Granite State of Mind, #45: Exeter Country Club, Exeter
First off - and anyone who's been on a course with me knows this - I am a horrific golfer. A military golfer (left-right-left-right) with a scorecard full of snowmen, mainly suffering from a "loft" problem (lack of f#$%ing talent). I can break 80, but only on a nine-hole course like Exeter. Still, despite my ineptitude on the links, I enjoy spoiling a good walk with friends like Paul Scafidi or Ben Wheeler, Keith Thomas Paine or Matt Carlyon, Jonathan Tyson or Darrien Tucker or Bobby Meyer. A cigar is the perfect counterbalance to a seven-iron, and the easy companionship of a golf cart is the perfect remedy for another slice or grassburner.
I've played Abenaqui and Wentworth and Rockingham and Breakfast Hill in New Hampshire and my share of courses in Maryland, but to the extent I have a "home" course it's Exeter. It's an old course, one of the hundred oldest in the country, founded in 1889, and it has a casual, unpretentious feel, which is important when your game is as shameful as mine.
All of that said, some of my fondest memories of Exeter Country Club have nothing to do with golf. Back in high school we used to sneak out there after a heavy snow and sled down the first fairway, from the clubhouse to the driving range. There's a stone wall down there with a gap in the middle, and it was a good run if you could make it through that gap, past what Eric Aaronian and I once termed "The Great Barrier". I'm sure we weren't supposed to be out there. Just one more thing I've done wrong on that golf course, I suppose.