Clubbing in Tryon

Published 10:00 pm Monday, August 18, 2014

A new Tryon friend told me about the Mule Club. This friend recently acquired a mule named Sarah and tells of riding excursions with his fellow Mule Club members with an exuberance that’s a pleasure to witness. It had never occurred to me that there was a group of people here who share a love for their mules, but seeing how happy my friend is with his mule honestly makes me want to get one. I drove out to see Sarah and she is a beauty.
I love seeing people with a passion for something. Those kinds of pursuits enrich our lives.
By the way, I googled “mule club Los Angeles” and it seems my former home cannot boast its own mule club. But we have one here.
We have lots of clubs here, and I’m sure I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. We have three garden clubs, countless book clubs, bridge clubs, horse clubs, art clubs, photography clubs—the list goes on.
The hobby that puts a sparkle in my husband’s eye is golf (although he does agree that Sarah the mule is quite special). He’s always happy on a golf course, and we happen to have a spectacular one here at the Tryon Country Club.
When we first arrived, I must admit I bristled at his suggestion that we join the Country Club. With my limited experience, I associated country clubs with exclusivity and snooty people, and wanted no part of one.
But when I learned more about our little country club, I fell in love with it.
First of all, it’s gorgeous–rolling green hills surrounded by spectacular mountains with a cool blue swimming pool plopped down in the center of the golf course—originally placed there because of a natural spring. And the club house is a charming log building oozing with character.
The club actually acquired historical status recently on the National Historic Register, and people who know golf ooh and ah when you tell them our course was designed by Donald Ross.
The snooty membership practices I’d feared are nonexistent (otherwise we wouldn’t be members), and the cherry on top for me was that it was started by a woman.
Emma Payne Erskine donated the land for the golf course in 1914 and her vision along with donated labor and machinery from the town began the effort that became our beautiful country club in 1917. The clubhouse followed in 1922.
The next time you run into attorney Andy Haynes, make sure and tell him how grateful we are for his generous and forward-thinking great-grandmother, Ms. Erskine.
I’m not a golfer, although golf lessons are on my list of pursuits that I hope to get to someday. But I’m very good at lying by the pool, and the Country Club has a wonderful spot where I can practice this hobby vigorously.
I don’t know if my husband’s a good golfer or not, but if you get points for loving a sport, he should be excellent. He comes home excited about birdies and bogies, and I nod enthusiastically and tell him I’m glad he had a good day. Even if he “blows up” on a hole, he seems happy because he simply loves being on a golf course.
We watch golf a lot at home too, and I’ve learned that the soft voices of the commentators and even whacks of the clubs as they connect with the balls make for fabulous background noise when napping on the couch. I’m becoming a real fan of the sport.
While Paul enjoys his golf, I’ve recently joined my first book club. Why is this my first book club? Because it’s the first time I’ve been invited to join one.
In Los Angeles, my life and my friends’ lives always seemed too busy for something like a book club. Yes, of course we read books, but trying to schedule a regular meeting to discuss them seemed impossible.
So far, I love my book club here and the people in it. I was beyond flattered the day we took a break from National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winners and talked about my book, a very unambitious vampire romance (but I hope a fun read).
A friend asked who was in my book club. I gave her the list and she nodded and said, “Oh, the smarties.” Yes, they are very smart, and they’re also very nice. And I’m happy to be a part of their club. Not happy like in-love-with-my-mule happy, but still quite content.
I have no doubt we’ll find more clubs to enjoy here as well because this is just that kind of town, and the clubs and people who love them are just more reasons for me to love Tryon. Happy clubbing.

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