Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Golfing Isn't Fancy in Fargo

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Golfing Isn't Fancy in Fargo

Article excerpt

There are three major religious observances in Georgia:

Christmas, Easter and Masters week.

Yes, this is the time when most eyes in Georgia and many from

around the world turn toward Augusta National, the host of the

most tradition-steeped tournament in American golf.

If Augusta National's annual event is High Holy Week at the

Cathedral of Golf, Fargo Golf Club is a Wednesday night prayer

session at the little country church. This little nine-hole

course is about as far from Augusta National as you can get --

and still be in Georgia -- in more ways than one.

Bill Oettmeier Jr. teed up the ball last week as part of a

fivesome, a number banned on most courses. But there was no one

else to complain.

The course became sort of exclusive a couple of years ago when

it was privatized after years of being open to anybody who

wanted to play.

There is no snooty club pro to take tee times and to make sure

everyone has a collar and that their shorts aren't short.

There's no ranger to keep order.

There's just an old steel box to collect the honor system

deposit of fees.

But some rednecks from out of town took advantage of that

system and ruined it, Oettmeier said.

"Each one of them would take a cart and put a cooler in it.

They'd stay drunk all day," he said.

They raced the carts down the fairways, drove them through the

bunkers, across the greens and deep into the woods. They tore

four up so badly they had to be junked. And after all that, they

didn't even bother to pay.

What is left is a membership of 34 who pay $200 a year for the

privilege of playing the course. Other locals still can get on

anytime they want by calling a member.

Oettmeier's father, Bill Sr., laid out the course sometime in

the 1960s in what was pasture bordered on one side by U. …

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