Granite State of Mind, #148: Sagamore Hampton Golf Club, North Hampton
I've mentioned before what an indifferent golfer I am. I enjoy the game, even though I am constantly looking up at mediocrity in relationship to it, which is not uncommon among the pursuits I enjoy (basketball, writing, and marriage come to mind, among others). Part of what makes golf in New Hampshire great is what makes so many things in New England special - the brevity of the season. As soon as the ice begins melting in late March the Yankee duffer thinks of the links, and it is only with stoic reluctance that he stows his clubs when the 3pm sunsets of late fall come around.
There are a number of courses in the seacoast area I recall fondly (and look forward to torturing again soon) - the Exeter Country Club, naturally, but also the Abenaki, the Wentworth, Breakfast Hill. I mention Sagamore today because of the numerous great memories I have of nine- or eighteen-hole walks spoiled there with good friends. I can remember Matt Carlyon and Mica Stark waiting patiently while I doubled their stroke totals, and of course Ben Wheeler and I have intimate knowledge of every bunker and hazard the place offers.
My favorite memory of Sagamore involves Ben from our banking days, along with our New York-bred colleague Tony Mellon. Tony was central casting city tough, with a grumbling epithet for every bad shot and an infectious laugh to go with it. This tale takes place at the eighth tee box. Any local golfer will recall the hole, which includes a tee shot toward the barn that has to clear a pond and climb a slope. Not a terribly difficult shot, but any time you have to carry over water, the unskilled amateur cringes a bit. Anyway, Tony laced a drive directly at the pond, where his ball struck one of the innumerable geese who hang out there, and ricocheted up onto the grassy sward. Tony, in his inimitable hey-yous accent, cried out, "I hit a duck!" Ben and I tried in vain to convince our pal that those were in fact geese, but Tony was having none of it, declaring over and over that he had hit a duck.
I can't wait to get home and chase the white ball with these guys again soon. Ducks, you've been warned.