I spoke a couple weeks back with Landstar-leased Andy Soucy, resident of Lebanon, Tenn., just east on I-40 from Nashville. Soucy happens to be one of the first owner-operators I had a conversation with after I started work with Overdrive back in 2006. I was living in Chicago when that conversation happened. Fast-forward a few years, and I moved from Birmingham, Ala., here to Nashville, where my wife was raised and grew up. I’d talked to Soucy a few more times over that period, and in the almost six years I’ve lived here our paths have crossed several times, most memorably at the Two Rivers Golf Course on the east side of town, where the owner-operator joined myself and my brother-in-law (we play maybe once a month) for a round a couple years back now.
Talking the other day about a myriad of things, the subject of that day came up, and eventually Soucy got round to one of the perks of his trucking business, as he sees it — the opportunity to play courses around the nation. Plus, it’s a welcome distraction when things are slow or times get tough.
“I enjoy it because it gets me out of the truck,” he says. “If you get on the golf course, you don’t have time to think about trucking or the house. You’ve got to concentrate” on the game. “It gives you opportunity to de-stress.”
If he’s at a truck stop on a 34-hour restart or waiting out a weekend or weekday for the next load, “many times I’ll go to the truck stop manager: ‘I’m here for the weekend and I’d like to go play a round of golf. I’ll be back in five-six hours.’ I’ve always had a positive response to that,” after which he’ll contact the golf course to make certain they can accommodate a bobtail, noting some courses may not be able to given an abundance of low-hanging trees and/or “covered driveways – that tunnel feeling of going in, not conducive to full-size tractors” like his Western Star.
If they can accommodate it, though, he’ll unhook his trailer at the truck stop and be on the way. “It’s better than sitting around watching somebody else watch me watch them,” he adds.
He rattles off a couple memorable courses, including:
One of the more difficult he ever played: Willowbrook, in Winter Haven, Florida. “I lost every ball that I had in the water” there, he says. “By the end of the course I was literally looking for golf balls under bushes to finish.” But a bad day on the course is better than a good day …. , to paraphrase an old saying.
The most scenic and challenging to finish: Conklin Player’s Club, convenient to truck stops near the New York/Pennsylvania state line on I-81. “You play on the side of the mountain,” says Soucy. “The 18th hole is a par five, dog leg to the right, and you have to hit it as hard as you can and slice it to wrap it around the trees. … It’s one of the prettiest golf courses I’ve ever played, and quite reasonable, too.”
Two more notables: River Terrace in Channelview, Texas, “not far from the Flying J in Baytown,” Soucy says.
Soucy noted he once had a record of “all the places I’ve played,” but that it was lost in a hard-drive crash.
Nonetheless — anybody else out there played either of these few? Other recommendations, perhaps?
If you’re laid over around Nashville over a weekend, there’s a chance I might be able to fit in a round at one of the public courses here with a little notice. Some decent courses in the area, for sure, the aforementioned Two Rivers included.