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Pilgramage to the land of 'Caddyshack' a treat

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Let's get away from X's and O's for a minute.

And talk bucket lists.

I was able to cross one off my list earlier Tuesday when I made a pilgrimage that I've wanted to make for more than two decades.

As I stepped to the first tee at Grande Oaks Country Club, did my best waggle and gazed down the fairway, I couldn't help but utter the infamous words of Judge Smails.

"Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, sir, and I never slice."

I didn't slice, either, nor did I throw any clubs and knock some poor lady senseless sitting out on the patio.

Nearly 30 years ago, they filmed the cult classic "Caddyshack" at Grande Oaks, which was then called Rolling Hills Golf and Tennis Club.

And for those of us who are true "Caddyshack" freaks, getting to play 18 holes on those hallowed grounds where Al Czervik, Ty Webb, Bishop Pickering and Danny Noonan once roamed was akin to "Star Trek" fanatics hanging out with William Shatner on the original set of the Starship Enterprise.

What a treat.

The gated entrance to Grande Oakes still bears the Bushwood seal, and you can almost hear Rodney Dangerfield (Czervik) scolding his friend, Wang, as you drive up to the clubhouse.

"Hey, Wang! What's with the pictures? It's a parking lot!"

Obviously, much has changed since the golf and clubhouse scenes were filmed here in the autumn of 1979. There's a lake now just behind the clubhouse where the green was blown up at the end of the movie.

But many of the fairways still look the same, and No. 17 is the famous "Be the ball" hole where Chevy Chase (Webb) blindfolds himself and hits the ball onto the green.

Naturally, my group used "winter rules" on Tuesday. And, no, we didn't see any gophers. I did have to warn my partner, Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun, to watch his language a couple of times. It was almost Spaulding-esque.

Unfortunately, all the complaints over the years about bad caddying, bad language and smoking grass finally took their toll. We actually rode golf carts and didn't have our own caddies.

Lacey Underall was nowhere to be found, and there were only remnants of the actual caddie shack shown in the movie.

Fittingly, Grande Oaks is a private club, just like Bushwood. But the people there were great, and so was the course.

If you're like me and laugh as hard now when you watch "Caddyshack" as you did 20 years ago, do yourself a favor and finagle your way onto the course.

It's truly a way to pay homage to the best golf movie ever made.

Please, though, no night putting.