There's a new park in town, no caddies allowed. Acacia Country Club is now a Metro Park Reservation, and while the holes remain the same, nobody's shanking drives or lining up a putt. We're feeling good tromping fairways, minus bogeys on the mind.
A golf course as a park plays smooth and clean like a mid-summer's dream. No whacks and craps!, divots, despair, need for better backswings. It's us and abandoned sand traps, dogs flying through the ruff, playing catch with my son on the seventh green.
There's a delicious vibe of activities untrue in a setting so specifically designed for something else. Naughty misuse of so carefully tended taming. Open spaces, manicured with Ben Hogan's meaning, resplendent in chemical greens and patches of trees. No penalty shots, no tee times, well drained stretches of 400 yard par fours.
The other day a mom and two little girls on bikes following cart paths; a guy with a metal detector looking for lost treasure (Bernie's spare change, dropped when bending over to plant a tee??). Walkers, joggers, a couple other dogs--stop to chat with a smile, "isn't it great that they didn't build condos?"
This park's song is sung with deep full breaths, the tall perimeter fences keep the cars at bay. An upscale mall across the street and BMWs looking for parking spaces. But our space is twisting down from tee boxes to a once-threatening stream, a little bridge to cross, woods no longer seen as the enemy of a good round. Instead we aren't keeping score, we're winning without a single stroke.
In this day of life we're laying where the best approach shots hope to be, face up to the sun, no worries of serenity-slicing Titleists invading. Just a grand day at the links, birdies all around.