Hole No. 14, Par 5. Is the secret
choice for your annual golf trip to
Oregon or Wisconsin or . . . ?
"Where are you going tomorrow for your golf trip?", a curious acquaintance asked me. Anticipating a concrete answer, he instead heard, "I don't honestly know." Confused and intrigued, he wanted to know how I could possibly not know where I was going for a 5-day jaunt. I told him that we had conducted annual mystery golf trips for the last few years. "Cool, very cool," my colleague uttered in a manner lathered with green envy. I thought so too and all of those people to whom I have mentioned this strategy feel it is a great way to go on a yearly boys' golf trek. Others only wished they were part of the equation . . .
The annual Chewie Open foursome (Scugog, Bags, Chief, and I—the Commish) commenced this brilliant mystery golf trip brain wave in 2004, when I was responsible for surprising the group with a trip to the Robert Trent Jones Trail resort at Capitol Hill in Montgomery, Alabama. The individual responsible for the trip would confirm a date for the 4-to 5-day trip (usually between mid-April to early May) after gaining the blessings of the other three posse members.
Pithy but also misleading emails by the leader would be circulated with short cryptic comments. This curveball scheme was to throw off the curious queries made by the others during the run-up to this glorious event. Control freaks in our group (Chief and Scugog) might probe with questions but their thrusts were neatly side-stepped. Psychological warfare tools were utilized in these communications and such messages could state, "Bring your raingear but it could be sunny. Shorts may be used on a couple of days but you might want to bring three levels of clothing." Such advice was useless, of course, as the controller wanted to throw off the scents of the hound dogs. Game on!
The three clueless members would then arrive at the appointed time at Toronto International Airport. These flight details were revealed only late in the game so the fellas wouldn't try to schmegeele and calculate where they might be going. The code was kept in place. No leakage was allowed to those who could damage the integrity of this secret. Death was the only option if such a failure occurred. We demanded to be surprised. Then after all four had congregated with high-fives and back slaps, the controlling sergeant would ceremoniously unfurl the packaged itinerary with our marching orders. Once the script was unrolled, the oblivious would transform into the enlightened and elated ones. More jubilation ensued and the focus was now on dreaming about what awaited us in a few hours. Remember those early days of your lives when you gathered around the Christmas tree, wondering what was in that big thanger of a package with your name on it sitting in the corner? Yes, you have warm and fuzzy memories of those glorious days. Good ones, of course.
I have been most fortunate and privileged to travel to well-known golf destinations like Pinehurst, North Carolina; Palm Desert, California; Kiawah Island, South Carolina; and Pebble Beach, California. Each of our Chewie Open boys' trips has been great—just different degrees of great, if there is such a thing. From tree-lined fairway golf to cacti-and rattlesnake-infested desert golf to breathtaking ocean-view golf, they all possess their own distinct charming qualities. Finding those hidden golf jewels or choosing well-known destinations is an exciting proposition to surprise the group. Scugog in fact, read about Bandon Dunes on the Chewie Open flight the year before it was his turn. We are pretty diligent in reading golf magazines and sourcing different places.
So a question from the readers might be: "How can I have a similar successful mystery golf trip with my closest comrades?" Well my friends, I have some good suggestions.