"There is no king of golf. Never has been, never will be. Golf is the most democratic game on Earth ... It punishes and exalts us all with splendid equal opportunity." — Arnold Palmer, professional golfer
This past weekend, golfers were treated to some great golf thrills when the U.S. Open was played at Erin Hills, Wis. Prognosticators were predicting that the "bombers" had a distinct advantage over the short hitters. Brooks Koepka proved them right, though many of the favorites were not around after Friday despite their long-hitting ability. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy (my pick to win) and Jason Day were just a few of the favorites who did not make the cut.
After the tournament, golf's "talking heads" kept pointing out that everyone enjoys watching drives that hit distances well over the 300-yard mark. The new breed of young guns (post-Tiger) have set a standard and continue to impress with power and distance. Will this cause the finesse part of the game, the chipping and putting, to suffer as golfers try to increase the distance they can flight a golf ball?
In 2003, LPGA golfer Annika Sorenstam was invited to play the Colonial Tournament in Texas. In 1938, Babe Zaharias played in the Los Angeles Open.
Both of these were tournaments for the male professional golfer. What the two LPGA members had in common was that both were extremely long off the tee. The question that was raised during the height of their success was, "Could a woman compete against the men?"
Neither female player brought home the trophy. It was simply the physical strength of the men that could not be denied.
In 1961 and 1962, the Royal Poinciana Plaza Invitational took place, which included both men and women without separate tees. For the two years it was played, the winners would both become members of the Golf Hall of Fame.
The Royal Poinciana event was held in the Palm Beach area of Florida. This was a 72-hole event played over two days. In 1961, 15 men were entered, some pros and the rest amateurs. About 40 professional women golfers were to complete the field.
Two headliners that brought credibility to the event were Louise Suggs and Sam Snead. The equalizer for the field was the course. It was par-3 layout. In 1961, it was Suggs who won the event over the strong field. Because men and women were competing at a course where both would need to display great skills of putting and chipping, strength and power were not required for success. In 1962, it was Snead who took the $1,500 first prize. Snead, who won more PGA tournaments than anyone, was the only male player in 1962. The LPGA recognized his win, not the PGA.
Golf seems to be going the way of all sports. In baseball, fans want to see home runs. In football, the team that doesn't have a wide open offense will find itself labeled as boring or plodding. Fans seem to be attracted to power and strength. I'm hoping some of the future U.S. Open venues like Shinnecock and Pebble Beach will allow the player that has the entire game of golf in his arsenal to succeed.
North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: "Rain, rain go away, so the Monday Night Ledgeview League can go out and play." Bad weather, however, did not impact the Thursday Night League. Heading the field were The Mulliganz who played the scramble to take first place. There was a two-way tie for second between the Sub-Par and Leprechaun teams. Closest to the pin honors went to Tom Scanlon and Gay Folland. A Demo Day is set for Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., representatives from Callaway will be available for players to test their latest equipment. On Sunday from noon-4 p.m., it will be representatives from Mizuno. Launch monitors will be used to help you decide what club is right for you. Today, June 23, is the Men's One Day Member/Guest. Monday, it will be the Ladies One Day Member/Guest. There will be a Mixed Scramble Social on Sunday, June 25, beginning at 3:30 p.m. The NCCC Junior Program will start July 6. This will is open to juniors from the age 6-16. The cost is $50 for the five-week program and will culminate with a tournament and cookout. Call the pro shop for more information.
Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: Nine and Dine this week featured a two-person scramble. Taking first place was the team of Sue Cayer and Charlie Hadlock. Second place went to Joan Loonan and Ken Jones. In Rivers Edge Quotaaction, Ian Anderson posted a +7 to take the top spot. Closest to the pin winners were Mark Graffam and Norm Roy. The Annual Alzheimer's Tournament will be played Saturday, June 24. This is an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Clinics began this Tuesday and will be held from 10-11 a.m. The three-week Junior Golf program will begin July 12. Interclub matches start July 17 at Lake Kezar CC. Call the pro shop for info regarding any of the scheduled tournaments and events.
Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The 29th Annual MWV Ski Tournament was held last Friday. In the Men's Division, it was the team of Greg Alain, Chris Kroski, and Noah and Parker Coleman, who took first. First place for the ladies went to Ellen Elliot, Nancy Lightbrown, Liz Griffin and Val Tratner. The Mixed Team winners were Ken Corrick, Julian Deniaud, Bob Tafuto and Phil Landers. Closest to the pin were Stephen Engel and Mackie Feeney on No. 17. Long drive winners were Valerie Tratner and Jeffery Pan. The Tuesday Ladies League played a scramble format June 13. First-place team was Cricket Catalucci, Fran Baker, Jenny Simone and Barbara Theriault. Tuesday, June 20, saw the ladies play a putt-only event where only the number of putts were counted. Taking first was Cricket Catalucci and Maryann Lowry with 28 putts. Deb Chase and Maureen Fitzgerald took second with 30 putts. On Sunday, June 25, the Spring 4-Ball will take place. Results will be posted at Madeline's. A welcome-back reception for members and their guests will take place Saturday at 4 p.m.
Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: Week 6 of Don Ho finds a tie at the top. The Beava Pelts and Sea Dogs are both at -32. Third place finds the Chip Shots at -28 and the Divot Kings at -27. Mike Peloquin got closest to the pin while Maura Sutton, Melinda Fallen, Seth Stone and Rick Boyle won long drives. The Eagle hosted the Jack Butler Memorial Tournament on Sunday. Taking first place was the team of Rick Pillion, Lucien Morin, Eric Pendleton, John Allen, Mitchell and Glen Harmon. Individually, it was Melissa Linne and Jeff Roden getting closest to the pin. Long drive winners were Evie Butler and Josh Rivers. The Tuesday Mixed League saw the team of Terry Fitzgerald, Roger Blake and Mary Waldron take first. Closest to the pin went to Connie Blake. The Thursday Eagle League saw Dennis Soraghan, Joan and Roger Aubrey take the top spot, while Roger Blake got closest to the pin. PGA Pro Bob McGraw will have a short swing clinic Saturday from 10-11 a.m. Bob will cover the fundamentals for successful chipping, pitching and hitting bunker shots. The fee is $20, and the class is limited to six students.
Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: Week 2 of the Women's League saw Suzanne McCarthy post a +10 in the weekly quota game. Closest to the pin went to Dottie Heffernan, who fired a shot within 8 feet of the pin on No. 3. Week 4 of Men's League saw Ray Luchetti post a +8 in the quota game. Bill Earle got closest to the pin on No. 6. Hale's Golf and the White Mountain Hotel continue to offer Nine, Wine, and Dine every Sunday. For $55 per person, you get nine holes of golf with a cart as well as a complete dinner and a glass of wine. Call the hotel to make reservations (603-356-7100) and the Pro Shop (603-356-2140) for a tee time. "There's always time for 9."
Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: The Golfing for Jimmy Tournament was held last Saturday. Ninety-eight players came out to support their friend and co-worker and had a great time on the Links. Photos of the tournament can be found on the LKC website. The Tuesday Morning League saw the team of Corey Douglas, Dana Morrill, Dave Mills and John McInery take the top spot. Second place went to the team of George Bassett, Peter Malia and Pat Johnston. The Tuesday Twilight League standings have team Lord leading the pack with 310 points. Following are team Alimi, 287; team Littlefield, 274; team Trumbull, 262; team Osgood, 236; and team Shorey, 193 points.
19th Hole: Laddie Lucas was a member of the Prince's Golf Course on the southwest coast of England. Lucas, an RAF pilot during World War II, was returning to his English base when his plane was hit by enemy fire and he was forced to ditch his plane. He decided to try and land the crippled aircraft on his home course but came up about a mile short. After his rescue, he said, "I could never hit the first fairway with a driver. I don't know why I thought I could hit it with an airplane." Enjoy your weekend golf.
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