By Kolbe Nelson
I was sitting in a bar in Manhattan with my friend Kyle Johnson late this past February. That’s when this grand adventure that has been my move from South Dakota to New York City got started in earnest.
Kyle had been one of my best friends since elementary school at Alcester-Hudson and we were pals right up through graduation from South Dakota State University in 2011. He went to school for turf management, learning how to make golf courses and baseball fields look the absolute best. It’s what he was born to do. It brought him out here to work the courses at Winged Foot Golf Club, the home of the 2006 US Open where Phil Mickelson served up a choke job on par with the monumental ones Greg Norman had produced decades before. It’s one of the toughest courses in the country. Kyle’s one of the guys who makes sure it stays that way.
I was working as a weekend sports anchor for a TV station in Sioux Falls, a job I had held for a little over a year, and was using the small amount of vacation time and spare cash I had saved up to visit Kyle in New York and a few friends in Montana over the span of a week. This was a pretty new experience for me. Not only had I never seen the Big Apple before, I had never even flown in a plane. The excitement level for me was unequaled. We had plans to see the Knicks the next night at Madison Square Garden, but for the time being we were taking it easy, having a few beers in Midtown.