Center Stage is a new series that highlights individuals who continue to support the GAP Central Series.
“From false advertising to true passion.”
“How a phone call made my golfing life.”
“My Big (Myrtle Beach) Break.”
Take your pick when framing Steve Allen’s golf origin.
“A buddy of mine called me and said he was going to Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) for a week. I figured I’ll just go down there and lay on the beach for a while,” Allen, 68, of New Columbia, Pa., said. “He said, ‘Bring your golf clubs. We might play golf when we go down there.’ I heard of Myrtle Beach, but I didn’t know it [was known for golf]. I took my dad’s persimmon woods and Wilson blades. I went down there, and for a week, we played 36 holes a day.
“This was a golf trip. I didn’t know it, but he did. I went down there and hacked it around for a week. Next thing I know, I figured, ‘This actually could be fun if you could actually hit the ball consistently and score.’”
When he returned home, Allen joined Bucknell Golf Club. The bug bit at Myrtle Beach.
“The rest is sort of history,” Allen said. “I had been around guys who golfed. I just never thought it was for me.”
Fastpitch softball and rugby were more Allen’s speed. But the long-term effects changed his athletic thinking.
“I found out my knees weren’t going to take all of that for much longer,” Allen, now retired following a 42-year career as a chiropractor, said.
As he pivoted to golf, Allen fortunately found a quality he relished in fastpitch softball and rugby: the people.
“It’s almost like any sport. You get involved and you get to meet more people, and they’re fun people,” Allen said. “Golf is a challenging game. You can play the same course and not get tired of playing the same course. Every shot is different than it was before. Golf can be frustrating obviously. Why do you keep coming back? If someone abused me that much, I’d never be around that person. But with golf, I keep coming back.”
Allen keeps coming back to the GAP Central Series. Same reasons: the camaraderie and the challenge.
“You like to compete against different people,” Allen said. “It’s just a nice, fun series. I love what the GAP does.”
Apart from the GAP Central Series, Allen embarks on golf trips throughout the year: Hilton Head Island in South Carolina and PGA WEST in La Quinta, Calif. among the fondest of voyages. He checked the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail off his list earlier this year. One golf destination will never fade.
“Bucknell is a good place. I have a lot of good friends there,” Allen said. “It’s not a course you’re going to dominate or overpower. It’s a nice place to play. The most amazing thing about it is it’s got as many good golfers as any course. If we took our Top 20 golfers, we could hold our own against almost anybody around here.”
The Bucknell excursions, the trips, the GAP Central Series. Credit (Myrtle Beach genesis aside) to Allen’s understanding wife Kim, who is taking golf lessons now.
Oh, and a nod to those persimmon woods and Wilson blades that belonged to his father Joe, a former truck driver.
“I’ve actually tried to hit them since,” Steve said. “It’s dang near impossible. I don’t know how anybody can play golf with those things.”
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.