The Happy Golfer

Waking up to snow, playing where the buffalo roam
June 8, 2009, 3:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

After playing 36 holes last Tuesday, I took some travel time and spent part of a day soaking in a hot tub in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Driving through this beautiful part of the country, I stopped in Custer City and then Deadwood to check out the casinos. The parking lots were filled with cars from all over, including a certain Winnebago View with California plates! I played Sweetwater Golf Course in South Dakota where I met the golf manager, Don Groll. He told me: “Camp in our parking lot, then play first thing in the morning.” Don, who’s also a high school boys’ and girls’ golf coach, drew some maps for me and told me to play Pheasant Country Club course, where head pro Kirby Robb listened to my story and said: “There’s a cart; follow those two guys ahead of you to the first tee.” And the beat goes on….

I spent the night in Beach, North Dakota, on the Montana border. It snowed all night! I must say, waking up to a blanket of snow did not put an immediate smile on the face of The Happy Golfer. Being a Southern Californian, I didn’t have an ice scraper for the windshield, so I used a “kootala,” that’s Greek for large spoon, from the pantry. When the weather cleared the next morning, I played 36 holes while herds of buffalo roamed by. I even rescued a stray calf that had wandered onto the wrong side of the fence. I’m seven days ahead of schedule. Out of nine days off, I played seven of them, and have now completed 43 states – only five states left. I’m 255 miles from Billings. In Dickinson, Andrew from NBC TV filmed me playing the first three holes; he said it will air on Wednesday night. If anyone sees an online link to the story, send it this way and we will post it!

 I am looking for things to do on the way to Billings. Since I’m way ahead of schedule, I attended an outdoor concert honoring our 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt. Afterwards, there was a chuckwagon barbecue – no microwave pizza tonight! I camped out at a rest stop, along with 40 18-wheelers and 20 other RVs. Snug as a bug.

 At 8:29 a.m. on Saturday, I was on my way to Billings. On Friday, I woke up on the Heart River at 5:30 a.m. and played front nine with pro Jeremy, and the back nine with his dad, Cliff. What a great course! The back nine runs along the Heart River, which had flooded over in February. Kathy in the pro shop comped me golf and a cart. I played 18 holes with Aaron, a golf management student at the University  of Nebraska. I’m just passing the Yellowstone River, driving west on the Custer Trail.  Westward Ho! Keep happy – The Happy Golfer.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It was great doing a story with you the story I thought turned out pretty good. I’m actually with an NBC affiliate but it’s pretty much the same thing as ABC =)

Here’s a link:

Click video at the top!

Thanks again for your time and enjoy your final states.

-Andrew Keller

Comment by Andrew Keller

Andrew is with NBC; check out his nice story!

Comment by happygolfer

Hi, this is Kayleen with the South Dakota Office of Tourism. I am glad to hear you had a good time in South Dakota! We hope you come back and visit us again!

Comment by Kayleen

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