It didn’t take long for Larry Riesselman and I to strike up a conversation. After all, we were on a golf course and, as everyone knows, other than swinging, and looking for your ball, the time is spent telling tales and reminiscing about days gone by.
I happened to run into Larry, his wife Pat and Steve Glass on Palm View Golf Course in McAllen. Larry has been golfing since he was in his 20s and, well, since he’s a Winter Texan (who lives here 6.5 months a year now while back in Minnesota for 5.5 months), that means he’s done a lot of swinging (he has two holes-in-one!), a lot of looking for golf balls and a ton of conversing on the courses.
In fact, since it was an incredibly hazy and more humid day than usual, the first thing we talked about, of course, was the weather. Larry, who has spent his career pretty much in IT services, shared this funny story about when he was mentoring a man from Zimbabwe.
“Well, I was asked to be a mentor for the University of Minnesota under this program where they have third-world scholarships and a mentor program,” he said. “He was the head of data centers in Zimbabwe, and he was coming here with his wife to further his education.”
Larry and the man and his wife headed to a nice steak place after picking them up and the man noticed a bunch of lights fairly far out along the landscape.
“He asked what they were, and I told him they were people who were ice fishing. He couldn’t believe it,” Larry said. “I told him I’d be happy to take them out there on the frozen lake and those people would be more than happy to tell him all about ice fishing. He replied, ‘Oh no, that’s just fine.’
“His wife wouldn’t take off her winter coat or stocking cap, even during dinner at this fine steak restaurant. It was that cold for them.”
The trio are members at Palm View, but Larry said they also at times enjoy Tierra Santa in Weslaco and Los Lagos.
Golf in the Valley is very different than Minnesota, kinda like comparing ice fishing with bay fishing… if those two things are even comparable.
“There are some nice courses here and there’s more wind than in Minnesota” Larry said. “There’s not much elevation changes and back in Minnesota we have thick, tree-lined fairways. Sometimes you can’t even find your ball in the middle of the fairway with all the leaves that have fallen.
“One time I was playing at the University of Minnesota course and I hit this blind tee shot and when we got around to the fairway, the leaves were covering the course. Then a gust of wind blew, the leaves all flew away and there were like eight balls there, but none of them were mine.”
Larry, Pat and Steve are regular golfers who, while down here, live at Victoria Palms in Donna. Larry and Pat started coming to the Valley in 2008 and he said they enjoy golf, card games, dances and other activities. They also volunteer to help those within the park who may need computer help or repair, even offering some classes.
“It just works out real well in the park,” Larry said. “It’s very satisfying too to be able to help others.”