Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fairgrounds Golf Is No More

For many years I can remember driving past Joe Mortara Golf Course in Vallejo and thinking what a cool place it was. It was a nine hole golf course set in the infield of an old horse racing track. However I never stopped. Just kept driving past it. I guess I thought I was too good to play a course situated at an abondoned race track.
Well, last year on a whim, I stopped to play it. I remember the day, July 2nd. I remember the day for a very personal reason. It was the day a TV commercial I appeared in was released. I tried to play my round of golf and was besieged with well wishes from family and friends.
Anyways, back to the round. I went to the "pro shop" and paid my green fees. When I got to the first tee. I was joined by five other people who didn't want to pair up. (I hate playing golf with people I don't know. I'm uncomfortable with the awkward conversation. One time many years ago I played golf with a guy who felt he needed to tell me about his wife, kids, job, boss, etc. I came to the course to get away from my troubles, not listen to someone else's.)
So we waited.......and waited. Finally it was my turn. I hit my first tee shot about twenty yards from where I was and lost the ball. The ground was that bad. Weeds were everywhere. The grass hadn't been taken care of for God knows how long. So I hit my next shot.......on to the racetrack. Not a good start to say the least.
This course had been around for years before I was born and it seemed like when the original greens keeper died, the course management didn't bother to hire another one.
I wouldn't even say this course had grass. Patches of dirt, mud, puddles of water was more like it. 
Needless to say, this wasn't an enjoyable round of golf. I must have lost about a dozen balls. I remember on the ninth hole, I drilled one next to this bridge. I saw where it landed, or so I thought. It disappeared. Worst golf course ever!
Over a year later, I noticed something about the place when I drove past it several times in the last few weeks. The course itself looked abandoned. It was a brown golf course. I thought because of the drought we are experiencing here in California, they were not watering it anymore. After some research I discovered the county decided to shut it down. It was operating at a loss for many years. There are many golfing options to choose from in the area and no one cares to play golf at what could be described as a pitch and putt, and I'm being nice calling it that.
So without even trying, my first time was my last time playing there. 
I'm sure it was a great little course back in its heyday. I played it as it was slowly dying, literally. It was too expensive to maintain. 
Now I wish I would have stopped and played it when I was younger. Now it's gone.

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