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Golf, grassy knolls: Dallas perfect for conspiracy-minded golfers

By Chris Baldwin, Contributor

Golf courses like Jerry Jones' Cowboys Golf Club and the TPC course at the Four Seasons Resort make the Dallas area a magnet for convention-going golfers. The grassy knoll of JFK-assassination infamy makes it pretty good for conspiracy-buff golfers too.

JFK assassination conspiracy theorist souvenir stand operator - Dallas, Texas
Kip Languor hawks $10 JFK mags & preaches "truth" at the grassy knoll.
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DALLAS - The grassy knoll is actually pretty nondescript. It's been so mythologized in TV and film that you expect something grander. But it's just a hilly strip of sod along a rundown sort of road.

A hilly strip festooned with souvenir stands.

Dallas' most infamous tourist attraction is proof that conspiracy theorists need to eat too. The true believers are out there, hawking $10 glossy magazines and $50 DVD sets packed with gruesome pictures of what is supposedly John F. Kennedy's head split open by several bullets.

The question that's brought me out to this glorified underpass is: Do conspiracy theorists golf?

Everyone who visits Dallas seems to make their way here, even if it's just for a quick look and a photo snap. Surely there must be plenty of golfers among this curious army.

Wonder if the guy in the green army jacket and the camouflage hat offers golf packages along with those "Who Shot JFK" T-shirts?

Can't hurt to ask ...

"Golf? You're talking to me about golf?" he shoots back. "This is where the dream died, man. Thirty-four years ago, the dream died right here with our last true president. America's been ruled as a monarchy ever since."

Guess that's a no.

This crusader for the truth gives me the name Kip Languor for publication. He gives me his real name later in the hopes I'll forward him a copy of the article. "I don't need the government coming after me," he explains. "I don't worry about myself. But I've got a lot of grandkids."

Sarah Buckley's boyfriend seems taken in by Languor's spiel, but the 19-year-old student from Orlando looks bored. Maybe she'd rather be golfing?

"Golf? No," Buckley says, crinkling her nose. "I don't like golf. Too boring."

This can't be. Dallas is the second most popular convention city in the country. Conventions are concocted as an excuse to sneak away and golf.

Maybe those two middle-aged guys in khaki shorts, peering over the old wooden fence in a ramshackle parking lot over the knoll. This is where one of the "other shooters" is supposed to have fired from.

Houston denizen Ward Thomas brought Jerry Serdinsky, a visiting friend from California, here to see a little piece of modern history.

It's not an official historic spot - that would be the Texas School Book Depository Sixth Floor Museum down the street. There's no marker identifying the grassy knoll as a touchstone in conspiratorial history. Just a plaque alerting visitors that John Neely Bryan, founder of the city of Dallas, opened a trading post on this high bluff.

There are no guys in fatigues pushing John Neely Bryan merchandise.

But back to Thomas and Serdinsky. They even look like golfers, right down to their sensible shoes.

"We just got back from the Richard Petty driving experience," Thomas offers. "Dale Jarrett signed my hat. It was awesome."

NASCAR fans. Strike one?

Still ... those shoes.

"You hear some of the evidence these people are showing and it makes you think, 'Yeah, there had to be more than one shooter,'" Thomas says, clutching one of those $10 magazines.

"He was shot in the front too. They never told us that before. It makes you think that Oswald was just the front man set up by the Mafia."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. When's the last time you golfed?

"Oh, we got out there and hit it around now and then," Serdinsky broke in, seemingly excited for the first time all afternoon.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Knowledge-seeking conspiracy men do golf.

Languor needs to watch out. I might be moving into the knoll with my own golf stand, complete with glossy brochures showing lush green fairways. You know JFK golfed.

"I'm out here three or four days a week depending on the weather," Languor reveals. "And what writing I'm doing that week on my own book on the real truth of what happened here."

Three or four days a week? Every week? Is he crazy? (Sorry redundant.) But seriously that just takes too much time away from the golf game.

Dallas golf courses

For those looking to find some open grass after the grassy knoll, there are plenty of Dallas golf courses to escape to and let the driver fly without anyone haranguing you about second gunmen and entry-wound angles.

Cowboys Golf Club in the wine-producing (no kidding), resort-haven suburb of Grapevine is owned by Jerry Jones and full of Dallas Cowboys merchandise and memorabilia. There's even a big blue star painted in the middle of one fairway. But behind the gimmick is a great golf course full of fun holes.

The TPC course at Four Seasons Resort & Club in Irving is only 10 minutes from downtown, but this PGA Tour site (it hosts the Byron Nelson Classic) is another green, green world away.

Still sure the dream is dead?

"Don't even talk to me about golf," Languor sighs, throwing up his arms.

Come on. We'd be great golf partners. How are your nerves on the short putts?

Chris BaldwinChris Baldwin, Contributor

Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.


 
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