The Golf Course Raid

golf course

Growing up my family had a Summer home on a bay directly across from a beautiful, sprawling, private golf course. During the day my cousins and I would run recon missions along the shore, leaping from our boat when the golfers were absent just to feel the short, spongy grass beneath our feet.

Inevitably, we were caught and chased off the course by angry golfers threatening police phone calls, but this in no way suffocated our appetite for the course. It just wasn’t fair that these grown-ups controlled and guarded such prime real estate only to walk on it. So we made a plan; we would take the course that night.

All day long we talked in hushed whispers about the plan or, more importantly, what could go wrong: the golf course was guarded by an armed ex-marine; the ex-marine had a dog that was half-wolf; there were motion detectors and spotlights; we might not make it back alive.

That evening, once our parents were healthily distracted talking or whatever it was that they did, all six of us crammed into the Punt– a Sear’s bought metal boat from the nineties. We took the punt because it didn’t matter if we damaged it (which we would) when docking (ramming) it on the rocky coast next to the course. The old boat was maybe intended for four people.  With six teenagers crammed in it, the rim was a mere ½ inch above water; and every time someone shifted, we gained water.

We couldn’t contain our giggles, but we tried, and we were sure to angrily hush whoever laughed the loudest. The warped wooden oars (not suitable for any boat) sent high-pitched creaks during careful strokes that sped us at a rate of maybe two miles an hour. The golf course was 30 feet away, and the voyage took about 15 minutes.

When we got to the shore, we threw the anchor and excitedly picked our way across the rocks. My older brother and cousin beat us to the reeds that separated coast from course and, vying for first, pushed one another through. The moment they sprawled on that emerald grass, a spotlight, coming from a golf cart five feet away, turned on, and a dog started barking.

Pure panic ran up our collective spine. We all turned and ran for the boat, I threw my shirt in and began to swim.  All stealth was cast aside for speed. The Punt caught up to me about half way back to the house and, in attempting to climb back on, I sank the boat, soaking everyone and greatly compromising our escape. Amazingly, no police cars came to pay us a visit, and nobody got bit by the wolf-dog. Still, we were shocked.

A few days later, as I picked my way along the golf course coast looking for balls to clean and sell back to golfers, the man in the golf cart pulled up with a golden retriever. He asked me if I was one of those kids that he caught trying to sneak on to the course. Sheepishly, I admitted my transgression, expecting the worst. He laughed, said it was the funniest thing he’d ever seen, and told me we were allowed on the course at night so long as we didn’t tear up the grass. With that, he drove off.