(FGP/FNC) Linda Vester serves as anchor of the 1:30-3:00 PM ET portion of “FOX News Live,” the Fox News Channel’s (FNC) daytime hard news programming. Since joining the network in 1999, she has interviewed a range of news-makers and celebrities. This interview has been publicized as her biggest since O. J. Simpson, in scooping everyone else by conducting the first “on the record” discussion with the Commissioner and Club Pro of FarmGolf.
In undertaking this enormously important task, Vester requested and obtained approval for Laurie Dhue, also of Fox News, to assist her. Laurie Dhue joined FOX News Channel in September 2000. She serves as a news update anchor, host of weekend specials and part-time interviewer-at-large.
The interview location was at the FarmGolf Clubhouse, situated at the western edge of the picturesque Appalachian Mountains, and was conducted on April 7, 2002. Vester and Dhue flew into Simpson Airport via US Airways and were escorted by D&L Limousine to the main parking lot on the FarmGolf Course.
Upon arrival, they found the Commissioner and Club Pro cooking up some lunch on the “George Foreman” grill at the upper level of the Clubhouse. After initial greetings were exchanged and a light lunch finished off, it was time to formally get down to the interview.
Vester: Tell me Commissioner, how did you come up with this innovative game of FarmGolf? And what inspired you to take it to such an advanced level?
Commissioner: It actually started as an entertainment activity for a weekend party. Four holes were staked out, with no tee boxes. Only an excavated hole in the ground with a 6-inch PVC waterline cap buried to just below ground level. Only two of the tee areas were even remotely level.
As for the constant upgrading of the course, I believe if you’re going to do something, either do it up nicely or don’t do it.
Dhue: You mean to say that originally there were no greens, just a typical lawn with 6-inch holes in the ground?
Commissioner: No, the grass was mowed really close to the ground around the cup for a radius of some 20 feet. But you are correct in that all shots were a hop and skip from the cup. It was very primitive.
Vester: A question for the Club Pro. How did you obtain this position? Was there some sort of competition involved?
Club Pro: No, it was just a matter of getting the most qualified man for the job.
Dhue: Back to the course construction. When did you have actual greens on the course?
Commissioner: (pouring himself a Heineken) By the way, Linda, would you like a beer?
Vester: Well, I guess I’d drink one beer. Okay.
Club Pro: Pour me one, too! How about you Laurie? Want a beer?
Dhue: No, I don’t drink all that often. Would you like me to repeat the question?
Commissioner: No, I remember it. This party that started the course was late in 1999. The greens were done in the spring of 2000, about the time that the FarmGolf Clubhouse construction started. The greens took several months before they could be mowed close enough with an actual greens mower, and for a putt to actually roll instead of skip on its way to the cup.
Vester: How long did it take for the course to become truly playable, in the condition that you see out the windows now?
Commissioner: It was about a year after the first time that we played that we had anything remotely resembling a golf course tee box or green.
Vester: When did people first become aware of the course and how did you get all of these celebrities involved?
Commissioner: Well a buddy of mine, Dewayne Hannah, and I went down to Rio de Janeiro for the Carnaval celebration in 2001and ran into Britney Spears, who had just performed at the Rock in Rio weeklong concert festival. We talked about our new sport of FarmGolf with her at an outdoor café on Copacabana Beach, and suggested that she give it a try when she had some time off and wanted to get away from the hectic life of being a celebrity for a few days.
Club Pro: (Interrupting) I really enjoy teaching Britney the finer points of FarmGolf.
Dhue: I’m getting kind of thirsty, do you guys have any diet drinks here?
Club Pro: Only Coca-Cola, the preferred soft drink of all FarmGolfers.
Dhue: I may as well have a beer then, not as many calories. Any light beer?
Commissioner: Bud Light in bottles. (Opening a bottle) Linda, are you ready for another one?
Vester: Okay, just one more will do me. (Giggling) Do me . . . dhue me, kind of a funny play on words!
Club Pro: You know . . . . if Mini Me married Laurie Dhue, she would be Laurie Dhue-Me. (Laughing loudly along with the Commissioner and Vester)
Dhue: Okay, you guys, I’ve already heard enough “dhue me” jokes today. I’ve been listening to that crap since middle school.
Vester: Same here, I’ve had to put up with my share of the “Oh there’s Linda Vester, I’d like to molest her” jokes, too.
Commissioner: That’s a good one, in fact it’s a damn good idea! Here, let me top your beer off! (Dhue and the Club Pro laughing heartily)
Dhue: Back to FarmGolf. What famous architect did you employ to design the clubhouse?
Commissioner: You’re looking at him. We do all design work in house. On the FarmGolf website, we list all of the people involved at one time or another in the construction of the overall complex. You can check them out on the FarmGolf Team page.
Dhue: Let’s go to a different topic. What inspired you to only have a urinal in the restroom? Did you want to keep women away from the course or clubhouse?
Commissioner: No, not at all. We wanted all women to experience something truly unique when they have to go. Besides, men have to take the FarmGolf Shuttle to the top of the hill when they do the No. 2. Also, we have the portable “Feminal Urinal” available for those not wishing to squat. So, in reality the ladies have twice the choices of the men.
Vester: (After a brief pause) Well, after thinking about it, that’s really considerate of you. Good idea!
Club Pro: Linda, another of my duties as Club Pro is to instruct the ladies the proper way to use the restroom facility.
Vester: I’ll let you know when I have to go, it won’t be long now.
Dhue: I think you’re going to have to instruct me first. That beer just runs through me so quickly. Have you got any liquor?
Commissioner: We have a limited selection of liquors up there on the shelf. Also, some Crown Royal in the refrigerator.
Dhue: I’ll just take a shot of Jack with a Coke!
Vester: Can anybody just drive up here and play a round of FarmGolf?
Commissioner: No, we’re pretty exclusive here. You have to either know somebody to play or be pretty famous. Also, now that we’re marketing FarmGolf, you can play if you are a prospective client for your own course.
Club Pro: We have a guy up in Pennsylvania that is putting in a scaled down course, probably two holes instead of six. That’s the range of recommended holes for a course, from two to six. It depends upon how much time and monies you have for maintenance. Construction of the Pennsylvania course is going to start this summer.
Vester: Could I now get some assistance from the Club Pro?
Club Pro: But of course. (Club Pro and Vester leave the bar area and enter the restroom facility)
Dhue: Hurry up in there, I’m next.
(After a 10-minute break, the interview continued)
Vester: Alright, that’s much better. An interesting experience, that urinal! Okay, how did the President of the United States get interested in FarmGolf?
Commissioner: Another one of those vacation trips with another buddy, John Mosesso. We went to the January, 2001 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC and ran into the Bush daughters at a bar and they invited us over to the White House for a brief visit. G. W. is somewhat of a duffer when it comes to golf and he thought this might be just the place where he could get away from the big crowds and most of the press and play a little golf under minimal pressure. The only thing he was really worried about was the temptation of the FarmGolf bar area. But, we always have a cold Coke ready for him and it hasn’t been a problem.
Club Pro: I’ve also run into my share of celebrities while vacationing and the whole FarmGolf concept has just mushroomed into what it is today.
Dhue: When we complete the interview, I’d like to do a couple of holes.
Commissioner: My thoughts exactly! (Showing a sly grin)
Club Pro: Count me in!
Vester: I’ve only played a couple of times and don’t really know how to swing the club. Can either of you show me the proper grip?
Commissioner: Let’s take a break, go out back and have a go at it! The Club Pro will fill up the beverage cart, while I obtain some clubs for you.
(Interview takes an extended break of three hours for FarmGolf and off-the-record socializing)
Vester: That was really a lot of fun! Let’s go over a few more things before I forget them. Marketing, where and how far away are you willing to go to construct these courses?
Commissioner: We’ll go anywhere in the world. All that a prospective client has to do is furnish round-trip expenses and a preliminary evaluation fee and we’re off to see the site and provide the initial consultation.
Club Pro: Hey, Laurie, you made significant improvements in your play by the third round. How about some private lessons sometime?
Dhue: That’s quite possible, but for now how about another Jack instead?
Vester: Well, I’m pretty well drained. How about we close the interview out and have another beer?
Commissioner: Sounds like the beginning of a good plan to me Linda.
Vester: That’s a wrap!
Dhue: Ditto, but let’s do a shot instead of a beer!
Club Pro: Hi-yooo!
(The interview concluded)