Flipping through channels at home on Saturday afternoon, I came across an aerial shot of a neo-classical clubhouse and part of a golf course over which the sound of two men whisper-talking proved to be exceptionally soothing and apt. “Hmm,” I thought. “Must be the Colonial.” It was. Golf normally is never allowed to spend any longer than a couple of seconds on my TV –– the pursuit, even you fans have to admit, is not spectator-friendly, and, even though I don’t have cable, there always happens to be something more spectator-friendly on. (Read: doo-wop concerts on KERA.)
I kept watching, though, mainly to admire the clubhouse and the greens, the fairways and the trees, and even what little patches of paved road were visible off to the sides, thinking, “Wow. I’ve been living in Fort Worth for about seven years, and I’ve never stepped foot inside the Colonial, never actually experienced this huge part of our city.” The club was founded in 1936. “And, wow,” I went on, “there are people here in town to whom that particular tree or that particular patch of parking lot is as familiar as an old friend’s face. And that clubhouse is pretty darn extravagant. I wonder how much it costs to join?”
Not that I’d ever dream of joining. Life’s too short to wear khakis. But a lot of people disagree –– of the 50 best country clubs in the world, the Colonial ranks 22nd, and membership is still strong. That there are people here to whom $80,000 –– the initiation fee for a resident (not counting monthly dues) –– is disposable is somewhat baffling. You know what a normal person could do with 80 large? A lot is what. (So long, student loan bills!)
And if you’re thinking of joining the club, don’t. Membership is “by invitation only.”
Anyway, my other reason for continuing to watch was purely, absolutely puerile. For years I’d been hearing that the Colonial is the biggest party around, that young attractive women show up there year after year, half-dressed and visibly on the hunt for sugar daddies, and that young men go there year after year to pretend they’re sugar daddies or simply get bombed or, perhaps preferably, do both at the same time. I kept an eye out on the gallery. Saw a lot of normal-looking folk there. Certainly, no supermodels. Certainly, no rowdy drunks …
I’m aware that most if not all of the debauchery happens in the tents erected by the corporate sponsors beyond the gallery. ‘Cause I’ve heard the tales. Sex in the porta-potties. Luge shots of 150-year-old Scotch. Bumps of coke in the corners. Probably all bullshit, but still: People stretch the truth to make a point, and the point they’re obviously trying to make about the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is that the event is some sort of Caligula-esque affair and that if you’re not part of it, you sure should wish you were.
Still, I thought that at least some of the rabble would, y’know, make their way to the gallery and watch some of the tourney. Right?
Ah, but such are the depths of my naivety, especially considering that the night before, Friday, almost everyone I ran into at the bar responded to the standard, plainspoken greeting, “What’s up?” by simply saying, “I was at the Colonial” (while swaying a little and looking totally sunburned), with the inference being that he or she had been drinking all day long in a tent and witnessing zero golf.
One person, though, had to go out of his way to be honest. “We actually watched some golf,” he said, proudly.