I just got home. Two hours and twenty minutes of my evening were spent walking the fairways of Tarandowah. Lucky me.
The air was cool and the wind was brisk. With a down jacket under a water resistant shell, and the hood tied tight, I headed down the first fairway. I was happy. It felt like the grass was caressing my feet and they were returning the favour. This was a time to be alone with my friend. I saw a few golfers off in the distance but basically the course was mine to explore. And I know all the nooks and crannies. (Speaking of which, have you ever seen a cranny?)
I wondered at the rolling fairways … so sensuous. The fescue grass was just starting its growing thing in the rough, green instead of mid-season wispy brown. But the blades blew strong anyway, rippling like the ocean. Tarandowah also has long fescue growing on the far edges of the bunkers, so mini-oceans graced my path.
Birds said hello. Swallows dipped and dived close to the grass. Five little birdies were fanatic as they chased a big bird away from their nests. The pursuit must have extended for two hundred metres. And then there were the little pecking fellows in the rough. Apparently there’s lots to eat in there.
Crossing the bridge in front of the seventh tee, I saw a swimmer exiting stage left. It was a muskrat. She swished that long tail to get away. Once I was at a safe distance, she pulled onto a tiny sand bar and washed her face. Very cool.
I thought that the sunset would do its job before I completed my eighteen hole journey, and I was right. The declining sun turned the bunker sand golden and gave the fairways an animated sheen. Long shadows danced through the hollows and brought the mounds alive. And the wind died.
I stood on the thirteenth green, at the end of the world, with bare fields on two sides. I was alone in the universe, and yet immersed in a communion of spirit. I stood on the high point of land behind the sixth tee, and gazed over 360º of beauty. Faraway pins standing on faraway greens. The odd car making its way along a distant country road. I stood on the mounds behind the eighth green and was entranced by all the curves. An artist named Martin Hawtree (Tarandowah’s architect) had used broad brush strokes here. And then there was the broad sweep of the fourteenth, looking suspiciously like the mural on my bedroom wall.
On the eighteenth fairway, darkness was settling in. If I had been golfing, I wouldn’t have been able to follow the flight of the ball. I looked to the tiny clubhouse as I finished the journey … all dark. Golfers and staff members had gone home. I was already there.