My Golf Course

Seven pm the golf course closes, though now it has a lot of rules and to stay open, people have to follow them. No carts other than personal carts. People have to sign in. People have to wear masks. Only a certain number of people are allowed on the (9 hole) course at a time, and they must leave by 7:00.

I know this virus is a terrible thing and a pain in the butt for people eager to return to their normal lives, but like the mountain goats in Spain, the mountain lions in Boulder, the elk, well, everywhere, Bear and I are jazzed to have the people under control for once..

We went for our first evening ramble of the summer once it got cool. To me this is MORE than a golf course. It’s a haven. It’s where I learned to walk again after moving here and again after my hip surgery. It’s where Dusty T. Dog learned to actually BE free and trust people.

Bear, me and Dusty on the driving range

It’s where I got to know this world when I first moved here six years ago. It’s where I met Mr. Martinez and heard his sad story, then watched him make friends with Dusty T. Dog and tell me I could walk on his private road. It’s where Fred (the other golf course walker and voluble, hilarious Italian) and I stood in knee deep snow discussing whether Mr. Martinez should trap the beavers in his ditch. “Big as bears!!!!” said Fred. “I saw one, good god!”

And then, last year, one late summer evening, a guy taking care of the golf course, out mowing the driving range (pasture) said, “I made you a hiking trail there by the pond, and I set up a hammock, too, down at that end.”

It’s where I was followed by a small herd of mule deer. It’s where I saw the fox in the mist. I’ve enjoyed the flights of bald eagles, golden eagles, red tail hawks. The dogs have been captivated by the smells of nocturnal mammals as I’ve tracked their foot prints and been a little surprised by bear scat. I’ve read the tragedy in the broken form of a fox-downed red-tail. I’ve watched the sudden uprush of hundreds of geese and listened to the sweet, soothing sound of a thousand cranes. And then there’s “my” horse and the kids who live across the street from the 8th hole.

It’s where I discovered I can still X-country ski.

The golf course has been there for nearly 100 years as all of this — not to mention golf — has transpired across it, year after year after year. A golf course that has — among its written rules, “No livestock” and “Clean up after your dogs.” Seriously, how many golf courses have rules like that? ❤

The golf course (which backs onto The Big Empty) was my primer to the San Luis Valley. Just a golf course in a little town, but to me and Bear? It’s the natural world, and it’s only a block from my house. Not black and white, and not abstract, but if you think about it, nature’s performance art happens in time.

And seriously, isn’t it beautiful? I know it’s not the Tetons or the Eiger or something, but still. 

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31 thoughts on “My Golf Course

    • It’s wonderful. Every year it looks like it’s going to be shut down by the city and then somehow it pulls it off and stays open and a golf course. Lots of non-golfers love it.

  1. How marvelous that you and Bear have the golf course all to yourselves while it’s still light during the summer. It’s such a great part of your life there that I hope it can be maintained as long as you wish to walk there.

  2. When a golf course is not just a golf course, it is where adventures happen (that’s what your post says to me). No wonder you love living where you do. That photo with the shadows is really cool too. 🙂

    • As a golf course, it’s pretty wonderful, too. Families play on it. Mom, kids, baby in stroller. A guy plays with his golden retriever. It’s a pretty special place.

      • That’s really nice! I don’t think that’s allowed around here. The golf courses are actually all closed here in NH because of the virus and the golfers are not happy.

  3. There is wonder and beauty when and where we look for it. What a wonderful community that sees that and encouraged it for each other! Hope you get to enjoy the warmer weather and the changing seasons (even if Bear is in a rush for summer to end before it has started)!

  4. Normally, the only time you can use a golf course for anything other than chasing a little ball around is in the winter, when you can ski on it. This is my kind of golf course! (When I turned 50, a friend gave me a ball and club, saying I was too old for the sports I was doing. When she turned 50 I gave them back, saying I was still too young for golf but she might be old enough. She still golfs. I still don’t. I did golf in junior high, barefoot and early in the morning. I liked the feel of the cool, dewy grass between my toes.)

    • Golf is one sport for which I have a natural talent, which pissed off my uncle when he took me out the first time to teach me and I beat him. (Who knew?) But that didn’t make it more interesting. I have no problem with chasing a little ball around a pasture, but I don’t do it. One of the things I love about “my” golf course is watching the golfers. I’ve seen two old guys golfing when there were still patches of snow. I watched a crippled old guy (who clearly loved the game) helped to each shot by his son. A mom and dad and three kids sharing a cart and playing with different colored balls. I nabbed one out of the street and brought it back to them. “That’s mine. I’m playing orange!” It’s truly the most charming golf course. There’s a guy who likes my dogs so much he stops play and even goes over a low fence just to pet them. I had a magical experience out there in February when I ran into two amazing people. The husband was playing golf for the first time in 20 years. He wasn’t that mobile, but he was so happy. The course wasn’t even open yet. His wife and I had a kind of spontaneous heart-to-heart talk. They don’t even kill the dandelions because honey is a major product of this valley.

  5. I love your comment that Bear wants to move to Antarctica! You’d have a terrible time, though — you’d never be able to find her without a bright orange or red jacket, and that would defeat the whole purpose!

    • 🙂 You make a good argument. I will have to take it up with her. For now she’s persisting in digging down deeper in the spots where there was last snow. It’s kind of pathetic, but so Bear.

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