Golf purism is having a moment. Peruse social media's golf communities and you'll be awash in nostalgia: hickory clubs, tour visors and leather golf bags galore. You'll also see a renewed emphasis on walking as the best (and, depending on whom you're following, only) way to take in a course.
I love walking as much as anyone, but last Thursday, I have to admit I enjoyed the ride even more. I had teed off on foot at Grand Beach Golf Course, a century-old Chicagoan wekenders' nine-holer so frozen in time that I half expected Chick Evans to appear around the next dogleg. While waiting on a threesome on the second tee, two residents of the village, Bill and Dave, each driving his own cart, crested the hill short of the first green. They joined up with me, and Bill invited me to toss my bag onto the back of his orange-and-black 1974 AMF Harley-Davidson golf cart. How could I pass up that chance?
A solo walk quickly turned into a jaunty thrill-ride over the quirky, endearing course and a wonderful hour-plus in the company of two fellow lefty golfers who have played Grand Beach scores of times each. They shepherded me around the old-world layout, home to the oddest quartet of finishing holes I have seen: a 260-yard par four boomeranging to the left under trees, a short, straightaway par 5 with a massive oak overhanging most of the tiny green; and two consecutive blind par 3s. Bill and Dave regaled and laughed with me like a long-lost friend, rather than the stranger I was. Grand Beach may not be the "best" course I've ever played, but between the play, the camaraderie and the Harley, it was the highlight of my year in golf so far.
Shh...it’s a secret...— Tim Gavrich (@TimGavrich) June 29, 2019
GRAND BEACH GOLF COURSE - New Buffalo, MI
- Bendelow, 1912; seems to be little-touched except for tree growth
- 100%, complete, out-and-out throwback
- Ends on back-to-back (!) blind (!!) par 3s (!!!)
- 1974 Harley-Davidson golf cart?!
- $13.50 for 9 pic.twitter.com/d1WH97T0g4