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Remembering Joe Rates of the Old Bacolod Golf Club

Last year, I wrote a post in my blog about 'Why Bacolod Golf Club Is Not In Bacolod". In the post I told the story of a man named Joe Rates. Joe was a originally from Iloilo.

One day in the 1960s, Joe stowed away in a boat from Iloilo to Bacolod. Upon arriving in Bacolod, his uncle who was the bartender at the original Bacolod Golf Club in Mandalagan (now known as Capitolville), recommended him to the club management to be an assistant. Assistant bartender Joe Rates became. He mixed and served drinks with fancy names befitting the Negrense lifestyle. Names such as "Haciendero" and other 'creative concoctions'.

Knowing nothing about golf, Joe started practicing in the club and eventually learned and played the original Bacolod Golf Club course during caddies' days which were Monday and Friday. Those days, Joe would regularly lose to the caddies.  Those caddies who won bets over Joe would be eagerly waiting for him during the 15th and 30th of the month to collect their winnings when Joe got his salary.

Joe was unfazed. He kept on practicing and eventually started winning. Sooner than later, Joe was in the company of the greats - Arda, Tugot, you name them. He traveled abroad to play and even played the Old Course at St. Andrews!

Why am I telling this story? Well, I just learned from a post of Mike Besa, that Joe had already passed away and that maybe now, he is either playing golf in the fairways of heaven or mixing drinks for the angels.

Almost every week I would see Joe at the driving range at Kagitingan. He would usually ask with heartfelt concern, "Te kumusta na bata mo? Maayo na gid maghanot?". That was Joe for you. A soft spoken man with great accomplishments of his own. A large person with a large heart in a small package.

Godspeed Joe!

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