Story last updated at 11:14 a.m. Thursday, July 11, 2002

Ouzinkie gets golf bug
When some Ouzinkie residents suggested playing a round of golf at a Kodiak golf course, Danny Clarion Sr. decided he had better practice up.

So he got a set of golf clubs at an Anchorage pawn shop last summer and began hitting balls at a 150-foot-wide seldom-used park in town, which started a golf movement in the Aleut village of around 225 residents on Spruce Island near Kodiak.

"It was just a big, wide open field with nobody using it," Clarion said. "I just started hitting balls out there and all of a sudden everybody started getting clubs."

Now the homemade five-hole golf course is the town's latest craze.

"Next thing I know, everybody here in the village bought golf clubs, and now everyone's playing golf," Clarion said. "Some of those guys are getting pretty good."

The course is a large, flat field developed with funds from the Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement. With beaches on two sides, a gazebo and outhouse, the spot is ideal for the beginning golfers.

The course is rough, but Clarion said he tries to keep the greens mowed. The holes are PVC pipe and the flags are sticks with plastic grocery bags tied to them. All distances are par 3, "but because of the amount of rough, we play them as par 5s," the greens-keeper said.

Water hazards appear near several holes after heavy rains, and "if you hit it down the beach, I guess it's a sand trap," he said.

Now that the sport has taken off, Clarion has set his sites on a new spot for the future. In a few years, the village plans to relocate its airfield. When they do, Clarion said, he hopes to turn the old strip into a nine-hole golf course."

-- Kodiak Daily Mirror