Keeping up with the Jones: Eyes on the sky

By |  January 13, 2022 0 Comments
Jets in the sky (Photo: Sergey_Fedoskin / iStock / Getty Images / Getty Images Plus)

Photo: Sergey_Fedoskin / iStock / Getty Images / Getty Images Plus

I want to tell you about a strange 24 hours, and hopefully by the end of my story, you don’t envision me writing while wearing a tinfoil hat.

It’s a Friday afternoon in mid-December and I’m walking out the front door of my house. Something catches my eye up the hill in front of me. It’s two helicopters, and they’re low. I holler for my daughter to get outside quick, and she gets there in time for the flyover. Two army helicopters scream by our house, lower than we’ve ever seen. Chinooks regularly train in the area, but this was a much different scene.

A view from the Jones residence when two army helicopters flew overhead. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

A view from the Jones residence when two army helicopters flew overhead. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

That night I’m sitting outside with my wife under the propane heater, enjoying a beautiful mild December evening. In the southern sky my eye catches something, at first glance, a comet? I step into the side yard to get away from the garage lights and I realize I’m seeing — for the first time — Starlink.

If you haven’t seen Starlink, or don’t know what it is, check out a video on YouTube. It’s uncanny! About 25 bright lights in the sky, all in a line, slowly chugging across the darkness. If I wasn’t already familiar with it, I know I would have asked myself if this was an alien invasion. (Instead, I’m asking, how quickly can Elon Musk get high-speed internet to rural Kansas, because we could sure use it.)

The next morning the whole family is starting a road trip to Joplin, Mo. We’re less than 5 minutes into the drive when my daughter says, “Dad … are those jets?” I look to the west and we have four old military planes in a diamond formation, with a helicopter following. The planes flew directly overhead, then banked to the north and turned on the smoke. This is in the random northeast Kansas countryside! There was no football game about to kickoff anywhere that I know of.

I told my kids, that’s about the weirdest 24 hours I’ve had of seeing things in the sky.

Now, I’m thinking the sky is only getting stranger.

We had a Golfdom Summit attendee miss our event because of the severe storms that slammed Hawaii, creating a state of emergency on the islands. On the flight home from the Summit, I looked online and noticed that our flight pattern was less direct than normal. Then I looked out my window and saw a gigantic storm with an incredible amount of lightning, so crazy I took a video of it.

After I turned on the TV the next morning, I learned about all those tornadoes ripping across five states, including the massive destruction in Kentucky, which sadly took the lives of dozens.

Typically, I write my columns at night, next door in the garage, with the jukebox on. I couldn’t do that last night because we had wind gusts of up to 74 mph here in northeast Kansas, along with a thunderstorm … something I don’t remember seeing in December in Kansas. We also had a daytime high of 72 degrees here, another abnormality. Power was knocked out for almost four hours, putting a crimp in my tradition of nighttime writing with the jukebox singing a soundtrack. It’s like, go to bed, Mother Nature … you’re drunk.

For this first issue of Golfdom for 2022, I spoke with superintendents about their concerns for the new year. I was surprised that no one said anything to me about the weather. Maybe that’s because superintendents are just used to dealing with whatever Mother Nature gives them. But I can’t help but wonder … how much weirder is the weather going to get in ’22 and beyond?

Now, excuse me while I go out and check for wind damage. While I’m out there I better check my trail camera. I’ve got a feeling Bigfoot is going to stroll by any day now.

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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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