Finding his fame on the fairway
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Walton Ashwander’s legendary golf career began, literally, on the first tee at Decatur Country Club.
Some golfers remember fondly their first set of clubs. Or maybe their best rounds.
Ashwander’s mind is burned with the image of that first hole at the country club where his parents belonged because he learned the game right there.
He knew every blade of grass, every rise, every challenge. And he took those lessons and turned them into a college scholarship at Auburn University and later into a stint in professional golf.
Ashwander, who was inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame Saturday, was a natural left-hander until he reinvented his swing out of necessity. He had access to a right-handed club that was a hand-me-down with a grip kept together with electrical tape.
But scholarships and spots in pro tournaments weren’t Ashwander’s focus, though. Golf was still in its infancy in the area and few players ever went on to play at major colleges.
The letters started to come in with scholarship offers. The mailbox was filled with offers from universities across the country. Houston. UCLA. And plenty of more.
But he took the last scholarship offered, jumping at the chance to play for Auburn.
I got to play with some great players,” Ashwander said. “I’ve made some great friends and I’ve got some great memories.”
Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org