From bad luck to a good stroke
2012 Forest Grove Hall of Fame inductee Fred Haney fell backward into a passion for golf after an injury ruined his baseball game
Before he entered Forest Grove High, Fred Haney had rarely played golf. His entire experience on the course consisted of a few rounds of nine-holes here and there throughout his pre-teen years. But he had never played a full round of 18-holes.
Haneys plan was to be a multi-sport athlete for the Vikings, playing football, basketball and baseball. Then, during Haneys freshman football season, he endured the most fortunate injury of his life, when he seriously damaged his knee.
When baseball season rolled around, Haney could walk, but he was unable to run. Always a talented ballplayer, Haney could not bear the thought of not making the team, or riding the pine.
Haney decided to play golf.
It was a bad break (in football) that turned into a lucky break, Haney says. Thats how it all started.
Four years later, in 1966, Haney was a senior at Forest Grove, playing in the state championship golf tournament. No one expected Haney to contend for a state title. Not even Haney.
I wasnt a favorite by any means, Haney says. Nobody even knew of me.
Haney then put together two rounds of 70 on the par-74 course. The eight-under was good enough to win the state championship.
It was a little bit surreal, Haney says. I was a decent player in high school, but golf was kind of just an afterthought. All of a sudden, I put together two really good rounds and won the tournament. It was surprising not only to everybody else, but, to me.
Now, 46 years after becoming a state champion, Haney will enter the Forest Grove high school athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2012 inductees.
I feel proud to have been selected to be in the Hall of Fame, says the 63-year-old Haney. Its a nice honor. I feel quite a bit a part of Forest Grove. I grew up there, spent my whole life there as a kid. My mom and dad and sister went to Forest Grove high school, so were all a part of that school. It really feels good. Its unbelievable.
Since winning the state championship, golf has continued to be a part of Haneys life.
After his prep career ended, Haney played for the University of Oregon golf team.
In 1971, Haney won the United States Public Links Championship and decided to turn professional. A few months later, he entered a tournament in an attempt to qualify for the PGA Tour.
Haney came close.
In those days, the top 25 finishers received a PGA Tour Card. Haney made the first cut, but finished tied for 26th in the finals. He tried to qualify for the PGA Tour three more times. He made the finals twice, but never got closer than 26th.
Haney continued playing in tournaments as a professional around the Northwest for the next 10 years. Finally, he got out of golf and began working in commercial real estate.
The game of golf still had its hooks deep in Haney though. He continued playing as an amateur and in 1997 seized an opportunity to make golf his full-time job, becoming the golf pro at the Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club in Aloha where he has worked since.
What I really enjoy about the game of golf, is No. 1, the playing and No. 2, the teaching, Haney says. Even when I was an amateur, guys would come to me and I would help them with their golf game, including some young kids.
In an effort to broaden his influence, Haney wrote a golf instructional book in 2010 titled The Perfect Swing Fundamentals.
Haney still plays golf as often as he can. He says that he has trouble keeping up in tournaments with younger players, but that he is still competitive in senior events.
Now that he has returned to the game that he loves, Haney never wants to leave golf again.
I love the game of golf, Haney says. I want to keep giving back to the game of golf and right now its through my teaching. I just love the teaching of golf and helping others get better and especially the juniors and watching them come along and go through the ranks.