THE OVERTON PARK 9 - A GOOD WALK NOT SPOILED
Mark Twain once called golf, “a good walk spoiled.” But were he around today and played a round at the new Overton Park 9, he might just change his mind.
I live just a block away from beautiful Overton Park in mid-town Memphis. I walk through the park almost every day, and as a lifelong Memphian, I have been walking through the park for 70 years! I have been the Forrest Gump of Overton Park.
As a child, my walks were through the Overton Park Zoo several days each summer. I safely walked past lions, and tigers and bears (oh my!). I also walked through the park carrying picnic baskets for many family gatherings.
I walked to the Shell to attend concerts and plays.
By the time I was in high school, I wasn’t just walking through Overton Park, I was marching through Overton Park, proudly wearing my “Save Overton Park” t-shirt to support my friend Charlie Newman and my fellow Citizens for the Preservation of Overton Park in our battle to stop the Federal Government from building a highway through the park.
My walks through the park then became runs, as I ran in local races such as the Overton Park 5 Mile Classic. I kept running through the park for nearly 50 years until my back and knees told me to go back to walking.
And I even had virtual walks through the park as I read Peter Taylor’s classic short story, “The Old Forest.”
For many years I also walked through the Park hitting a little white ball with some old wooden golf clubs I had bought at the Bert Dargie Store. I consistently broke a hundred on the old Overton Park course, but only because it contained just nine holes.
I gave up golf years ago for my family and friends but I kept walking through the park nearly every day without lugging my bag of Bert Dargie woods.
But I may start hitting that little white ball again during my walks through and around the Old Forest.
Thanks to the vision of the late great George Cates, a founding member of the Overton Park Conservancy, and the tireless work of mid-town residents and park lovers such as Parks Dixon, the old Overton Park golf course has been beautifully redesigned as the Overton Park 9, and was officially reopened last week.
If I can find my Bert Dargie clubs (last seen in my storage room in 1996), I intend to get back in the swing of things soon in my daily walks in the park. I am confident it will not be a good walk spoiled. Either with or without my clubs, it will be a great walk through the park I love.