The things I learn…..
The time 1923. Construction began on what is today the Key West Golf Club. The site one huge piece of flat coral. The first step in the construction project was to dynamite the coral.
Key West did not end at that time or this time where the Cow Key Bridge sits today. Though located on Stock Island, the golf course is part of Key West.
In the early 1920s, Key West approved bonds for construction of a municipal golf course. The firm of Langford and Moreau contracted to design an 18 hole course. The site perfect. Described as flatter than a pancake. Though solid coral as described earlier.
The first nine holes were officially opened in 1924. Langford and Moreau’s 18 hole design never completed.
In the 1960s, the final nine holes were added.
Nineteen eighty three found the famous Reese Jones hired to completely redesign the entire golf course. Co-designer was Keith Evans.
Hurricane Wilma hit on October 24, 2005. We all remember Wilma.
An 8 foot storm surge flooded the course with 4 feet of ocean water. Salt water. It inundated not only the fairways and greens, but also the irrigation ponds.
The greens a disaster. I remember clearly. I was still playing golf in those days.
The greens were rebuilt in 2006 and 2007.
The golf course is City owned. It leases the course. The course is maintained and operated by the lessee. Stated in another fashion, a public course privately owned.
Gwenn Smith was lessee/operator/owner at the time of Wilma. Her words best describe the sea water flooded course: “For a short while, our golf course could accommodate Keys divers with drivers.”
Gwenn went to work repairing the course. The greens took the worse damage. The greens were 20 year old Bermuda grass. Not salt tolerant.
A green’s grass more salt tolerant was needed. Gwenn found it. Seashore paspalum turfgrass. Full name: SeaDwarf seashore paspalum turfgrass. Took 2 years to redo all the greens. Nine holes each year. For a period of time each year, golfers were required to replay the 9 holes not under repair in order to get 18 holes in.
Gwenn and her family are to be complimented. When Gwenn took over the course, they put several million dollars into it. the course turned into a gem. It is still a gem today. Constantly well maintained. A golfer’s paradise.
Several persons have told me Tex Schramm was a prior lessee of the golf course. Tex the popular and respected President and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys for many years. I tried to verify the information. Could not.
My annual physical yesterday. The hands on one. Took two hours. Everything basically the same as last year. The blood work, etc results all fine. When it comes to my health, I am concerned. Worry. I attribute it to my age and the fact I am a hypochondriac. At age 31, I got sick and spent four months in bed. Impacted me mentally a bit.
After the physical, I thought I deserved a good lunch. It was off to the Pier House Beach Bar. Lovely and personable Janyne bartending.
Many tourists. Ladies magnificent. Loved the bikinis.
Last night, the Chart Room. A good time!
I stayed sufficiently long that it was too late to have dinner when I left. The Chart Room popcorn had to suffice.
John bartending. David at the bar. Two great guys.
The three of us struck up a conversation with two tourists. Krista and Reck from Westville, Ohio. Repeat visitors to Key West. Staying at the Hollinsed House this trip. Victorian bedrooms.
Krista an elementary school teacher. She is a reading specialist grades K through 3. Reck in the auto glass business.
Fun people. Especially, Krista. Hope to run into them again before they leave monday.
They inquired what to do New Year’s Eve. John, David and I all agreed. Sushi coming down in a shoe at midnight at Bourbon Street.
When writing re the Boca Chica Lounge yesterday, I mentioned the place was now a non-descript auto parts store. No more. Last night I sought it out. The building bears a lovely sign: Wood & Metal.
I have to hustle. I have a noon holiday luncheon at La Trattoria on Duval with a friend.
Enjoy your day!