For a pitcher to own a lifetime .234 batting average with eight home runs over a seven-year Major League career is not too shabby. Especially when the baseball is moving in different locations, and speeds, with varied pitching release points-all with the pitcher having to bat every fifth day.
Hitting a baseball is a natural ability for former Padres pitcher Tim Lollar, but when it comes to hitting a golf ball on a tee, that is a completely different story for the hard-throwing lefty.
“And that’s what’s very frustrating about this game (golf) game for a lot of people. I mean the ball is just sitting there; all you gotta do is hit it. When it came to hitting a baseball people would ask me ‘What do you attribute to being a good hitter?’ and I’d say, ‘You know I can’t explain it anymore than that, just saying I see the ball and I hit it.’ It was that simplistic to me.”
Lollar,56, now in his 15th year as the director at the Lakewood Country Club in Lakewood, Colo., retired from Major League Baseball in 1988 because as he put it, “The game was no longer fun.”
The toll of dealing with the business of baseball took away any enjoyment from playing the game. Lollar said despite a pretty decent career he would always have to scratch and claw his way on to a Big League roster, which got tiresome. He also said he wasn’t given a fair shake to be a starting pitcher again.
“It came off to me as more business than game, and as such I just felt like it wasn’t worth it,” the former pitcher said.
“Consequently my heart wasn’t in it as much as it could be. I am always taking the approach if I am not having fun then I need to find something else to do. The game wasn’t fun for me, therefore my performance ultimately suffered because of my attitude to a degree.”
Once the journeyman pitcher retired from baseball, he discovered something he did enjoy, which was golf. Not only was he having fun, he found out he was pretty good at it, too.
Lollar doesn’t recall playing golf in high school or college, if he did, it didn’t really make much of an impact on him to consider making a career out of it, he said.
The Farmington, Mo., native didn’t envision ever being a Major Leaguer.
At the University of Arkansas, Lollar majored in forestry because he said he saw himself as a game warden or working for the division of wildlife, not working for Major League Baseball.
The Arkansas Razorback was drafted by the New York Yankees in the fourth round of the 1978 MLB Draft.
After appearing in 14 games with the Yankees in his rookie year of 1980, Lollar was sent packing to San Diego where he would spend the majority of his career donning the brown and mustard colored jersey (1981-1985).
In 1984, Lollar experienced his first World Series with the Padres, although the Padres didn’t win the World Series it was one of the highlights of his brief career, he said.
Two years later in 1986, Lollar again made it to the World Series, this time with the Boston Red Sox. He came up a loser once more but doesn’t put the blame on his good friend Bill Buckner, who fans have ridiculed for his notorious fielding error that cost the Red Sox the World Series.
“Ultimately, it was the final play of the game, but that’s not why we lost,” Lollar said. “Buck and I are very good friends, and I’ve never held him accountable.”
Lollar got his first taste of golf when he would play in the off-season or on his off days. He didn’t get serious about playing until Spring Training of 1986 when he was living on a golf course.
When the left-hander officially retired from baseball, he was all in.
He dedicated more time to improving his game and even attended the San Diego Golf Academy. Soon after, the Breckenridge Golf Club offered him a position in 1992, and from there his golfing career took off.
After his tenure at Breckenridge, Lollar got hired at the Lakewood Country Club in 1996. He’s been there ever since. Today, he is the club’s director, overseeing everything from running the golf shop to hosting tournaments.
Lollar knows someday it will be his time to hang up his clubs, much like he did with his glove and bat. When he does you can be sure time won’t slip by him.
“I don’t see myself retiring and sitting in a La-Z Boy recliner; my mindset is not geared to that,” he said.