The Joys of Travel and Life: Golf’s Loveliest Round

Sunset at Santa Rosa Island

photo by Jeff Bartlett

blog by Ken McAlpine

Welcome to our weekly blog about the joys of travel and life. For the two are one. Travel, like life, is about making the most of our moments, for we only have so many. With that in mind, another moment together. Thank you for coming along for the ride…

Golf’s Loveliest Round

Once, on Santa Rosa Island, I watched two men playing golf. This was unexpected for a number of reasons, the biggest being Santa Rosa Island is not known as a golfing mecca. One of the five islands that comprise Channel Islands National Park, it doesn’t even have a golf course. Twenty-six miles off the Central California coast, Santa Rosa Island doesn’t have much of anything else either – at least in terms of items hewn by man — which is why it remains one of my favorite places in the world. You might go there to see empty, wind-blown seascapes, or fog banks the size of small countries, or the rare, and cuter-than-any-button, island fox. But you won’t go there to play golf.

Nonetheless, there they were, two middle-aged gentlemen, standing in a grassy field, considering their options.

The nearest man hunched, assumed a moment of focus, and swung his club. Jerking upright, he issued the golfer’s eternal refrain.

“Awwwww crap!”

Next, his opponent swung. He too must have made a similarly lousy shot, for he also spoke rudely to the wide sky.

In their defense, the course they played redefined the word rough. The grass was long, and in many places, it exploded in great tufts. There were bushes everywhere, and the wind blew like hell. Tiger Woods would have wept. I watched them take turns, first one, and then the other, swinging at balls I never did see, sending them, with colorful exclamations, to places it took them a long time to see.

The men cursed profusely, but they did so with loopy grins smothering their faces. It was the best golf I ever watched.

I left before they finished, for even golf on a remote and lovely island is an interminable sport. But that night, slurping soup alone in the campground, I imagined them, round finally complete, leaning on their clubs, watching as the sun fell lazily into the Pacific, caring nothing for games or those who played them.

Ken McAlpine has traveled the world as a writer, from the depths of Palau to the heights of the Andes, but no matter where he goes, he can’t wait to come home to Ventura. We hope his stories remind you of why you love the place you call home, and this gift called life. For more info, please go to www.kenmcalpine.com.

 

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