I was a little startled this morning when I saw a small, moving vehicle across the road.
And then it hit me: The golf course is open again; it was a golf cart.
One might think it is a peaceful existence, living across from a golf course. For many years, my family and I lived right on The Homestead course. If a ball landed anywhere in our yard, it was still in play. Now, I live across from the Cascades course. It is called one of the country’s most beautiful, and I agree with that. It has been here for 100 years, having been carved out and groomed in 1923.
There is even a small cemetery on a hill on the course. It contains remains of the Thompson family, who owned the land where the course was built but had buried relatives long before the course became a reality. I guess a deal was struck when the land was transferred. I don’t know, but I’ll bet it’s one of very few golf courses, maybe the only one, with a cemetery dead center. (Sorry!)
But, believe me, living next to a golf course is not the peaceful existence it might seem. There are startling noises, and lots of them, once it opens for the season.
Parties of rowdy golfers trundle around in carts. They shout. They play radios (Why is that?). They holler back and forth. And, when one hits a great shot — maybe a hole-in-one — a cheer goes up as if it were Yankee Stadium.
But, when a shot goes haywire, there is often an even louder reaction: Cursing that echoes off the beautiful, rolling hills. It scares the birds out of the trees. It is startling to be sitting out on my screened porch — where I can see a lot of the course — and suddenly be jerked out of my reverie by a reverberating expletive.
Even if the golfing parties are relatively quiet, much of their attire is not. Golfers are known for their love of bright colors, blazing pastels, madras pants and shorts. It can at times resemble a gay Pride parade I once stumbled into in San Francisco.
I often think it would be a better choice for hunters — which we have a lot of around here, too — to wear the bright pink and yellow and purple clothing and the golfers to favor camouflage. The golfers would blend right in with the scenery, and the hunters wouldn’t have to bother with blaze orange.
Back when we lived on The Homestead course, my father kept a close eye on the golf goings-on when he was home. If a sudden rainstorm blew in, he’d run out and hail the golfers and bring them up on our big, wraparound porch to wait out the storm. He’d sometimes decide that I, who worked as a bartender at Snead’s at the time, should go out and “see if they want anything to drink.” This never pleased me. I prayed for the storm to pass. One blustery day, we had at least 20 of them gathered out there.
I also remember the summer evening Mom and Daddy were sitting in wicker rockers, enjoying the twilight. Suddenly, WHAM, a flying golf ball came blazing in and knocked my mother out of her chair.
Those wicker rockers around the porch were picturesque. But, one windy winter night, we looked out and one was lifted from its porch perch and went skiing across the golf course toward the woods. We never found it again.
So, it’s April, and the Cascades is open again. And, they’re out there — the sometimes-loud golfers in their sometimes-loud attire — probably having a great time. Unless they’re not. And if they’re not, I’ll hear it. I’m prepared, though: Living by a golf course … you gotta love it!