Confession: I don’t play golf. I live in The Villages, which is golf-crazy, but I never took up the game. I did try playing a par-3 course once, but I wasn’t immediately a brilliant player so I said to heck with it. Maybe I would have liked it better if I had called it an “executive course.”
Probably not. I’m rather like Mark Twain, who said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” An even better appraisal of golf came from Furio Giunta, my favorite character on HBO’s “The Sopranos.” Furio described golf as a “stupid a-bleeping game.”
You might think the odds of finding a Villager who doesn’t golf is pretty slim. I heard a guy on TV once say that about 60,000 people played golf in The Villages last year. If he said it on TV, it has to be true. There’s a rule that anything you say on TV has to be true. The Internet has the same rule.
There are more than 100,000 of us in The Villages, so that means 50,000 or so of us don’t play golf. At last count, there were 43 golf courses in The Villages. Why do golfers have all that land and we non-golfers don’t have any large chunks of land to play around on? I won’t demand half of the area allotted to golf, but taking over three courses for non-golfers to use certainly doesn’t seem unreasonable.
Just think of the great things we could do on land being wasted by people hitting and chasing a defenseless little white ball. We could create some wonderful new fun areas.
First, we would build Disneyages Park, a great place for Villagers as well as their grandkids. It would have rides, entertainment and all those happy things they have at Walt Disney World. Disneyages Park would combine the most prominent features of both Disney World and The Villages. Like The Villages, there would be free entertainment daily and it would be open to all. But like Disney World, a soda would cost you $11.50 and a hot dog $19.75. Also, we could use some of those cute trams to bring people from their parking lots to the park, and, keeping in line with the Disney experience, the parking lots would be in Leesburg and Ocala. Transportation to and from the parking lots would be greatly simplified when we finish the monorail system.
The second converted golf course will be renamed Home, Home on the Range. When we first started coming to The Villages, a bunch of buffalo hung out in a field next to Route 466. (A “bunch” of buffalo is approximately two-thirds the size of a herd.) It was super fun to go down there and gawk at the buffalo. Then one day, the buffalo suddenly disappeared. It was like the Baltimore Colts vanishing overnight and ending up in Indianapolis. The buffalo, I assume, are now in the witness protection program somewhere. Our golf course land will enable us to bring the buffalo home so we can all gawk at them again. It would also allow the school mascot of The Villages High School teams to make sense. We might even bring in some deer and antelope to play. In addition to looking really cool, the buffalo would serve as a way to get rid of house guests who have been hanging around too long. We’ll just suggest they go climb on the back of a buffalo and take pictures. It will work every time.
Our third converted golf course will be named Camp No. 1/Camp No. 2. Thousands of Villages — golfers and non-golfers — have at least one dog. Most of us are great about picking up after our dogs. (Note to those inconsiderate clods who aren’t: We know who you are and where you live.)
Wouldn’t it be fun if occasionally we didn’t have to worry about picking up after Fido? Camp No. 1/Camp No. 2 will make that possible. Just let the puppy romp and allow nature to call. You won’t have to do a thing. But we won’t leave a mess. We’ll hire people seeking employment and get them to go through the park with their handy pooper-scooper thingies. In addition to making a pleasant atmosphere for dogs and their owners, we would be helping lower the unemployment rate. It would truly be a shovel-ready project.