Unless you’re a hermit, you meet other people along the trail. If you’re an unnamed member of our group, you meet everyone. I fall somewhere in between. Our time at lodging, dining, golf and other loci was populated with encounters, run-ins, and engagements with employees, other guests, and a few, non-human creatures. 

Let’s begin with one of the first people you meet: the starter. I’ve met a few zealous ones in my time on the course, and I feel for them. Sometimes, that’s the mandate of the admins: spin a tale of length and information, even though the pairing wishes to simply peg and fly. Others, it’s the inability of the starter to read the foursome. Some golfers want to know the minutiae, every nuance of the course, its history and its future. Like a good psychologist, bartender or parole officer, the ability to read the client is a priority. We connected with a fellow named Jim, with a Buffalo connection (supporters of the Kevin Guest House) and he told us a bit about The Loop. It was our 2nd day on the course, and once he heard this factoid, he knew instinctively when to retreat. Here’s to you, Jim in the red shirt. Long may you launch the lucky foursomes of The Loop.

I suspect the next fellow is not one we could say we “met,” in the literal sense. Robert Falconer is the superintendent at The Loop. He oversees the course, with his faithful Irish Doodle, Duchess, riding shotgun. Much like a photographer, you don’t “see” the superintendent; there’s too much for said guardian to do. Rob followed @buffalogolfer on Twitter a few months back, when he received word of our impending arrival. Our time at Forest Dunes was short, and The Loop is a tricky course to photograph. Unlike a mesmerizing seaside layout, its beauty is in the subtle angles. No backdrops to distract, and it would take 4-5 trips around for me to truly capture its essence in photos. We have a 9-question interview in to Rob, and he alerts us that the answers to our questions are imminent. We can’t wait to read and share. Thanks for keeping watch over both directions of The Loop, Rob and Duchess

It occurs to me at this shake, that the count of people that we met is gloriously expansive. Folks in the golf industry, folks in the golf industry that don’t golf. People around town, around lodging, at service stations, in restaurants and tap rooms. Customers like us, golfers like us, travelers like us. The brothers from Cleveland, the numerous beverage cart attendants, the counter and table and bar and shop servers. Each of them contributed some human element to our journey across a portion of the great state of Michigan. My regret is this: I was fixed on capturing each golf course, nearly to the detriment of photographing the people involved. Be sure to pay attention to everyone you meet over the course of your next round, or buddy trip. Their involvement makes your trip unforgettable.

One of my sources let me know that a certain fellow with a certain musical instrument, would make his way to a certain bluff outside a certain clubhouse on weekends at Arcadia Bluffs. We rounded the 8th fairway, ascending to its shelved green, and the pipes began their song.