If and when the printed paper goes the way of the horse and buggy, I think it is these special editions that I will miss the most.
Chapter Nine covers the centennial of his birth (1909) and the heightened awareness of Lincoln as a great historical figure.
Celebrations and commemorations drew enormous crowds, including 70,000 in New York. Some states made Lincoln’s birthday a holiday and merchants parlayed the focus into sales. The Chicago Tribune printed a Sunday edition with 194 pages, 85 dedicated to the 16th President.
Some African Americans hoped to parlay the centennial into a new springboard for Civil Rights, but it was not to be.
In fact, progress was dealt a serious blow in the summer before. A deadly race riot in Springfield, the state capital and where Lincoln lived from 1837-1861, erupted just a few blocks from his family home.
Over a two-day period, rioters burned black-owned businesses and neighborhoods, killed two black men and injured dozens.
Roberta Senechal, author of "In Lincoln's Shadow: The 1908 Race Riot in Springfield, Illinois" makes this point:
Anti-black rioting in Springfield shocked the nation and attracted extensive press coverage because the city had been Abraham Lincoln's home. The northern public was presented with the startling spectacle of whites lynching blacks and burning their houses just blocks from the historic home of the president who had freed the slaves.
The silver lining for progress was a meeting that took place after the riot. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People emerged.
Like no other president, Abraham Lincoln gives us a mirror to hold up and think about our past, present and future. This terrific book details the way we as a nation have done that in the past 150 years. Recent events have shown the mirror is still needed.
House cleaning the other day put my eyes on our collection of golf pencils. Decided to pen some thoughts on my playing days, as well as those with Roberta. We’ve long since retired from the Hacker League, so most of these memories are from the 1990s. I’ve been playing golf since I was a kid but only started collecting the pencils in 1995 or so.
Arcadian Shores, Myrtle Beach, SC
In the summer of 1995, Roberta and I returned to the States from our assignment in Oman. Speeding around in a rental, we were on our way to spend some time with my folks in North Carolina. On the way, we stopped for a few days of fun in the sun in Myrtle Beach. Once known as mostly a summer party destination, this South Carolina locale had grown into some kind of golfing mecca.
We picked North Myrtle to avoid all the traffic and craziness in Myrtle proper. Driving down Highway 17 and approaching the area, I had a few flashbacks to the mid 70s, when Tim and I would cruise down from Greensboro and visit with Robert. He had a party pad close to the center of action. It wasn’t birdies we were chasing back then.
When we were in Muscat, I played with a retired General from India. We played on brown courses such as Ras Al Hamra. Desert golf consists of putting surfaces of oil-mixed sand and a square of astro turf each player carried to substitute for grass. Anyway, it felt great to be back on the real thing.
Deep Cliff, Cupertino, CA
Fond memories of playing this executive course south of San Francisco. We’d get up early on a Saturday morning and zip down I-280 to meet with our friends Bill and Melanie, who lived nearby.
Deep Cliff lies in a hilly transition zone between the Santa Cruz mountains and Silicon Valley. Its warm and dry climate always felt good after leaving San Francisco and its typically cool and sometimes foggy mornings.
The first tee shot here is nerve-wracking with water left and right. Redwoods and sycamores line each fairway. The course is short, however, a balance to the hazards.
One time Bill aced number 8. I hit next and I swear on a stack of Bibles I came very close to duplicating his effort. My ball stopped inches from the back of the hole.
I also remember you had to pay in cash here, weird for Silicon Valley and affluent Cupertino.
Dubai Creek Golf Course, UAE
If I wrote this twenty years ago when we played here, I would have felt the need to give Dubai a little introduction. A world player, this desert behemoth certainly needs none now. Among its bragging rights are Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building and the DP World Tour Championship. It’s the season ending tournament for the European Tour and tops off the Race to Dubai, which replaced Europe’s Order of Merit in 2009.
And that big money tournament is in addition to the Dubai Desert Classic, a regular stop on the European Tour since 1989. Dubai Creek hosted it in 1999 and 2000. The tournament helped put Dubai and U.A.E. on the western map, and it was the first European Tour event in the Middle East. Winners include Ernie Els (3), Tiger Woods (2), Rory McIlroy, and Fred Couples.
By the way, don’t let the word creek fool you. This was some kind of first class experience, worth the four-drive from Muscat. Oman had no green courses at that time.
Dubai comes on you suddenly, an oasis in the sand. We got our fix on Western things, eating at a steak house and shopping at the mall. I was playing well at this point, so I have good memories. On a couple of holes, I remember using tall glass buildings as a target point. It wasn’t crowded, which can spoil a round of golf.
Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County, Virginia
Nothing but a memory now, this was your basic worn-out 9 hole executive track. The fifth tee box was a chip away from Route 1. Retired walk-ons like myself were the mainstay. The course disappeared about ten years ago, giving way to a new hospital.
The hole that stands out in my mind is number 9. A deep bunker guarded the green so you could not roll the ball up. I never went for the green and depended on my short game to try for par.
In my younger years, I always played 18 holes. But playing nine holes only was something I slipped into rather easily. When golf exploded in popularity in the late 1990s, a full round could take five hours plus. I had been spoiled, I reckon, when I played at Pope Air Force Base. They were adamant about slow play. We always finished in a little over four hours.
Happy Trails, Phoenix
In the summer of 1991, the Air Force sent me to Tunisia for an assignment at the Embassy. Tunis did not have a course so the dips and ex-pats would drive to places like Hammamet, a resort area hugging the coast south of the capital city. Tunisia, a moderate Arab country, allowed nude bathing at certain parts of the beach. On one of the holes, you could see down to the sun bathers.
Ok, back to the golf. A guy named Brian, an American who was attached to the Embassy in a civilian capacity, created the “TWalker Cup.” The tournament pitted Americans versus British expats. We had a lot of fun with that one, playing at Yasmine Valley, which had just opened in Hammamet.
I remember sinking a long, downhill putt on the ninth hole to give my partner and me what we thought was an un-surmountable lead. I strutted off the green, filled with joy, but hiding it as required by golf etiquette. Brian, our captain, extended his hand in congratulations.
I’m sure he put us down for two points, but what’s that saying – don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched? The Brits dug in on the back nine and ended up tying us.
We made some few good putts but they answered every time. As part of squadron versus squadron intramural, I had played match play when I was in the Air Force. But there’s nothing quite like playing for your country, and playing well at that.
The most memorable hole at Yasmine was on the back nine, maybe 15. If you played it, you know what I’m talking about. A long par five, it was some kind of nasty. A double dogleg, uphill on the second shot. Architect Ron Bream must have been in a devilish mood that day.
(I see on an aerial view that they changed this hole, straightening it out and making it a par four. Mabruk!)
In the other direction from Tunis lies Tarbarka. Sandwiched between a lush forest and the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, this picturesque town is situated on the northern coast of Africa, just a few miles from the border with Algeria.
Tarbarka’s one golf course (at least at the time) featured several seaside tee shots over sand and rock. Dare we draw a comparison with Pebble Beach?
The one hole I remember well was a par three that required a full carry over the beach and rocks. I hit a four iron flush on to the green and made par.
Shaun Donnelly, the Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, set up a tournament here for the dips and expats. We used the Stableford system, which the PGA Men’s Tour flirted with briefly at The International in Colorado. Unlike stroke play, you earn points. This system allows a golfer to survive a blow-up hole. Of course, the maximum for the non-pros is a triple bogey.
Anyway, Donnelly was good people, a Redskins fan back in the glory days of the Sweathogs and winning teams. I remember he paid our office a visit from time to time. We shared smiles and talk over the team’s play. This was 1991, a season that saw Washington go 17 and 2 and win the Super Bowl.
I didn’t play a lot in Tunisia, but it was enough to keep my game from getting too rusty.
After Tunis came an assignment to Luke AFB, AZ in Phoenix. As an Easterner who loved the four seasons, I wasn’t sure how I would like it out in the desert west. There were some downsides to living there, but the Valley of the Sun was heavenly for playing golf. If you didn’t mind 6 am tee times in the summer, you could play year round.
And I did. I was lucky and got invited by Bob Dodson and his friend Tom to become part of their foursome. We played every Saturday morning, a rota of courses including Villa de Paz where I lived, Estrella, and Happy Trails. I had never seen a course like Villa, that wound its way past and very close to back yards. OB lurked everywhere it seemed and you crossed over streets several times.
Phoenix and its satellite locals had over 100 courses to play. There was no need to play elsewhere, unless you heard the siren song coming from Sedona Golf Resort. My good friend Howard, who I played with in Tunisia, visited me for three days of golf in the morning and Giants baseball in the afternoon, plus a trip up to Sedona. It lies about halfway between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon. We drove up and met Bob.
Sedona is a work of art, a place with no counterpart in the East. The wiki entry can say it better than I can.
Sedona's main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The red rocks form a popular backdrop for many activities, ranging from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.
The golf course was a four star but we picked the wrong day. It rained, so much so that we had to stop playing.
In terms of how well I was playing, this two-year period was my peak. So well, in fact, I framed two scorecards. I broke 80 twice, something I had never even come close to before. Granted the courses we were played had ratings in the high 60s, but I worked on my game and even got a lesson that helped. The pro at Villa had me work on the rotation of my shoulders. That one little tip had me hitting my metals woods much better.
I also replaced my old set of Walter Hagen irons. I can’t believe how long I held out on not getting new clubs. Everybody had new ones except ol’ Jay, who held on with his persimmon woods, scratched up irons and a bit too worn golf bag.
Callaway’s were all the rage at the time and I was leaning to buying them. I thought to myself, these funny looking Pings are not for me. But I did like the black graphite shafts so I gave them a test drive.
I kid you not. With 6 iron in hand, my ball banged the 150-yard sign. Next shot, straight at it and almost hit it again.
I almost slept with my new Ping Zing 2’s that night…
Harding Park, San Francisco
Playing golf in Phoenix will spoil you rotten. I never wore anything but shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. And the poor weather man. On the rare occasions when clear blue skies were not forecast to reign over the valley, he or she got browbeat to death.
San Francisco required an adjustment. Its climate is superb overall, but this was my first introduction to microclimates. Long pants and a golf pullover were essential for city mornings, but quite often, the clouds burn off and by noon, you’re in paradise.
I played at Harding Park a handful of times in the mid 1990s. The drive from the city took about 40 minutes. Green fees were very reasonable. When I played, it was always in the early morning. The dew was still on the first few greens.
The course, surrounded by Lake Merced, is not as scenic as Lincoln Park, but it certainly has a storied history. Before it entered a period of neglect, the course hosted the Lucky International, three San Francisco Opens and the U.S. Amateur Public Links. Winners included Bryon Nelson, Gary Player, fan favorite Chi-Chi Rodriquez, Billy Casper, and local favorite Ken Venturi. Venturi and Johnny Miller knew the course like the back of their hands.
The PGA Tour came to the rescue in 2002 and gave the city-owned course a complete facelift. Harding Park hosted the Presidents Cup in 2009, a WGC event in 2005, and the Champions Tour three times.
So, wouldn’t it be nice to go back and play this beauty once again?
Greens fees for non-residents are $156, so maybe not…
Hilltop, Alexandria/Fairfax County
When I first heard about Hilltop, I thought, really, a golf course on landfill? Doesn’t sound very appealing.
But it’s a fun little track that winds its way up the hill and then back down. You get to warm up, as the first two holes are short par threes.
But then comes number three, up hill dog leg, the toughest hole. Lies are undulating and winds bend the sea oats.
I always loved the ninth hole with its commanding down hill tee shot and no hazards. It’s always nice to finish with a good score and I usually did.
Lahontan, Truckee (Lake Tahoe)
I owe a lot to my brother-in-law Rich. He took me golfing many times, including our mainstay, Shoreline, south of San Francisco.
Perennial Nicklaus-chaser Tom Weiskopf, a 16-time champ on the tour, designed this beauty on the California side of Lake Tahoe. I always liked Tom and followed him several times at Greensboro and Pinehurst.
Nicklaus grabs all attention as a designer but Wieskopf has earned his fair share of praise. He sure hit the sweet spot with Lahontan. And then there’s the natural beauty - Ponderosa Pines, snow-capped peaks. And everything was first class; the attendants cleaned your clubs, stuff like that.
Lincoln Park, San Francisco
Like Harding Park and the Presidio, this was your basic public track when I played in the 1990s. But no matter how poorly the conditions were, the killer views soothed the savage beast. Holes seven and eight looked to the city skyline. Number 17 is the one everyone remembers, a long downhill par 3 that as I recall, I never parred. But what views of the north bay and Golden Gate Bridge.
The layout has a few bit oddities. Between holes six and seven is a long walk past the Legion of Honor building. The home hole on the front nine is number eight. I remember a hot dog stand stood just off the green. From time to time, a pulled tee shots produced a fore! People standing in line had to duck. Once a bouncing ball hit someone’s car.
I didn’t realize it but Lincoln Park is the western terminus of the Lincoln Highway, which was the first transcontinental highway for automobiles across the United States of America.
Meadows Farm, Fredericksburg
A golf course architect with a sense of humor. Funky as they come, Meadows Farm is located just off Highway 3 west of Fredericksburg. It’s a fun play but will also challenge low handicappers.
One hole in particular stands out in my memory, a par three fronted with a waterfall. I remember hitting a great upwards shot on to the green.
Another hole as a baseball theme, complete with outfield signs and a diamond.
The course has three nine hole courses. One, which we didn’t play, has a par 6 hole 841 yards long.
Presidio, San Francisco
But what player with a military ID could complain? I paid just $9 for nine holes. Some players rented carts but I always walked, sometimes with my buddy Joe.
I never played well here, but afterwards, I wound my way downhill to the base where I could pick up a few things from the PX and the Commissary.
Like Harding Park, the Presidio course got a major facelift after years of neglect. Arnold Palmer sunk $9M in the late 1990s. Improvements included a new clubhouse.
I didn’t realize it but this course has a long history. Wiki notes it was built in 1885, making it the second oldest course west of the Mississippi.
Under the guidance of the Presidio Trust, the army base has been transformed into a nice mix of foundations, centers, and schools. George Lucas hopes to build a “Great Lawn,” and studios for Lucasfilm.
I hold fond memories of this special place. The Golden Gate Bridge looms large, framing the container ships cruising past lonely Alcatraz Island, Sausalito in the distance.
NSWC is the Naval Surface Warfare Center. It has a base at Dahlgren, a base about 20 miles east of Fredericksburg. Area bikers may know it better than motorists, as the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail has a terminus at the base’s front gate.
We played this one out of curiosity. Most bases have a separate area for a golf course. This one winds its way through the base. I can’t remember any distinct holes. I hate to say it, but this is truly a forgettable course.
Pinecrest, Annandale, Fairfax County
For about ten years, Roberta and I were weekend regulars at the Fairfax County Golf Courses. Greendale was the closest to our house, but we were never charmed by it.
We played them all at least once and found we enjoyed Pinecrest the most.
It has several funky holes. You could try and drive number two, but a large pond easily dissuaded such a bold effort.
Number four was a par five but easily reachable in two shots. The approach was a blind shot with perils including OB.
The final hole was a short par 3. Then came the short walk to the bar and grille inside what substituted for a clubhouse. Nothing special, it was just your basic 19th hole - tables and chairs, a place to cool off, sip a drink, grab a bite to eat, gaze at your hole by hole result, and then the final act, pulling out the pencil one last time, and signing your scorecard.
Thousands of hours we’ve listened to WAMU/88.5 radio, which is licensed to American University, and many times I’ve passed right by the AU campus.
Always had good intentions to do a look see. Finally got it done earlier this week, a pleasant walk around the campus, which included walking up the long and steep hill on Massachusetts – twice – and around the big circle at Massachusetts and Nebraska.
This walk produced a handful of “I didn’t know’s.”
(Note: WAMU broadcasts content from NPR (Morning Edition and All Things are considered the mainstays), American Public Media, Public Radio International, Public Radio Exchange and the BBC World Service. The Diane Rehm Show is produced at WAMU and has a listening audience of about 2 million. Local public affairs programs includes The Kojo Nnamdi Show and Metro Connection.
Statue of John Wesley is in a pleasant setting at the corner of Massachusetts and 45th.
Metropolitan Memorial Methodist Church
The bad news is the original church, an all-time beaut, was demolished.
In his classic book, Capital Losses, James M. Goode wrote:
It was probably the most important of more than seventy-five Gothic Revival churches that have been built in the Washington area during the past 175 years…. The Church became known as the Westminster Abbey of American Methodism…. Tallest privately-owned building in the city and was long a landmark.
In 1930, the District of Columbia condemned the sandstone building whose Gothic spire rose to a heavenly height of 275 feet (located at C Street and John Marshall Place). It held on until 1956 when it was torn down. The DC Municipal Building rose up in its place in its place.
Heritage Trail Marker
A Tenleytown Heritage Marker was supposed to be along the circle, but it was not there. Not sure what is going on, but it's worth pointing out that the marker is for Tenleytown, AU Park’s neighbor to the east. Maybe they are moving it.
Fortunately, the HMDB contains the information. Top of the Town refers to the area’s highest natural elevation in the District.
A little slice of Korea and a tribute to Jeju Island.
Ward Circle and a center on the east side of the campus.
We regret not being able to spend any time on Women’s History Month, save for this short posting on Eleanor “Cissy” Patterson.
I confess not knowing anything about her until I met Amanda Smith at the National Press Club’s Annual Book Fair in 2011. She is the author of “Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Life and Monumental Times of Cissy Patterson.”
Patterson became the twentieth century’s first woman editor-in-chief and publisher when she bought The Washington Times and The Washington Herald from William Randolph Hearst. Some called her the most powerful woman in America. She once quipped, "I'd rather raise hell than raise vegetables."
Patterson arrived in the nation’s capital in 1930. She merged the two dailies. The paper had ten editions and became the Washington Post of its time.
Patterson purchased Mount Airy in P.G. County in 1931 after it was damaged by a fire. She completely renovated the manor, which is also associated with the Calvert and Custis dynasties. The rural setting afforded her the privacy she needed to host Washington's upper crust of society. Her long and productive life ended in her house in 1948.
We salute Eleanor Patterson, a pioneer in a tough industry.