Where they are now and what you don’t know; Left-handed Goddard golfer learned to play the ‘right’ way

In 43 years, not much has changed between Goddard’s 1973-74 back-to-back state golf championship teams. Many have heard of Hall of Fame golfer Nancy Lopez, but few have heard how she began to play against boys, and that there were better players on the team than her.

Goddard 1974 Golf team (Bill Owens Photo)

Some in the Roswell might have forgotten one of the best male golfers, if not the best golfers, to never win a state title. Arnold Madril would finish runner-up as a state medalist his junior and senior year for the Blue Trophy. In his junior year, he lost to Brad Bryant. Bryant, from Alamogordo, would go on to play on the Professional Golf Association tour. In his senior year, Madril lost to teammate Bill Torpey. Both losses were by one stroke.

Helping Madril get a job turned into a lifelong friendship between Bill and Tom Owens and Madril. Back then, a 14-year-old Bill Owens was working at the Roswell Municipal Golf Course pro shop when Madril came looking for a job.

Before he worked for the Roswell Municipal Golf Course, (today called Nancy Lopez Golf Course at Spring River) Madril shagged balls out of the river for the golf course. One day, Owens and municipal golf pro Al Tingley offered him a job. Madril used to pick up 500 balls a day, working from 7 a.m. until dark.

Back in the early 70s, golf was not a popular sport, and not a lot of people played the sport like they do today.

Madril had two problems going against him — one he was a left-hander; the other was he’d never played the game of golf before. Once hired, Bill Owens suggested to Madril that he could learn to play the game as a right-handed golfer, and it might be easier since he had never played before.

What made the game easier for Madril was that in the old days, they had straight-faced putters where a player could putt, right or left-handed. The modern putters are made differently than the way they used to make them. Madril learned to play golf right-handed…

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