Filed Under:

A Final Resting Place On The Green, But No Mulligans

Play associated audio

Americans aren't going for coffins like they used to. Cremation is becoming more popular and many families opt to dispose of the ashes somewhere other than a cemetery.

That's not good news for the funeral and cemetery business. Arne Swanson, market director for Dignity Memorial Service Corporation International, recalls watching a family spreading the ashes of a loved one on the fairway of a golf course.

"I thought, 'There must be a better way,' " he says. "There just simply was not a product to meet the needs of this family."

So Swanson has come up with such a product: A memorial "golf park" right in the middle of a hilltop cemetery in Bellevue, Wash., with views of downtown Seattle and the Olympic mountains.

It's a perfectly playable putting green, built over an ossuary, a sealed vault for ashes. There's also a rough and a sand trap — which can also accommodate ashes.

"If you spent a lot of time in the sand trap while you were playing golf, why, here at Sunset Hills Memorial Park, you have the opportunity to spend an eternity in the trap," says Swanson.

Swanson says he's already made three sales to people who want to be buried at the golf hole, or their families. The company plans to expand the memorial golf hole concept to another one of its properties in Phoenix, and perhaps Las Vegas later.

Swanson also might contemplate products that memorialize other kinds of sports. But with its emphasis on quiet and lawn care, golf is ideal for the cemetery environment.

"The one unique thing about Sunset Hills is that we guarantee you that everyone here finishes six under," says Swanson.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Out Of Juvenile Corrections, Poems Of Fury, Loss — And Lingering Beauty

Over 1,000 students submitted their work for Words Unlocked, a poetry contest for juveniles in corrections. Two young poets split the top prize — and they've shared their poems with NPR.
NPR

Farmers Wait, And Wait, For Guest Workers Amid H-2A Visa Delays

For the third year in a row, the H-2A visa program is running behind. That's left farmers waiting for planters and pickers even as the harvest season is well underway.
NPR

Be Like Bernie: Sanders Looks To Spread His Political Wealth

He's beginning to expand his political network by helping upstart progressive congressional candidates and state legislators, lending his fundraising prowess and national fame to boost their bids.
NPR

After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, She Channeled Her Ups And Downs Into Texts

NPR's Scott Simon talks with Natalie Sun about her project, textingwithcancer.com. The website won a Webby award, and documents her pessimism and optimism while undergoing chemotherapy.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.