Ghosts and golf
I am always sorry to see summer end, especially when writing my last golf column of the season. It has been another great year and I wish we could stretch it to Halloween so this column on ghosts would be more timely. So think ghosts and goblins to get in the mood.
Here are five ghost stories to give you pause if you tee it up at any of these courses.
Victoria Golf Club – Victoria, British Colombia
Even if you don't believe in ghosts, the legend of the ghost that haunts Victoria Golf Club is one that will surely raise the hair on the back of your neck. The story goes that in 1936 a woman named Doris Gravlin met up with her estranged husband on the course one night on the seventh hole. Five days later, a caddie found her along the shoreline on the course. When police found the body of her husband a month later, it was deemed a murder-suicide.
Ever since, reports have popped up that there's a woman in a white gown hanging around the course. She's known to rush towards people only to vanish at the last second. There have also been reports of strange bursts of wind on totally calm days and one particularly disturbing take of a clammy hand grabbing a woman's shoulder before vanishing. Course security cameras have also picked up a strange glow floating around.
City Park Golf Courses – New Orleans, Louisiana
If you're a golfer, you're familiar with the wide variety of noises and sounds that spring up during any given round. However, hearing a gunshot and a scream is something that would surely throw off even the most staid golfer's game.
The City Park Golf Courses in New Orleans, Louisiana reportedly play host to a repeat of a grisly crime. The story is that in the early 1960s, two women were just finishing their round when a man shot and killed one of them on the 18th green. Decades later, people have heard the same sequence so clearly that it has prompted them to call the police.
Pasatiempo Golf Club – Santa Cruz, California
It's a real treat for most golfers to meet a famous golf designer, but meeting one from the beyond might be a different story. The ghost of Alister Mackenzie, famous designer of illustrious courses like Augusta National and Cypress Point, reportedly walks the course regularly. When Mackenzie passed away in 1934, his ashes were spread over Pasatiempo where he had a house built off the 6th hole.
Trails West Golf Course – Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
In the late 1800s, settlers from the East Coast were moving west in the hopes of planting roots with their families. Catherine Sutter was one such settler who was traveling through Fort Leavenworth with her two children when tragedy struck. Her two children disappeared one day and Catherine spent months over a cold Kansas winter searching for them. After months of searching, Sutter died of grief and exposure.
The legend says that the kids were kept safe by Native Americans over the winter and were brought back in the spring only to find that their mother had perished. Today, some golfers at Trails West have claimed to see a woman wandering the course throughout the year with a lantern in hand, searching for her lost children.
St. Andrews Old Course – St. Andrews, Scotland
Some golfers who have the honor of playing the game at the birthplace of golf have reported an eerie feeling on hole 18. Strange chills and odd breezes have been known to frighten golfers and there are a few things that could be to blame. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Protestant martyrs were burned at the stake and are honored with a monument directly behind the 18th green.
In addition, Old Tom Morris actually passed away at St. Andrews. Legend has it that he was searching for a restroom when he fell down the stairs and fractured his skull. Either way, if you're at St. Andrews, make sure you say hello to the ghost of a true golfing legend.
Honorable Mention: Garrison Golf Club – Garrison, New York
One of the greatest scary stories of all time, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman, was based in the Hudson River Valley.
So those who play Garrison Golf Club may already feel a bit ill at ease.
Add that to that the fact that the par-3 14th green is surrounded by a slave graveyard and the old tombstones are now cracked and covered with moss; adding to the creepy vibe.
To play it safe if you play Garrison, you'll probably just want to take a quick birdie and move on to hole 15 as quickly as possible.
Since this is my last column of the 2017 season, thank you to my editor, Jen Ellingsworth and to all the staff at Beach Paper who make my weekly column of puzzle pieces into a work of art.