I am typically the first one to pooh-pooh the nicknames given to U.S. military offensives, yet I cannot resist conjuring up a nom de voyage (French assignment my own) for each trip my confidants and I take. We’ve egressed to Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina. We have a monster trip in the works for Oregon (2014?) but will soon set our GPS for Pinehurst, as revealed in the first part of the Getting Away series.
As I plotted the itinerary for this particular tarriance, I recalled how bemused I was my first college winter in 1983-84, by the site of sand (not salt) on the icy roads of Winston-Salem. “Where’s the salt?” I asked. “What?” He replied. “You mean like for dinner?” He continued. “Never mind.”
In the south, they sand the roads. I guess they don’t like the added pressure of swerving around potholes caused by the corrosive road salt we use in western New York. Well, I’ve already digressed. I decided, since we are heading to the sand hills of North Carolina, to call this particular tarriance “Sand Them Roads.” In my inner sanctum, I love the idea of membership, association, belonging to something. The baptism by name gives credence, credibility and legitimacy to the mission; ergo, the importance of the nickname
The golf courses that we play are built on sand, not soil. Sand, as many know, forms the preferred turf for golf courses that drain well. If you’ve stood in puddles, lost golf balls to standing water and soggy turf, or ever worked on a golf course maintenance staff, you know that the three most important elements of a successful golf operation are drainage, drainage and (what is it again?) drainage. In Pinehurst, they have drainage.
Funny story about this particular trip: it was never meant to include Pinehurst! After returning to Winston-Salem in September for a college reunion, I decided that February would provide a splendid opportunity to reconnect with the Dash (as the kids call it…for the hyphen, ‘kay?) and play courses like Oak Hollow, Tanglewood, et al. In addition, we were going to host a gathering of fellow architecture buffs at a seminal club in W-S. Problem was, the real host was called out of town that weekend by his boss (and by boss, I mean his wife) so the TKO revealed a gap in the itinerary.
A friend from a golf architecture forum offered to host us for a round at a club in Pinehurst, so an executive decision was made to swing down and back for a quickie at the inland beach. For giggles, I mentioned this notion to a publisher for whom I’d written previous articles and he immediately offered me an article on Pinehurst. Known for my ability to recognize a good thing (if not always for my ability to grab a good thing) I assented and set to rewriting the vagabondage (not nearly as exciting as the word makes it sound.) Winston was pushed back to a future visit and Pinehurst anchored itself as the epicenter of our stay.
Truth be told, I’m quite excited, even if it is the second visit in five years to the south-central North Carolina town. On this particular deviation, we’ll be playing the traditional courses of the region; last time down, we played many of the newer courses. I have a detailed list of reason why I’m excited and stoked and amped and juiced, but I shan’t reveal its contents until next I write.