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CARVER MEMORIES - Conversation with Bob Doyle

Jan. 21, 2016

CARVER MEMORIES - Conversation with BOB DOYLE (Class of 1956) on Jan. 11, 2016

Bob Doyle competed in men's golf at then Western Washington College of Education in the mid-1950s. The 85-year-old Doyle, who resides in Everett, spent 32 years in education as a teacher and administrator.

At Western, he placed 10th for the Vikings at the NAIA National Championships in 1956, finishing sixth in the driving contest at that event, and placed 22nd at nationals in 1954. Twice he was the Evergreen Conference and NAIA District 1 medalist. Doyle also was the WWCE Associated Student Body Vice-President.

Where did you grow up?

I was raised in Coquitlam, B.C., very close to Burnaby. We called it "Burquitlam" because we were on that side of the North Road.

When did you take up golf?

I was about nine or 10 years old and my mother was working at the Vancouver Golf Course. She had the concession there for lunches and special dinners. She was a great cook. One day she called and said we (brother Ben and I) better get up there because there were two people from Vancouver proper that needed caddies. So that was what got us started. We caddied and every once in a while they'd get us on to play a little golf. In those days, caddying was how you got into playing golf. Nowadays there aren't too many caddies, and if they are, they're caddies for someone they know. I became the caddie master for the Vancouver Golf Course and caddied through high school. I had a good time doing that and met a lot of nice people.

Did you compete in other sports?

I was a basketball player and I played a little football. My brother Danny later was a football coach at the University of British Columbia. We'd play against guys from New Westminster, and they'd suit up with helmets and things and we'd suit up in stocking caps. We played a little football that way. It was kinda crazy.

I also played a lot of lacrosse. If I had known more about what went on in the states about lacrosse, I probably would have gotten a scholarship. I was a good lacrosse player, and I had a lot of friends who were good.

How did you end up attending Western?

We worked at different jobs and in the summertime a lot of us worked in a cannery at New Westminster. My brother Ben was working there as well as a half dozen Western kids, mostly track athletes (among them were Don Burgess, Gerry Swan and Ted Whan), who were Canadians. The golf coach at Western had told them that if they found any golfers to try and get them down there.

So Ben said that he was going to go to school there. I was working at the golf course at the time, but I said, "if you're going, I'm going with you." There was no problem with that. If I didn't make it, I could always come back and work at the golf course. So I went. That's how I got down to Western. I was probably around 20 at that time.

We (my brother and I) roomed together. Frank Sadler, who was the golf pro at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club, wanted Ben to go to work for him. And that's how Ben got started in the golf profession (he became golf pro and later a well-known teacher of the sport near Monterey, Calif., before passing away in 2014)

I stayed in school, majoring in physical education with minors in math and science. We got to play at the country club and I also worked there as a bartender and on the grounds crew.

What did you do after graduating from Western? I took a teaching job in Marysville and then met Jim Ennis and moved over to the Everett school district. I worked at three different elementary schools in the district, teaching for six or seven years, then became an assistant principal and then principal. I retired in 1988 after 32 years in education. During my retirement years, I played a lot of golf, until I broke my arm in 2011 and that screwed up my golf game.

What was the golf program like at Western during your time there?

It was a very easy going kind of program. It wasn't a top-grade program in any sense although we did pretty well. We played in the Evergreen Conference, which had a lot of nice schools, and I met a lot of good guys, who I had some good times playing golf together again after I retired.

What was it like playing for Sam Carver (Western legend as a player, coach and administrator)?

He was my coach for all four years I played. Sam wasn't big on golf himself. Often he'd have someone else drive us to away matches. Sam was a wonderful person, not necessarily a top-notch golf coach, but he was a good guy and treated us all well and we all liked playing for him.

Any memories of your time playing golf at Western?

That's a long time ago and the memory has faded. But we had some characters who were usually the fifth and sixth men on the golf team. They were fun. I played No.1 all four years and Ben was usually No.2. What was Western like in those days?

It was a pretty small school at that time, maybe around 1,500 students. It was a good school and it still is, a very good school, better even now than when we were going.

What were some of your golf highlights?

I'm still a member of the Everett Golf Club and have been since 1973 ... I played awfully well at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club with many rounds in the 60s. My best round was 66, 36 on the front nine and 30 on the back, at the Vancouver Golf Club when I was a teenager. In 1960 I won the Snohomish County title and I've won four or five Everett City titles.

How about the change in equipment over the years?

I was able to use some of it. It's a lot easier than what we used, which were steel shafts and drivers with wooden heads.

How did Western and Viking golf influence your life?

Returning to school after being out for three years was a great personal achievement. Western was a good fit for me. The most difficult part was my afternoon classes when I found it hard to stay awake, probably from working outdoors the three years prior. However, during spring quarter, playing on the golf team took care of my falling asleep in the afternoon. Golf was already a significant part of my life, so playing serious golf was perfect for me. Having success both in my studies and my golf motivated me to stay the course at Western.

(Conversation conducted by Paul Madison who served 48 years as sports information director at WWU from 1966 to 2015)

1953 WWCE Men's Golf Team: (L-R)Bob Doyle, Fred Carbonatto, Ben Doyle, Sam Carver, Gene Park, Roger Stearns, Earl Peterson.

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