I’ll grant you that what recently happened to me was hardly as momentous as what occurred when Allied forces chased the Germans out of Paris in August 1944. But still, the sense of deliverance I felt once I was fully vaccinated and able to take to the road again for work was very powerful indeed.
First stop was the Dominican Republic and the incomparable Casa de Campo resort. There, I played golf on a couple of Pete Dye’s best golf courses, including Teeth of the Dog, and delighted not only in their deft designs and stunning water views but also in the pleasure of teeing it outside the United States for the first time in 15 months. The rum I sipped after each round, sweetened with fresh passion fruit juice, was just as enjoyable. So were the meals I savored each night at seaside eateries. Fish tacos one evening. A local version of bang-bang shrimp another. Equally as enticing were the sounds that filled the air during those repasts. Waves breaking on sugar sand beaches. Palm fronds rustling in the breezes. Diners at neighboring tables conversing in Spanish, French and Italian.
I was home again. My other home.
The sense of deliverance I felt once I was fully vaccinated and able to take to the road again for work was very powerful indeed.
Back in the States, I quickly headed west, to the Cal Club in South San Francisco, for a round with a dear friend and two complete strangers on a world top-50 course that counts Alister MacKenzie and Kyle Phillips among its architects. The sun shined brightly across the lush fescue fairways, and the wind blew through stands of towering cypress trees. And the air felt delightfully chilly and damp. I stopped more than a few times between shots just to soak up the scenery. If there had been any roses, I surely would have smelled them.
We spent an hour in the Cal Club grill room when we were done, sharing stories over beers and laughing as we considered the last time we had been able to do something as simple and satisfying as lingering at a 19th hole.
The following day, I toddled down to Pebble Beach for a loop around the old Peter Hay short course that Tiger Woods brilliantly revamped last year. Now called the Hay, the nine-hole track features a replica of the fabled par-3 seventh on the golf links – and stunning vistas of Stillwater Cove and Carmel Bay.
Once again, I was blessed with a chamber-of-commerce day, and the most beautiful place in golf could not have looked more beautiful.
“Vive la liberté!”