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College Park caddy watches 70 years of history on golf course

6:21 AM, Aug 16, 2013   |    comments
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Homer Austin

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. -- It's not every city that owns its own golf course and not every golfer can say they've covered the green for seventy years.

Homer Austin can. It's one reason he feels at home here.

"I started caddying at this course when I was twelve years old," Austin said.

At age eighty six he's still swinging.

"There's a lot of memories here for me," he said.

He shares memories of his first paycheck. He considered fifteen cents per hole "big money" at the time.

There are bad memories, too. He recalls being a young man yearning to play the green, but not allowed because of his skin color. He found a way to play off course. He literally found it.

"I found an old five iron out here on this golf course but somebody had broken it," Austin said.

Wylie Hunter has a similar story.

"Sometimes we played with a tree limb," Hunter recalls.

He's logged many rounds and seventy years here. Both men saw segregation and then integration run the course around these nine holes. The golf course has had a lot of different names over the past eighty year,s but what hasn't changed is the ownership. What has changed is about everything else.

"I want it to be known as a course for the people," said manager Bob Ellis.

Now it's a community golf course. It's a setting that helped transformed men like Hunter from caddies banned from the green in to accomplished golfers.

"I've played over a hundred filter golf courses around the world," Hunter said.

But there's only one course that he calls home and it's in College Park.

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