artist - musician - craftsman
and furniture maker
[April 11, 2021]
the revland municipal: 1967
Using a freshly sharpened, serrated bread knife, I positioned the oversized empty soup can on the neatly trimmed grass. Using the can to guide the knife into the soil, I created the perfect fit for the can itself. After removing the mixture of clay and topsoil, I repeated this process in six unique locations within the confines of the back yard. It was the final procedural necessity before unveiling my latest project to the neighborhood peeps. I had already developed a reputation for my quirky yearly projects. [I’m sure most Jefferson area parents assumed I was primarily an “attention getter.”]
An actual action shot. Dad/Cletis put the camera on the ground behind the cup for the shot.
Contrary to popular belief, these projects actually began as therapy to ward off my Tourette’s affliction, and ended up being a tool to make friends as this affliction was gradually on the wane, and I needed to make up for lost time. A fort, complete with a wood stove, a multi-level tree house, multiple yearly toboggan slides, each growing in size every winter, a football field, complete with goal posts and night lights, a high jumping pit, and last but not least, a pole vaulting pit, which became a much-needed practice area as I was a member of the South High School track team as a vaulter in 1969.
My last hurrah, as I saw it, was to create the Revland Municipal Golf Course on our family property, as I couldn’t imagine a better way to make friends in the neighborhood and beyond. Providing the “gentleman’s” game, one of history's oldest and most revered sports, with free admission, was a decision I would not regret, as high school was beginning in the Fall. Junior High was in the books, as a distant wasted memory. I despised it, and am sure to this day, is why I have very little memory of it. The golf course was a few years in the making, for as to make it as authentic as possible within a 50 x 150 foot lot, I needed to use my imagination, which was always available in my tool box, and obviously much needed at this time.
A few years earlier, in the Parade insert in the Fargo Forum, I saw an ever-repeating ad for Bermuda Creeping Bentgrass, a breed of grass used for putting greens on golf courses. It was drought-resistant, winter-hardy, and most important (trying my best to hold back laughter), going to be “over seeded” in Cletis and Edna’s back yard, in logistically-located areas. I still can’t believe my parents allowed me to do this, but after a couple years of growth, it overtook the Kentucky Blue Grass that had existed before, and the push mower could be lowered to about a quarter inch, allowing the golf ball to roll at about 6 on the stimpmeter (which measured speed on the green). I ended up with 6 amoeba-shaped greens, 3 of which were used twice, to give me a 9-hole golf course.
[I once overheard my parents tell some family friends: “First you raise children ... then you raise grass.” How true.]
Obviously, on paper, I had already designed the course, the tee boxes, and even a potential “back nine” option, which I eventually utilized, giving even more variety to the landscape. The key, now, to the equation was the “ball” and how to still utilize a “full swing,” even the ability to shape the ball around a dog leg.
For those of you who aren’t golfers, I’m really sorry. I probably lost you a paragraph ago. To those who are, this blog post could act as a recipe for a lake home 3-holer, which I guess would require some maintenance, so enter at your own risk.
So, the ball.
There are two types of plastic balls: a Wiffle ball, with holes in it, and a hollow solid ball, which goes twice as far, and can be curved according to how you swing the club. This memory is creating some salivation on my end ... as I would trade my high school diploma to go back for just a day. Okay ... not much of a trade-off, as my diploma got me just about nothing. All this gobbledygook being said, the hollow, solid plastic ball was the cat’s meow. The first tee was in the front yard and required a moon shot over the house to a corner-of-the-yard, slightly-sloped green. A par 4. Once you're on the green, you replace your plastic ball with a real one, and roll it into the embedded Campbell’s Soup can. I still remember the sound the ball made as it fell into the tin cup. Priceless.
in closing ...
... and yes, this blog post probably brought me more joy than it did for you, but I’m the boss. At least on this one. The Revland Municipal Golf Course was a huge hit.
As far as the score cards? My brother (Paul) graduated from Central High that spring, providing me with hundreds of unused and undelivered graduation pictures. I typed up the course information on the back side of his mug shot. I thought he would be honored that the course was named after him. He didn’t see it that way, even though he played the course numerous times. He never really respected me ... until now. Woot!
Paul Revland (1967).
See you next weekend for a softball tutorial circa 1968.