The business of golf – “It takes a village.”

By Alan Prescott
April 1, 2021

“The [high school golf ] team played on one of the City’s public golf courses, the Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn.

Dyker Beach was a public (municipal) golf course.”

Seventh hole of the Dyker Beach Golf Course

Yesterday’s article was a call to action for those people who have spent their lives in and around golf courses, construction, surveying, grounds maintenance, turf and ornamentals, are tree specialists, hydrologists, golf course managers, golf course workers, mechanics, and all other individuals involved on the development and maintenance of golf courses and athletic fields, whether currently working or retired or just plain “experienced” in any occupation even remotely related to any of the above. It was a call to action even for those who criticized any aspect of your local municipal golf course for any reason. Lastly, it is for anyone, who has never played golf, never considered playing golf, wants to play golf for any reason or purpose, or even those “armchair golf professionals” who have an opinion about how to grow grass because they’ve played tennis on grass courts and they have an opinion about grass, in general.

So, now you have an opportunity to express your opinions, put forward your comments and suggestions, demonstrate your life skills, or just do nothing but watch the Re-Development of the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course. You might ask, “why should I?” The answer is simply stated because “IT TAKES A VILLAGE!!” It sure does!!

Just imagine, you dedicated your career to the golf business. Then one day, while you’re eating breakfast, your best friend calls you on the phone and tells you that he heard that your big boss told the local members of your golf course that the golf course, at which you were the Head Superintendent, was in lousy condition. Furthermore, he said that YOU were at fault. How would you feel? It takes a Village. What you are about to read is a true story. After reading what follows, I ask that you make a single sentence response and send it to The Observer.

It was a long time ago, the middle to late 1960’s to be exact. His adopted father was a very successful shoe merchant, shoe designer, and shoe retailer on 7th Avenue between 38th and 39th Streets in New York City. This shoe store, located precisely 4 city blocks south of where the ball descends each New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year. His father attended Brooklyn Tech High School in the Borough of Brooklyn in New York City, which, at the time proudly displayed a welcome sign that proudly stated, “Welcome to Brooklyn, the 3rd Largest City in the United States”.

Brooklyn, New York was the home of the Strafaci family. If my memory is correct, the Strafaci family had 7 children, all of whom played golf. Again, my memory tells me that there were 6 children who played golf on their high school team and later sought careers in professional golf and 1 child who remained an amateur golfer but drew national attention for his playing ability. The father of the adopted son was a member of the same high school golf team. He was a skilled golfer, one of the best in all of New York City. The team played on one of the City’s public golf courses, the Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn. Dyker Beach was a public (municipal) golf course. The only credible comment about this golf course was that it was very challenging for the average golfer and it was played by thousands and thousands of local golfers. In fact, it was one of the very few golf courses available to local city golfers.

Golf was different during the earliest days. The father was born on July 14, 1915, a little less than 11 years after the first subway opened in New York City (in late 1904). In 1883, there was a railway that ran across the Brooklyn Bridge from the Island of Manhattan to Brooklyn. At that point, when the father wanted to play golf, transportation to and from the golf course involved the use of shoe leather with your golf bag on your shoulder. The father was trying to learn and play golf under difficult circumstances, especially when life was a serious struggle during the Great Depression, which began during his teenage years, in 1929.

There is a lot more to this story that follows in my next few articles. At the end, there is one question that will be presented to you for your single sentence response. There is a right of passage in the game of golf. Can or will the adopted son accept the torch that is offered to him by his father? However, even though you might be wondering just what this has to do with the Fernandina Municipal Golf Course, there is a meaningful discussion ahead. In my article tomorrow, the “Passing of the Torch”, you’ll begin to see how the game of golf was and is passed down from generation to generation in more than one way.

As always, I am Alan Prescott and I am here for you. I can be reached by email at [email protected]

Please be safe and stay healthy.

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