There are tons of golf courses worldwide. All of them have a name. Some of those names are more interesting than others, but all courses have been christened. Where the ideas came from can be obvious or totally mysterious.
However these monikers came about, researching the names of golf courses was a lot of fun. Let me share with you some of my findings.
Two terms were the most common found in a survey of some 19,000 golf courses in the USA. If you have never played a course with "eagle" or "deer" in its name, then you haven't been looking hard enough. Who wouldn't want to see an eagle soaring majestically overhead as you chase that little white ball around the links? It might just take your mind off of how bad you are playing.
You might have a better chance to see a deer on a multitude of courses in this country whether the animal is used in the name or not. I recall seeing several as we traveled the Seventeen Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula. Spotting a deer while playing Pebble Beach would be spectacular.
As for the one thing that creates more problems than any other on a golf course, the mighty oak is found on the list more than any other tree. Other terms that seem to stand out are valley, ridge and several varieties of fruit. The usual terms are a little boring, so what say we look at some of the more unusual, if not downright bizarre names that I came across.
If you managed to find your way to Cavendish on Prince Edward Island in Canada, you could play Ann of Green Gables Golf Club. Perhaps you would rather play Hiawatha Golf Club in Tomah, Wis. Elmira, N.Y. is home to the Mark Twain Golf Course. I wonder if coonskin caps are the hat of choice at The Links of Davy Crockett in Memphis, Tenn. There are even courses named for Rip Van Winkle and Pocahontas
I frequently refer to my golf clubs as sticks, and if that word grabs your fancy we have some choices for you. I found a Bent Stick, Crooked Stick, Hickory Stick, Talking Stick, Walking Stick, Wooden Stick and Wicked Stick. Sticks and stones can drive my score up.
A trip to Smithville, Mo. will yield a choice of courses. You could opt for The Outlaw Golf Club or The Posse Golf Club. Members from the former can't seem to keep an honest score card, whereas golfers from the latter just can't stop chasing things.
For a few laughs you could play the Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls, S.D. How could one not have fun playing the En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y., or Harmony Golf Club located in the Minnesota city with the same name? It certainly beats playing a couple of courses with a lake in the title. Would you want to search for a lost ball in the water at Dead Horse Lake Golf Club in Knoxville, Tenn.? Why, pray tell, did the people at White Lake, Mich. name their course Bogie Lake Golf Club? Whether you expect to shoot over par or get scared off by the "Bogie Man" it has to affect your game.
Speaking of being scared, would you want to play Spooky Brook Golf Club in Somerset, N.J.? Maybe you would like to have a run at The Gauntlet in Fredericksburg Va., or tiptoe around The Nutcracker in Granbury, Texas. In Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada you could play the Taboo Golf Course. Kind of makes you wonder what the local rules entail, doesn't it?
Here are a couple of courses that should allow you to play for free if you can properly pronounce the name of the course. The Ngarvawahia Golf Club is located in Waikato, New Zealand and the Ffestinioq Golf Club can be found in Wales. Whatever happened to simple names like The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.? Of course that is the first course in this country, so it needed no other identification since it was THE Country Club.
If you happen to be near Woodstock, N.H. in late October I would think you would want to play Jack O'Lantern Golf Club. You cannot however, play the Three Little Bakers Country Club and Dinner Theatre in Seaford, Del. as it has recently closed. I suppose I have followed up a round of golf with dinner and a movie; but I know I had to leave the course first to do so.
If you would have the opportunity to travel to England, you might get a glimpse of baby George by playing The Royal Household Golf Club in Windsor. You might want to go to Ashstead instead and play the Royal Automobile Club. Do you suppose they give you vintage cars to use as golf carts? How about playing the London Bridge Golf Club? You can do so, but not in England. They moved the bridge and presumably the golf course to Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
For those who have trouble counting all their strokes when they play golf perhaps Lost Track Golf Club in Bend, Ore. is the place for you Maybe you would like to play Kissing Camels Club in Colorado Springs but beware they tend to spit a lot. Then there is a course called Growling Frog. Who is afraid of a frog, growling or otherwise?
Well, that about wraps things up. Wait a minute; I have one more that my dentist wanted me to include for reasons unbeknownst to me. The Flossmoor Country Club gives you that gentle reminder that you should take more time to line up your putts or something to that affect.
I had to include Flossmoor to pacify my dentist. I'd rather run The Gauntlet than upset my dentist. After all, the man puts sharp tools in my mouth.
Al Stephenson is the golf columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.
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