It is often said that golf is a spiritual game. It is also a game that deeply disturbs our heads. It is therefore not surprising that its history is filled with tales of unexplained sightings.
An appearance here. An ectoplasm there.
It was a pursuit that put the Boo to Weekley.
And now it’s Halloween.
What better time to peruse the cobwebbed archive of our favorite stories of spectral encounters on the course?
Here are 5 that come to mind.
Not So Dead Solid Perfect: Lincoln Park Golf Course, San Francisco
Putts weren’t the first things buried in Lincoln Park. The picturesque muni’s 18th hole is said to have been built on part of an abandoned cemetery. The stories are legion of bullets missing or suddenly falling from the air, very far from their target. Some people have suggested that the spirits are to blame. Yeah, that must be it.
A Dress Code Violation: Victoria Golf Club, Victoria, BC
Such nice people, Canadians. Except when they aren’t. Take the grim story of Doris Gravlin, who one dark night in 1936 donned a white dress and stepped out onto the course for a reunion with her ex-husband. Five days later, Doris is found dead. A month later, her husband too. Murder-suicide, so many were saying. Many also claim to have seen her apparition, walking the course in the same white outfit she wore on that fateful outing. Bad taste, in our opinion, but still better than cargo pants.
A guest who just won’t leave: Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, NJ
Baltusrol has just emerged from a murderous renovation of its lower reaches. But nothing has changed on how the club got its name. It comes from Boltus Roll, a local farmer who suffered a horrific death at the hands of two crooks, in 1831. The murder became notorious throughout the region. You know what else is well known in these parts? The legend of “Old Balty”, the restless spirit of Roll, who is said to haunt the place. Like many regulars, he is looking forward to 2023, when the upper course will also be redone.
Baba-Boo-ey: City Park, New Orleans
If you’re thinking “You da man!” and “mashed potatoes!” are annoying, try to manage a bloodcurdling scream in the middle of your backswing. Many people in City Park swore they heard it. They believe the chilling screams are the echoes of a woman who was allegedly shot on the 18th hole in the 1960s. Note the phrase “said to have been.” It is not known if such a murder ever took place.
Have Ouimet before? The Country Club, Brookline, Mass.
Francis Ouimet enjoyed his first 15 minutes in 1913, when, with the help of Eddie Lowry, a caddy prodigy, he came out of nowhere to win the US Open at this legendary course, just outside Boston . But that wasn’t the last of his time in the spotlight. Her story was so inspiring that it became the subject of a bestselling book, which spawned a Hollywood movie. And yet, it looks like Ouimet still needs attention, though now he’s getting it as an appearance, spotted on the grounds of the exclusive club, which will host their fourth domestic championship next summer. One of the many sightings was in 2005, when a pro assistant reported seeing the ghosts of Ouimet and Lowry, sitting on a bench beside the course. No word if they were posing for an Instagram post.