May 27, 2024

Baguio’s golf legend Fred Puckett, who taught countless golf enthusiasts in the highlands for decades, had gone to the fairways in the great beyond on June 25 while playing the game he loved the most. He was 72.
Puckett, who had no known health conditions, collapsed while at hole 17 of Camp John Hay. All players are required by CJH Golf Club to submit a negative RT-PCR or antigen test before they are allowed to hit the fairway.
One of his flightmates, a physician, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation while waiting for the ambulance that brought Puckett to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. He was pronounced dead several hours later.
News of Puckett’s passing spread like wildfire, as countless individuals offered their deepest sympathies and condolences to his bereaved family. Most of Puckett’s siblings, including his children and relatives, are golf enthusiasts as well.
He started his passion for the game as a ball picker at the John Hay driving range when he was a kid. It was his older brother who first showed interest in golf, but it was him who taught his other siblings how to swing the club.
Acknowledged by golf enthusiasts from Luzon to Mindanao as a great but humble coach, Puckett helped popularize the sport in the highlands. He had inspired many to be competitive and follow his footsteps as an outstanding golfer.
Puckett was the undisputed top golfer in his era in the Cordillera, having won numerous individual and team awards for the past five to six decades. He had competed and won awards in many national tournaments held in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Among his notable achievements as a golfer was being a consistent member of the Camp John Hay and Pugo Adventure teams that won the premier championship flights of the annual Fil-Am Open Invitational Tournament, the longest-running amateur golf tournament in the Asia-Pacific.
His siblings, who are both residents abroad, have been coming home to join the Fil-Am tournament, bannering the Greenwater Golfers, named after their barangay Greenwater. – Harley F. Palangchao