Richard Condon, 75
Newington High School Coach 34 years: nine years JV baseball, 25 years boys and girls golf
Claim to fame: Has played golf in 45 states and five countries, with plans to play the remaining five states later this year. (Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington and Alaska)
Q: Your travels have been pretty extensive. Are you from this area originally?
A: I grew up in southern California, lived in Arizona for a time and then I joined the Air Force and I was stationed up in Maine. That’s where I met my wife before we came to Connecticut. I thought I would go back to California someday but I’m still in Connecticut 50-some years later.
Q: Why’d you stick around?
A: That’s a good question. (laughs) I have children and grandchildren here. And some very good friends we’ve acquired over the years.
Q: Tell me about your family.
A: We have three boys. I have a 52-year-old son and one turning 50 this coming weekend and the youngest is 46. My wife’s name is Nicole. In August it will be 54 years married.
Q: First time you ever played golf?
A: The first year I played golf was in 1968 with an old Air Force buddy of mine in Pennsylvania. I had been a runner through high school and college and our family was visiting his family. His father-in-law took me out to play. After that, golf just grew with me slowly. I joined a league working at Aetna and started playing a little more often.
Q: Tell me about your travels.
A: It started out wherever we were on vacation I would play golf. I had no plans to play all 50 states but I heard about someone else doing it and I said, ‘Gee I’ve played golf in a bunch of places. That sounds like fun.’ Then in the last 10 years or so I’ve made a real concerted effort to accomplish this goal. I want to do this soon. Now I’ll play four or five different states in one year. It’s been a way for my wife and I to see some beautiful places. Two years ago we were in North Dakota and we went to see Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands. I’ve been to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. I love seeing the United States. Plus…I can’t play baseball in Yankee Stadium but I can play golf where the pros play.
Q: What is your favorite course in the U.S. and your favorite course in Connecticut?
A: In the state of Connecticut my favorite course is probably Wethersfield Country Club; I like the layout and the condition of it. Right here in Newington we have a beautiful course as well. It’s got fantastic greens. I’ve played it hundreds, probably thousands of times. In the U.S., I’ve played at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina, where they played the U.S. open. That’s where the best golfers in the world have played. I’m not nearly as good as any of those people but I enjoy the game just as much as they do. TPC River Highlands in Cromwell is very enjoyable as well. And in Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City…the Mountain Dell Course. The views were spectacular. It was a hundred-degree-day but you could see the ice-capped mountains in the distance.
Q: Does your wife play with you?
A: Not so much anymore. She often goes with me and rides in the cart… reads her book while I’m playing, takes pictures. She enjoys that.
Q: Do you have a bucket list of golf courses?
A: No. I don’t plan to play specific ones too far ahead of time. I do try to play a lot of courses that college teams use.
Q: If you could play golf with any person in the world who would it be?
A: People who play golf are pretty friendly people in general. I guess as far as golfers go, Jordan Spieth or Rickie Fowler.
Q: Is there a course you’ve never played at that you dream about?
A: I can’t think of one off the top of my head. But the most famous course in the world I have played at was St. Andrews in Scotland. It’s 600 years old. That’s one of the original golf courses in the world. Just the history of it was amazing. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have played at that course.
Q: Have you picked up any different rules or etiquette in different places you’ve played?
A: The rules of golf are basically the same wherever you are… I’m kind of a purist. I follow the rules. It’s a game of honesty and integrity.
Q: How does your personal experience golfing and travelling translate back into your coaching?
A: I think the kids see the love for the game I’ve developed. My life kind of revolves around it….you can’t play defense in golf. That’s one thing I’ve learned over the years that I try to teach the high school kids. The only thing you can do is control your game. You can’t control your opponent. You can play your best game ever and still lose… it teaches kids humility. It’s just a great game.