Monday, September 26, 2016

New golf course opens at Rocky Knob Tractor & Yacht Club, then closes

Probably nothing more hazardous or hilarious than a group of 70-year-old men getting together and acting like college freshmen once again, but that sorta describes what went on last week here at the Rocky Knob Tractor & Yacht Club.  Since we live in Virginia now, we have to have a name for the house, you know, and RKT&YC is ours.  There are several others.  Burnt Downs is one, but that's another and sadder story.
Groundskeeper Jack Betts, left, and New Course Superintendent Bob Kulp at Rocky Knob National

This year a group of old boys who first met in the winter of 1964-65 at Chapel Hill, and went on to be pretty fast friends over a lot of years, came up to Belcher Mountain for the annual Beta Beach Trip.  It long has been at places like Beaufort or Ocean Isle or Savannah, but this time they came up here. We rented two houses and got use of another, all overlooking the Rock Castle Gorge and the Piedmont, plus the RKT&YC, which overlooks a hayfield.  They started rolling in on Tuesday and rolled out on Saturday in time for the football game in Chapel Hill.
Duffers Rob Crowder, Mike Waltrip, Pete Whittington, Cary Raditz and Clay Harrell at Rocky Knob National

 We smoked ribs one night, went to Dogtown Roadhouse in Floyd for pizza one night, and boiled up shrimp and wahoo another night. Some went to to see Lee Chichester, our neighbor down the road and author of a book on falconry, for a closer look at her birds.  Some drove out to Old Mill to play some golf.  Some went down to the Blue Ridge Music Center to play some music in the Friday Midday Music Jam there.  Some sat around and told stories for about the 11 gazillionth time.

But it was Dr. Bob Kulp, a crackerjack golfer, who had the best idea.  He brought up some clubs and pins and cups and flags and a bag of gently used golf balls from his course down in Georgia.  I had been mowing out a short course in our hayfield for several weeks.  We planted the cups and flew the flags and doled out the clubs, pairing non-golfers with veterans, and held a tournament.

Well, you might have called it mass chaos interrupted by too much merriment and too little golf expertise, but we called it a tournament -- the first ever at The New Course at Rocky Knob National Golf Club.  We believe it to be the finest tournament classic for a two-hole, 100-foot-long course anywhere in the free world.  That's our story, and we're sticking to it.

No one can accurately remember who won.  Things got a little hazy.   High spirits and such, if you know what I mean.  But everyone had the same chance to whack a golf ball and send it off somewhere into the toughest roughs you will find at any tournament sanctioned by Dr. Kulp. In fact, it was so popular that we had to close it down after two days, and sad to say, the New Course at Rocky Knob National no longer is open.  Okay, the cups are still in the ground, and it could be revived on short notice, but it's late in the haying season, and it's time to bring on the tractors.

Bill Gordon and Rocky Knob National Legal Counsel Scott Patterson

A bunch of old guys in the background, and announcer Pete Whittington with the Bug Light Microphone