When Joel Goldstrand was asked to design a golf course on a beautiful piece of property along the Crow River he was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a “natural”. The experienced Goldstrand had no idea the extent that Mother Nature would play in many rounds played at Fox Hollow.
Duane Peterson a long time regular at Fox Hollow related the following two stories to this author,.
Duane has been a good athlete since high school basketball days. As he grew too old for basketball, he concentrated more on his golf game, and becoming a very good player. It was their regular Saturday morning match among good friends who, for about four hours, become mortal combatants. The $2 Nassau and $1 skins are protected like a life savings and arguments (though good natured) are a regular occurrence.
The constant bitching had already started as Duane started his round with a string of birdies on #4, #5 and #6. When his approach to the tough 7th found the middle of the green, his thoughts turned to scoring 4 birdies in a row, a feat he had never accomplished; while his competition wished that they had not pressed the Nassau after the back-to-back birdies at #4 and #5. As his group was crossing the hazard that fronts the 7th green they noticed a nearly grown fox pup approaching Duane’s ball, the only ball on the green. “That must be that “ball stealing” fox that the guys have been talking about for the past month,” observed Peterson.
The fox approached the ball, sniffed, then grabbed it with its razor sharp puppy teeth and stood head up, seeming to smile, while it eyed the approaching foursome. The scream from Duane only caused the fox to trot off the back of the green and disappear into the dense woods. Now the real argument started! Where to replace the ball. The United Nation has seen longer arguments none more intense.
Later in the summer the superintendent discovered a den full of golf balls but no fox. Question: Did he eat a golf ball and that caused his demise?
More recently Duane was playing with former club manager, Doug Deiter, when the foursome, standing on the 16th tee, noticed a not-yet-mature bald eagle perched in the huge cottonwood tree that guards the front left of the 16th green.
Deiter hit a fine tee shot that found the right center of the fairway, but before the ball stopped rolling the young symbol of America dove from its post high in the top of the cottonwood and made a silent graceful arc downward. The beautiful young creature glided low along the fairway, then in one quick motion it snatched the startled ball from the turf. As the huge bird began its ascent it somehow realized that the not-struggling white object was not for lunch today and dropped the ball to the turf below. After some discussion the ball was replaced and the group of nature watchers – or – golfers completed the hole. The eagle had assumed a new perch in the treetop near the 17th tee and proceeded to watch with interest as the foursome completed the 16th and moved onto the 17th fairway. With the Mississippi River nearby, eagles are a regular site at Fox Hollow but no golfer has ever mentioned seeing an eagle carry-off a golf ball.
Playing golf at Fox Hollow is always an interesting adventure, but keep your cell phone on mute and camera ready – you never know what treasure Mother Nature will give. All for the price of a greens fee.