Homer Martinson was one of the icons of the Minnesota golf world. He passed away Wednesday at the age of 88.
Homer was the Head Pro at Wayzata CC for 35 years. Though short and stout, Homer had great hands. He was a very good golfer, and a surprisingly good basketball player at Hopkins High School. But his athletic ability isn’t what Homer was known for… he was one of the funniest people on the planet.
Homer was the Columbo of golf – people always underestimated him and he played on it. He always had a half-lit cigar hanging out of the side of his mouth and just mumbled hilarious comments all day long.
The Wayzata Pro Shop offered free tees as a courtesy to members and guests. One day, a golfer took the whole tray and poured it into his golf bag… Homer asked him if he needed the tees to build a home. My writing doesn’t do his comment justice – you probably had to be there.
I took up golf in college, and about 6 months later after beating balls at a driving range, I took my first golf lesson. I went to the legendary Homer Martinson. The lesson took 5 minutes – I couldn’t believe it – I wanted an analytical dissertation on the golf swing. Instead, Homer told me that I was over rotating my hands and that I should start under rotating my hands. And then he explained, that after awhile I would start slicing because of under rotating, so then I should start rotating again. He summed it up by saying that that is the nature of golf – too much rotation, then not enough, then too much again – you’ll play well when it’s in the middle. I was stunned. It took me years to realize that he was right.
Homer was a great teacher – he taught stars such as Tim Herron and Gary Jacobson. He ran a great shop. He ran great tournaments. He was a great golf pro.
But mostly, Homer was a beloved fellow and the Wayzata members loved him. Like Columbo – he wasn’t fooled – he always knew what was going on. He was as good as it gets.
GM and Head Golf Professional