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LETTER: Reader says farewell to an ‘old friend’

To the Editor:

We’ve known for some time that she was near the end. Regardless of how long our dearest relationships last, we are rarely ready to see them come to an end and bid farewell.

The Oaks Course has been more than grass, sand, trees, creeks and ponds. I opened an office for our company 32 years ago and was quickly introduced to The Oaks as my course.

I had only taken up golf a couple of years before and had found the course that I would call home for the next 32 years.

I’ve been privileged to belong to a couple of nicer, more exclusive and more prestigious golf clubs. I’ve been fortunate to play dozens of the bucket list courses from Pebble Beach, Medina,Olympia Fields, Oakland Hills to TPC Sawgrass, Whistling Straits and Colonial in Memphis. All of these were beautiful, memorable and played with dear friends.

None of these courses embedded more warm and lasting memories than our Oaks.

All of my grandchildren have shared rounds with me at the Oaks. I’ve played with more of my friends at the Oaks than any golf course. I’ve hosted corporate outings, fundraiser outings and after work weekly outings at the Oaks. My only son and I had a standing Sunday afternoon round at the Oaks until his sons came along and our standing round became a “whenever we can” round. Usually with a grandson along for the afternoon.

I had the opportunity to play with more than a few lint head dignitaries that pointed out the layout of the original nine holes.

The Oaks became my after work, mental health round, as often as I could make it happen. Often that round would team me up with another random single golfer. I met and came to know many of Covington’s finest citizens in these chance encounters.

My bride of 42 years “rode” with me many times. She hates golf. She apparently loves me. More than a few times when she could see me stressed or possibly I was stressing her she would put her hand on my shoulder and say, “Why don’t you go to the Oaks for the afternoon?” 

The deep friendships became deeper with the fellowship time we call a round of golf. We solved most of the problems in the universe.

I played one of their last rounds, before they were taken too soon with Stan Owens, Henry Stephens and Mike Reagin. I’ll miss getting a laugh where we laughed together so many times.

Time marches on. Our part of the world is losing a big chunk of history and character. I feel fortunate to have taken many long walks behind the footsteps of Bobby Jones.

Farewell, old friend.

Bryan Hays