7-1-16: Golf: Know the rules of the game

By Joe Soraghan

"... The only difference between realizing a dream and losing oneself in fantasy, is backbreaking work." — Mark Frost, author of "The Greatest Game Ever Played"

Last weekend was great for golf. The weather was perfect, courses everywhere are in fantastic shape, and golf games are rounding into top form. At North Conway Country Club, where I regularly play, we held our one-day Member/Guest Tournament. Golfers from all over New England went away with glowing praise for the course, and the event in general.

We did have one player who complained about the greens, but he would probably look at the Mona Lisa and find fault. Several of our guests stayed through the weekend and were included in what has been dubbed "The Swindlers." This is a regular weekend get-together where 16 to 24 golfers tee it up and play a quota game. Foursomes are put together by a blind draw, tee times posted, and players have a match in every group. Each player kicks in a small amount of money and when the golf is finished they report to the 19th hole to report a "minus" or "plus" in the quota. All "plus" points get paid. It's a nice way to spend time on the course.

Last weekend, we had 28 players, all of whom have played the game of golf for many, many, years. You would think there would be a consensus about a couple of different scenarios which came about last weekend. Think again!

"I'll bet you $10 you're wrong!"

This was the response from a golfer who had been listening to a group of us discussing a situation where a ball was lying between two out-of-bounds stakes. The argument began when the question was asked, "Is a ball in or out if any part of the ball is touching a line or deemed to be between two white stakes?" The guy who joined the conversation thought that a ball on the line is deemed out of bounds. We were promoting the thought that any part of the ball that was in bounds is playable. Shame on us, as we didn't go to the rule book nor did we take the bet.

Well, 45 minutes later, we were on the third hole, faced with the situation we were just discussing. The ball was lying between two white stakes, not completely out of bounds. For us, it was the "perfect storm" because we were unsure if the ball was in or out. It was decided at this point to call the pro shop. After some good-natured banter to outline the situation, it was determined the ball was in bounds. The affected player had two reactions. One was relief, being able to play his original shot and the other was feigned anger that he did not take the bet. Ultimately, we should have known the rule.

Out of bounds is determined by a white stake, white line, or local rule (i.e. A fence, road, hedge, etc.). If a stake is the determining landmark, then the ball needs to be completely beyond the stake to be considered out. If a white line has marked the out of bounds, then a ball that completely rests on the line is determined to be out. If any part of the ball is in bounds then the ball is in. A good way to remember this is if any part of your ball is touching the green, then the ball is "on the green." Look for white stakes and white lines as the determining factors, and agree with your playing companions as to whether you are in or out.

After our round, the situation was replayed over and over in the 19th hole. The discussion created right and wrong decisions. Most of the guys jumped in, but you could see others looking on, unsure of what was the right or wrong call. From this, other situations were brought up, and these were situations that cropped up that day. The ball is lying in the center of a cart path. Do you take your relief to the left or right of the path if a drop leaves you the same distance from where the ball landed? If a ball is lost in a hazard and the closest point of relief puts you behind a tree or in a water hazard, do you have another option? If the ball lands in a gnarly, rocky area that should be deemed ground under repair or abnormal ground condition, do you get relief? This is supposed to be a game where players are having fun, but you still need to know the rules and play by those rules. You also may be able to take an extra ten bucks from someone who doesn't.

Club Notes:

North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The 2016 Men's and Ladies' One-Day Member/Guest is in the archives. On the men's side, first gross, went to the team of Peter Hill, Newell Hill, Bob Koch and Kevin McDonald. First net was won by Bob McElhinney, John Devaney, Mark and Paul Dwyer. Skins were won by Sandy Allan, Peter Hill and Joe Soraghan. For the ladies, it was Martha Jamieson, Marcy Gage, Kathleen Thompson and Ann Bourque taking first gross. First net went to Nancy Stewart, Pat Upham, Cynthia Ross and Nancy Calder. Summer hours are now in place for the pro shop. They will be open from 6 a.m. To 6 p.m. There is an Early Bird special for golfers. Tuesday through Thursday, from 6:30 to 7:57 a.m.; you can tee it up for $40 with a cart. The annual Fourth of July Flag Tournament will take place this weekend. Asst. Pro Kevin Walker, will conduct a clinic many of us can use. He will show players how to extricate themselves from places we really don't want to be. He calls it a "Special Shot" Clinic; I call it "Golf 911".

Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The Jackson 18 held their Spring Four-Ball last weekend. For the ladies, it was Crickett Catalucci and Maryann Lowry taking the top spot. Second place went to Christine Rowe and Ellen Eierman. For the men, it was Joe Webb and Clancy Asselin leading the way. Second place went to Ron Pomerleau and Gerry Ellis. Long-putt winners were Patty Keane and George Lemieux. Week Five of Red Fox saw the Dukes of Hazzards take the top spot. Second place went to the Leprechauns. Long-drive winners were Jon Rivers and Moira McCarthy. Closest to the pin saw Don Newton and Mary Murphy take the honor. Week Six was a best-ball format. The Dukes of Hazzards continued their winning ways and were followed by Shanks-A-Lot and the Hale Merry's. Long-drive winners were Ray Gilmore Sr. and Moira McCarthy. Closest to the pin went to Connor Todd and Kim Merrill.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: The men's and ladies' leagues at Hale's are posting some great scores and are raving about the great course conditions. For the men, in this week's quota, five players posted + 6: Joe Gammon, Jerry Henry, Dan Lucchetti, Mike McMahon, and Don Valliere. For the Women, Denise Woodcock posted a + 8. Closest to the pin went to Dottie Heffernan. Hale's is offering a twilight greens fee after 3 p.m. You can play for $20. This does not include a cart. Nine, Wine, and Dine is held every Sunday. For $55 you get nine holes of golf, a cart, salad, wine, an entree, and dessert. Reservations need to be made with the restaurant (356-7100) and the pro shop (356-2140).

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: With one week left in the Spring Don Ho, there is a tie for first between the Beaver Pelts and GB Carrier at -42. Trailing in second and third are the Jackson 6 (-38) and the Golfaholics (-36). John Sutton claimed closest-to-the-pin honors, while long drive went to Lauren Hawkins, Carey Ann Lufkin, Matty Burkett and Adam Lanzillotti. In the Thursday Eagle League, the team of Phil Davies, Mike Peloquin, Rita Stoessel and Haig Zeytoonian took first. Second place went to Ellie Veal, Janice Andrews, Bobby Marquis and Bob Ference. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Jim Doig. PGA Pro Bob McGraw will be offering a short game clinic on Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. The basic fundamentals will be covered and the fee is $20. The month of July is Family Golf Month at the Eagle. Every day after 2 p.m. there will be discounted rates for adults playing with juniors. When playing together, the cost is $15 for the adult and $10 for the junior.

Lake Kezar Golf Course, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: The Tuesday Men's Social League saw the team of Corey Douglas, Barry Hadlock and Curtis Lansing take the top spot. Second place went to Art Duggan, Bill Bisset, Bill Wapenski, and Bill Morella. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Jan Maczuba, on No. 5, and Mike Tarantino, on No. 16. Wednesday is Scotch doubles action at the Lovell 18. Bill Wapenski and Cyndy Adams took first while Bill and Christine Bisset took second. Bill Bisset also claimed closest-to-the-pin honors. The Thursday Ladies League had a scramble format. The winning team members were Dot Noble, Sandy Estes, Cyndy Adams and Claire Flynn. Second place team members were Sheila Melia, Ann Nelson, Carol Hastings and Lorraine Harden. First round of the Men's President Cup saw both matches decided on the 18th hole. John Bartlett defeated Marc Webster and Tim Chandler bested Lewis Bartlett.

19th Hole:

With optimum conditions, there have been some outstanding individual golfing accomplishments in recent days. Fuzzy Martin and Sylvio LaPlante, from Indian Mound, played in a member/guest at Ridgewood. Fuzzy, a fine player, posted a score of 62. Eagle Mountain Pro Bob McGraw was playing at NCCC last Wednesday with three of his cronies. He put on a clinic for his playing companions by hitting every green on the back in regulation. He went on to birdie Nos. 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. I hope he collected the $20 from each member in the group for the "clinic" he put on! Bruce Sanderson was playing with the aforementioned "Swindlers" and posted a plus 16 in the quota ( a new record for that illustrious group). Finally, Jerry Chase, one of the better chippers and putters, shot a 75 to shoot his age last week, which is a very impressive and difficult task.

Congratulations to all! A Happy and Safe Fourth of July to everyone!


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6-24 GOLF: Monitoring the golf handicap

By Joe Soraghan

"In golf, the player, coach and official are rolled into one, and they overlap completely. Golf is really the best microcosm of life — or at least the way life should be." — Lou Holtz, football coach

When golfers gather at the first tee, one of the first items of business is to share individual handicap ratings. This revelation can be followed, and often is, by rolls of the eyes and some good-natured ribbing.

The handicap system was designed to allow golfers of different abilities to compete fairly. It is appropriate that "handicap" was taken from horse racing, which remains a popular activity in the British Isles. Odds were set for horses prior to a race, written on a piece of paper and placed in a hat until payouts could be made. In golf, the handicap is a golfer's proficiency level in a "net" game (actual total minus handicap) and is used by the amateur player. If scores are entered correctly, the system works well. But there are players who enter scores, higher or lower, that unfairly reflect a player's true ability. Sometimes, the system works against a player. In either situation, handicaps need to be monitored and adjustments made.

In a perfect world, golf would be played without having to take or give strokes. But there needs to be a balancing mechanism to reflect real life and make for better competition. With matches involving rewards, such as trophies or prizes, a handicap system has to be part of the equation. If a golf course is sponsoring "net" matches, it is the responsibility of the members to maintain a handicapping committee to oversee rounds. This committee monitors the posting of the score that reflects the golfer's round using the ESCA (equitable stroke control adjustment). Are players posting scores correctly, including "away" scores or tournament scores? In a broader view, the handicapping committee would be responsible for the correct course rating from the tee markers their players are using. A member of this committee should be prepared to make some unpopular decisions.

It is the responsibility of all players to put forth their best effort when playing golf. All rounds need to be posted. Let the handicap establish with the scores. If discrepancies arise, let the handicap committee make a decision. It is frustrating to go to the first tee in a match if you think that you cannot compete fairly against your opponent. He is a good player, and he is getting strokes that prohibit you from having a fair competition. Also problematic are players who manage to play their "career round" in competition and post their best scores when prizes are at stake.

A handicap committee should comprise two or three members ready to take on the responsibility. The golf professionals on staff should not have to monitor the members, although having a consulting representative from the pro shop would be advantageous. Decisions made by one's peers are much more meaningful. If those decisions are based on data, the task of informing the golfer about the discrepancies in scoring becomes less difficult. The committee can take into consideration special situations such as: illness, disability, exceptional rounds and unique occurrences to help their fellow golfers maintain fairness.

All golf clubs can benefit from a strong and active handicap committee. Its existence will strengthen the membership and the caliber of competition at the club. Like traffic signals that provide guidance and prevent calamity, the handicap committee can help members enjoy their recreation using a fair and dependable system.

Club Notes:
• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: Congratulations to Lydia Lansing and Doug DuGrenier for winning June's "Champ of the Month." On Monday, the women will host their one-day member/guest. Participants are encouraged to bring a non-perishable item to be donated to the 68 Hours of Hunger program where backpacks are filled with food for children. Assistant Pro Kevin Walker will hold a clinic Monday and Thursday at 9 a.m. On Monday, the focus will be on driving and chipping and on Thursday, driving. Sign up in the pro shop. PGA Pro Larry Gallagher will welcome players to his junior program July 6. The Flag Tournament will be held over the Fourth of July weekend. Congratulations to Rob Brewster, Kurt Grahber, John Idoine and Bob Koch for qualifying for the state amateur golf tournament to be held at Laconia C.C. next month.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: The third week of Men's League saw Joe Gammon post a +9 in the weekly quota. Ray Luchetti got closest-to-the-pin honors. In the women's weekly quota, Linda Kearney posted a +12. Closest-to-the-pin went to Sandy Wolner. Hale's is playing in great conditions, and there is a great twilight rate. For a walker, nine holes is $20. The nine-hole cart rate is $12, and 18 holes $19. The rate is per person for a shared electric cart. Nine, Wine, and Dine continues each Sunday for $55 per person. Make a tee time after 3 p.m. by calling (603) 356-2140. Reservations for dining can be made by calling (603) 356-7100.

Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The 26th annual Mount Washington Valley Ski Tournament was held last Friday. The first-place team members were Mike Beeley, Jamie Davis and Martha Coughlin. First place for MWV Ski Team members were Cord Belding, Patrick McDermott, Luke Tinkham and Adam Wright. The mixed team winners were Doug, Lisa, Austin and Travis Hall. First-place ladies team winners were Julia, Stephanie, Donna and Jaycee Waal. Closest-to-the-pin winners were Jo Davies and Brian Moulton. Long drive winners were Lisa Hall and Austin Florian. The Spring Four-Ball will take place this Sunday, June 26. Club Cup sign-up will end on Saturday, June 25. Look for online specials for greens fees. Visit the Wentworth website for league postings.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: After six weeks of Don Ho action, the Beaver Pelts are in first place at -37. In second, at -32, are the Jackson 6. They are followed by the Divot Kings and GB Carrier. Closest to the pin went to Paul Harlow, while long drives went to Maura Sutton, Mary Hansel, Bobby Labbe and Ed Sawtelle. The member scramble saw the team of Terry Fitzgerald, Bill Regan, Bruce Conley and Susan Joyce take top honors. Second place went to Arthur Heigl, Normand Giroux, Dolores Lavoie, Judy Regan and Wil Hall. Sally Treadwell claimed closest-to-the-pin honors. The Thursday Night Eagle League saw the team of Jim Doig, Judy and Bill Regan take top honors. Closest-to-the-pin winner was Dennis Soraghan. In Mixed League action, it was Bill and Judy Regan, Sally Treadwell and Sandra Taylor taking the top spot. Judy Regan claimed closest-to-the-pin honors. PGA Pro, Bob McGraw will be offering a full swing clinic on Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. He will cover the fundamentals needed to hit the driver and fairway woods. The cost is $20.

Linderhof Golf Course, Route 16, Glen, (603) 383-9074: The Classic Crows are playing on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. All are invited to play. This is a group whose primary goal is to have fun. Locals can join an open league for $25 and then play Sunday through Friday for $10 a round. When finished with your round, enjoy the pub which is open until 5 p.m.

Lake Kezar Golf Course, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: The LKCC held a scotch foursome last Wednesday, and it was special for Eric and Christine Green. The husband-and-wife duo finished first in team competition and both Eric and Christine claimed closest-to-the-pin honors. Second place went to Bob and Pat Gallagher, while Art and Cathy Duggan finished third. In scotch doubles, first place went to Art and Cathy Duggan. Second place saw a tie between Gene and Maddy Leblanc and John Laramee and Terry Landers. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Christine Bisset for the ladies. For the men, closest was Moe Foulds. The Men's Social League saw the team of Corey Douglas, Jerry Guyot, Dana Morrill and Bob Spagnolo take first. Second place went to George Bassett, Barry Hadlock, Dan Roy and Ron Ela. Closest-to-the-pin went to Bob Spagnolo on No. 5, and Bill Morella on No. 12. The Conway Parks and Recreation Department is having a tournament on Sunday, June 25. If interested in participating, call Mike Lane at (603) 447-5680.

19th Hole:
The U.S. Golf Association monitors the handicapping system. Golfers adjust hole scores using the Equitable Stroke Control Adjustment to make their handicap a representation of potential ability. This sets a limit to the number of strokes a player can take on a hole, depending on the course handicap. The maximum number for players with a zero to 9 handicap is a double bogey, with a handicap of 10 to 19, you can take seven strokes, from 20-29 you get eight strokes, from 30-39 you can have nine strokes, and 40 on allows a maximum of 10 strokes. Hopefully, your next round won't have any adjustments!

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6-10 Golf: The genius of golf course designer Donald Ross

By Joe Soraghan

"Golf is about how well you accept, respond to and score with your misses, much more so than it is a game of your perfect shots." — Dr. Bob Rotella, sports psychologist

Have you ever been at an athletic event where you find yourself on the losing side of the score and end up thinking, "How did that happen?" When you do your self-evaluation on performance and overall effort, you are left scratching your head because you can't understand how you lost.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to play Salem (Mass.) Country Club, a top-end Donald Ross-designed course. It wasn't the match I lost. I lost to the golf course.

Donald Ross is, arguably, the most famous of golf course designers. His resume boasts more than 600 courses. A Scottish immigrant, schooled by "Old Tom Morris" as a golf professional, Ross was invited to Pinehurst (N.C.) by owner James Tufts, a pharmacist who knew nothing about golf. Initially, Ross was the club professional but was soon asked by Tufts to design a golf course. His first venture in golf-course design was the Oakley Country Club in Massachusetts. Ross would go on to design four courses at Pinehurst and leave his mark throughout the golfing landscape. Jack Nicklaus explained, "The key to Ross courses is naturalness." Ross used the existing landscape and moved very little of the land. Water doesn't present many issues with a Ross course. He wanted the player to enjoy the experience and rely on shot-making to succeed.

When a golfer plays a Ross-designed course, a fair test can be expected. They are not the longest courses, but they reward players for good shots. Bad shots have tough consequences.

The greens are where golfers can readily experience the Ross trademarks. The greens are turtle-backed, with undulations throughout the putting surface. If you find your ball in a position where you have a downhill lie, I wish you "good luck." Another Ross trademark is the consequence if you are unfortunate to hit your shot over the green. There is very little room for recovery.

Salem Country Club has hosted men's and women's USGA events, the last being the 2001 Men's Senior Open. I asked my host, Jim Corrangelo, for the reactions of the pros who played in the event. "You have a nice little course here," was one player's comment. The winning score was even, which for golfers of that competitive level is a high score. This North Shore club is again hosting the Men's Senior Open in 2017.

There are Donald Ross-designed courses in 31 different states and Canada, but there is no need to travel far. Mount Washington, Kezar Lake, Bethlehem, Maplewood and Kingswood were all Donald Ross designs. Even the casual golfer among us should play a Ross course. You can test your skills but also gain an appreciation for a course designer who was an integral part of golf in our country.

Donald Ross was imagining you standing on the tee, looking down the fairway. He wanted you to hit the required shot and keep the mistakes at a minimum. I want another shot at Ross, because I know I can score better, and it was fun!

Club Notes:

• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The 39th Merlino's Invitational was last weekend. Taking top spot in Flight 1 was Dan Mulkern, who posted a two-day score of 138. Flight 2 winner was Scott Merrill, Flight 3 Dave Keefe, and Flight 4 Jason Barden. NCCC will host the NHGA State Amateur qualifier  June 15. Sign-up has begun for the Men's and Women's One-Day Member Guest. The men will tee it up Friday, June 24, while the ladies take to the course Monday, June 27. Champ of the Month will take place June 17, 18, and 19. Assistant Pro Kevin Walker will have a chipping clinic Monday, June 13, and a clinic for iron shots Thursday, June 16. Clinics begin at 9 a.m. Call the pro shop for more information.

Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: Rivers Edge Quota League saw Joe St. Lawrence post a +6 to take the top spot. Steve Meserve and Ryan Gile claimed closest-to-the-pin honors. Skins were won by Dick Prunier, Dan Ratliff, Fuzzy Martin and Joe St. Lawrence. The Ladies League saw Trish Picard take honors in Division A. Winner in Division B was Phyllis Drake, and Division C, Sandy Alderman. There was a tie for the "nine holers" between Mary Buswell and Georgia LaFortune. In On the Links action, it was Team Mitchell posting the top score at Bethlehem CC. The Tamworth PTA held its annual tournament last Saturday — thank you to all the sponsors and players. The Mound will be hosting the Limerick Fire Tournament on June 21 and the Lions Club on June 24.

Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: Week 3 of Red Fox League saw the Pin Seekers post a 57 to take the top spot. Second place went to the Hail Merry's, who posted a 58. There was a two-way tie for third between the Bobbleheads and Shanks-A-Lot. Individual honors went to Kevin Lebel and Evelyn Rivers for long drives. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Rivers and Bill Catalucci. Dads take note: The Jackson 18 is offering a Father's Day Special. Dads golf for free on Father's Day, when they are accompanied by a paid family member. The Ladies' League was rained out of their weekly competition. Wentworth players might to want book their tee times online. There are specials being offered that you can only receive when booking online. Go to www.wentworthgolf.com. The Spring Four-Ball is scheduled for June 21. This will be followed by a welcome back reception for all members. The MWV Ski Team Tournament, is scheduled for June 19. This is a 2 p.m shotgun start. Call the pro shop for more information.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: After four weeks of the Don Ho Golf League, the Beaver pelts remain in first at -24. The Jackson Six are one shot back at -23 and the Ball Draggers, Sea Dogs, and Divot Kings are tied at -21. Hoss Burns claimed closest-to-the-pin honors, while Bobby Labbe, Fred Fallen, and Mindy Fallen got long drive honors. The Thursday Eagle League saw the team of Joan and Roger Aubrey, Jim and Anne Lee Doig and Russ Veale take the top spot. Closest-to-the-pin winner was Claire Cantin. This Saturday, from 11 a.m.-noon, PGA Pro Bob McGraw will be offering a Short Swing clinic where the fundamentals of chipping and pitching will be covered. The class is limited to six students and costs $20. June is Women's Golf Month at the Eagle. Greens fees will be discounted for ladies every day, and Bob will be offering free clinics the next two Sundays at 1 p.m. The basic fundamentals will be covered. All are welcome. Equipment will be provided if needed.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: Both the men's and women's leagues are off and running. After week one, Joe Gammon is leading the weekly quota at +7. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Steve Wolner. On the women's side, Joan Dalton posted a +5 in the quota, and Joanne Archambault got closest to the pin. Thursday, the club hosted the Home Owners' Scramble. Steve Wolner continued his pin-hunting with a hole-in-one on the sixth hole. Congratulations! Tee times can be made by calling the pro shop or by visiting www.haleslocationgolf.com.

Linderhof Golf Course, Route 16, Glen, (603) 383-9074: The nine-hole Linderhof course is in great shape. It is open to the public and has a Locals League. Linderhof has added a croquet green, two horseshoe courts, chipping range, corn hole set, a volleyball/badminton area, and a disc golf practice area. A "Locals Special" is a $25 membership and a $10 greens fee, Sunday-Friday, all season long. Call the pro shop for more information. Visit all that is happening and stop by the pub.

19th Hole

The second major of the year is a week away, when players convene at Oakmont Country Club (Pa.) for the U.S. Open. Oakmont will be a tough test for the best players in the world, being home to the most famous bunkers in golf. Between the third and fourth fairways, the "Church Pews" run for about 100 yards. They were placed there originally to take care of a drainage problem. The Church Pews have given nightmares to plenty of golfers, and have been criticized by many. But the design of Henry Fownes, course architect, remains. His son, William, summed up the Church Pews when he said, "A shot poorly played should be a shot irrevocably lost."

May all you shots be true. Have a great weekend.

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Golf 6-17-16: Keeping up with the U.S. Open

"Golf is a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul." — Bobby Jones, golf legend

Golf fans have been reading how difficult the Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Penn., will be for the U.S. Open, being played June 16-19. I asked a friend of mine, a course superintendent at a private club in Massachusetts, if he enjoyed watching the pros play in the major championships, particularly at the historic venues.

He said, "I like the tournament and the caliber of golf, but on Monday morning I'll have 20 members asking why our course can't be like what they have just watched on TV!"

He would like to tell them they aren't prepared to pay to have a course like what they had just viewed, nor do they have the skill to play a course with the difficulty factor they just witnessed.

Slope and rating have been around since the turn of the 20th century. It wasn't until the 1970s that a math guy from the Naval Academy, Dean Knuth, developed a quantitative method to determine the difficulty factor of a golf course. Knuth would go on to work for the U.S. Golf Association and oversee the handicapping system.

Slope is the difficulty or playability for "bogey" golfers (those who shoot around 18 over par). This number runs from 55 to 155. A course rating tells a "scratch" (one who shoots par) golfer how difficult the course will play, or how many strokes above par he/she can be expected to play. Factoring into the calculations: topography, fairways, greens, thickness and depth of the rough, recoverability and bunkers.

Before a player begins a round, he/she should check the scorecard or consult with the pro shop as to which tees should be played. Look at the slope from tees where you feel your game is best suited, and where the experience will be one where you'd want to return. Remember, slope is for the "bogey" golfer. The rating is for the "scratch" player to know the degree of difficulty facing him/her.

This week, the pros will face one of their toughest tests. Lee Trevino said, "If there was one course that could host a U.S. Open with one day notice, it would be Oakmont." The USGA will make sure the greens are fast, the rough thick and the course long. The course rating from the back tees, on a regular day, is 77.5. The slope is 147. Par from the back tees is 71. The best golfers at our respective clubs would have a hard time breaking 100 on a course like Oakmont. So, if you want a challenge but still want enjoyment from your golf round, make sure you play from the tees that best suit your game.

As for my friend in Massachusetts, I would use diplomacy while trying to describe why all courses can't be like Oakmont. My prediction is that "2 under" will be the winning score. Enjoy the U.S. Open!

Club Notes:
North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The Men's and Ladies Member/Guest, one of the best events of the season, is coming up. The men will hit the links June 24. The Ladies will play June 27. Sign up with the pro shop. This weekend, the June Champ of the Month will be held. he first round of Club Cup was held last weekend with eight men and eight women advancing into the elite eight round. The New Hampshire seniors will play June 20. Assistant Pro Kevin Walker will resume his clinics the week of June 27. PGA Pro Larry Gallagher will offer the junior golf program beginning July 6.

Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: The Ladies League is in full swing. In the A Division, Mary Pearson took top spot, B Division, Jan Eskedal, C Division, Bev Nigro and the 9-Holers winner was Liz Brown. Rivers Edge winners were Ryan Gile at +4 in the quota. Closest to the pin saw Larry Ewing and Steve Meserve take the prize. Ewing also walked away with a "skin." On-The-Links heads to the Omni Mount Washington this week. Junior golf will begin July 6. Call the pro shop to sign up. Julie Rivers, from the Mound, wears another hat as the Kennett High Golf Coach. Julie encourages all who are interested in joining the team to sign up at the Kennett Athletic office or to contact her.

Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The Jackson 18 is hosting the Mount Washington Valley Ski Team Tournament today. This is a 1 p.m. shotgun start, with dinner at the Red Fox Bar and Grille after the golf. Call (603) 356-7627 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Ladies League held a Birthday Ball event Tuesday. Taking top spot was Jean Mason, followed by Cricket Catalucci and Rita Descoteaux. Chip-ins were posted by Jean Mason, Sheila Hastings, Maryann Lowry and Cricket Catalucci. The Spring Four-Ball is scheduled for June 26. Sign up at the pro shop. On Sunday, dads golf for free when accompanied by a family member. Check www.WentworthGolf.com for other deals.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383- 9090: Week Five of the Don Ho League has the Beaver Pelts in the top spot at -30, followed by Divot Kings at -26, with the Jackson Six and Ball Draggers are one stroke back. Mary Hansel captured the closest-to-the-pin honor and shared long drive honors with Ann Bennett, Matt Burkett and Kevin Young. In Eagle League action, the team of Jeanne and John Chanley and Jane and Buzz Query took home top honors. Closest to the pin went to Rita Stoessel.  PGA Pro Bob McGraw will be offering a full swing clinic Saturday, 11 a.m-noon. The class is limited to six students and costs $20. June is Women's Golf Month at the Eagle. Greens fees are discounted for women, and Bob will be offering a free clinic Sunday at 1. Equipment will be provided if needed.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: The Women's League saw Sally Smallcomb take top spot by posting a +3 in the weekly quota. Sandy Wolner got closest-to-the-pin. In Men's League, Dave Heffernan and Jerry Henry posted +5 in the quota. Bill Earle got closest to the pin. On Father's Day, dads play free when playing with another full-paid player. Sundays have the Nine, Wine, and Dine for players. For $55, you get nine holes of golf, a glass of wine, dinner with salad entre, and dessert. For both these specials call the pro shop, do not book online. From the pro shop and players, kudos to Jeff Butler and his staff for keeping the course in great shape. With the debris from high winds, the greens crew had many challenges.

Linderhof Golf Course, Route 16,Glen, (603) 383-9074: On Sunday, June 19, all fathers golf for free. Bring the kids and enjoy the pool, croquet, badminton, horseshoes, playground and slide, volleyball, tennis and disc golf. The pub is open until 5 p.m with kids' meals offered for $3.50. The course is promoting golf for locals. Locals can join an open league for $25 and then play Sunday-Friday for $10 a round.

19th Hole

Sam Snead won seven major championships but never a U.S. Open. In 1939, he needed only a bogey on the final hole to get into a playoff. But Snead thought he needed a birdie and played the hole with the intent on getting that birdie. While walking to his fifth shot, he was told all he needed was the bogey. In his autobiography, "Slammin' Sam," he wrote, "It weighed on my mind so much that I dropped 10 pounds, lost hair, choked during practice rounds ... I was headed to a nervous breakdown." Sam did recover enough to win 86 pro tournaments, but his loss in 1939 stayed with him for his entire life.

Happy Father's Day!

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Golf: Stories at the 19th hole


By Joe Soraghan

"To be consistently effective, you must put a certain distance between yourself and what happens to you on the golf course. This is not indifference, it's detachment." Pro golfer Sam Snead

During the 1957 Bing Crosby Pro-Am, pro golfe, Tony Lema hit a great shot on the ninth hole. During his exuberant celebration, he leaped into the air. Lema was standing close to the edge of a cliff and, upon returning to terra firma, fell 20 feet down the embankment. He shook off the physical pain to move on from the embarrassing incident. When he completed his round, he had to face his fellow pro in the Players' Lounge. They definitely didn't let him forget his fall. Even today, when golfers pass by "Lema's Ledge" at Pebble Beach, the story continues to be told.

During golf season, some golfers play with the same foursome all the time, while others will try and mix their grouping. Regardless of who you are playing, memorable incidents occur. The group I play with during the weekend is not immune to these stories.

The teeing area for the fifth hole at North Conway Country Club runs along the Saco River. A small outcrop of sand runs parallel to the tee. Fishermen in waders can be seen trying their luck from this spot. One of our players teed up his shot and launched his ball. Unfortunately, the ball was sliced into the river toward the unsuspecting angler. The player yelled the appropriate "Fore!" but he might as well been speaking a foreign language as the ball headed toward the fisherman. Fortunately, it fell short. The fisherman's reaction was very composed. He must have been thinking, "These people are nuts!" I'll give our guy some credit because he apologized to the angler. He gets even more points for asking the fisherman, "Would you retrieve my ball?"

We've had golf clubs deposited in watery graves and high into trees. Golfers have found themselves in ponds while retrieving carts or trying to hit from a watery lie. Balls have ricocheted into parking lots, maintenance buildings, portable toilets and other parts of the course not defined on the golf card map. When you see golfers returning to a hole they should have completed, you know there is a story.

Here's a reminder to all who play golf: Don't take this game so seriously. Enjoy the players. Laugh at the situations. While playing, develop a short memory. There will be plenty of time for you to reflect on situations you faced during the round. You can be sure that others in your group will remind you, and others, of memorable incidents while sitting in the 19th. For better or worse, you need to put these situations behind you and use them to make you a better player.

Club Notes:

• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391. The Memorial Tournament was held this past weekend. For the men, JP Hickey won the gross division and Paul Harlow the net. On the women's side it was Gay Folland claiming the gross and Donna Wallace the net. Assistant Pro Kevin Walker will be hosting two clinics next week. On Monday, June 6, a putting clinic will be held, and on June 9, a chipping clinic. Both will begin at 9 a.m. The cost is $20. Friday, June 10, NCCC will host the Jen's Friends Tournament. The Club Cup matches have been posted and will begin Sunday, June 12. See the pro shop for more information. Congratulations to NCCC bartender Paul Cosentino, who got a hole-in-one on the 15th hole. Rumor has it he followed golfing tradition after scoring his ace and also that he received a congratulatory text from his buddy, Eli Manning.

• Indian Mound Golf Club, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733. The Rivers Edge quota saw Ken Sullivan post a +7 to take top honors. Skins went to Rickie Tibbetts and Fuzzy Martin. Closest to the pin honors went to Allen Meserve and Trish Picard. 9 and Dine saw the team of Kathy Donovan, Kevin McCoine, Scott Colborne, and Judy Colborne take first place. On The Links played at Wentworth and saw Cinderella Story take the top spot at -7. The Ladies Invitational will be held on Wednesday, June 29. The theme is St. Patrick's Day in Ossipee. The event is an 8:30 a.m.shotgun start. The PTA Tournament will be held this Saturday. This is an 8:30 shotgun start. Golf clinics are scheduled for Monday, June 4 and 13. The clinics begin at 9:30 a.m., and the cost is $12 per player. The Junior program will begin July 6. This is a three-week program, and the cost is $36. Call the pro shop for information.

• Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641. The Kick-Off Scramble was held last weekend. Taking first place was the team of Wayne Ekholm, Joann Sutton, Marilyn Desmaris and Helen Toohey. Second place went to Tony Simone, Mary Ellen Gallo, Mike Murphy and Pauline Rouillard. The Red Fox League had a quota event on Monday of Week 2. The Dukes of Hazzards took the top spot. There was a tie for second between D's Pizza and the Hale Merry's. Long drive winners were Jason Cicero and Kathy Sweeney. Closest to the pin went to Charlie Hanlon. In Ladies League action, a Blind Draw for Partners was played. Taking first was Kathy Duane and Maryann Lowry. Second place was Helen Toohey and Marybeth Pimental. Deb Bryant had a chip-in. The Spring 4-Ball will be held on June 21. Scheduled June events at Wentworth are: White Mountain Seniors on June 5, Friends of Conway Rec. June 7, and MWV Ski Team, June 19.

• Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090. After three weeks of Don Ho action, the Beaver Pelts are in first place at -18. The Jackson Six are in second, and the Sea Dogs, Ball Draggers and Six Styxxx in third. Devin Copsey got closest to the pin honors; long drive winners were Steph Manson, Mary Hansell, Hoss Burns and David Thornton. Saturday's member scramble saw the team of Dan Andrews, Bill Regan, Kathy Murph, and Nancy Morrison take top honors. Second place went to Brian Murphy, Bruce Conley, Judy Regan and Adam Mosston. Ellie Veale got closest to the pin honors. PGA Pro, Bob McGraw is offering a Full Swing clinic this Saturday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. The class is limited to six students and costs $20. June is Women's Golf Month at the Eagle. There will be discounted rates, and Bob will offer free clinics the first three Sundays in June. Call the pro shop for more information.

• Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140. Summer rates and specials for greens fees are posted on Hale's website — www.haleslocationgolf.com — or call the pro shop. The men's league has begun, and the women will begin on Monday. There is still time to sign up. The men play on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. and the women at 9:30 a.m. The pro shop is offering an opportunity to demo Titleist or Callaway clubs. Nine, Wine and Dine has begun for the season. For $55 you get nine holes of golf with a cart, wine, salad, a choice of entree and dessert.

• Linderhof Golf Club, 10 Club House Road, Bartlett, (603) 383-9074. The Linderhof course is in great shape. The Locals Twilight League started last Tuesday with players taking advantage of course conditions , the free Red Hots, and $2 Sam Adams. Locals can still join the league, the cost being $25. With this league, players can play a round, Sunday through Friday, for $10. There are 10 Twilight League events planned with an end-of-year awards event. A Women's Wednesday League is starting up. Call the pro shop for details. A new Croquet Green has been set up. Bring the kids to give it a try. Public greens fees are available Sunday through Friday for $15 and on Saturday for $38.

19th Hole

I think all golfers agree there are rules that leave us wondering, "What are they thinking?" One involves the fixing of spike marks on the green. Golfers are encouraged to repair ball marks and other marks on the putting surface (Rule 16.1c). But if a spike mark is in your putting line, you are not allowed to fix this until after your putt. The reason for this rule is, it is difficult to identify a spike mark from an irregularity to the green. With today's spikeless shoes, you do not have this problem often, though some golfers "twist" their feet and leave a mark you cannot repair until you finish the hole. If you agree to ignore this rule and allow spike marks to be repaired, the penalty is disqualification. Here's a rule that needs to be amended. Have a great weekend!