Not every golf ball lands perfectly on the green to the cheers of onlookers — there are also those strays that have suffered less-glamorous fates, being hit into the woods or waterways and forgotten.
For one Mount Airy man who enlisted his golfing buddies to be on the lookout for any different-colored balls encountered during their respective rounds, the resulting collection has led to a unique Christmas display.
Instead of employing the usual ornaments, figurines, tiny lights or fake icicles, Earl Varney used those scavenged balls — 93 to be exact — to decorate his Christmas tree. It was filled with ones representing nearly every color in the rainbow, a testament to how items suffering inglorious treatment on the links and penalty strokes for their owners can all come together to form something beautifully creative.
“They were just ones they found on the course,” Varney said of the balls amassed by six to eight golfing associates enlisted for the quest.
The 70-year-old who lives in the vicinity of Millennium Charter Academy said he had never seen a golf ball Christmas tree before, with his idea for one spawned by a dislike of decorating a tree in the traditional manner. Having to unpack ornaments, meticulously place them on the branches and then packing everything up after the holidays is not exactly his cup of tea.
“Last Christmas, I almost decided not to put a tree up, but I think the family wanted to see a tree,” Varney said.
So when this Christmas rolled around, he decided to have a unique one that mirrored his own interest as a part-time employee of Cross Creek Country Club for the past 17 years and a former golf coach at Carroll County High School in Virginia for 20 years.
And before one could say “fore,” the golfing tree was born.
He could have relied on the standard white balls with which most golfers are accustomed to playing. “I asked guys I golf with to help me find brightly colored balls,” he said of his desire for a more attractive tree.
Once he assembled a stash of yellow, pink, blue, green, polka-dot and other balls, it wasn’t a matter of just flinging them onto his tree.
“I had to drill holes in each of them,” Varney said of a process that preceded the placement of eye screws in the balls to provide a means of attachment to the branches.
“I put the grandkids’ names on a few of them,” he added.
“It was a task.”
There is a reason why “only” 93 balls were used in the project.
“It probably would have been more, but I got tired of fixing them,” explained Varney, who plans to use the same Christmas tree display next year.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.