Written by Randolph Scott
3:29 p.m., April 14, 2012
Mention Coachella, and a few things come to mind: music, lights, and booze.
But there is a side of Coachella that most outsiders may not be aware of. For some, taking a trip to this valley has nothing to do with music. For them, it is just another peaceful vacation filled with enjoyable California weather — that and golf.
And on this weekend — Coachella weekend — the relaxing sport of golf finds itself oddly juxtaposed with a wild music festival within a five-mile radius.
Bob Weatherby, 67, who lives in a nearby community, busily washed the water stains from Friday’s rain off his car, his freshly polished bag of golf clubs propped up at his side ready for use.
As an Edmonton Alberta, Canada, native — Weatherby made it a point to mention that it was the home of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky — a vacation five years ago turned into an annual trip for he and his wife.
“When we came down for those two weeks, it was like being in paradise,” Weatherby said. “My wife just loves it down here.”
Now they spend three months out of every year in Coachella Valley.
Certainly, the hot Coachella weather can be an escape from the frigid conditions in Canada, but after digging a bit deeper, his real passion is golf, and Coachella serves as the perfect environment for it.
For Weatherby, golf has been his entire life: “I have been playing golf and fixing clubs since I was 12 years old,” he said. Despite his Canadian roots, Weatherby has golf connections throughout Southern California, including a caddying experience at San Diego’s legendary Torrey Pines golf course.
“I had a lot of fun in San Diego,” he explained, “but the friend I caddied for didn’t qualify.”
His shortlived encounter with San Diego still couldn’t pry Weatherby away from his beloved Coachella paradise.
Although he has never been to the annual music festival, which turns 12 this year, Weatherby was not ignorant to what was taking place almost literally in the back yard of his rented condo.
“I have heard great things. It seems well-organized and well-controlled,” he proclaimed. “I would have no problem with letting my kids go.”