Even in the somewhat eerie silence in which golf is being played currently, one name is heard again and again. It is like the buzzing of a bee in an adjoining room. It is that of a man who is as much of an Anglophile as any American can be, a Californian who went to university in Maine, did a post graduate degree at Cambridge in England, is a member of the Oxford & Cambridge Golfing Society as well as the recorder of the Dinner Match Society, which is made up of golfers dedicated to playing foursomes golf and dining well. So, not exactly your ordinary Joe.
This man worked for the USGA and now has an historical consulting business that has advised clubs as geographically diverse as the Cal Club near San Francisco, Baltusrol in New Jersey and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, Scotland. Aged 42, he has a handicap of 2.3, is married to Dottie Pepper and a proud member of the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club, a nine-hole course of some distinction that was founded in 1896. This man is David Normoyle.
His name is on the lips of many in golf because he has just completed a 40-day journey from the East Coast to the West Coast of the US and back again. While he was doing it he wrote a log that he sent to friends most days. It was an odyssey that included countless meetings with friends and family and business associates. It also included a meal with Bob Goalby, a warm conversation with Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw and a spellbinding encounter with Jarah (pronounced Ju-Rah), described as a mystic, at Cahokia near St. Louis in western Illinois. Some days he drove 500-plus miles and still kept his readers informed and for one segment of the trip he travelled 1,259 miles, driving through Texas to Palm Springs, California, and still had the energy to confront his computer at the end of the day. Dog-tired as he often must have been, his fatigue did not conceal his enthusiasm. Each missive ended with the words: “I can’t wait to find out what happens tomorrow.”
“The first few days were really hard until I got what a friend of mine called my ‘sea legs,’ ” Normoyle said. “Then I understood that you could wake up at 5 a.m., read and prepare for the day and then go the whole day and finish dinner and at 10 o’clock sit down and write 1,000 words and send those words and pictures to a group of pretty discerning people around the world. You go to sleep somewhere between 12 and 1 and wake up after four or five hours sleep and do it all over the next day. I had never done anything like that in my life and I never thought I was capable of doing that, but I just kept going. I was exhausted every day but what I learned was that … you had to be disciplined. The determination to keep going and doing what you are committed to even though everything in your body is telling you to stop.”
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