Dick Bins called the most ‘die-hard’ golfer in Rochester
By Paul Christian
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
What golfer doesn’t like to play when it’s 75 degrees, no humidity, sunny and with only a slight wind?
Well, gee, that’s easy — just about everybody.
But in Minnesota, that’s going to happen, what, maybe once or twice a year?
OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but if we waited until the conditions were just perfect here, we would wait a long time.
Some Minnesota golfers don’t mind playing in the cold, or even in a slight drizzle, and others are out there when the temperature gets above, say, 45 degrees.
But even those "die-hards’’ tend to draw the line when it starts snowing.
That’s perfect weather, though, for Dick Benz. Not ideal, but he doesn’t mind it one bit.
"If you’re looking for the most die-hard golfer in Rochester, I would have to say Dick Bins,’’ said Soldiers Field head professional David Richardson, who should know. "I’ve seen him take off in a foursome in bad conditions and when they made the turn, three of them had enough. But Dick, he always completes his round. He finishes by himself.’’
"I don’t think I’m crazy,’’ said the 65-year-old retired (Brown and Bins) lawyer. "Let’s just say I love to play. And a little rain or cold weather doesn’t hurt anybody.’’
No waiting around for Bins
In other words, this time of year is perfect. We can count on one hand the number of days the temperature has cracked 50 degrees so far. If we waited until the conditions were more manageable — say shorts weather — we would still be waiting. Yet, most courses opened over two weeks ago.
Bins has hardly missed a day. And when he does miss, it’s usually not because of bad weather.
"After a long winter, I’m always anxious to get started,’’ he said. "Who isn’t? I play in almost any kind of weather as long as there’s not too much snow on the ground.
"One advantage now is that you can really get around fast. There’s no waiting and I can finish in three hours. In the summer, sometimes it’s five or six.’’
How about cold? Really cold.
"You dress for it, that’s all,’’ he said. "I wear some big, heavy gloves, with some chemical heating pads, and when I’m ready to hit, (I) drop the gloves and swing away. Then you put ’em back on.
"See, it’s not that hard at all. As long as you can keep your body warm, I don’t mind anything else.’’
"I’m not a big fan of rain and, obviously, I head in when it starts lightning or there’s a big downfall. Temperature? I would say the limit is about 25 degrees. Anything lower than that, it’s really tough.’’
Bins plays to an 11-handicap and has shot his age a few times at his favorite course, Soldiers.
"Shooting your age doesn’t mean you’re getting better, only older,’’ he said.
His first day out this year was St. Patrick’s Day. One year, he remembers even playing a round in January.
"When the ground is frozen, it’s a different kind of game,’’ he said. "You get more roll on the ball, but then again, you can’t hold it on the green.’’
And have you ever tried to put a tee into the frozen ground? No problem for Bins.
"I take a hammer with me,’’ Bins said, "and pound it in that way. A couple of years ago at Oak Summit I lost the hammer on the course and a couple of days later, sure enough, they found it. I’m not sure what they were thinking, though.’’
Sometimes, even Bins will say enough is enough.
"We were playing one year at Northern Hills and it really started to snow pretty good,’’ he said. "I didn’t mind that, but no matter how hard I would hit a putt, it never got to the cup. Too much snow.
"That was a day I just decided to call it quits.’’