Monday, October 5, 2009

A Good Walk

I know nothing about golf so I decided to write an essay about the Key West Golf Course even though the golf course is as much a mystery to me as,say the joy of bungee jumping. For instance, I have no idea what this machine was doing, possibly fertilizing, possibly watering or some other entirely unrelated thing:Whatever it was it took two men to accomplish, not forgetting the dog waiting in the shade of the golf cart: I like riding past the golf course on a sunny day, the greens are bright and accentuate the deep blue sky, and the bourgeois in me is pleased by the orderly nature of the rolling parkland, grass trimmed, sandy holes neatly circular and trees looking fresh and well cared for. There is nothing wild or savage about a gold course. the fact that people need maps to find their way from hole to hole is just par for the course, as it were:And just to give these tees, as I believe they are called, the proper Key West flavor they have painted coconuts to mark the boundaries of the extra-smooth areas:I once worked with a man who was of a left leaning persuasion that made me look like a White Russian and when it became known that he liked to totter off on a weekend and play golf he became profoundly embarrassed. He stuttered, the first time I'd seen him do that, saying that he knew golf courses and all their chemicals are bad for the environment but he loved the game. I never begrudged him or anyone else a round of chasing a little white ball if that made him happy, but I still think it's a weird way to spend a precious portion of one's allotted time on earth.
It looks nice enough, a ride through the palm groves:
And those sandy bunkers are kept clean by eager staff, raking and that kind of thing, according to what I could see:After one takes a little ride in the golf cart, easily avoiding any semblance of a walk or brisk exercise one stands around the balls and takes up a rather peculiar posture, bottom out, shoulders in and hands held forward in supplication. One's companion stands around like a guard overseeing the inmates at work: And then, after 18 holes of similar effort one returns to the club house and drinks and relives the whole tedious experience in greater detail. Motorcyclists do the same thing so I know.When I was a child golf was the sport of wealthy and privileged people,apparently that is no longer the case, at least not in Key West where they are very busy advertising for people to come in, throw down $35 for a cart and if necessary one can rent clubs as well. If I liked the sport it would seem like a bargain. This sign is prominent on the south side of the course along Highway One.I parked my wife's Vespa ET4 alongside the course and wandered into the shrubbery that lines the fence. Looking back I could see the scooter and the all important Dion's fried chicken store behind it. That's because the Key West Golf Course is on Stock Island, but mysteriously enough it is inside the city. That would be because years ago the city annexed north Stock Island to allow the golf course to be built along with some homes in a splendid new gated community. Nowadays the north lane of Highway One and all the land north of it around College Road is in the city.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office has an agreement with the city to patrol this area and they are responsible for the trees and bushes lining the golf course, a place where people are fond of hanging out and camping. A very pleasant spot it is too. And the golfers continue to beaver away out in the sun:
Across the course one can see the "Key West style" homes built by developer Pritam Singh who is also responsible for similar housing in Truman Annex and he also recreated these style of homes in Tranquility Bay in Marathon. I've seen these places offered for rent for better than $2,000 a month in the newspaper. My wife and I considered buying a few years ago when we were looking, but the strictures of the gated community thing and the lack of salt water access put us off. The short drive to Key West tended to increase the value of the properties and we weren't that interested. And of course we don't play golf...

One could be sitting out on the splendid Key West style porch while watching men hit balls and chase them across the green and pleasant lawns:
I have to wonder about the golfing posture. What is it about the hip thrust out, the way they do? If they behaved like this in mid-Duval Street they'd end up getting propositioned, but here they stand around flaunting their hips like nobody's business:
Though it surprises me when I think about how such a small land mass accommodates a full sized golf course, this place must improve the quality of life for a fair number of people. Golf is quite the passion I'm told for people who take it up.
I'd rather just go for a walk.