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Home on the Range
Michael Sokolove
October 07, 1991
The Long Knockers Driving Range, in Philadelphia, is one urbanite's field of dreams
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October 07, 1991

Home On The Range

The Long Knockers Driving Range, in Philadelphia, is one urbanite's field of dreams

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I return a week later to Long Knockers on a breezy 75� day. The sky is perfectly blue except for a few puffy white clouds. Out on the range an old car zigzags along, gobbling up balls in a rack attached to its front bumper. The car, purchased at a junkyard for $150, is operated by a frighteningly thin youth, one of Stevens's reclamation projects.

Working through a small, $2 bucket, called a chip shot, I hear traffic, sirens, dogs barking, the ring of the cash register, other golfers hitting, an occasional whoosh. When I hook the ball and follow its flight (there are times I don't), the Philadelphia skyline comes into view above the tree line on the left side of the range.

I consider what attracts me to this range and think back to driving through the city many years ago with my parents. Usually we were on our way to old Connie Mack Stadium, which was about 20 blocks from here. I would look out the window of the Studebaker and excitedly point out baseball fields—they might be weed-strewn and rock-infested—and say, "I wish we had fields like that at home."

This became something of a family joke. We lived in the suburbs. We had better fields at home, but none better to my eyes. I liked a rightfield that ended at the trolley tracks.

There are probably better driving ranges than Long Knockers, with snack bars, video games, adjacent batting cages and easy access off four-lane highways. But there are none I would like better.

Always, my field of dreams has been an urban landscape.

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