I admit that I am one retired person who does play golf. I'm not at all obsessive about it, like some people are, but I like the excuse to spend four or five hours walking around outside in the fresh air, hanging out with my buddies, and occasionally enjoying a pint of beer afterwards. Besides, it's easier on your joints than . . . oh, say, pickleball, which murdered my knee about a month ago.
|The clubhouse. Pretty nice!|
Besides, a golf course is usually pretty lush and well-manicured. When you walk up to the clubhouse, it makes you feel like you're richer than you really are.
|Uh, oh. My first shot went into the woods.|
I've been snowbirding for six weeks -- we're going home in a few days -- and I've played golf three times. Once with a friend who winters in Fort Myers, FL; once with a friend who has a place in Myrtle Beach, SC. And then yesterday I went out on my own to a course outside of Charleston. B dropped me off, then she went to enjoy some one-on-one time with her son.
|The 5th hole bordered a horse pasture.|
I played four or five holes by myself, then joined up with another guy who was also playing by himself. Another benefit of golf: it's an opportunity to meet new people.
|Look closely -- there's my ball on the green!|
His name was also Tom. I'd put him in his early-to-mid 70s. He had moved to Charleston from Chicago some 26 years ago. "Best decision I ever made," he told me.
|Site of Revolutionary War redoubt.|
The course we were playing was built in the 1990s and incorporated several historical sites into its landscape. In the clubhouse I saw a glass case full of local artifacts, presumably among those dug up and preserved when they put in the course. There were some iron spikes from the old Charleson-to-Savannah railroad, along with a display of Revolutionary War and Civil War memorabilia and a few artifacts from ancient Native Americans. The Battle of Stono Ferry took place here on June 20, 1779. The British suffered 149 casualties and the Americans 153, including the death of Hugh Jackson, President Andrew Jackson's older brother.
|A section of the old Charleston-to-Savannah railroad.|
The course was surrounded by a housing development. Tom told me you can get a townhouse in the $200,000 range, but some of the waterfront homes go for over $1 million.
|These are the $1 million homes overlooking the Stono River.|
"Do you live here?" I asked. "No," he said. "I work here."
|In trouble again!|
He mans the golf shop five hours a week. He doesn't get paid. Instead, he's allowed to play as much golf as he wants for free, except for Saturday and Sunday mornings. He takes part in two golf leagues at the club, and he told me he plays over a hundred rounds per year. So . . . there's someone who is obsessed with golf!
|Site of an old ferry crossing on the river, part of the Intracoastal Waterway.|
The course was not crowded, so we finished up a little early. I was happy with my game. I didn't score that well; but I was hitting the ball, which is all I wanted as I was just shaking off the winter cobwebs in preparation for playing in my own golf league up north. We start playing in mid-April.
I went out to the parking lot to wait for B to come back and pick me up, and saw this parked in front of the clubhouse. It's sure not mine, but . . . I told you playing golf makes you feel kind of rich!