Late last year, Eric Levin, the deputy editor of New Jersey Monthly, wrote an article, for Colorado Avid Golfer, about playing in and around Palm Beach without going broke. He found several reasonably-priced courses that he liked a lot, among them two that are owned and operated by Palm Beach County.
Between rounds, he and his wife had a meal at the Leopard Lounge, a legendary Palm Beach restaurant. They got into a conversation with "a slim, silver-haired man with a manicured mustache and a German accent," who said that in the 1980s he had paid $25,000, at an auction, for a hat that Elvis Presley wore in the Army. "Presley’s Army hat, he reckoned, is worth many times what he paid for it," Levin wrote. Too valuable to wear while playing golf? I can't say.
In addition to the courses he wrote about, Levin visited one that he didn't end up playing, even though he shares my conviction that there is no such thing as a bad golf course.
"I'll call it Glory Glades. The clubhouse, behind an imposing facade complete with portico and curving driveway, turned out to be an enormous catering facility. The pro shop was a dreary, dimly-lit shoe box. But I did find one thing to love -- or, rather, one person. I'll call him Kenny. I ran into him outside the cart shed. He was a well-built, middle-aged guy in reflector shades, and he was wearing a Glory Glades logo shirt. He described his job as 'bagger-slash-starter.' He said, "I love everything about golf, from playing it, to talking about it, to helping people, to just being outdoors.'"
Kenny had only one golf-related beef, Levin told me: French Canadians, who, in his experience, are lousy tippers. Is this a known trait of our separatism-inclined golf brothers to the North? I myself have noticed that German golfers seem somewhat ruder than the international average, whether they're wearing Elvis Presley's Army hat or not, and that Korean golfers are slower -- but that's about as far as my ignorant stereotyping of non-Americans goes.
Back to Levin:
"Kenny told me he makes $7 an hour, plus tips, and lives about a mile from the course, with his wife and their two young children. He and his family moved from Broward County, where he worked 80 hours a week managing a grocery store, because the schools in Palm Beach County are better. His need for tips was obvious. He said that, on a good day in the high season (roughly Thanksgiving to Easter), he can make $200, but that very little of that comes from French Canadians. 'Now here's the crazy part,' Kenny told me. 'When they need something, they can speak English. But when it's time for a tip or that kind of thing, suddenly they're speaking French.'"
I assume that President Trump (who owns a golf course nearby) will put an end to all that, maybe with a Game of Thrones-style wall of ice along the Canadian border. Meanwhile, here are a few more of Levin's photographs of Glory Glades (which looks plenty good enough to me):