Making golf available to everyone in West Baltimore

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Golf pro Richard Sheppard Jr. joins Nestor from the fresh greens at Forest Park Golf to discuss getting kids into the game and previews the PGA Championship from his perch at one of the Classic 5 Golf hubs just inside the beltway off Windsor Mill Road. Let him tell you why he loves golf!


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Richard Sheppard Jr., Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

wn S T, Towson, Baltimore, Baltimore positive we’re positively taking the Maryland crab cake tour back out on the road. Not this week though. I mean, I got the crab races on Wednesday down in Lexington market with our friends and family. So we’ll be giving some of these away on Wednesday at the official Preakness crab races. We have the race on Saturday and all sorts of things happen with the Orioles and show a Otani and all that good stuff. We’ll be giving these away at the local next Tuesday the 23rd up in fallston come on out and say hello our friends at window nation also given the love all month long at 866 90. Nation your bike to you get two free five years 0% financing. I’ll tell you what it’s spring, NBA playoff Stanley Cup these teams these Florida’s and Carolinas and whatever, the big race this week, and then there’s golf. We got a PGA Championship happening this weekend up in upstate New York. We have golf happening throughout the community here and as much as they’re going to run a little race this weekend just west of 83 right off in northern Parkway. If you keep going just a little further west, you’ll find this guy he is the head PGA pro to advance PGA Championship as well as to invite you out to Forest Park legendary Forest Park to just off Windsor mill inside the beltway as well. Two different ways to get to it. We welcome Richard Shepard Jr. Making his debut here. Busy week, dude. I mean, I could be talking Oreos, ravens, Lamar Preakness all this stuff happening. And you’re out there showing some young people how to golf right now, right?

Richard Sheppard Jr.  01:35

Oh, yeah, for sure. We actually have a PGA junior league just getting started. It’s actually our third week coming up. Unfortunately, we got rained out last weekend. So we do like a junior league where it’s it’s like a rec league for kids for golf. So we actually play all the courses.

Nestor Aparicio  01:54

We have only kind of shorts I could probably correct. First of all first

Richard Sheppard Jr.  01:59

week we went to Country Club in Maryland. I can I can tell you the results if you want but we beat them. two weekends ago we went to BCT. We actually tied Baltimore Country Club we tied them. Well, we got rained out last weekend. So hopefully you’re always

Nestor Aparicio  02:17

competing and golf, you competing against yourself. I mean, I’ve seen the simulators in the guest record radio station, you’re competing. You’re just you’re competing with yourself all the time. But then there’s the competition of well, I play lacrosse, where I play baseball or I play soccer team sports. There’s a team and a league here and we’re gonna go over there and beat the country clubs. Beauty,

Richard Sheppard Jr.  02:39

right? Yes, yes. I love it. That’s the thing about golf that you know, they golf didn’t have any type of team aspect or recreational league aspect for the juniors and they came up with this PGA junior league about I want to say maybe six years ago,

Nestor Aparicio  02:56

kid just didn’t exist.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  02:59

Well, they did have Jr interclub. Okay, which was kind of similar but this man they got their own jerseys, they you know, it’s all it’s all.

Nestor Aparicio  03:09

Here today. Yeah. Give me your background. How did you come to golf? And how did you come to focus? I you know, I talk about this with all the pros all the time, but we’re talking about a West Baltimore place that kids in the neighborhood could come and learn to play golf, and I’ll say this to you, bro. I never swung a golf club until I was way into my 20s I was on the radio. Probably five years, six years. 96 or 96. I spoke 28 years old. A little before that, okay. I was in that range. And I met Tiger Woods on New Year’s Eve in 1996. All in Vegas. But But, but Golf was getting cool then. But I was on the radio and people were playing the Ravens didn’t even exist. I’m talking 95 Like, you know, the Ravens were a glimmer at that point. And a lot of people I knew said, well, you’ll do business if you go and golf. And I’m like, You don’t understand, man. My name is Aparicio my people came off the plane from Venezuela. We do baseball. My dad loves football and basketball and boxing and whatnot. But like golf, never came to my neighborhood. I had a few neighbors that would put clubs in the trunk of the car, and they would go to Rocky Point or because I’m from Dundalk. You know. It wasn’t. There was no golf. Mojo I don’t I don’t vibe. I don’t I don’t know. It wasn’t in. It wasn’t in the air in my neighborhood. And I had Pete Kurinji on the crabcake tour two weeks ago down in the falls in Essex. And I said we didn’t play soccer in my neighborhood. We didn’t play lacrosse in my neighborhood. You know, so to say that it comes to you. But I didn’t have a golf course in my neighborhood. And I’ll tell you what, my buddy Eddie Lauer grew up right by hearing Park hearing Ron, and there’s a golf course in his backyard two blocks away. I think it’s different when you have access to it. And then of course, it’s been there way longer in my lifetime, you know,

Richard Sheppard Jr.  04:59

yeah, I got Lucky man my, my dad, my dad played and my uncle’s played. My dad actually has about he has well, he has eight uncles. No, he has seven brothers. So I have seven uncles did they all play? Most of them? Not all of them, but most of them played. So, you know, I just got into the game to that tiger. I was about 10. So this was around 2000. Okay, Tiger was at his peak. You know, it was just a great way for me to spend time with my dad. You know, they had my dad and my mom had divorced a little prior to that. So it was a great way for me to spend time with my dad, you know, out on the golf course, I used to think it was stupid. You know, I was in the basketball. You know?

Nestor Aparicio  05:41

Where are you from? Like, what, what’s your back?

Richard Sheppard Jr.  05:43

When I’m in? I went to Newtown High School. So I’m Owings Mills. Randallstown area. Okay. So, yeah, kids

Nestor Aparicio  05:51

are playing basketball, football there. Come on now.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  05:54

Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, it was at its height. I mean, you know, the kids used to laugh at me, you know, in high school, you know, the football team we practicing and I’m going with the golf team, we would go hit balls on the soccer field. And they, you know, they would laugh at me, like, Come on, man, you know, with us, you know, it was just, you know, but hey, I saw a future where, you know, this is what I wanted to do. And this, you know, this is ringing nowhere. We’re not represented that much. So, you know, we can make some change in the community. And you know, it’s a great game, you know, like you said, networking business, you know, the, the physical aspects.

Nestor Aparicio  06:30

I can play my back’s been a little crooked the last five years of my life, and I just, I don’t want to wrench lead. I don’t even want to hit balls, right? Like, I want to die and even like getting on a boogie board. Just I don’t want to get injured again, at the end being back have nothing to play with. Yeah, I am a hot yoga devotee. I’m five days a week down on the mat. Listening to SEO lately. See Janet Jackson dancing, fully doing the things, being able to sit in the car again and get on a plane ride again. So like for me, I’ve just walked off the grid. I’m 55. I’ll be 55 this year, and I just feel like Humpty Dumpty, I’m glad that I can hit a hot yoga mat, 90 minutes with great conviction and strength that I don’t want to eff it up. But for people that like to play, or that it comes back to them, I would think every spring I saw CLN, I played tennis as a kid I played a lot of tennis and like, much like you, and Dundalk, nobody played tennis, I had three or four friends, we would seek out the lights at Evie T or over Patapsco where the headlights at night at six Community College. So I know about playing and hitting the ball against the wall, which i i hit more balls against walls than ever did against people when I was because I saw I loved the board. And man like it didn’t it didn’t come to me if there wasn’t a chord in my neighborhood, anything like that. But I still would play I would play tennis, you know, but call for people this when spring happens. And they say I haven’t hit a ball in a while. Yeah, it’s expensive to play. I’m not at that level to compete anymore. I just made me want to hit a bucket of balls. But you offer a lot more than that. And I think for all the classic fives and I say this with full conviction that if I ever were going to go back and my back gave me the confidence that I could feel like I’m not wrenching. Oh 405 That I would go back. This is the way I would do it. I would take a lesson. I would want to have it to be social. And I wouldn’t want to get better at it. So it’ll suck. And I’m not in you know, chasing balls all day that there is a point for a lot of people Brian Billick picked up golf at 65. Wow. And he’s addicted more than I talked to Marvin last week that he’s okay. We’re addicted to competing right later in life. Not me with my back. But for a lot of people golf is something you can enjoy. You don’t your whole life. Right. Everything as far as Park, right?

Richard Sheppard Jr.  08:50

Yeah, we have a very diverse, you know, what do you call a population that play that play at Forest Park? You know, you have the young kids and you have the older the older players, you know, it’s been there a long time seeing it change all throughout the years. So yeah, we’re very, you know, welcoming to everyone. We’re not, you know, that’s the great thing with munis, we’re not, you know, we’re not shutting people away. Everybody’s welcome. We’re having a good time. You know, having fun. That’s the main thing. We’re not, you know, we had the leagues where you can get competitive and you can get those serious competitions. But you know, if you want to just come out on a weekday evening or, you know, weekend afternoon, that’s fine, too. And, you know, we give, we give lessons. I do a lot of group clinics. So I actually I went to Maryland, Eastern Shore

Nestor Aparicio  09:39

for college, you know, good crab cakes, and all right. Oh, yeah. I’m a crab

Richard Sheppard Jr.  09:43

cake connoisseur.

Nestor Aparicio  09:45

Come on, now. Stop now. Don’t I’ll be over the winter. Two weeks from Friday and we’ll be doing a crab cake tour. Okay.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  09:53

I need to meet you there. I need to meet you.

Nestor Aparicio  09:55

Well, yeah, we’re gonna figure this out because, you know, if there’s a crab cake I’m coming to Get it. I’m over Wilkins Avenue in June and I’m inhale Thorpe in June. I’m up at false index. I’m coming I’m coming for you don’t die. But when you say Umes, I’m thinking about this roads that Cambridge and Saulsbury and some of the Little Finger Lakes I got on down there. And so how things were done on the shore, you know, so,

Richard Sheppard Jr.  10:17

yeah, yep. So I went that route. They were the first HBCU to have a Professional Golf Management Program.

Nestor Aparicio  10:24

Oh, she went to school for this. Yeah, yeah. Now, farms coffee and golf man. Tell me about this.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  10:34

Yes. PGM program. It’s only had about 20 schools in the nation. You will miss was the first HBCU to have it. They actually got it right before I got there. So it was like perfect timing. My high school golf coach told me about it. And I’d say you know what I’m all in. Because my first my first passion was kind of like being a sports agent. I knew I wanted to get into sport somehow. And you know, I play golf, and

Nestor Aparicio  10:59

I’m telling you, it’s a guy who’s done it my whole life. terrible mistake you’re making kill you once you’re inside trust. Yeah, man.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  11:06

Well, you know, this golf thing really took a hold of me and I see how we can really make an impact in our community. So I went that route in my first job after college, I worked at Suburban Club, which is a private club in Pikeville. They’re just saying, oh, yeah, yeah, good food there. So I score I kind of learned industry learning to learn how to navigate myself and my first head pro job came at Carroll park downtown. So I was there for two years. And then now my fourth

Nestor Aparicio  11:39

place to because she

Richard Sheppard Jr.  11:41

was right downtown. Yep, we got a lot of crowd just coming in for a game coming in for concert, he would come out and play and have a good time. And this is my second year now at Forest Park. I actually grew up playing at Forest Park. So it’s really full full circle for me to be here for

Nestor Aparicio  11:59

every hole, right? Yeah, yeah. That’s the best you’ve ever shot on your own home. I mean, hold on once. All that’s happened for you there.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  12:08

I don’t have a hold on one. Yep. So looking for your knife. I pulled out from the fairway. Right? Yeah, I’ve hauled out from the fairway multiple times, but not where Part Three holding one. I’m still looking for that last round is a 70 I’m not I haven’t cracked the 60s yet. But that’s that’s my next goal.

Nestor Aparicio  12:27

Is it? How often do you go out and play competitively on your own court? I mean, you’re out there every day teaching other people right? Yeah, I used to go out all day right? Yeah, I used to

Richard Sheppard Jr.  12:36

go out for nine holes in the afternoon. Me and a buddy of mine usually just go out before it gets too late. You know after I finish work and play a quick nine and then go home but you know I have a two almost two year old son so I don’t play as much as I used to. Got some family duties but

Nestor Aparicio  12:53

diapers instead of you know, T shirts. I got you man. Richard shepherds are cast he said PGA pro. You can find him over at Forest Park. So you know give me the elevator speech. We’ll force it like and then we’ll talk a little PGA real quick but for him because it’s huge tournament this with so much going on in between baseball Janet Jackson and Anita Baker. I got concerts I got things I got horse races. The Oreos, Oreos. Oh, I mean, it’s Lamar Lamar. Well, that’s over with for now at least a little bit. But you know, for golf and for your little piece and somebody to say all right, I’m gonna go out there and hit with this young man learn learn the game a little better pick up something because I would need a lead if I came out. I mean, I didn’t even add a hold the club when when no one for cost. You got to hold me down at first Creek back in 1996. I was holding like a baseball bat. You know the whole deal, right? Because I played a lot of baseball guys to come out and learn the game and to have the patience you need. Because it’s not something that happens in a minute. It’s something you have to be pet you have to fall in love with it. And I think for kids, if they get into that I make a shot. They make a really good shot then they want to make another one. And I think it’s the same for nobody wants to come out and be really bad at it. They want to get better. Yeah,

Richard Sheppard Jr.  14:04

that’s the thing. You want to come out and get lessons first, you know, I guess I guess some people you know, they started playing golf, they’ve been playing for 20 years. And they finally they finally come see me for a lesson I got to fix all kinds of stuff. Bad grip, bad takeaway, bad posture, bad balance, you know? Yeah, you know, it’s better to just get to lessons first, that way you learn the fundamentals and you kind of know what to work on. When you’re practicing a lot of people are practicing and they just kind of just doing whatever not really working on anything.

Nestor Aparicio  14:35

You got me thinking about like the stroke now and like holding the right arm forward and like all of the foreign things about you know, staying staying in like staying in posture. Yeah, absolutely. It makes my back just wrench just like I need to stretch thinking about going to stretch. I gotta stretch thinking about torque and it coming through you know, but but it really is and now with video when like, you can really got a lot of teenagers, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  15:04

I love using video a lot. A lot of my clients, they think they’re doing something with their swing and I telling them, No, you’re doing totally, you’re doing something totally different than what you’re thinking doing. Let me show you. And when they see it, they say, oh, okay, I’m way off and then when I thought I was, you know, I thought I had a sharp clubface at the top. But I’m showing you this way open at the top. So yeah, videos helped a lot. You know, I work from Green back to the tee. So I usually start say, I have a brand new beginner coming out. I start with putting start with putting and learn the

Nestor Aparicio  15:37

city man. You know, we had a lot of blood clot Come on, man.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  15:42

Oh, a funny you say that. I’m going to Ocean City on Wednesday.

Nestor Aparicio  15:46

Go play old bro. You’re gonna hit it right into the clown’s mouth there get a free game right

Richard Sheppard Jr.  15:50

now. Yeah, we’re gonna play some real golf. But yeah, we might we might check out a mini golf or two. But it’s funny. You say that we go every year I go for the car show weekend. Actually. That’s something else going on? Car Show weekend in Ocean City. It’s awesome, man. They got all the old schools the hot rods out. It’s awesome. But I can’t do everything.

Nestor Aparicio  16:08

I can’t do Bruno Mars in that I can’t do it all. You know, I go to Ocean City for Dave Matthews and Sheryl Crow Indiana summer I mean, I’m calling from Mako I’m going down to see Tommy calm white. I you know I I’m joking me everywhere. If the Orioles are relevant, you maybe got your bobble head over your shoulder there. I see you.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  16:27

Brooks Robinson Yeah.

Nestor Aparicio  16:30

Man. So if I come out, your first thing is lesson and your first thing is putting

Richard Sheppard Jr.  16:34

literally right then we do chipping. Then we started to work away, do chipping little longer shots, pitch shots. Then we go into full swing irons, and we get into the big boy full swing driver.

Nestor Aparicio  16:45

And every kid wants to just hit the ball long way. Yeah, every kid does too. Right?

Richard Sheppard Jr.  16:49

Yeah. But if you get hit hit 50 yards, I can expect to hit it. 250 yards. That’s that’s my that’s my philosophy. But and then we’ll get on the course after that. So, you know, that’s how I work and it’s worked well for me over the years. I love what I do. We’ll have fun and you learn this great game of golf too.

Nestor Aparicio  17:08

You can be watching. That’s nothing all you guys are nerds about play, play, play play out in the sun all day. But then like Thursday and Friday rolls around and some of these little spiritual holidays like the PGA Championship for the Masters. Do you watch golf on the weekends? Or do you carve out like three to six on Sunday just to see. Like I

Richard Sheppard Jr.  17:28

definitely have to carve out Sunday afternoon. That’s That’s my thing. I gotta carve out for the afternoon. We’re busy before that. I might have it on we have it on in the shop in the golf shop checking it out. But yeah, Sunday afternoon. You

Nestor Aparicio  17:40

always know what’s going on for being around. Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Gotcha. Yeah, well, it’s also the language of the club too. Right? People come in and say how to ask him. Yeah, right.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  17:51

Right. If Tiger was playing everybody comes in Acts house Tiger door. Where’s Tiger at? You know, he’s not playing this week. But um, it’s

Nestor Aparicio  17:58

amazing. All these years later, dude, you you were a little boy when I was doing rabbit already. You’re 32 years. All right. So like, I turned 3333 May 4. So this I know I feel young and sexy to some of you at least. But I’ve been doing this a long time and and it’s funny you would say Tiger mania, I met Tiger at the Hard Rock and a hooting the blowfish concert on New Year’s Eve of 1996. He had not wanted he was about to go nuts when it majors. He had been on the cover of Sports Illustrated like all of that. And he was a jerk to me kind of famously 30 years later, I still tell the story about he literally sat next to me at the concert because we were both guests who knew the book like and all these years later I’ve never come in contact I’ve seen the wife that this that the car accident so but man oh man. Oh man, every time I talk to anybody of your age of any color who plays golf doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter where you’re from. Tiger was nobody got by Mickey’s got Yeah, yeah, me tight Tiger. Um, it’s like LeBron, or Michael Jordan matter which one it is. But somebody brought you Secretary when it comes to horse racing, right? Like somebody brought you to the party. And Tiger brought everybody to the party and 20 years later, you’re out on a golf course. I mean, it’s an amazing legacy really is.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  19:14

Yeah, people still ask him about him. He still moves the needle. He still moves the needle on the golf course you got you know, you got some younger guys coming up. He will Roy he’s not so young anymore. Rory McIlroy. He’s probably I would say the next most popular guy. Well, Jordan speaks he’s up there too. But they don’t they don’t move the needle like Tiger.

Nestor Aparicio  19:33

You watch us guys play. What do you what do you learn? Oh, man. They are right. Yeah, how

Richard Sheppard Jr.  19:39

good it’s a different level man. It’s a different level. People think you know PGA pros, club pros were supposed to be out there plan but they’re totally different level they practice and play maybe 810 hours a day to be where they’re at. So you know, I have so much respect for him. But let me tell you something. The PGA champ pionship Right so we’re in the Pete where PGA members as a PGA head Pro, so right so we actually are able to qualify for this event. Right. So, we have a section, there’s 41 sections in the PGA of America. Right? So we have a section championship, right? So the top maybe maybe five spots, they go to our national PGA Championship for club pros. Right then it’s like, it’s a bunch of people there maybe 200 people there that play in that tournament. They take the top 20 to go and play an actual PGA Championship. So you have 20 PGA club pros playing in this major this week up in Rochester. So it’s a great honor. We have one from from the Middle Atlantic section. We’re in the middle Atlantic, one of our members qualified for the for the major so yeah, it’s all it’s all championship really. Yeah. So well,

Nestor Aparicio  20:57

and I guess for you, once Tiger. I mean, it’s terrible watching them limp around, right? I mean, like, especially for you who love him. But is there what keeps you watching now who are the who are the guys you’re watching this weekend?

Richard Sheppard Jr.  21:12

I love Roy McElroy. He’s he’s probably my favorite player. We actually share the same birthday. So I love royal I just love how he how we, you know he is far. He? He’s a great ambassador for the game. I don’t know if you heard about all the live stuff to live.

Nestor Aparicio  21:30

Oh, yeah, we’ve talked. Yeah.

Richard Sheppard Jr.  21:32

Okay. So they’ll actually be playing in this event as well. They’ve allowed

Nestor Aparicio  21:37

certainly divided the whole I mean, we could do hours just on that topic, right, literally,

Richard Sheppard Jr.  21:41

in the great ambassador for the PGA Tour. Also like Jordan SPIEF, as well Under Armour guy. So I like him. Who else I like now he’s a live guy, but Brooks kept Brooks kept guy actually, like, I just like his determination and his how he plays the majors. He doesn’t back down from anything. He’s gonna He’s right up in your face. He’s gonna tell you I’m gonna beat you. And hopefully he does he tend to second at the Masters. If you saw earlier this year, so it’d be interesting to see some great storylines Phil’s plan, Phil Mickelson is going to be playing well, the whole live,

Nestor Aparicio  22:21

you know? It’s going to be a storyline in any of these majors, especially when a lift guy wins. So eventually, yeah, absolutely. Richard. It’s really been a great visit with you. Richard Shepard Jr. As far as parks head PGA pro, they’re part of classic five we do a lot of classic five around here all summer long and trying to keep keep me abreast of everything going on a golf sensor wrench my back I don’t get out as much. But it is just it’s amazing to see young people play the game. Seeing simulators seeing them improve seeing them get lessons on seeing them get better and certainly over in West Baltimore, you could stop over what’s the best way to reach out to you? Just come on. Maybe

Richard Sheppard Jr.  23:01

Yeah, come on in. You can call the golf shop number 4484448 golf. You can find me on Facebook. Rich RJ Shepard Yeah, come out and see us man. We’re having a good time golf seasons here. Let’s get out and have some fun,

Nestor Aparicio  23:18

man. You’re gonna lose some people to the Orioles this year. I’m just saying I’m just saying

Richard Sheppard Jr.  23:23

the game myself man I need to get to a game myself. They’re playing awesome man.

Nestor Aparicio  23:27

Otani a town hall we go go see the Tiger Woods a baseball right now the show a Otani appreciate you appreciate our friends and classified go to any of their courses. You can always find them out of classic five golf. I talked about it all the time. It’s up on the front of the website. And we keep golf relevant around here, as well as keeping baseball and football and of course crabcakes merrily crabcake Tour presented by the Maryland lottery to friends when they should come back to fallston on Tuesday, the 23rd and really just all over the beltway, June and July. I’m not going anywhere doing anything. I’m going to some concerts. I mean some crabcakes drinks a beer watching baseball summertime, unnecessary. You went st ham 5070 Towson, but not in that order. The beer is gonna come first. We never stop talking Baltimore positive. Stay with us.

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