NCGA Golf

Summer 2019

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He found work in the city's shipyards, served in the Air Force during World War II, settled back in Oakland, and after another stint in the shipyards found his niche in the game of golf – to which he devoted the rest of his life. And, para- doxically, became a hugely successful swing coach, guru, motivator and, when necessary, guardian-at-large to hundreds of teenage white boys. He was, in effect, a one-man The First Tee decades before there was such an entity. Many of his disciples—dubbed Bate's Boys— became golf professionals. Four had fine careers as PGA Tour players. All cited Bateman, or 'Loosh' for short, as the rock upon which they built their careers. There have been many intriguing, and certainly bitter ironies played out in the story of racism that still pervades our country. The one revolving around Lucius Bateman is one of the sweet ones. Bateman was born in Franklinton, La., and came to golf as a caddie at the Edgewater Hotel & Golf Club, in Biloxi, Mississippi. He left school after the third grade to help support his mother and sister. His father died when Bateman was very young. He was one of the few black caddies allowed to play the course on Mondays. Edgewater pro Arthur T. Saunders chose Bateman to assist him during lessons. "I earned a little 22 SUMMER 2019 | NCGA.ORG P R O F I L E W HEN LUCIUS BATEMAN WAS IN HIS EARLY 20s and living in his native Mississippi, his best friend was accused of making eyes at a white girl. He was duly lynched. The murderers then tied him to the back of a car and dragged his body through the streets. At that, Bateman emigrated to Oakland and never looked back. There Are Gurus… and There Are Gurus Lucius Bateman was a unique one-man The First Tee program a lifetime ahead of the curve. BY AL BARKOW A definitive portrait of Lucius Bateman (left) that reflects a man of warmth, empathy, and a quiet but certain confidence in the value of his life's work. Bateman and some of his "boys," (top right) the impact position of the ball striker indicative of sound instruction. Bateman with John Glotz (at right) , a "graduate" who came to his mentor for a checkup. GOLF DIGEST RESOURCE CENTER

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