Having worked in my youth as a ranch hand, I have always enjoyed waking in the morning to roosters crowing and cows mooing. And though I am no sailor, I have spent enough time on boats to appreciate the soothing sound of water lapping against a hull that time of day. But nothing cheers me more than being gently roused from my slumber in the morning by the distant whir of lawnmowers, for that usually means I am staying on the grounds of a golf club.
I like the overall quiet of a place at dawn and the way the grass glows as the sun casts the day’s first rays of light across the fairways and field grass. The anticipation of the round, too, and the camaraderie it will no doubt produce.
Being on campus also simplifies logistics in very pleasant ways. There are no drives through strange neighborhoods. No worries about getting lost or being late. I do not have to locate a locker, either. It’s just a matter of lacing up my golf shoes in my room, slathering on a bit of sunblock and then slinging my bag over my shoulder and heading to the first tee.
The end of the day is just as gratifying a time, as my playing partners and I recount our rounds over drinks and tell tales. By this time, we have become acquainted with some of the club members as well as the bartenders and waiters who tend to our needs. And they begin to banter with us, too, which adds to the overall amity and enhances the sense of connection to the place.
So do the ways that hosts often strive to make their overnight guests feel welcome, the thinking being that if someone is taking the time to spend a night or two at their clubs, they should really put on the dog. The good people at the Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, for example, are in the habit of flying the American flag when golfers from that land are in residence. It’s a gesture that warms the heart and brings a tear to the eye every time.
I also believe that it is easier to understand a club and grasp its ethos when you are able to stay there. In addition to providing you with the time to play its course, or courses, it allows you to check out the maps and drawings that hang from the pro shop and clubhouse walls. The framed photographs, letters and scorecards. And the trophies from club tournaments that go back to its very founding.
Then, there is the pleasure of being able to truly enjoy your drinks and dinner at night because you do not have to operate any heavy machinery once you have emptied that last snifter of cognac.
Your room awaits, and it is only a short walk away.