A Tourist in My Own Town: Volume 5, A Place to Learn to Love the Game

Every golfer knows the fear. Maybe it sneaks up on you at the tee box when you turn around and suddenly see the group behind you, or perhaps it happens when the cart girl comes around the curve just as you’re about to hit your approach, often it emerges on the 18th green in the shadows of the clubhouse where dozens of members are having lunch… looking down at you. Every golfer knows, yes even us hacks, what it’s like to be in front of gallery of strangers.

And we hate that feeling. At least some of us do. We’re just trying to enjoy a Saturday and now there’s pressure. What if I duff this? What if I muff this? What if I whiff? What if I slice? What if I embarrass myself and look the fool.

Now let’s pretend that you’re a child and you’re just learning the game.

Golf is a great sport. But it can also be enormously intimidating. Even adults who’ve been playing for decades hate the feeling of the group behind you breathing down your neck.

The solution may be a drive up I-40, or highway 133 if you prefer the more rural route, to the Rockfish Creek Country Club in Wallace. If you don’t live in Duplin County, you’ve likely never heard of this course. It’s not the type of place that would interest your golf buddies. It’s long since passed its prime.

Rockfish Creek was opened in 1958. You get the sense that someone looked at a flat piece of farm land and said “Yeah… that’s big enough for 18 holes.”

The scorecards are Xeroxed and printed on computer paper and cut out with scissors, the pro shop only sells items that were lost by pervious players. There’s no driving range or pracice putting green and there’s never a need to make a tee-time.

“Keep your head down son, and take the club back slowly, son!”

WHOOP!

“Can I do that again dad?”

Yes, you can! Because here, at Rockfish Creek, there’s no one else on the course.

This is the only place my son will play golf. It’s the only course where he feels comfortable. We come a couple a times a year. We started when he was 6-years-old. We took a photo that day that I later framed and hung in the man cave. It remains my favorite picture of the two of us.

“Is that a pelican?” My son asks pointing to a bird he sees on the 10th hole. When I take out my phone to take a picture, my son who is gets to drive the carts here, floors it and starts going in a zig zag motion to throw me off balance. He laughs loudly and proudly. Proving that he’s learned why so many people love golf… part of it is the game, but most of is messing around with your buddies. ( I later learned that the bird wasn’t a pelican, but rather a Egret.)

The locals have nick names for the Rockfish Club, but none of them are flattering. It’s commonly called the cow pasture or the red neck country club. And to be sure there are other more prestigious and manicured places to play far closer to Wilmington.

But if you have a child, if you want to teach them not only the game, but the love of the game, then take a little trip up to Wallace. The Rockfish Country Club is worth the drive.

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