John Fields has done well for himself in the world of golf.

My initial introduction to Coach Fields came when I was a second grader at Conlee Elementary in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I had just recently received my first set of golf clubs at Christmas from Santa, and I eagerly told my second-grade teacher about the clubs upon returning from Christmas break.

Mrs. Fields explained to me that her son was a very good golfer, and we’d share golfing stories with one another throughout the rest of the school year.

Who could have guessed that 10 years later, Mrs. Fields’ son would become my college golf coach?

Though we hadn’t known one another prior to the recruiting process, I always felt a unique connection to Coach Fields because of my conversations with his mom 10 years earlier.

I graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1995, and a couple of years later Coach Fields accepted the head coaching position at the University of Texas. He has been there ever since and led the Longhorns to the National Championship in at Riviera Country Club in 2012.

His championship team included a freshman Jordan Spieth.

Others on coach’s guest list come from his ties to the Texas golf program, including Leonard and Crenshaw.

He has become a legendary coach in the deep history of University of Texas golf, and I feel incredibly honored to be one of his former players.

Coach Fields is a mentor of mine now that I have become a college golf coach myself. I model many of my decisions from my experiences at the University of New Mexico, and I am comforted at knowing I am only a phone call away to Coach Fields whenever I have any questions.

The guest list for his 60th birthday celebration is proof of the impact he has had on so many people throughout his coaching career. Thank goodness I received those golf clubs in the second grade.

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