Wednesday Night Game features athletes who love hockey

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — Playing for the love of the game, and bragging right.

A group of local hockey players arrive at Ham Ice Arena once a week, with no one else in the arena, the concession stand is closed, there's no music coming out of the speakers. It's Wednesday — time for the Wednesday Night Game.

For the past year and a half some of the finest hockey players in Mount Washington Valley, it looks like a who's who of recent Kennett High hockey standouts, take to the ice for 50 minutes of nonstop end-to-end action. Where else are you going to see a goalie make 78 saves and be on the winning team?

"It's perfect," Mike Lane, head coach of the Kennett High hockey team, said. "Believe it or not, it was Todd Frechette's idea. It's our take on the movie 'Mystery, Alaska,' where they had the Saturday game, we have the Wednesday game."

"Mystery, Alaska" is the 1999 movie about a fictional small town in Alaska named Mystery, where hockey is the cohesive activity that unites the town. The "Saturday Game" is a weekly event of amateur four-on-four pond hockey played on the open ice of the town's frozen lake. The team consists of 10 local townsmen of varying ages and occupations with two goalies and eight skaters publicly scrimmaging each other every Saturday.

Lane, who has seven of his former players in the Wednesday game, said it was on a bus ride to ConVal during high school hockey season, that Todd Frechette came up with the idea, and then the two of them along with fellow hockey coach Justin Frechette did some serious brainstorming.

"There weren't enough young guys to sustain (the Tier I) League, but there were a few of us who wanted to play," Lane explained. "We came up with the idea, like Mystery, to play four-on-four with goalies. We have a really good group of guys. We love the game, but it's serious when we're on the ice."

Teams are drawn out of a hat a week in advance. Standings and statistics are also kept.

"It's the luck of the draw," Justin Frechette said, explaining that Ricky Gaudreau and Jonny Parkhurst are always on separate teams since they're the lone goalies among the 18 players. "One week I was on a team with no defensemen. It forces you play different positions."

The teams were evenly matched on this night, so much so, that it required the rare eight-person shootout after regulation time in order to declare a victor.

Suiting up for the Gray team were goalie Jonny Parkhurst, Jeff Lane, Jesse "Bubba" Tabor, Tyler Derrick, Joe Murphy, Jason Fall, Todd Frechette Terry Galligan and Michael Skelton.

Donning Red for the night were goalie Ricky Gaudreau, Bryan Lamontagne, Evan Howla d, Greg Allain, Brian Frechette, Mike Lane, Justin Frechette, Brad Hauser and Griffin Meador.

The players skate two 22-minute halves with just a three to five minute break at what would be halftime.

This was week six of a 10-week program. The athletes started the Wednesday Game last year, and after a brief winter break plan to resume it in the spring.

The puck drops at 8:20 p.m. — Ken McPherson is the lone referee — and the action, along with teasing follows.

"Hey Murphy," Justin Frechette yells to Joe Murphy a mere 11 seconds into the contest, "you can't score, so they put you on D?"

Four minutes into the game, the pace is end-to-end, Justin Frechette knows the game will take a toll on everyone.

"I've got muscles hurting that I didn't know I had," he said smiling.

A couple of minutes later, defensemen Howland and Allain, who played for Berlin High, have a light moment on the bench.

"We're ugly right now guys," Allain said.

"You noticed," Howland replied with a wide grin.

At 10:50 of the opening period, the Gray team breaks onto the scoreboard first. Jason Lane scores off a feed from Murphy.

With 8:02 left in the period, Justin Frechette ties the contest with a snapshot tally.

Just 62 seconds later, the Gray squad regains its two-goal lead on a goal by Derrick.

"Tough one to give up," Justin Frechette said. "I'd just started trash-talking."

While a few goals were scored, the net-minders were sensational making a slew of highlight reel saves. Parkhurst made a super stop of a Meador bid that immediately got a reaction out of Justin Frechette.

"Be nice if you did that Ricky," he shouts nd follows with a big smile.

"He's got two of those per winter and we saw them both tonight," Meador said as he returns to the bench after his shift.

Parkhurst made 78 saves on the night while Gaudreau made 69.

The Gray team extended its lead to 3-1 just 54 ticks before the intermission when Murphy lit the lamp from Skelton.

The horn sounds for the break, but both teams stay on the ice, congregating around their respective benches. Not much of a halftime.

"We can't stop too long Lloyd or else we'll cramp up," Mike Lane said, laughing. "We decided on the bus ride to ConVal to play 22 minute halves, which didn't seem that long, but then you play, and it's a real long time."

Momentum was wearing red in the second half, and the Red team nets a pair of goals to knot the contest at 3-3. Meador scores at 19:46, and adds his second at 13:01 off a sensational feed from Hauser.

"They don't want to be out here with the red death," Meador said with grin.

What happens if the game ends in a tie?

"It's never happened," Mike Lane said.

"It did last winter, the week you weren't there," Justin Frechette said and explained the game will be decided by an eight-man shoot-out if its tied after regulation play.

With 7:47 to play, the first penalty of the night is called. It's on Gray, and it means a penalty shot. The skater gets the puck at center ice, but the second he makes contact with the puck, the game is live, and all of the players behind on the blue line start a mad dash to catch him. Lamontagne's bid goes wide to the left.

"It's going to be a long day at work tomorrow," Justin Frechette said following a quick respite on the bench.

With 6:04 to play, the Red team gets another crack at a penalty shot. This time, Parkhurst makes the save on Lane.

"The Wednesday Night Game is getting firey," Allain said.

"Typically," Lane said, "the team that presses at the end for the win loses. The Hockey Gods, they're mean!"

With time winding down, just four seconds left in regulation time, the Red team gets a face-off in the Gray team's zone.

"Let's pull the goalie," Allain said.

"That's a Berlin coaching move," Justin Frechette said, smiling.

The horn sounds. It's a 3-3 tie.

"There it is boys, the elusive eight-man shoot-out," Justin Frechette said.

Murphy goes first for the Gray team and scores. Hauser follows with a goal for the Red squad. Tabor, the fifth skater to go for Gray finds the back of the net, and then skates by the Red bench looking to exchange high-fives. He got no takers.

Brian Frechette's bid for an equalizer clanks off the post.

Jeff Lane follows for the Gray team and makes it 3-1.

"We just need Evan and Greg Allain to score," Justin Frechette said as he bursts into laughter.

No one else scores. The teams head to their respective locker rooms. There's just one thing left.

"We have to do the walk of shame," Mike Lane said. "We've got to go to their locker room to draw names for next week."


The Training Block/Weekly Tennis Tips — Get into the game

You are who you are

By Chris Chaffee

"It's given me a lifetime of memories and lessons, all of which I will carry with me forever. At the end of the day, the thing I'm most proud of is I never strayed from my core values. From the attitudes and philosophy passed on to me, I embraced the quiet way, and I walked the best — that the high road as best I could. Above all, I wanted to represent myself, my family, and the game in a way which we could all be proud of. Play hard, do it on your own terms and stay true to yourself. If I have a legacy I hope it's that of a guy who gave his all to the game and fought with a champions heart, a player who represented solid enduring values." — Pete Sampras

Every morning I wake up and read this quote from one of my heroes in life. Every night before I go to bed I do the same. Reading it not only gives me goosebumps and reaches within my soul, but it touches my heart. It fills me with passion and desire which refuels my motivation to bring my best game in my life and to also progress everyday. Reading this quote I will always remember who I am and what my purpose is as a tennis player and also as a human being. As a competitive player my goal is to get better, to train, to practice, to win, but as a person and a teaching pro it is to inspire, to motivate, to teach and to help bring this beautiful fun exciting game of tennis to the Mount Washington Valley.

The maintaining of being at the top of my game physically, mentally, on and off the court is a wholehearted hard-work effort in itself. I am currently playing the best tennis of my life. However, reviving tennis in the Mount Washington Valley is like trying to win a grand slam. It's challenging, but the progress and hard work everyday I can see the results are coming.

I have always believed they will and think it will. But it is like everything. It is a process and a marathon not a sprint. Like a grand slam, it is a the best of five sets and going the distance in all seven matches to win it all. It is about getting people of all ages and abilities to start to play; players continuing to play; and ones to come back and play the game again.

I believe with all my heart, if they have a positive influence, someone that inspires them, motivates them, that is what I am here for, that is what defines me. My whole life I have worked so hard to become the champion, the winner I am today. I have earned all my tennis trophies and accomplishments but putting in the miles, the hours, the grind, the sacrifice and commitment. It's hard work everyday but I always have the will to do it. I grind out those hours in the gym, on the practice court, I push myself to my limits.There is a lot of hard work and passion that I have going into this game.

As your local tennis pro, I'm just a normal guy with a strong ambition and an intense soul who plays tennis well. I am not different than anyone else working hard to make a living. I am just a humble tennis player, who is disciplined. I might not be on the ATP Tour, but you will find no one else who has as much heart, passion for this game. I am not just a teacher or coach, I am also a competitive player, which a lot of teaching pros are no longer. I try my best to represent the greatness what I learned by someone like Pete Sampras had in his career. His greatness lies in going out there day after day and getting the job done. That is what I am all about.

One of the greatest things to see when you are teaching and coaching is when the person or group you are trying to inspire smile and say "I get it, thank you," and "you helped me so much, I had so much fun."

I have had many people say it was the best tennis teaching experience they ever had. I have also had players come and hit with me and say that I make them better. I make them want to be better and push themselves to try to get the most of out their game because I bring out their greatness They again say thank you, which I appreciate it, but they don't have to say thank you. That's not what I am about. I want to see them smile, I want them to strive (try) for greatness. I want to give them the gift and experience of a tennis player.

Finally the most common thing I hear in tennis is "I wish — I wish I kept playing. I wish I picked up this sport earlier in my life." Wherever you are in your life whether it is a competitive tennis player, a beginner, or someone coming back to game, it is a sport that will always be there for you to learn, to find, to love. Playing tennis will give you the tools that are similar to many of life experiences and challenges. Playing tennis reveals who you are and it teaches you many life lessons. It changes you in a positive way. It will give you a healthy happy sociable life because it will change your life. It changed my life and made me who I am today.

Tennis will reveal your character. In tennis the strongest hearts and minds always find a way. Like in life, tennis comes down to to what you do when the ball is in play. That is my attitude and personality. In tennis whenever you make a mistake just learn from it and move on. You can wipe it off the hard drive. It is about being in the moment not in the past or the future. Just move on and look forward to the next moment the next challenge. I have learned it is a mental function that requires extra high focus from my sheer will.

I play because I love the game. I love the battle. I love the challenge, the moment, competition, the grind and the glory. I like being a warrior on and off the court. I love the discipline in my life, the commitment, the passion, the hunger.

I love and appreciate this sport so much it has given me a purpose and has changed my life. It has turned me and shaped me into the man I am today. I would love to share this passion with everyone. The journey truly itself is the reward. Tennis is a sport that is a total body workout. It works and tones your whole body physically and gives you mental toughness. It is also at the end of the day great fun. I encourage people to just take a leap of faith and try it, because they would be happy they did. If people rediscover their love again for the sport it will be like coming home.

We are lucky enough to have a variety of outdoor courts around the area, but we are very fortunate enough to have two indoor courts at the Cranmore Fitness Center. Although changes have been made, you will have two tennis pros (my twin brother Justin and I) who will give you the best tennis experience you ever had. Together we can create a fun, social, healthy, life changing activity within the valley. Get out there and play!


Is a golf road trip in your plans?

By Joe Soraghan             

"A duffer can be outstandingly bad at golf, but it doesn't ruin the rest of life." — P.G. Wodehouse, golf writer

It's that time of year where players are asking one another, "Are you going anywhere when our season closes?" This could be a day trip to the southern part of the state, where courses tend to stay open a bit longer as an opportunity to extend the season and to totally immerse yourself in golf.

I took my first road trip almost 30 years ago, as a young married father of two, when four guys jumped into the family van and headed to Myrtle Beach, S.C. We left on the Friday afternoon before April school vacation, drove to Myrtle Beach, played four rounds of golf and were back home the following Thursday morning. That was a great trip, but I would not recommend the overnight driving to anyone. A golf trip needs to be planned, the right number of players needs to be included, and golf should be the focus.

It doesn't get any better than to have four, eight or maybe 12 friends meet on the eve of a road trip for dinner and drinks, to talk golf, set up the format and tell lies. The tee times have been made, and you have nothing to do but golf, golf, golf. Handicaps will be discussed. Players should have thick skin as much discussion will be focused on the number of strokes some of the players are getting. The formats that will be played change daily: best ball, quota, stroke play or some other format that has been agreed upon. The wagering will be presented to all players, and nobody will balk. With your select group of players, there will be no complaints; any format will be accepted.

The only issue up for discussion is where to eat. Will it be steak, burgers or some local fare?  

There are some trip pitfalls that need to be avoided. We all know the 60-plus-year-old guy who wants to pass himself off as "Mr. Studley." Cart girls, waitresses, single girls must beware. Keep him off the trip. Also not invited is the player who doesn't or won't pay the golf staff, bar staff or restaurant help the tips they deserve. One way to avoid "Mr. Cheap" is to designate one player as treasurer. Everyone ponies up some money ($100), and this individual takes care of the necessary tips. When the pool runs low, "everyone" pitches in more money.

The golf trip is designed to be fun, and if you have a player who won't fit in, find another golfer. Don't let a minority ruin the time for the majority. How many times have you heard, "I'll take so and so, it won't be a problem." The next thing you know, that guy feels the burden of babysitting and starts complaining. The key to a trip is having the right complement of players. Single-digit players would prefer to match skills with those of similar abilities and the same for the higher handicap players. But if you have a guy whose demeanor on and off the course is not compatible with yours, that can present bigger problems.

I have focused on a guys-only trip, but I'm sure the women have their own idea of what constitutes a perfect golf trip. Having the right mix of players and personalities ranks for me far beyond weather, course selection and itinerary. Start thinking about your next adventure!
Club Notes:

North Conway Country Club, 76 Norcross Circle, (603) 356-9391: The Mixed Scotch Tournament is in the record book. The 2015 winners were Al and Nancy Goyette. Scott Terry and Sue Nelson came in second. This Sunday, the Larry Gallagher Shootout will take place at 1 p.m. Ten players who have accrued the most points during the season will all start on the first hole. As play moves along, a player will be eliminated, ultimately leaving one player as the "Shoot Out Champ." The Member Appreciation Tournament is scheduled for Oct. 17. This Saturday, a celebration of life will be held for Ken Anderson. The "Squirrel" was a longtime member and an avid golfer. If you plan on attending, please sign up with the restaurant.

Wentworth Golf Course, 53 Main St., Jackson, (603) 383-9641: One of the more challenging golfing events, the Club Cup, has been completed. It took 19 holes to crown a champ. Sandi Poor defeated LouAnne Cellana to claim the honor. Congratulations to all who played. In Fall Four-Ball action, the team of John Gallo and George Neville took first place. Second place went to Dave Desclos and Bill Volk. For the ladies, it was Gloria Hannon and Rita Descoteaux tying with Mary Collins and Ellen Eiermann for first-place honors. Second place went to Sandi Poor and Ellie Thompson. Retirement seems to suit Sandi quite well! A President's Cup event will take place on Oct. 11. Two teams will compete in a format that mirrors that of the Ryder Cup. This will coincide with the pro event that will be held that same weekend. It is not too early to sign up for the X-Country tournament scheduled for Oct. 17.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, 179 Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9111: The Fall Don Ho has wrapped up the 2015 season. Taking the top spot was the Sea Dog team at -34. There was a three-way tie for second between the Divot Kings, GB Carrier and Tee Pee teams. Individually, the long drive winners were Rick Storm, Jeremiah Donaldson, Bobbie Box, and Rae Theberge. Closest to the pin winner was Ian. Thanks to all who played in this fun golf league. The Thursday Eagle League saw the team of Janice and Dan Andrews and Dave Powell take top honors. Long drive went to Roger Aubrey. A Member Scramble is scheduled for Oct. 10, sign up in the pro shop.

Hale's Location Golf Course, 87 Fairway Drive, (603) 356-2140: With the coming of fall, pro shop hours have changed. It is now open at 8 a.m., and the last tee time is 4 p.m. A trial membership is being offered: For $169, you can play eight rounds this year and if you decide to join the entire amount will be applied for next year's membership. If you sign up now for a membership for next year, you can play the balance of this season. In the Fall Men's League, Will Despathy is in the lead with Ray Luchetti close on his heels. Nine, Wine and Dine continues on Sundays. For $49, each player receives nine holes of golf with a cart, an entree and dessert. Reservations can be made with the hotel at (603) 356-7100. Tee times can be made through the pro shop.
Indian Mound Golf Course, Route 16B, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: The Ladies Invitational had a successful turnout, and a date for next year, Wednesday, June 29, has been set aside. The Kennett High School Hockey Team is holding its annual scramble tournament on Sunday. This will be a noon shotgun start, with lunch and registration beginning at 11 a.m. Call the Ham Arena or Indian Mound to register. The Ben Wall Memorial Bramble is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 12. Proceeds from tee sponsors, mulligans and the putting contest will go to Ben's family. The tournament benefits Kennett High School Golf, the White Mountin Golf Team and MWV Junior Golf. Two KHS golfers will play in the state tournament at Breakfast Hill. Congratulations and best of luck to John DeVitto and Josh Rivers.    
19th Hole

The distance that a golf ball flies is a topic that generates much opinion. This discussion has been going on since the turn of the 20th century. Look at the following two quotes separated by 100 years. In 1905, John Low, golf course architect, said, "The game has been waging a battle against the inventor. The one aim of the inventor is to minimize the skill required for the game." In 2005, Tiger Woods said, "It's all about the skill factor. At the moment, equipment has brought everyone closer together. It's harder to separate from the field." It seems like new equipment is pushing the limits of the courses. Enjoy the golf!

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10-9 Golf: Looking back on the season

By Joe Soraghan

"Golf is the cruelest of sports. Like life, it is unfair. It's a harlot. It's a trollop. It leads you on. It never lives up to its promises ... It's a boulevard of broken dreams. It plays with men and runs off with the butcher." — Sportswriter Jim Murray


During this time of year, the cool weather, downed leaves, aerated fairways and greens and early darkness discourage many of our golfing fraternity. But we should not be dejected. We should rejoice at the good fortune we have experienced for this 2015 golf season.

Golf was being discussed in April, and there were concerns that the courses would be affected by Mother Nature’s harsh winter. However, through the efforts of our greens superintendents and their staffs, our courses were at peak performance throughout the season.

If you are like many players here in the north country, you do not want to see the season come to a close. You will play until the courses shut down and search for ones that will stay open until they become snow-covered. You are the golf addict.

If the course is open, they will gather.

They will dress in an array of clothing to help protect them from the elements.

There will be knit hats, layered clothing, gloves that are painstakingly removed before each shot. Their golf balls will be the ones they took out of play in July due to some blemish or scar they had inflicted upon the white sphere. Noses will be running. Their breath trailing along the fairways, these are the players who will engage Mother Nature as if she were just another hazard on the golf course.

These are the diehard players who will try and extend their season. They will play under the most extreme conditions. Ceremony and etiquette will continue to be observed, and it will try the most truthful, honest and forthright of players as they attempt to stay warm and out of the wind. We wouldn’t want to play any other way.

In conversation with many of the folks who operate our local links, the 2015 golf season was successful. Members and greens fees players were able to benefit from the great weather and the hard work that produced the superb conditions. The various leagues around the valley had a tremendous turnout of golfers, which is a "win-win" for everyone involved. The weather cooperated, for the most part, and we did not experience any damage from storms that had plagued the courses last year. The tournament schedule was very successful, not only for the fundraising that benefits many worthy causes but for the camaraderie provided.

Finally, to all the golfers: If you are like me, you went into the 2015 season with great hope and expectations for a successful campaign. If you achieved these goals and came away satisfied with your game, accolades to you. But if you feel that you did not play your best and there is improvement down the road, I’m with you.

Next season will bring a new club, swing plane, grip or any number of changes to the 2016 game. This is what makes golf such an intriguing game. It can be day to day, week to week or season to season, but future rounds hold hope that future golf will be better than the past.

Thank you to all the courses, staff, pros, grounds crew and 19th-hole providers for all you do to make golf the best game ever!
Club Notes:

North Conway Country Club, 76 Norcross Circle, (603) 356-9391: Word from NCCC is that playing conditions are about as good as it gets, and there is plenty of golf left. Last Sunday, 10 players gathered on the first tee for the Annual Shootout. These folks had accrued the most points, in weekend play, during the season. Brett Russell emerged as the victor over a very talented group of players. Brett defeated Al Goyette in a "chip off" on the ninth and final hole. Congratulations to those who qualified for this event.

Kudos to Team Scream, composed of the North Conway Country Club's food and beverage staff, who for the first time in the event's history won the club's Bushwood Open. The team consists of Jerry Birch, Becky Armstrong, Chrissy ‪Howell Pacheco‬ and ‪Renee Hart‬.

One last tournament awaits the members. On Saturday, Oct. 17, the member appreciation tournament will take place. This will be followed by the awards presentation and a turkey dinner. The cost is $10. Please sign up in the pro shop.

Wentworth Golf Course, 53 Main St., Jackson, (603) 383-9641: Last Sunday, a tournament took place at the Jackson 18. The event was a Day of Golf for Ben, put on by friends of late local resident Ben Wall. More than 124 golfers descended on the course to take part in this remembrance. A tip of the hat to Mike Mallett, who opened up the course for this event and donated all fees to Ben's family. On the golf side, there were some great scores. The Butlers (Dad Jeff, Tyler, Reed and Carter) posted a -16 to take the top spot. Second place, with a -14, was the team of Dan Willig, Glen and Eli Mitchell and Don Mason.

Congratulations to all the players, hole sponsors, tee sponsors, the donations and to Riley and Cammi for the sale of the baked goods.

Jeff Pollini, the pro at Wentworth, wants to thank everyone for this, his first year, at the Jackson 18. He really feels that the Mount Washington Valley and, in particular, the Wentworth Golf Club, is a special place with outstanding people.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, 179 Carter Notch Road, (603) 383-9111: The Eagle has set the closing date as Oct. 25. On this day you can play golf, with a cart, for $20. Half the proceeds from this day will go to the Angels and Elves program.

The Thursday Night Eagle League saw the team of Russ Veale, Joan and Roger Aubrey take the top spot. Closest to the pin was Jane Query. Anne Lee Doig received a special award. During the season, Anne broke two clubs, so her friends presented her the "Strongest Golfer Award." Her friends were also thinking of the rest of her clubs, so they presented her with "softer balls" for her next round.

Hale's Location Golf Course, 87 Fairway Drive, (603)356-2140: With daylight hours dwindling, the pro shop will open at 8 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Hale's has some great views and is in great condition. This is a great time for anyone who might be thinking of joining to give Hale's a chance. A trial membership is available for $169 and can be used for up to eight rounds. If you decided to get a membership, the entire amount would be applied to next year’s membership. Call the pro shop for more information. The Fall Men's League is still playing. Ray Luchetti is leading the group with Wil Depathy close on his heels. Congratulations to George Bailey, who had his first hole-in-one during league play. I was informed that George was so excited after his ace that, unfortunately, he lost his match. "Nine, Wine, and Dine" continues on Sunday afternoons. Call the hotel for reservations (603-356-7100) and the pro shop for tee times.

Indian Mound Golf Course, Route 16B, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: The Mound is looking forward to a great fall season, with plenty of golf left. The Ben Wall Bramble Tournament will be held on Monday, Oct. 12. This is a 9 a.m. shotgun start for four-person teams. The end of year "Wayne's Scramble" to benefit Hale's pro Wayne Sprouse will be a Cross Country event. This is a nine-hole event with par 3's and par 6's played over 16 different fairways. The date for this popular event is Sunday, Oct. 25 and space is limited. The "Cash Scramble" is scheduled for Nov. 1. The Rivers' Edge Quota will continue until the course closes, and the Bubba League has two weeks remaining. Call the pro shop for more information.

19th Hole

"Winter rules" or "local rules"are covered in the "Rules of Golf." Adverse conditions allow players to get temporary relief. There is one sentence that sums up play under less than desirable conditions: Local rules allow a player to be granted relief to ensure "fair and pleasant play."

May all your rounds be fairly played, and all of your rounds be exceedingly pleasant. Thanks to all the golfers who play their rounds here in the Mount Washington Valley, and to those who make our rounds memorable.
This is Joe Soraghan's last golf column of the season.


Gentlemen, take note of our female colleagues

By Joe Soraghan

"I always said you have to be really smart or really dumb to play this game well. I just don't know where I fit in." — LPGA golfer Beth Daniel

On St. Patrick’s Day, many nationalities claim the saint was born in their homeland. I've heard the claim from Italians, Swedes, Frenchmen and Germans that the patron saint of Ireland was born in their country. Now, I'm reading that golf was invented by a woman from ancient Greece.

In 1810, Joseph Strutt wrote the book "The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England." In it, Strutt mentions the "featherie," an early golf ball made with feathers and a stitched leather cover. He writes that a woman from Corfu or "Corcyca" invented the ball, and stated that Homer, the ancient Greek poet, wrote the following about the Princess of Corcyca and her introduction to the ball:

"O'er the green mead, the sporting virgins play,

Their shining veils unbound, along the skies,

Tost and retost, the ball incessant flies."

Although Homer didn’t mention the use of clubs, the origination story has some credibility.

The golf played last week by the Solheim Cup teams was an epic match that Homer would have loved to have written about.

The Solheim Cup is the woman’s equivalent to the Ryder Cup. Different formats are played, with each team getting points during the four-day event. There was great drama throughout, as the European team had their counterparts down by four points going into the individual play. The Europeans appeared to be the better team. But on the 17th hole in the four-ball segment, Suzann Pettersen from the European team gave Team USA some motivation to overcome their deficit.

In match play, players regularly concede putts to their opponents. USA team member Alison Lee thought her competitors had "given" her a putt. She scooped up her ball, only to be told it was not a "gimme." Alison lost the hole and the match. There was a storm of anger and disbelief that the Europeans, Pettersen and her partner, Charley Hull, would take such a route to secure a victory. Team USA used this incident to motivate themselves by overcoming the deficit and ultimately winning the Solheim Cup. Pettersen was criticized for her actions and later apologized, publicly and privately. Nobody wants to win under a cloud of dispute.

The USA team needs to remember that a few years back, their captain, Pat Bradley, called a breach of rules on a European member, which changed the outcome of the match. Annika Sorenstam, arguably one of the finest golfers to play the game, was competing for the European team. Annika was off the green and had to chip her ball. Her competitor’s ball was on the green, but farther away. Sorenstam chipped her ball, and it found the bottom of the cup. Bradley intervened, telling Annika that she played out of turn because she was not "away." Furthermore, Bradley insisted, as was her right, that Annika replay the shot. This time, Annika missed her mark, and Team USA won the match.

Golf is a game of rules. As a player, you need to know and understand these rules, and know the difference between a rule and an agreement. Toughen yourself to the obstacles that the game presents and continue to play at a high level. A dispute over rules can drain you mentally and cause you to lose a match.

In a local club tournament, a player was asked to move his ball mark as it was in the way of another player. The player complied but forgot to move the mark back when it was his turn. His competitor immediately asked if he had returned his mark to the original spot. The player was penalized. More important, the player realized his competitor knew he didn't replace the ball and did nothing to remind him to move it back. This had a long-term effect on their friendship. If you find yourself in a similar situation, remind yourself that it is only golf and do the right thing.

Generally, on the LPGA Tour, the players seem respectful of one another. Incidents of questionable calls are rare. The women are tough, resilient and play a great game of golf. I don't have a problem thinking that golf was invented by a woman from Greece. In fact, I'd like to thank her. However, there may be a few Scots who disagree with me and are checking their historical facts right now.

Club Notes:

• North Conway Country Club, 76 Norcross Circle, (603) 356-9391: The Fall 4-Ball was held last Sunday. For the women, it was the team of Lydia Lansing and Gay Folland taking first, and Donna Wallace and Pat Henry getting second. For the men, it was Andy Kennedy and Len White taking the top spot, with Rob Brewster and Roger Garland grabbing second. The Champs of the Year were crowned, and for the women, it was Suzanne Nelson: for the men, Bob Heiges. The Mixed Scotch Tournament will be held this Sunday. Congratulations to all the players and teams that played this past weekend.

• Wentworth Golf Course, 53 Main St., Jackson, (603) 383-9641: Friends of Ben Wall are planning a tournament in his memory on Sunday, Oct. 4, at noon. This will be a four-man scramble, and all proceeds will go to Ben's family. To play in "A Day of Golf for Ben," call the pro shop. There are still a few spots available. The Fall 4-Ball will take place this Saturday. It's not too soon to sign up for the X-Country Tournament, which is planned for Oct. 18. In Ladies League action, it was Kathy Gilligan taking first, with Sheila Hastings and Joan Palubniak in a tie for second.

• Eagle Mountain Golf Course, 179 Carter Notch Road, (603) 383-9111: With one week remaining in Don Ho, the Six Styxxx team and the Tee Pee lead the pack at -26. But, they shouldn't sit on their lead, as the Divot Kings and GB Carrier are close behind at -24. Individual honors went to Jeremiah Donaldson for closest to the pin and Mark Hanson, Fred Fallen, Bobbie Box and Vicky Ela for long drives. A Member Scramble was held last weekend. Taking first was the team of Dan Andrews, Normand Giroux, Joan Doucette and Tina Nichole. Second place went to Terry Fitzgerald, Kevin Joyce, Sally Treadwell and Jack Young. In Thursday night Eagle action, the team of Jim Doig, Claire Lewkowicz, Russ Veale, and Joan and Roger Aubrey finished first. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Anne Lee Doig. Players are reminded to sign up in the pro shop for the end-of-season barbecue. This is scheduled for Oct. 1 and will be held rain or shine.

• Hale's Location Golf Course, 87 Fairway Drive, (603) 356-2140: With great conditions, the Men's League continues at Hale's with Dave Heffernan, Dick Check and Gerry Gagnon setting the pace. Hale's is offering incentives for the 2016 season. If you sign up for a membership between now and Oct. 31, you get guest passes for next season and play free for the balance of this season. For current members who renew their membership for next year, you will receive six guest passes for 2016 and two for this season. Nine, Wine, and Dine will continue through Columbus Day.

 • Indian Mound Golf Course, Route 16B, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: Final week results for Nine, Wine, and Dine had Peg Bonazoli, Tony Morin, Lucille Gingras and Wayne Grenier taking the top spot. Grand winners were Peg Bonazoli and Wayne Frost. The Ladies Invitational played their tournament, and there were three winning teams. The quota winners were Chery Williams, Trish Picard, Marj Rogers and Carol Clark. The scramble winners were Carrie Nolet, Kathy McIntosh, Michele Curley and Betty Merrill. The combo winners were Jackie and Ev Rivers, Joann Manning and Betty Loynd. Monday, Oct. 12, a Bramble event, will be held to benefit Junior Golf and will be played in memory of the late Ben Wall.

19th Hole

Bob McGraw, PGA professional at the Eagle Mountain Golf course, and I were talking to a fellow the other day on the practice green. McGraw introduced me to the guy, of whom he said jokingly, "He has had close to 37 lessons, but I told him not to tell anyone!"

Bob relayed a story to me about a sign in a pro shop. Golf lessons were advertised, five lessons for $250, and one lesson for $1,000. When the pro was asked why one lesson was so expensive, the pro replied, "If you expect a miracle, you are going to have to pay for it!"

Enjoy the early fall season and this quote from the late, great Yogi Berra: "I enjoy now doing what I do ... playing golf, relaxing a little, enjoying life." A wise man.

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