Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Helping out with Polar Bear

So I'm heading north to Canton in the morning for one of my favorite events, the CP of the North Country Polar Bear Golf Classic. This is an anti-cabin fever event I helped our Affiliate start 12 years ago. They have built it into a major fundraiser and one of the pillars of the Winter Carnival in St. Lawrence County.
I just observe, glad-hand some of the sponsors I helped bring in and MC the banquet now. In the first few years of the event I used to go out on the driving range of the golf course at the University and help set up the nine-hole course. They cut the holes in the fall and lay large swatches of all-weather carpet for the greens. Each hole is between 50 and 90 yards and it takes about an hour to play the course.

It is like summer golf; most people playing just to get thirsty and win some of the prizes. It is a fun event and the food and beer afterward is always good. We have seen some interesting weather over the years. One year we had rain and mud in February, 10 miles from the Canadian Border.

I recall one year setting up the course at dawn - 7:00 am in Canton in February - and it was 22 below zero. There was a crystal clear sky, no wind and a beautiful sunrise. We finished setting up the course in two feet of snow that had fallen a couple of days before. The golf pro wanted to see if the storm had damaged any trees on the back nine, so we jumped on a pair of snowmobiles and flew across the open fairways at something in excess of 70 miles an hour. We traversed most of the course, passing deer foraging for breakfast, a fox trying to get out of our way and various other critters wondering what the hell we were doing disturbing their peaceful morning. We stopped along a partially frozen stream about a mile from the club house and spent a few minutes just taking in the scene. It was pristine and beautiful; breathtaking actually. An amazing morning and not a bad way to start your day.

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