Tiny golf pro Henry Seymour could hustle a lot of bets from skeptics who would swear he couldn't break 80, let alone 70.
Seymour, 5-foot-2 ("and that's stretching it") couldn't possibly propel a golf ball 265 yards, could he? Yes, he can, as he demonstrated recently when in contention for the Middle Atlantic Open before fading in the final round for seventh place.
Seymour has been a legitimate hustler all his life. He plans to open an unusual driving range in late September, across the street from, but not affiliated with, Twin Lakes course in Fairfax.
"We're putting in probably the most unique teaching complex anywhere," said Seymour, who claims to have 1,000 golf students, among them Redskin punter Mike Bragg, former Redskin Roy Jefferson and Chris Epperly of Army Navy.
On the 60-acre site, Seymour and partner are building a driving range that resembles a typical golf hole, with a tree-lined, narrow fairway replete with water and bunkers. The facility will also have practice sand traps, greens and chipping areas, a club repair shop, a junior golf program and even golf travel packages.
"I want to be able to accommodate the golfer who can come out and spend the whole day practicing," Seymour said. "Those people are out there in Fairfax, I promise you. When they come in our door, we are going to take care of anything that has to do with golf."
Seymour wrestled in the 98-pound weight class for Washington-Lee High the year W-L ended Granby of Norfolk's 19-year win streak. At Virginia Tech, he was voted outstanding wrestler in the Southern Conference in 1965. He later was wrestling coach at St. Albans.
Seymour did not pick up a golf stick until he was 22. "My college friends laughed at me when I first played," he recalled. "I whiffed it twice and third time I knocked the ball onto the ninth green, about 30 yards from the tee box. I came back and beat every one of them three years later."
Seymour dropped his handicap from 25 to scratch in four years. "I spent hours of moaning and groaning to improve. I'm crazy about teaching this game," said Seymour, who holds a law degree from George Washington University. "If I looked back, the one thing that really helped me is the wrestling. I'm analytic," said the VPI math and statistics major. "I'm able to slow down a human being's fast motions in my mind.
"A golf swing is very technical. Take Mike Bragg and Roy Jefferson. Why is it that these two superb athletes can't capture the game immediately? The interesting paradox is that a great athlete spends hours and hours being drilled by a coach at his particular sport, sports less technical than golf. However, these same athletes feel they can pick up a set of clubs and go out on a golf course and shoot par. No way."
Mark Alwin of Woodholme will defend his title in the $7,000, 54-hole Middle PGA championship starting Wednesday at Washingtonian's Country Club course . . . Lee Elder, who is not participating in the Lee Elder Celebrity pro-am, which concludes today at Langston, will tee it up in an exhibition there Monday at noon with PGA tourists Terry Diehl, Bruce Devlin and John Schroeder . . . Proceeds will go to the Lee Elder Scholarship fund for financially strapped college students . . . Jefferson District Park golf course has reopened after being shut down in December 1976. The upgraded executive layout now has a clubhouse, pro shop, cart and club rentals and a miniature golf course. Jefferson is located at 7900 Lee Hwy., Rtes 29-211 in Merrifield . . . Bell Golf Co. at 3465 North Fairfax Dr. in Arlington is holding free tours of its clubmaking plant every Tuesday at 1 p.m. and Thursday at 4, starting Sept. 27. Also, on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m., Bill Lowry and fellow pro John Smeeton will conduct free clinics.