What's in a (Golf Course) Name?

What's in a (Golf Course) Name?

There are, to be precise, 149 U.S. golf courses with eagle in the name, according to a count of nearly 13,000 golf facilities by the National Golf Foundation. They range from the Soaring Eagles Golf Course in Horseheads, N.Y., to the somewhat less inspiringly named Spread Eagle Golf Course in Spread Eagle, Wis. There is an Eagle Point golf course in Oregon and an Eagle Pointe in Indiana. The difference, primarily of interest to marketers, is approximately the same as between shop and shoppe.

Antelope-named courses predictably show up mainly in the West. Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona, for instance, each have courses known as Antelope Hills. But buffalo (alluded to in 131 course names) and deer (with 149 mentions, tying the eagle) span the country. The word "deer" is a convenient naming device because deer are ubiquitous, to the point of actually being a nuisance in many regions, thanks to a fall-off in natural predators. Yet deer still connote woodland innocence. Thus real-estate developers, the primary source of new golf courses for at least the last 40 years, retain plausible credibility when they transform previously featureless tracts of land into golf nirvanas with names such as Deer Park, Deer Creek, Deer Meadow, Deer Run, Deer Ridge and Deer Trace, not to mention Doe Valley and Fawn Crest. These samples barely scratch the surface of deer-golf nomenclature.

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