Ponte Vedra Court (Onto the Ocean Course and Lagoon Course)

by Tim Gilmore, 6/17/2020

Dad’s a “mentor.” It’s in his bio for the tech consulting firm he founded. Early on, he encouraged Craig to pursue his passion, become a golf course architect. Or maybe he decided his son’s passion for him. Dad wasn’t there that night while his oldest sat in the back of the police car, but he could afford the right attorney: “This is why we have money, boys. Building wealth. It’s a man’s moral responsibility.”

“Observed the defendant sitting on a curb at the rear of store holding two bottles of Robitussin cough syrup,” the arrest report says. “I identified myself and defendant stood and attempted to walk away.”

Craig felt tired, he says, tired of living in an overpriced townhouse, bored and angry and bored but proud of his recent bodybuilding success, fond of turning his head to the side and tilting chin to collarbone to gaze down at his new round muscles.

He still loved walking onto the 90 year old Ocean Course at the 15th hole, loved gazing from Dad’s roof over the palm trees and listening to the expanses of Bermuda grass breathe. English golf course architect Herbert Bertram Strong designed the course in 1928, used 100 mules to shape the earth into mounds and lagoons and slopes.

“Music connects the inner and outer worlds,” Craig wrote for a high school English class. “Like the Book of Proverbs says, ‘A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.'”

The arrest report continues, “Manager performed an inventory check of the product and determined five bottles of Robitussin had been stolen from the shelf.”

You live in a world of synthetic substances, Craig says, you grow up in them. So how is using them “abusing” them? Some of his favorite nights he’d snuck out of his parents’ house and wandered footbridges to islands with cough syrup and gin in his pockets. He’d marvel that this golf course seemed more water than land and mix his favorite hallucinatory cocktail.

“My man,” he writes nostalgically on Facebook, “remember screwing off in Mr. Glennon’s class? When we took a break from being extremely racist douchebags, we would walk around in the rain until we found Quincy playing ping pong against the wall.”

In English class, he wrote, “Vibrations are often utilized with music, where the vibration frequencies are provided as background to music which is composed to complement the frequencies. That’s how God can come in through it or more likely, because certain chords can be evil, even Satan himself.”

“Four other bottles of cough syrup were located in the front of defendant’s pants. A silver flask with unknown alcoholic beverage was located in front right pocket. Arrested defendant for petit theft and possession of alcohol under age.”

Golf course architect Robert Trent Jones redesigned the Ocean Course in 1947, designed the Lagoon Course in ’61. Jones was Craig’s hero when he was a little boy. Or at least Dad’s hero for Craig.

He says he still likes to walk Lagoon Circle at three in the morning, get himself lost on the golf course, look for the moonlight reflected in alligator eyes up toward the back roundabout at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. Dad always accused him, when he was little, of “mooning.” Now he thinks that’s funny. Because God comes down from the moon quite regularly and walks with him over the sand traps.