Here in Southwestern CT, the past week has been appropriately blustery... and tinged with the burnished colors of late September.
It's been rather a sobering week, for anyone who listens to financial news. Sobering, as in, "the entire world economy has been brought to its knees and is on the verge of a collapse that will plunge us into something worse than the great depression." Other than that, things are pretty good, I guess... the Ryder Cup was great golf, that's for sure. The world's current economic woes, and what they imply for the future of golf in this country... particularly in my area where so many lives are tied to Wall Street and high finance... got me to thinking about Morefar.
Only 10 minutes from my house, on a winding, deep-woods, back road, just over the NY/CT border, is Morefar-Back o'Beyond, arguably the most mysterious, private and cloistered golf course in the world. You've probably never heard of Morefar... and that would be by design. Among avid golfers who have heard of it, Morefar is indeed a mystery. With an exquisite sculpture garden spread artfully across the the course, part of its mystique is that it's extraordinarily tough to even approach.
I know something about that because on Saturday, I tried. For decades, Morefar was under the control of AIG, the embattled insurance giant currently receiving an $85 billion loan from the federal government funded by the American taxpayers. This after being brought to the brink by years of questionable accounting practices and "edge-of-the-envelope risk-taking". It is said that AIG's atmosphere of greed and ruthlessness was established during the reign of the reputedly Machiavellian Maurice Greenberg. who now controls... Morefar.
It occurred to me, that if I as a taxpayer was going to be paying for years of Mr. Greenberg's self motivated manipulations, I should at least be able to see the course with its delightful collection of artfully placed sculptures. So I coaxed a reluctant Nick into taking me down that woodsy road past the little revolutionary war cemetery, to the stone gates of Morefar, Back o'Beyond. It looked ominous but alluring, Nick wanted to turn back. But I begged him to press on, so we drove up the narrow shaded drive past cottage-like out buildings, till we came to a cart shed on the crest of a hill. A bit further on through a boarder of small trees and flowering shrubs, I glimpsed a pristine sun-dappled section of fairway.
Just then, in the rear view mirror I spotted a man in a golf cart making his way rapidly towards us. Nick nervously lowered the window, and I feigned naivete, politely asking, "We've heard so much about this course... is there any possibility of...um... playing here?" The nondescript man answered coldly, "There's no way that can happen and you've got to leave here right now".
"Would it be possible for me to take a photograph or two?" I ventured, again playing it naive. "We expect our privacy to be respected", he responded with an icy stare...at which point Nick rolled up the window and quickly turned back down the drive towards the stone entrance gate. Nick has no stomach for confrontation... and almost refused to take the photo above, at Morefar's gate. He didn't even take the time to focus.
I'm not done, however. Now I'm determined to find a way to get into Morefar. I'll just have to leave
Reference: "Exclusive Morefar Is Far More Mysterious Than Most Golf Links", WSJ, April 2005