Recently I had a rare opportunity to play golf with 16 complete strangers over the course of five days on five different courses in a state 3,000 miles from Wenatchee. ROAD TRIP!
In July, my wife Denese and I flew to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to pick up a car for our son Brady and drive it back to Wenatchee. We thought this would be a great cross-country adventure, and it was.
We had some extra time, so we decided to stay a week at our relative’s condo on Inveraray Golf Course in Fort Lauderdale and see the sights of Florida’s east coast. I, of course, wanted to play golf.
If Inveraray sounds familiar, it’s because the Professional Golf Association has held several events there over the years, most notably the Honda Classic. Jack Nicklaus played one of professional golf’s best final rounds in the history of the game on this course.
It was also the home course for Jackie Gleason (“to the moon, Alice”) and where his customized Rolls Royce golf cart still proudly resides in the restaurant.
Inveraray was designed and built by Robert Trent Jones, who said, “Inverrary is the kind of course which hews to my basic philosophy of golf course architecture … Every hole should be a hard par and an easy bogey.” Here’s the kicker: It costs $26 for 18 holes with a cart and global positioning system device (summer rates).
So I got busy making tee times at Woodland Golf Course east and west, the Plantation Preserve and Inveraray east and west. Five very different courses over five days and played with 16 guys as strangers that ended up to be fast friends.
For those of you that have walked on to a new course as a single and ended up getting paired with a new group of guys, you know what I mean by developing fast friends. I’m probably never going to see those guys again, but for four hours it was like I played with these guys once a week.
One of the favorite lines came from Herb. I managed to hole a 30-foot putt from off the green, and Herb said, “Great putt, Dan,” to which I replied, “Thanks, I’d rather be lucky than good.” Herb retorted, “Ya, it’s a lot easier.”
That kind of golf-talk happened every day from fellow players ranging in age from 40 to 83. It was great fun, and the play was competitive. I only played one round in the 80s and the other four in the low 90s, but scoring wasn’t the point. The experience of playing with 16 strangers in a strange land (all with distinct east coast accents) and on different types of grass and 90 percent humidity at 7 a.m. all added to the unique experience that is the silly game of golf.
Someone once said, “You can learn everything you need to know about a person in just one round of golf.” Playing the game with someone you’ve never met before adds a different dynamic to how you make your way around 18 holes.
So if you get the chance, grab a tee time as a single at a new course and see who you can meet. You just might end up taking goofy picture with strangers.