Headline, February12, 2014 / ICELAND O' ICONS




ONE Great storyteller — learns the hard way, and imparts a tutorial:  for those who would go to the ends of the earth for the perfect round of golf —

And,  and there may be no better place than Iceland. Just watch out for the gnomes! :

"It is two in the morning. I am standing in a field of lava a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle, in the driving rain, waving a golf club at a huge, homicidal, seabird that circles directly above my head as it surfs the wind off the North Atlantic.

The bird is a Kria. It is shrieking insanely. I have disturbed its nest while searching for an errant golf ball. I have been told that Krias will dive at, and chew upon, human skulls.

I cannot see more than a few dozen yards, in front of my face. I've been told that the sun never sets in June in Iceland,  but I've been lied to. 

The sun actually does set for a few hours, around midnight   -not very far beneath the horizon, but far enough to turn the sky dusk gloomy for a couple of hours and dark enough to make negotiating a lava field a stupid thing to be doing.

On the other hand, at this very moment, I am the northernmost golfer on earth. Yes, there are a few more golf courses in the world still further north  -a couple of other courses in Iceland itself,  probably some over in Scandinavia  -but who else would be playing on one of them at two in the morning? In the rain? Only a loon. Besieged by a Kria.

The truth is, I did not journey to Iceland to be the northernmost golfer on the planet. I came simply to play golf in the middle of the night, because I could.

Because golf is a sport best played as far from manicured, pedicured, and otherwise cured golf courses as possible, and as far from other people as possible and as close to the sea as possible.

Because golf could be a really decent sport if it took the 9-iron out of its backside and returned to its simple, medieval  roots. Bur the appeal of Golfklubburinn Keilir   goes beyond its peaceful isolation: The sea, the bronzed rocks, the wildflowers in their crannies-

There can be no more dramatic golf courses on the planet, and, quite simply, you will be a lesser human until you see it.

I also came to Iceland because it has long been my belief that as a general rule in life, the best direction you can ever travel is north, because north is always emptier, which means that there's less that can go wrong.

On top of which, you can end up in a place like a Iceland, where none of the policemen carry guns and the women who loll on the banquettes in the clubs seem to come in pairs and chainsmoke because it looks good.

I teed off at midnight and humped my way up the first fairway into the gloom, swallowed by the fog, surrounded by lava. I reveled in my solitude. I sought no conversation but the thrump of the waves over by the ninth fairway. I wanted no stimulation but the narcotic North Atlantic breeze.

I wanted to play a smooth, solitary nine holes, efficient and clean, like Iceland itself.

But weird things began happening from the start. It wasn't just the couple of times I hit my ball off into the lava, where it would ricochet with a weird clack into the darkness.

No, odder things: like on the fourth hole, where my putt for par came to a sudden halt two inches short of the hole, as if it had hit something  -or someone. Only there wasn't anything to hit. It didn't slow down. It stopped cold.

On the fifth hole, my drive felt sweet and sounded sweet, but when I reached the general area where I knew with absolute certainty that the ball would be lying, there was no ball.

I searched for a good fifteen minutes. Up and down every grassy swale. And I just knew that genomes had stolen the ball.

Hear me out on this: because they don't mention it on the brochures, even though polls have found that a full  50%  of Iceland's natives,  -in one of the most literate countries in the world,   -say they believe in some sort of genome or troll.  

Okay, yes, it's also arguably the most alcoholic country in the world.

But what if I also told you that Icelandic contractors employ people whose job is to research the locations of fabled elfin lairs in order not to disturb them when they build roads and houses.

That's just about when the Kria attacked, and I started to jog backward, reasoning that birds don't have reverse gear. This one did. This one mimicked my every move. Sideways, reverse, diagonal. 

This was no bird. This was a carnivorous mythic demon sprung from the mind of a Nordic Alfred Hitchcock.

And only in retrospect do I understand its true purpose to impart a message to all of my midnight madness, a lesson so obvious that only a golf freak, blinded by his pursuit,  could have missed it..

Just because you can play golf in the middle of the night doesn't mean you're supposed to.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Iceland. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' The Quest And The Service '''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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