A couple weeks ago the news was all abuzz with the NCAA college finals golf
tournament being held at the world acclaimed Prairie Dunes golf course just outside
Hutchinson. It all took me back to my one and only brush with golf.
In 2006, as a valiant attempt to add a little culture to my otherwise mundane
existence, and to further stretch the boundaries of my comfort zone, (also known as free
tickets) I attended the 2006 Senior Open Golf Tournament there at Prairie Dunes. Now
understand, I don’t know a fairway from a freeway, or a bogey from a back nine. To me,
a driver is the person at the wheel of a vehicle, and putter is something we men do in lieu
of something constructive. Yet there I was, reduced to being part of something called
“the gallery.” Even though I tried my best to fit in, I’m pretty sure I looked at that entire
experience slightly different than most other people there. Allow me to explain.
Every golf course is littered with various sized pits of sand known as sand traps.
When I looked at the sand traps all around us, all I could think was what swell little
ponds they would be. Large mouth bass and those big hybrid bluegills would love nice
sandy bottom pools like those.
Much of the hilly terrain between holes was thick with sand hill plum bushes. I
imagine the refined eye of any golf connoisseur sees this as garnish; part of the overall
presentation. I saw them as a never-ending supply of plum jelly.
The miles of neatly groomed footpaths amidst the roughs looked to me like great
spots for coyote traps. The trees bordering the course screamed deer hunting to me, and I
had a few good tree-stand locations picked out before we’d left. And I hadn’t even
thought about the turkey hunting yet!
Anyway, as out-of-place as I felt, I began to see that this game called golf has a
lot of similarities to deer and turkey hunting. For example, we’d been advised to find
choice seats and wait for the players to come to us. So there we sat awaiting our
“quarry,” on hunter green colored bleachers at the 17th
action all around us. Not much different I’d say than puttin’up our camouflage hunting
blind near a “hot” deer trail or a known turkey roost and marking time in anticipation of a
good shot. Speaking of shots, when one of us makes a nice shot and harvests a deer or
turkey for the freezer, there are high-fives and handshakes all around. Those guys too!
When one of them made an exceptional “shot” he’d dance a jig, shake everyone’s hand
and even tip his hat to the crowd. They even had guys who raised their hands to keep
everyone quiet while they shoot. (My wife and I would both benefit from that when we
hunt together!) I must say though that their marksmanship left a lot to be desired. Those
guys all shot 64 or 65 times each day, and I didn’t see one of them carrying any game to
Yes, my playing golf at Prairie Dunes (now there’s a mental picture) would
probably be worthy of a movie. We could call it something like “the Clampetts Join the
Country Club.” I’d have to have a special custom-made golf bag with an extra pouch on
each side; one to hold a deer rifle with a scope, and the other to hold a shotgun. I’m
pretty sure I could get a fishing rod and traps in there somewhere amongst the clubs. I
seriously doubt they would allow me into the clubhouse or proshop though dressed in full
All foolishness aside, I’m sincerely glad we had that experience. The golf course
was immaculate and beautiful; television did not do it justice. I’m proud to say I’m part
hole, a spot where we could see
of a community that can pull off such an event. I can see myself and my wife learning the
game of golf someday. Even though it’s not exactly my cup of tea right now, it would be
yet another way to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at email@example.com.