Reflections from the Seat of My Dozer

More than just a game...

More than just a game


I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a long time but couldn’t figure out an appropriate post to kick it off.  I didn’t get into this industry purely out of a love for the game, but rather a love for how the game affects people, relationships, and communities for good. Recently, I was reminded that a golf course is more than just a place to play the game.  For some people, it’s their community - a place where fellow players and staff go above and beyond to show someone that they belong.  


For those who don’t know, we added a new tee on hole no. 2 at WPGC early in July.  After getting it shaped and prepped for sod the next day, I helped Superintendent Ed Batcheller and some of his guys lay sod near no. 8.  Standing to the side as a group of players approached the no. 8 tee, I watched an older gentleman step up and fire off a shot straight down to the green, then two-putt to par the hole.  I was pretty impressed.  After going over to congratulate him, one of the members of the group told me that his name was Ed, and that a group of WPGC regulars rally around him to make sure he never plays alone.  


It turns out that Ed, now 91, lost his wife a number of years ago.  After she passed, he continued to show up to play WPGC first thing in the morning – by himself.  Several golfers from the community befriended him and now play with him four times a week so that he isn’t alone.  These relationships, born at a golf course over a shared love of the game, give Ed a sense of belonging.  Gregg Pascale, pro shop manager at WPGC, told me that on Ed’s regular golfing days, the staff leaves a cart by the handicap parking spot prior to his arrival so that it’s ready for him to load/unload his clubs.  They also put a cup of French vanilla coffee out on the patio for him as he finishes his round each playing day.  Talk about extraordinary, personalized service!


The Winter Park Golf Course is an exceptional place with a bright future not because of the golf course (although I’m pretty proud of how it turned out), but because of what it means to people like Ed and the players lucky enough to play a round with him and know him as a friend.  The next time I’m back, I’ll be heading out to see if I can join Ed and his group.  Who can you befriend the next time you play a round at your course?  



Keith Rhebb