My Retirement Stories

Golf friends

Golf or Pickleball

In retirement, will it be golf or pickleball? Many retirees look forward to spending lots more time on the golf course, but pickleball is gaining steam these days. I took up golf in the mid to late 80s while in Tech Sales. It was a great way to network and entertain clients. More and more women were getting into golf and joining organizations like the Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA). I joined up and later founded a local group in the Washington, DC, area as part of Women In Technology.


I met a lot of great women through this organization and played golf almost every weekend and some nights during the week. We also played in local charity tournaments and sponsored events ourselves. When we traveled to play, we attracted quite a lot of attention; it was still unusual to see a group of women on the golf course. A few trips stand out in my memory, as vague as it is!


We created a stir when I booked a group of women for a golf vacation in Pinehurst. Like the men, we OD’d on golf, playing 36 holes per day several times. One day we were approached by a golfer asking, “which one of you is Kathy?” or maybe it was Liz. Even our names had been spread about the resort; we felt famous, or was it infamous?

Ocean City, MD

A group of us decided it was time to improve our game. I arranged for eight of us to take a weekend golf clinic in Ocean City, MD. Looking at this picture, it must have been in the Fall, and I remember that the weather was chilly but dry. What a fun time we had that weekend, punctuated by a celebratory dinner at The Hobbit!

Joe Diffie

One day, playing golf on a local course in Fairfax County, Virginia, I spotted Joe Diffie! I was big into Country Western music and dance then, so I asked if he would take a photo with me. As I went through old photos and came across this one, I Googled Joe Diffie and learned that he had died in 2020 from the Coronavirus. He was so young, only 61. I hope they propped you up beside the jukebox, Joe!

Random Golf Memories

I never did manage a hole-in-one, but I once came within an inch on the final hole at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. I was in the last tournament group, and the crew had started packing up. Everyone stopped and held their breath as my ball rolled toward the hole. Oh well, it was close!

I always tried to play a round or two when I traveled on business. One trip took me to Tucson, Arizona. Have you ever played golf in Tucson in August? They sold huge bottles of water, which I finished before the 13th hole without needing a break! Another business trip took me to Alabama. After the conference, I was invited to play one of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses, the Grand National course in Auburn. It was one of the most beautiful courses I have ever played. When I think of it, the phrase “a river runs through it” comes to mind.

Like today in pickleball, I played way above my level once in a while. Once, I played River Rock Run in Ocean City, Maryland, with the EWGA group, and I shot a legitimate 89! That’s the best individual score for me ever. Another time, I played in a tournament at Nemacolin in Pennsylvania with Bill and two others we worked with. This Pete Dye course was very hilly, with lots of elevated tees. The format was a scramble, where you choose the best ball for the next shot placement. My ball was chosen more than anyone else’s on our team, even my putts! I’ll never forget that day.

Now it’s pickleball

In retirement, would it be golf or pickleball? I did enjoy golf and continued to play even after meeting and marrying Bill Bell. Once we became owners of our real estate brokerage, there just wasn’t that much time. When we discovered pickleball, we loved that we could play in the evenings or leave early in the afternoon to play for a few hours. Pickleball also provided more exercise per hour and introduced us to many new people everywhere we played.

Now retired and living in Key Largo, we can bike to the courts and often play for 3 hours or more. When we travel, we always check Facebook Groups or apps like Places2Play or PicklePlay to find open pickleball play. If you love pickleball and you’re coming to Key Largo, please let me know!

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