“The Dewsweepers” is actually the title of a book by James Dodson, gifted to me for my birthday by my golfing buddy Bruce Robinson.
The term ‘dewsweeper’ is defined as a group of four golfers that is the first off the tee in the morning and subsequently the first players to sweep the dew off each green with their play. The book itself is really about relationships that grow and flourish while playing the silly game of golf. If you like to read books about golf, it’s a must read.
I stumbled into my own group of dewsweepers last summer at Highlander Golf Course and continued playing with “those guys at sunrise” this season as well. I’m a notorious early riser anyway, so I thought this would be perfect for me — tee off at 6 a.m., home by 9:30 a.m. in time for breakfast and still have the rest of the day to take care of whatever was on my wife’s honey-do list.
These dewsweepers came and went all summer based on their individual schedules, but if they were in town you could count on them four to five times per week to be on that first tee between 5:30 and 6 a.m. They include Dick, Dennis, Mike, Dan, Jim and me.
Some mornings I was the fifth guy to make it to the tee, but they invited me to play anyway. Playing a five-some is not usually kosher, but when it’s the first group off in the morning, the course generally will look the other way. These guys are good players but even better with the wisecracks. One morning I hit the drive of my life, close to 275 yards straight as a stick down the middle — even outdriving “long-ball Dennis.” I was on the green in two and three-putted for a bogey. After the third putt mercifully fell into the hole, in unison they all said, “Nice drive, Dan.” Nice guys, right?
It was with these dewsweepers I witnessed my first hole-in-one live and in person. It was on the par-3 ninth hole at Highlander, and Dennis hit a beautiful shot over the canyon, landing just right of the pin. The ball snaked its way into the bottom of the cup — an ace for Dennis! We hooped and hollered and high-fived like we had just won the final point at the Ryder Cup. After photos and congrats, we proceeded to the 10th hole. Dennis had a 4-foot putt for par and missed it short. He turned to all of us and said, “ I guess I’m just not used to putting.” Funny guy, that Dennis.
These dewsweepers continue at sunrise even into the fall, but mainly weekends only as some have daily lives that require their attendance as daylight becomes a premium. There is a very special feeling one gets on the golf course at such an early hour. That feeling is caused by the smell of freshly cut grass, the mist of massive sprinkler showers and those blinding sunrises that prevent even those with 20-20 vision from being able to track the ball to its drop zone.
I’ll stop short of calling it spiritual, but it’s pretty close.