The Geese of Eaglewood Golf Course – by Bobill
The number of beautiful geese that once roamed the marshes, fairways, and greens of the Langley AFB Eaglewood Golf Course in Hampton, Va. is much smaller now than it once was – because several years ago The Air Force rounded up and hauled scores of them away. The official reason given by Langley officials was that the geese posed a danger to Langley aircraft. However, it turned out that some high-ranking Langley officers who played golf at the Langley course were unhappy about having to deal with the mess made by the geese – but that’s another story. This story is a tribute to the Eaglewood geese which have provided so much amusement to me and other golfers over the years.
Geese are a lot like golfers in that they are loud, arrogant, and obnoxious, and they like a good prank. Eaglewood geese and golfers spend a lot of time on the course and can be seen on the links in the worst of weather conditions – The geese to muck around with their mates, golfers to get away from theirs. But geese differ from golfers in other ways. For example, geese are smarter and better swimmers than most golfers. You may hear someone say that a golfer is “dumber than a snake, or hear a golfer described as “what a turkey!”, but geese just aren’t denigrated like that. And I can’t recall ever hearing of a goose drowning. Another remarkable difference is that geese are completely open and honest in the discharge of certain of their natural functions while golfers are squeamish in this matter and will hide behind trees, their golf carts, or even other golfers to relieve their natural urges.
And another thing, geese may not play much golf, but they know the rules and traditions of golf better than most golfers, and they sometimes insist that golfers follow the rules to the letter. That, and the natural tendency of geese to make jokes, led to some interesting situations on the Eaglewood course. One particular incident stands out: One day a male golfer skipped his tee shot across the lake on the tenth hole, and the ball came to rest a little short of the ladies’ tee box. When the golfer proceeded to his ball and prepared to take his next shot, a gaggle of geese scrambled out of the lake, yelling, strutting, and flapping their wings – and surrounded the offending golfer, mocking and chastising him.
The offending golfer and his golfing partners understood that the geese meant to embarrass the golfer for not hitting his ball at least to the ladies’ tee box. The geese also meant to further remind the golfer that he must pay an embarrassing penalty for his mistake. The golfer did the only honorable thing he could: he yielded to one of the oldest traditions of golf – and played the remainder of the hole by El Paso Rules. And he did so in the company of a loud, mocking gallery – made up of golfers and geese. If the reader has not heard of El Paso Golfing Rules, ask a golfing friend to explain – but if you are a lady and the friend is a male, be forewarned: you may be embarrassed.