Over the years, I've met a lot of nice people playing golf. The gentleman I met last week at The Golf Club at Terra Lago stands out as one of my most memorable encounters. I saw a guy moving carts and called out: "Where do I return my cart?" He replied: "I'll take you to your car and bring it back down." When he got to my cart, he asked: "When were you there?" He had seen my "Disabled Vietnam Veteran" ball cap. I told him. "Me, too." he said. " Where were you stationed?" When I told him, he said, "I know exactly where that is." The guy told me that I am only the third veteran he'd met who was in Vietnam at the same time he was.
By the time we reached my car, I learned the name of this Indio veteran. He is David. That's all I know other than he is a fellow veteran, delighted to meet another person who shares a similar military experience.
David went on to tell me about how it came to pass that he was in the U.S. Navy. He got the "certificated letter" in the mail, aka. the draft letter. David explained that before he opened the letter, he went to the recruiting station. The U.S. Air Force guy wasn't talking about anything that interested him. There was no U.S. Marine there that day. Then, he saw the U.S. Navy recruiter kicked back in his chair, drinking coffee, and reading a magazine. David told me, "I said to myself: 'Looks like a job for me.'" He shared with me that he was in Vietnam during the last days, helping evacuate people. "That was tough duty," David said.
As I closed the tailgate, I gave David a pen with my contact information and thanked him for his service. I invited, "Call me if you ever want to talk, David." it wasn't about business, just about two veterans staying in touch.
Without golf, I would not have met David from Indio. While golf is always good, meeting a fellow veteran and sharing a moment in time made the day very special.
As usual, Palm Springs was a wonderful sojourn. Yet, like most journeys, not everything went according to plan. I really intended to play Muroc Lake Golf Course at Edwrds' Air Force Base first. However, 55 degrees with a breeze was a bit much to ask my bride to endure. We also passed up playing a couple courses after stopping for lunch in Morongo Valley. Let's face it, our bellies were a little too full after hitting the seafood buffet at the casino. Therefore, I didn't hit get the clubs out of the car until Thursday morning.
Sticking somewhat to my plan, I went to Desert Dunes Golf Club. The course is a favorite because it is near where we normally stay in Desert Hot Springs. It was as good as I remembered it. Not only did I play it on Thursday, I went back on Saturday. Another reason to keep this course on the list is that they offer a veteran-friendly discount.
On Friday, I did try something new, The Golf Club at Terra Lago South Course. I was surprised that the course was not very busy. Out of my week, I had my best round here. Was it not having a group of players to distract me? Or, was it because I played my first round in weeks at a familiar venue the previous day? As I sometimes say: don't know, don't care. All I know is that I got to play a terrific course for a reasonable price and scored well. I was done in time to take a shower and a nap before meeting my bride for evening activities.
Muroc lake Golf Course was worth the wait and a fun way to spend St Patrick's Day morning. The green fee sported a free lunch as long as we ordered by 1:00pm. When I started this trek, I thought the course might be as rusty as my game initially appeared. Yet, it was in good shape. Beyond the game, it was great having my bride along to drive my cart. On the front nine, we joined a threesome. One them had his wife driving his cart as well. At the turn, we somehow lost the threesome. On the back nine, we met up with a U.S. Air Force mechanic from Hawaii. We had a great time talking about a place we all can call home.
Some say they are golf widows. Others say they are educator widowers. Spring Break brings my bride and I are together again. We are making our annual sojourn to Palm Springs. While my bride enjoys the Spring CUE Conference, it's time for me to begin my 2019 golf season in earnest.
My first course of the Spring Season will actually be on Edwards Air Force Base, Muroc Lake Golf Course.
Not only is spring the time for me to ease back into the game, golf courses are warming up as well. Therefore, both player and course can accept each other just as we are, a bit rusty. That said, there will still be a give and take of challenges. Of course, Murdoc Lake is always a good course to play when passing through Antelope Valley.
After a morning on the course at Edwards Air Force Base, we will take a leisurely drive to Indio, California. Yes, I know. I said we are going to Palm Springs. The conference is in Palm Springs. Yet, the golf is everywhere.
From Downtown Palm Springs to Desert Hot Springs, to Indio and all points inbetween, the Greater Palm Springs area sports a multitude of reasonably priced places to stay. The trick is booking early. Regardless of where my bride and I stay, I have had good luck booking tee times using GolfNow.com or TeeOff.com.
So our bags are packed and we are ready to go. Let the golf season begin.