The Grass is Always Greener

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

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Last month, it was my honor to attend the retirement party for my bride, she was a special education teacher for 39 years. As each of the 4 retiring teachers said something, being at the end of the alphabet made her go last in the farewell speeches.  

My wife started out naming all the places she has taught and it ranged through two states and 7 cities. All in attendance had a somewhat startled gasp and she followed that with, “I married a golf pro and the grass is always greener somewhere else”.  And, in a matter of a few words my bride had summed up my professional career.  

I have always thought that I was leaving something for something better. My first job was schlepping three wheel carts that would tip over if you leaned too much. At each of my stops along the way we made friends with so many people. I had always looked with sympathy at my older friends who forgot parts of a story and could not recall your name. Now it is I who can tell a great half story and do so love a get together where everyone wears a name tag.  

Each of our stops along the way brought on more responsibility and always more teaching. Junior golf consumed a large portion of our lives and getting to watch our three little loves learn to play. Those three girls gave me heartache growing up and rainbows just watching them test their wings. Now they all have children and we watch with great pride as they have assumed the mantle of mother and they now teach their own children.

Now I am a General Manager for a top 100 golf course, which is the longest stone’s throw from a little kid from a one gas station stop village in Cuba, New Mexico. My goal in life as a youngster was to work on our ranch and raise cattle. Then, while at New Mexico State, I discovered golf and met my wife. The two things which brought stability and purpose to me all came at the same time. What attracted me to golf was the green grass. The velvet field with brilliant white golf balls on it. The rolling fairways that were unlike anything I had ever seen.

Oh, she had pegged it so accurately you see, I was always chasing the greener grass. First it was the love of golf then it was the love of my life.  Afterwards came the love of our girls and then their husbands and ultimately our grandchildren.  All the while I was able to play, teach and experience the greatest game ever thought of. I know that there is a great GOD in the universe, and I do not know why I was chosen to live such a good life. All I can ever say is, “Thank you Lord, as each day is a day of greener grass”. 

Cherish teachers for they hold the future in their hands daily. Thanks for the 39 on the front honey, now it’s time to play the back 9.

Tom Velarde is the Manager at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email