Ghosts on the links

September 19, 2013

With Halloween only six weeks away, I thought I would give you an early Trick or Treat fright to get you in the mood for October golf. I have never been one to believe in ghosts, but there is something about a dark night in a cemetery or a haunted house that many people seem to enjoy.

From now through Halloween, there will be a buffet of ghost stories on TV, not counting the usual scary shows on the SyFy channel, which run daily year-round, but I want to tell you five ghost stories of golfing legend.

Ghost Story No. 1

Strange sightings have been reported on the Galloping Hill Golf Course located in Kenilworth, New Jersey, especially at night. Several people claim they have seen a headless horseman ride across the course in full battle gear, brandishing his sword.

It is believed that this “ghost” might be a Hessian soldier who fought and died during a battle of the Revolutionary War. Ghost Hunter Dennis Hauk believes the soldier might be the inspiration for the “headless horseman,” in Washington Irving’s tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Ghost Story No. 2

If you ever play a round at The Victoria Golf Course in British Columbia, make sure you are done and out of the parking lot before dark. It is believed that the ghost of Doris Gravlin, who was killed on the golf course by her husband (and then buried in the sand trap near the 7th green…and you think you have trouble getting out of a trap!), haunts the course and parking lot.

Her spirit is often seen “as a floating figure dressed all in white,” gracefully moving around the course late at night. For those golfers who don’t vacate the parking lot until dark, she often passes right through their windshields (no mention of a high bar-bill in the numerous sightings).

Ghost Story No. 3

Meet the White Witch of Rose Hall, a ghost located on the course at The Ritz-Carlton White Witch Golf Course, Montego Bay, Jamaica. Annie Palmer practiced voodoo on the 6,000 acre estate in the early 1800s and was killed by her slaves during a rebellion in 1830.

She was found murdered in her bed and to this day haunts the bedroom, stairway and grounds of the Great House, known as Rose Hall (if you stay in that room on a golf getaway, don’t forget to ask for the AAA discount).

Ghost Story No. 4

Going back to Canada and the Fort MacLeod Golf Club, located in Alberta, we meet two ghosts, who keep “hanging” around the course. No one cared that the course was built on the site of a Royal Mounted Police fort, until late one night when the ghosts appeared for the first time.

In the early 1900s, two smugglers were tried, convicted and hanged on the site of the current second tee box on the course. To make matters worse, they were buried somewhere under the first fairway (talk about a bad lie). On overcast days and dark moonless nights, they can be seen “hanging around the trees and floating over the fairway.”

Ghost Story No. 5

England has always had its share of ghost stories, including the writings of Shakespeare (Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Hamlet and Richard III), along with Sir Arthur William Conan Doyle (Supernatural Tales- 18 stories from the Master of the Macabre…found on Amazon).

This story is of love scorned and a would be suitor who kidnaps his intended wife, then kills her and walls her up inside his large estate manor house. The house now sits on the Upminster Golf Club in Essex, England and the room in question is the clubhouse bar.

The members of the course “claim” to have seen a figure dressed in white roaming around the clubhouse. They have given her the name Mary and believe (mainly after a few rounds in the bar) that her bones are behind one of the walls. I have not been able to confirm or deny that this was the origin of the cocktail.

So there you have it, an early Halloween treat to think about during your October golf outings. Be careful not to stir up any ghosts, goblins or double bogeys in a twilight round and remember to be out of the parking lot before dark.

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