Friday, March 31, 2017

2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational - Arnie's Place

March 13, 2017
Bay Hill Club and Lodge
Orlando, Florida

    It was Monday, a soft day.  A peaceful day.  A day of reflection and final preparation.  Of sincere volunteers wishing you a good day as they manned their posts and grounds crews working as diligently as ever, patrons quietly respectful, as if he might appear at any moment, on any fairway or tee box or green, at the Nursery, in the Pro Shop of The Lodge that he could have just as easily folded into the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania as here at the edge of the limestone crest of Florida that runs down the center of the state.  It certainly feels like the end of the ridge that connects the two homes of his heart - Latrobe and Bay Hill.

     Bay Hill is a beautiful place and if I were Arnie I can imagine spending a
little extra time in a few favorite spots.  After the driving range where he could be among his players and in reach of his fans, he might have stopped along the left side approach to the 18th green where the houses are still that 1960's size and style, sitting in that mini bleacher with the gentleman who looked as if he were missing his friend. 

     But today the man was kept company by a quiet lab and we spent a few minutes with him, sharing a smile as a wayward ball from Monday's Pro-Am barely missed a marshall about 10 yards from us.  "You've got a great spot here."  "Yes, indeed!"



     And as the front nine loops around that great big lake he could have taken his cart to sit among the grove of live oaks that line the 4th and 5th, looking out over the osprey and grounds crew, working so hard to make their living under the sun, softened by clouds. 

     The osprey seems to work tirelessly.  Not the largest bird of prey but with strong wings and against many odds, once in a while losing its trophy catch to a larger hawk or majestic eagle, it's as blue collar as the man who built this place.  Hovering, working and fishing a waterway, it's much like watching a master at golf. 


     Yes.  I can see Arnie spending a little extra time here.