Homeless Man Evicted from Home Course

RSS

MIAMI, Florida -- A man who lived on a golf course for 40 years was told to leave because some golfers complained that he scared them.
 
Other golfers, however, said Kenny Bethel is harmless and should be allowed to stay at Palmetto Golf Course.
 
Bethel, 55, first showed up at the golf course after he ran away from home in 1963. He collected and resold stray golf balls, used the club's showers and toilets at night and slept in a sheltered area on the course that housed the showers.
 
'This course became my job and, later, my home,' he said.
 
For the last nine years, he had been joined by his wife Francis, 43. They have since relocated to a space under a nearby bridge.
 
'What have I done to deserve this?' Bethel asked.
 
Bethel now gets chased away by the staff when he tries to collect balls. And the restrooms are locked at night.
 
'It's a huge dilemma,' said Carlos McKeon, manager of Miami-Dade County Golf Operations. 'We used to cast a benign eye on Kenny. But when a few golfers complained that he's trespassing and it's against the law, we had to get him off.'
 
Bethel turned down a job in course maintenance because he wanted to be self-employed, McKeon said.
 
Golfers who had become accustomed to seeing Bethel on the course were surprised by his banishment.
 
'It seems a shame that someone who is an institution on the course can't be grandfathered in,' golfer Jim Adamson said.
 
'He's a nice guy,' agreed golfer Mario Deif. 'You have to admire someone who has debunked modern life and lives off the land.'
 
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.