Since Lee Trevino is a Texas Boy….and since we just love Texans at ImaSportsphile…..we are going to tell the story of how he became Supermex and The Merry Mex….as one of the greatest sports personalities of all time….for he was born in Dallas, Texas, into a family of Mexican ancestry….who was raised by his mother, Juanita Trevino, and his grandfather, Joe Trevino, a gravedigger…..as Trevino never knew his father who left when his son was small. During his childhood, Trevino occasionally attended school….and mostly worked to earn money for the family….who at age five started working in the cotton fields.
Trevino was introduced to golf when his uncle gave him a few golf balls and an old golf club….after which he then spent his free time sneaking into nearby country clubs to practice…. and began as a caddie at the Dallas Athletic Club….which was near his home. He soon began caddying full-time….thus leaving school at age 14 to work full time…..when he earned $30 a week as a caddie and shoe shiner. He was also able to practice golf since the caddies had three short holes behind their shack…..so, after work, he would hit at least 300 balls….as many of these practice shots were struck from the bare ground with very little grass….which was known locally as “Texas hardpan”…. and often in very windy conditions….for it is this that is widely believed to be the reason Trevino developed his extremely unique (many would say unorthodox) and compact swing method which, of course, he went on to develop and groove with tremendous effect. A very pronounced controlled “fade” was undoubtedly his signature shot, although he had many other shot-types in his repertoire and he is, still to this day, remembered as one of the very finest shot-makers of all time.
When Trevino turned 17 in December 1956, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps….and served four years as a machine gunner….while being discharged in December 1960 as a corporal with the 3rd Marine Division….where he spent part of his time playing golf with Marine Corps officers…..and he played successfully in Armed Forces golf events in Asia….where one rival was Orville Moody….who would follow Trevino to the PGA Tour in the late 1960’s.