When I was 13 years old, I started playing golf at Greenhaven Golf Course in Anoka MN. It was not the first course I played, but it was the first course to become my home.
It was 1979, and I rode my motorcycle through miles and miles of old backwoods farm roads, and then along a stretch of railroad, to get to this place and see it for the first time. To me, it was like finding heaven on Earth. I walked along the old entrance road (which now does not exist) and was amazed at the beauty and grandure of this course – with majestic oaks linning each fairway of perfectly manicured bent grass. It was one of those perfect “10” summer days and I swear I can still feel the breeze and smell the flowers growing by the clubhouse. As I watched groups of players make there way down the 10th hole, I wanted to be with them, to join them, and take part in this awesome game. I’ll never forget this day, and it was one of those pivital moments that everyone has occur in their lives.
My dreams came true, and my Father bought a season ticket for me. I loved him so much for this special gift. I began riding with him to work on weekday mornings, and he would drop me off to play in the junior / senior time slots that were allocated from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM. Eventually, my brother and my childhood best friend joined my golf excursions, and we became our own group of regular golfers. This lasted for two summers, and was probably the best time of my life.
Each round and practice session increased my skills, and I was extremely dedicated to becoming the best golfer at Greenhaven. My future goals became golf oriented, and the sport was now a passion to me, and not just a game.
When I played, I imagined myself in the great Masters Tournament, or playing in the US Open. A low scoring round was a major victory and the best image booster I could attain. When I played with a group of people I had not met before, they cheered and boasted accolades of that young player with so much talent ….. forward 28 years >>>
I played Greenhaven again one week ago. The course is different. The majestic trees are gone. The plush bent grass fairways are now a mix of blue grass and fescue. The grand clubhouse is replaced with a nice updated building, yet has no character. The people are different, and it is surrounded by a decaying neighborhood. It’s class and prestige have all but left this place, and so had I.
I never found my dreams of the Masters or the US Open, and realize that I never will. I never will be the best.
Something magical happens still, as I walk onto the first tee box at Greenhaven. I feel the fire and ambition of that young boy, and his love of the game bubble to the top of my soul. I smile and feel alive again. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take almost anyone in a golf match, and still feel the same love and ambition that that 13 year old did. I still take great pride in being able to demolish a golf ball 340 yards with the driver, and like nothing better than to play every Sunday.
Many things in my life have slipped by and away. Things did not turn out as I had planned, but there is always one more round to possibly become the best of “my” life. This is what is important to me now.
A 13 year old boy with a dream wrote this.
One last note….my favorite person to play golf with at Greenhaven? My Father