Did Donald Trump Copy His Hairstyle From Nature?

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We played Spyglass and Pebble last Sunday, at Maggie McFly’s. Here’s Mike B., holding the stick for me on the second green at Pebble:

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The weather had been so bad that playing anywhere but on the simulators wasn’t a possibility. Then the weather got worse. The snowstorm that the Weather Channel had such a cow about earlier this week turned out to be a dud in our part of New England, but we still got six or seven inches Then on Friday morning we got a few more. As a consequence, I’ve spent a lot of time staring at a bird feeder my wife gave me for one of the windows in my office —which our dog has also been interested in. Anyway, I think I’ve figured out where my close personal friend Donald Trump got his hairstyle: nuthatches.

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I mentioned in a recent post that Jägermeister’s official sponsorship of the Sunday Morning Group had had a measurable impact on sales because Other Gene’s wife had ordered some in a restaurant and a non-golf-playing bridge partner of mine in Mississippi was thinking about buying a bottle. I’d now like to update those results: my non-golf-playing bridge partner in Mississippi not only did buy a bottle; he also served it to three people he has been teaching to play bridge:

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“Each of the guys said he hadn’t drunk any since college,” my friend reported. “The one with the baseball cap said his first and only experience with it had been at a Cornell fraternity party he went to his freshman year. He drank so much that night that he ended up throwing up from a balcony at the front of the fraternity house, and a crowd gathered below to cheer him on. The other guy said his story was similar, but he didn’t tell it.” They’re grown-ups now, though, and I think I can safely put all four of them in the plus column, along with Other Gene’s wife.

Let’s check that bird feeder again:

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A Ghost Course in Central Florida, and a Golf Trip to the Twilight Zone

The former Winter Springs Golf Course, Winter Springs, Florida.

Part of the former Winter Springs Golf Club, Winter Springs, Florida. The cart barn, clubhouse, and parking lot are near the bottom of the image, just right of center.

A common experience for Florida golfers in recent years: trying to make a tee time at a golf course they’ve heard good things about, and discovering that the phone has been disconnected and the Web domain is for sale. An example is Winter Springs Golf Club, which went belly-up in 2006. I was in the Orlando area last weekend, on a Golf Digest assignment, and decided to have a look. Here’s the clubhouse, as it appears from the main parking lot:

IMG_0810Apparently, someone bought the course with the idea of building houses on it, and only then discovered that a deed restriction made that impossible. (Due diligence!) Now it sits.

IMG_0817The old club had a lighted driving range. Here’s what it looks like now:

IMG_0837While I was snooping around, a policeman noticed my car and drove in to see what I was doing. He called in my driver’s license number, to make sure I wasn’t wanted for something. Then we chatted about golf for a while, and he asked me whether another ten or fifteen minutes of trespassing would be enough. I thanked him, and he suggested that I stay out of the clubhouse.

Here's the back of the clubhouse. Those particle-board sheets cover the windows of what used to be the grill room and the golf shop.

Here’s the back of the clubhouse. Those particle-board sheets cover the windows of what used to be the restaurant and the golf shop.

It doesn’t take long for a golf hole to turn into something that isn’t recognizable as a golf hole. Here’s the first tee, the first fairway, and what’s left of the first-hole cart path:IMG_0822 That hole was a straightaway par 5. According to the sign, there were four tee positions:IMG_0827

Florida probably still has too many golf courses. Even so, it’s sad to see the ruins of a place where you know at least a few of the regulars felt more at home than they did at home.

IMG_0843Meanwhile, here in Connecticut, the golf courses might as well be in receivership. This is what my back yard looked like on Thursday afternoon, when the storm was still only getting started:

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And here’s how things looked on Friday morning. (The doghouse on the right, which is on top of a wall, belonged to one of the three cats that lived in our yard for many years.)

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My wife and I have been throwing birdseed into the snow, and attracting mainly juncos and cardinals. When the seed runs low, the birds send an emissary to the back door to complain. When I got up this morning, there were junco footprints on the doormat:

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I tossed out a double load, and a few minutes later the birds were back:

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Birds really do this, incidentally. During the summer, when our hummingbird feeder runs out, a hummingbird will fly up to the window closest to the computer in my wife’s office, on the second floor, and hover there until she notices.

Same back yard, with hummingbird, in better times.

Same back yard, with hummingbird, in better times.

The wife of one of my golf buddies told me that when the feeder runs out at her house a hummingbird will fly, in sequence, to windows in the rooms where she can usually be found during the day: kitchen, bedroom, laundry room. After I’d fed the birds, I re-shoveled the path to the back door:

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Last week, my friends and I had no choice but to return to the simulators at Maggie McFly’s—which, I’m sorry to report, are showing their age. Our round lasted at least a half-hour longer than it should have, because the sensors had trouble picking up the balls. Still, it was golf. And, because Ferris had never played on a simulator before, we picked Pebble Beach. Here’s Rick, lining up a putt on the twelfth:

20140207_165317-001Spookily, the golf tournament on TV, which we watched between shots, was also at Pebble Beach, and there were quite a few occasions when the hole we were playing was exactly the same hole they were showing on TV—in this case, the thirteenth:

20140207_165321-001It was pretty darned eerie.

Winter Fallback: Golf on the Simulators at Maggie McFly’s

Translation: No peeing in the potted plants.

Translation: No peeing in the potted plants.

We were all set to play golf last Friday, but when I got up at 5:00 to iron my golf towel I noticed that my car was covered with snow. WTF! It turned out that the entire state was paralyzed, golf-wise, so Hacker (real name), Rick, and I ended up playing eighteen holes at Harbour Town Golf Links, in Hilton Head, South Carolina, on one of the three golf simulators at the Maggie McFly’s in Brookfield, Connecticut.

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I’ve written about these simulators before. They were made by a company called aboutGolf, which also makes the simulator you’ve seen on the Golf Channel. The simulators at Maggie’s are beginning to show their age—pretend-golf technology doesn’t stand still!—but they’re awesome nonetheless, and they do a remarkably good job of making you think you’re really playing golf.

The little marble things on the green move, to show you slope and speed.

The little marble things on the green move, to show you slope and speed.

And, of course, between shots, you can eat cheeseburgers, drink beer, and watch TV. Here’s Hacker working on his taxes while Rick struggles to extricate himself from a simulated swamp:

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We sometimes talk about buying a simulator of our own—or, rather, we sometimes talk about tricking our golf club into buying a simulator and installing it in the basement of the club hall, for our personal use. If we were rich, we would instead do what a guy in Massachusetts did not long ago. He built a pool house next to the pool next to his house and put a golf simulator in it. Here’s the pool house:

westfield02And here’s what’s inside, including the guy:

low rez_130531_3As you can see, he’s got a bunch of other golf stuff, too, and he either doesn’t carry his own bag or is extraordinarily strong. The architecture firm that designed everything is Meyer & Meyer, in Boston. A publicist for the firm told me, “The plan revolves around the HD Golf simulator, with spectator seating on three sides. The homeowners entertain often and it was critical that the traffic flow and seating accommodate large parties. A see-through gas fireplace allows continuous views for those seated at the dining room table. Large windows face the pool deck and fire pit. Amenities include an artfully designed kitchen, first-floor guest room, en-suite bathroom, upper-loft guest room, and laundry facilities.” O.K.!

low rez_130531_2The owners have three teen-age sons, all talented golfers. Here’s the counter in the spectator area—which appears to have been fashioned from a single something. Put a coaster under your beer bottle, please:

DSC_2848The next time Maggie McFly’s does an upgrade, I suggest something along these lines. Or, at least, how about some new mats, balls, and tee holders? Still, even though there’s no swimming pool, playing at Maggie’s beats staying home on days when the weather is completely out of hand.

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