Never had I wanted to hit a drive more straight.
To the left were dense, tall, green trees, to the right were dense, tall, green trees, and about 15 yards in front of the tee box were dense, short, green shrubs. And, yes, I certainly did not want to slice, hook or dribble into those areas, and, yes, a straight drive is, most of the time, the goal. But straight ahead, thousands of yards away, were more dense, tall, green trees – the green mountains of the Green Mountain National Forest – and, man, oh, man, did I want my white golf ball to rise up from this elevated tee box, float against a green background under a summer afternoon blue sky, then drop onto the fairway below.
The ball rose up. The ball floated. The ball dropped.
“Whoaaaaa,” I said to my playing partner/wife, Sara, as we watched, primarily stunned at the view, just partially stunned that I hit it straight.
“Yeah,” she said.
I, somehow, get paid to read and write words, but that was all we really could manage. It was fitting. We were speechless on my first shot on the second hole at Green Mountain National Golf Course in Killington, Vt. We were speechless for most of the rest of our shots last weekend. This might just be my new favorite course.
The course was scenic. Green Mountain took our words away. It also took our breath away. The second hole had tall, green trees and was backdropped by the rolling, green mountains. All 18 holes had tall, green trees and were backdropped by the rolling, green mountains. Sixteen was the sweetest. I was playing from the middle tees. I had to at least stop at the back tees here. Straight ahead was the hole. To the right of the elevated tee box was mile after mile of green forest. What we lacked in words, we made up for in photographs. Yet even those, we felt, couldn’t capture it just right.
The course was playable. Green Mountain took a few of our golf balls away. When we checked in with the starter, we told him that it was our first time playing the course. He told us of the blind tee shot on No. 2 and of an electronic button to press that notified players behind us that they were clear to hit.
“All of my tee shots are blind,” Sara joked.
Jack and Arnie we were not.
Green Mountain was not hard. It was not easy. It’s 6,589 yards from the tips and has five sets of tees, each playing to a par-71. If you’re straight, you were good. If you’re left or right, you were part of the forest. And not everything was driver, iron, putt. I’m somewhere around a 12- or 13-handicap, and I shot a 12-over 83. Fair.
The course was a little boozy. Green Mountain took away the pain of a few poor strokes. The beer cart, filled with both domestic beer and Vermont craft beer, wheeled by on No. 7. We kept our distance until we paid, and we hand-sanitized after we did. I took a swig before my tee shot on the 124-yard par-3, smacked a 9-iron to within 5 feet and rolled in the putt. Beer and a birdie? In these mountains, I was truly at my highest point.
The course was without cell service. Green Mountain took our words away. It took our breath away. It took our golf balls away. It took a little bit of my sobriety away. And I wanted to text you all. I wanted to tweet it. ’Gram it. Nothing. My phone went back into my pocket.
I had mountains to hit straight drives into. And a cold beer to drink. On what might just be my new favorite course.