News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 30, 2011

ON AND OFF THE COURSE: Some things on golf course are worse than steep putts

Jennifer Myers
The Tribune-Star

---- — It’s not often that anything gets more scary on a golf course than a steep downhill putt, but on some courses around the world, things a little more on the supernatural side might give you a bigger fright!

Behind the 18th green at the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, lies the “Martyr’s Monument.” It commemorates five 15th and 16th-century Protestant martyrs who were burned at the stake there. Do they haunt the 18th green, wreaking havoc on unsuspecting golfers who thought they had hit the perfect shot onto the green, but instead it bounces over the green and out of bounds? Or maybe the golfers there are haunted by a golfing legend Old Tom Morris, who went hunting for a restroom at the New Club, fell down some steps, and died of a fractured skull.

At Trails West Golf Course in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, there have been reported sightings of a ghost for years. Catherine Sutter and her family were traveling west in the 1880s, when her children and husband disappeared. Legend has it that she still wanders the grounds, where the golf course is today, searching for her lost family.

In California, at Aetna Springs Golf Course, the ghosts of eight monks dressed in white robes are said to have been seen walking across the fairway. Some believe they are Dominican friars tortured to death by rival Franciscans in the early 1500s.  The Spanish Franciscans were known for their cruel treatment of the local Indians, and the Dominican monks often hid the natives to protect them.

In New Orleans, the City Park golf course opened in 1902, and has been named to many distinctive lists of picturesque courses. The fairways are lined with high grass and tangled palmetto bushes, covering the gnarled limbs of ancient oak trees. Some golfers there though, are not wanting to enjoy the shade of the old oak trees once they finish their round, or they might even avoid the back nine altogether. Why? There have been sightings of a haunting  where a female golfer was shot. Golfers hear muffled voices of two females playing ahead of them, the solid whack of a drive, then the crack of a gunshot, and a female saying “I’m hit!”

The ghosts could be recreating a shooting that occurred in the early 1960s. The sounds are so real that the police have been called several times. More recently, several golfers have seen a figure of a man in the area. One alarmed golfer reported that he was “of medium height and thin with really dark hair. . . he was standing looking down at the green when I was walking toward him. As I got closer he looked up and shook his head and then just disappeared!” This phantom, real or not, has been seen walking on other courses or standing in the shade of the old oak trees, just watching golfers play through.

So the next time you have “scary” shot, like a sand shot to a green with water behind it, be glad  that’s the only thing you have to deal with!

Congratulations: To the team from Matthew’s Park in Clinton for winning the Inter-Club on their home course last weekend. The greens were hard and fast, and the wind was a major factor. Medalists were Phillip Myers and Ted Kaperak, both shot one-under par scores of 71.

Quote of the Day – “It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf.” — Robert Lynd