Geoff Shackelford wrote an excellent story in this week’s Golf World about Royal Cinque Ports, the course next store to Royal St. George’s. It reminded me of my experience on the course during the 2003 British Open.
Harvey Greene, the PR director for the Miami Dolphins, stayed in our house that week. I first got to know Harvey when he served as PR man for the Yankees in the 1980s. Thankfully, he survived being tormented by George Steinbrenner and escaped to the sanity of South Florida. He’s one of the best in the business and one of the great guys you’d ever hope to meet.
Harvey is an enthusiastic golfer. During one of his trips to the UK, he was so taken by Royal Cinque Ports he decided to sign up as an out-of-town member. He was anxious for us to see the course during the 2003 Open. It had hosted British Opens earlier in the 20th Century.
It’s a fine course, as Shackelford writes. However, it could leave you feeling claustrophobic. The fairways felt as narrow as a walk-in closet, surrounded by elephant-eye high, ball-eating grass. Not a good place for somebody who sprays it off the tee like me.
I played Cinque Ports twice and both times I somehow managed to go 11-12 holes without losing a ball. Then my pea-sized golf brain went on overload and I blew through 6-8 balls faster than I could drink a pint.
Harvey also had the same problems. He had a fast-twitch swing you’d expect to see from a New Yorker. Like me and most golfers I know, he often had no idea where his ball was going. I came away thinking this might not be the best course for Harvey.
Harvey liked to play with Miami Dolphin logo balls. I joked that one day they were going to cut down the grass at Royal Cinque Ports and find thousands of those Dolphin logo balls. I have fun trying to picture the reaction of the Brits.
I give Harvey credit. He always pressed on, forever looking forward to the next round, planning his 36 holes for the next day.
Harvey is back at Royal Cinque Ports this week, entertaining the old crew, including my New York buddies Hank Gola and Mark Cannizaro. I wish I was there with them. I don’t miss the travel on the golf beat, but I do miss the British.
I’m sure the boys will have a fine time. And if you ever play Royal Cinque Ports, and happen to find a Dolphin logo ball, think of Harvey. You know he simply put down another ball and tried again.