Henry Solario has been playing golf since he was 12. That’s 75 years of teeing off.
And he’s not done yet.
Solario, at 87 years young, is the new golf pro at Escalon Golf Course and, with the course under new ownership and several improvements already made and others in the works, he is happy to bring his knowledge, expertise and love of the game to the course.
A Senior Golf Group meets every Wednesday at the local course and a new Senior Clinic is being offered from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. each Tuesday. The cost for the clinic is just $5, though balls are not included.
“It’s aimed at beginners or anybody, really,” explained Solario.
Many of those at the clinic do have some experience but all levels are welcome.
Then, the Wednesday group is more structured, with rounds of golf being played.
“I’m here at 7 a.m.,” said “Tee off averages around 7:30 a.m. (Wednesdays) for the men, the women tee off around 8 a.m.”
Solario said he has been teaching golf for years, at a number of different courses around the area, and is happy to bring the new Tuesday senior clinic to the Escalon course.
There’s no pressure in the new clinic, Solario just wants to get local senior citizens out on the course, enjoying the game, fresh air, some exercise and the chance to interact with each other.
“We welcome everybody to come,” he said.
The definition of ‘senior’ is also a bit open to interpretation; they aren’t going to be checking IDs at the door, since the idea is to get more people involved in the sport.
From hosting clinics through the years at Tees and Greens on Oakdale Road to the Modesto driving range on McHenry, Solario has been involved with teaching the game he loves off and on since 1957. He also spent some time in the car business to earn his livelihood, selling cars for 28 years.
“I started in the car business around 1963, the got back in the golf business in 1989,” he said.
He turned pro in 1957 and also did a number of Pro-Am Tournaments, as well as traveled extensively to play and compete.
“I really stress the teaching,” Solario said, noting that it often takes a different approach on the course to play, depending on age. “Even when I was selling cars, I was still teaching a little bit.”
He’s excited about the possibilities at Escalon Golf, with plans to host tournaments and open the course up for local companies or organizations to come in and rent the venue for golfing events.
“It’s a nice little course for seniors,” he added. “They’ve done a lot of improvements here and we have a nice senior group.”
Escalon Golf does have rentals available for those that don’t have their own equipment.
Solario arrived on scene earlier this month and said he is also planning to start individual lessons along with the group clinics.
“I’ll be teaching even in my rocking chair,” he said.