• By Geoffrey Norman

    Photography by Hubert Schriebl

    Summer 2012

    Say you are on your way from Pawlet (or Danby) to Middletown Springs on highway 133. You’re making the drive to pick up some cheddar cheese straws from Sissy’s Kitchen, and to talk to Sissy, herself, about catering your next party… but I digress.

    Golf in the Back Forty

    “Well, the low men’s is 73 and the low women’s is 76. Both of those were shot by teaching pros.”

    So Honey Pond is, as I was learning, a real golf course. Unorthodox, perhaps, but not some novelty production. It has been visited and rated by the United States Golf Association and Sky Golf has computed the GPS readings.

    And while it is a private course, Honey Pond is not walled off from the rest of the world. The Kanews conduct charity tournaments to help raise money for local causes, such as the Dorset Theatre Festival. And there is an annual pro-am.

    But the course is there, chiefly, for the benefit of its owner and he clearly loves it and is enormously proud of it.

    “Probably helped your golf a lot,” I say, “having your own course, like this.”

    “Yes. My handicap has gone from, I’d say a 20, to a 14. But I spend more time working on the course than I do playing it.”

    The “caddy shack”

    He is not, however, lonely in his labors, Gary says. “I have a superintendent, Rich Miller. He’s been with me since 1998 and he loves the course even more than I do. If that’s possible. Rich works very hard and very carefully. I think it shows.”

    Does indeed, I say, being truthful and not merely polite. I’ve paid handsomely to play courses that were not in anything like Honey Ponds’ nearimmaculate condition.

    We have played an ad hoc sort of round and with Gary taking me to his signature holes in no particular order. Now, he says, there is one last thing he’d like to show me before he play a hole to the “diabolical west green.”

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