“What you have to understand is that three bad shots and one good shot still make par. You see, golf is a game of recovery.” — Bobby Jones
Repairing your divots, fixing ball marks, and raking a bunker are just some of the courtesies golfers are expected to provide during a round.
Golf etiquette has been part of the game since its inception. Long ago, balls were made from feathers, clubs were fashioned from hickory, and courses created from pastures. Etiquette is hanging on for the most part. If it isn’t, shame on us, the golfers. Does the individual goal setting and the respect for your playing companions, still exist? Is the spirit of golf still around?
There is a wonderful commercial playing on TV that is narrated by Arnold Palmer. He encourages golfers to use the swing that fits them, that is of their own doing, the one that is built for their games. Golfers today want to hit a ball as far as the pros, use the latest engineered clubs, and use balls that are designed to go further and straighter.
Golfers today want to play on courses designed for long hitters and are pristine in design. Why do golf balls need to be perfect? Why does each golfer’s swing need to be one in the same? Why do golf courses need to be created without flaws?
This past weekend, Tiger Woods and his contemporaries were hitting balls at The Player’s Tournament, to distances that we can only dream. Yes, these are the most skilled players in the game, but how often do you hear your golfing contemporaries engage in technology questions that will help them gain greater control over the golf ball? Perfection will never be attained by 99 percent of golfers and it shouldn’t be. Don’t turn a great game into one of frustration. If the game is going to grow, courses should not be lengthened, golf balls should be toned down from the distances that they carry, and golf courses should be allowed to have a more natural development rather than the contrived designs that are being presented.
PGA Pro Zach Johnson gave one of the great responses last week when he was asked about the conditions of the greens at Quail Hollow, one of the truly top 10 courses in the world. Quail Hollows’ greens had suffered from a disease and were not the “perfect putting surfaces” that the pros were accustomed to playing on. Johnson told an interviewer that, “We are playing golf and we should embrace that opportunity.”
Golf for the most part, is played without referees or umpires. The golfer “plays the ball as it lies.” Where does it say that all lies need to be perfect, that drives need to be hit 300 yards? Golf publications ensure a golfer that if they make adjustments to their swing or equipment you will hit the ball further and of course reduce the number of strokes on your score.
You never read about the game of golf with regards to the skill and character required to experience what I consider to be the best part of the game — that is, the “Spirit” which has made this a game that has endured for hundreds of years. Take to heart the words of mental coach Joe Parent, “People think if they play better, they will enjoy the game more. In reality, if they enjoy it more, they will play better.”
• Indian Mound Golf Course: In Rivers Edge Golf League action, which is open to all, Trish Picard +8 , Jake Hall +7, and John Picard and Ed Bailey at +3 were the weekly winners. Closest-to-the-pin on No. 4 went to Scott Meserve, No. 8 is a carryover. On the Links League saw the Headbands shoot 3 under to take the top spot with the St. Birds and the Crusher’s at -2 for the second spot. The MWV Chamber Tournament will be held today and the Tamworth PTA tournament scheduled for Saturday. Ann McWalters will be heading up the Ladies League which will start on May 29. Ladies weekly clinics will be available on Monday’s 1 to 2:30 p.m. Each session is $12 per player, sign up in the pro shop.
• Eagle Mountain Golf Course: The Don Ho League is off and running. After week 1, The Divot Kings and Jackson 6 are tied for first at -6. Second place, at -5, are the GB Carrier team and the A Team. Closest-to-the-pin went to Paul Harlow. Long drive winners were Evelyn Butler, Ann Bennett, Eric Marnich, and Dan Spofford. The PGA of America has designated May as “Welcome to Golf Month.”
Eagle Pro Bob McGraw in an effort to support this, will be offering Free Clinics the next two Sundays, from 1-2 p.m. This is focused towards the beginner golfer but all are welcome to attend. Clubs will be available for those who need them. The next two Saturday’s, Bob will be offering two-hour tune ups from 10 am until noon. Call the pro shop at 383-9090 if you have any questions.
• Province Lake Golf Course: An 18-Hole Men’s League has begun at PLGC. This is a fun league where a different format will be played each week. New teams will be drawn weekly based on the number of players signed-up. Numbered balls will be placed in a bucket and each player will draw a ball to determine the team they will play and the corresponding tee time. A USGA handicap is required. Last week, the team of Dave Sanfason, Dave Johnson, Bill Sherman and Dick Garrity took first place. The second spot went to the team of Mike Singleton, Art Gregory, Dan Allaire, and Herb Vrettos. For further information call the pro shop at 207-4040 ext.15
Mark your calendars for the eighth annual Memorial Day Appreciation Golf Outing. Enjoy a day of golf and barbecue for free, in appreciation for what public safety provides. This will be held on May 27, starting at 11:15 a.m. and is open to active and retired military, firefighters, police and sheriffs, and emergency medical personnel. Tee times are required and guests are invited at a reduced cost of $54. Call the club to make a tee time or for further information.
• Wentworth Golf Club: It was an enthusiastic but chilly start to the 2013 Red Fox League season. One welcome addition is the grilled food made available to players on the patio. Taking the top spot for Week 1, were The New Guys, followed by The Pin Seekers and the Bedazzlers. Long drive winners were Keith Bradley and Mary Collins. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Larry Sanborn and Kim Dougherty. In Ladies League action, a scramble format saw the team of Maryann Lowry, Jeanne Mason, and Kathy McIntosh take the top spot. Tied for second place was the team of Brenda Killourie, Sally Fiore, Ellen Eiermann and Jeanne Bradley. They tied with Cal Minton, Kathy Gilligan, Joan Palubniak, and Sheila Hastings. Kevin Walker will begin his clinics this Thursday beginning at 9:15 a.m. The Friends of Conway Recreation will be holding their tournament at the Jackson 18 on June 9. This event will start at 2 p.m. and will be a scramble format with dinner at the Red Fox. Call the pro shop or Conway Rec. for more information. Kudos to Wentworth — any active member of the military will have his or her greens fees waived for their round of golf at any time.
• North Conway Country Club: The North Conway course is rounding into fine shape, with golfers playing their shots as they lie in the rough and rolling them in the fairways. Champs of the Month was played this past weekend. Rob Brewster and Lydia Lansing get the coveted awards for the month of May. This is Brewster’s third consecutive May winning this event. If he were a jockey there would be an inquiry. The White Mountain Cup will be played today pitting the Men from Indian Mound against their counterparts at NCCC. On Saturday, the Opening Scramble will be held. This will be followed by the Spring Four-ball on Sunday. It doesn’t seem possible, but members prepare next week for the Memorial Tournament, which should coincide with the start of “Black Fly” season.
• Hale’s Location Golf Course: The bears are out, the greens have been aerated, and the pro shop is fully stocked at Hale’s. If you are interested in a golf league, both Men’s and Ladies League sign ups are in the pro shop. There will be a new format for the Ladies, each week you will draw for the group you will be playing with the following week. There is a twilight fee for golfers after 3:30 p.m. To play a round without a cart is $20 with a cart $31. Any questions or information can be obtained by calling the pro shop at 356-2140.
I like to think of myself as knowledgeable about the Rules of Golf, but I just came across one that I think many of us unknowingly violate.
If you are chipping or putting on or off the green, and one of your playing companions is standing close enough to touch the flag stick, and the ball hits the flag or goes in, you are assessed a two stroke penalty. Rule 17-1 states that “If the flagstick is in the hole and anyone stands near it while a stroke is being made; he is deemed to be attending the flagstick.”
My advice to avoid this two-stroke penalty is to tell your playing partners to stay out of your line and sight. But be polite when doing so.
Have a great weekend of golf and hopefully the cool weather has killed off the black flies. But don’t bet on it.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 04:57
Ian Meserve was a special guy whose life touched many here in the valley. Throughout his courageous fight with cancer, many have described their impressions of him.
The Great Scorer Above had this scouting report: “Ian Meserve: honest, tough, resilient, a battler; always positive outlook even in the face of tough odds; doesn’t quit when things get rough; plays the hand dealt with courage and dignity; dependable, always gives his best; definitely a first round, 'blue chip' pick!”
MASTER'S LEFTOVERS: Do you think that Tiger Woods should have been disqualified or disqualified himself after taking an illegal drop during the Masters Tournament at Augusta? This is a question that is still being debated in 19th holes around the golfing world. Another action at this event which seems to have been pushed aside is the two stroke penalty assessed to a 14 year old amateur, who was playing well enough to make the 36 hole cut.
I visited Augusta National back in 2010 to watch a practice round. My impressions of this Bobby Jones / Alister MacKenzie masterpiece then and now are the same: it is the most beautiful golf course I have ever seen! To describe this Holy Grail of golf might do it an injustice. It is one of those places one must experience in order to embrace the beauty, history, and challenge that the course provides.
All this gushing over Augusta National will not get me an opportunity to play one of the most exclusive and prestigious golf courses in the world. I have no fear of being excluded from Augusta, as happened to TV analyst for CBS, Gary McCord, when he criticized the course greens during a Masters telecast. I feel that the Augusta members who preside over the tournament missed an opportunity to advance the game with their poor decisions. Thankfully, these rulings did not impact the outcome and wonderful Sunday finish for Adam Scott of Australia.
When Tiger was informed by Augusta officials that he had taken an illegal drop at the 15th hole, after his ball struck the flagstick and rolled back into a water hazard, he had already signed his card and posted his score. Rule6-6b of “The Rules of Golf” states, “After completion of the round, the competitor should check his score for each hole and settle any doubtful points with the committee.” Penalty for breach of Rule6-6b is disqualification. If this had been a USGA, R&A, or PGA sponsored event, Tiger would have been disqualified. The Masters, being an invitational tournament, has its own rules committee who decided to assess Tiger a two-stroke penalty.
I am not suggesting that Tiger purposely took a wrongful drop, but I am saying that the Masters’ Rules officials superseded “The Rules of Golf.” Tiger would have helped his image and the game if he had disqualified himself.
A larger “black eye” for the Masters officials is the two-stroke penalty assessed to 14-year-old Guan Tianlang of China for slow play. The youngest in the field was in this event for the first time by virtue of winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. He was also dangerously close to missing the cut, but, as fate would have it, he made it to the weekend play. This was a great story for golf. However, instead of talking to the group and possibly helping the youngster speed up play, the tournament official assessed a penalty. There are many other offenders engaging in this painful practice of slow golf. Why did the Masters’ officials choose the youngest player in Masters’ history to slap with this penalty? I feel that this was a form of bullying by the tournament officials. They singled out the young amateur from China rather than pick on some PGA veterans, two of which were in the young man’s playing group, who should know better and pick up their pace of play. The tournament officials got this one wrong!
If any official from Augusta is reading this, I can forgive the Masters Tourney officials for some poor decisions in the 2013 tournament. I will be ready for my invitation to play this beautiful golf course. Oh, and do the greens fees include a cart?
• Wentworth Golf Course: Golfers are taking advantage of the fine weather and great conditions at the Jackson 18. On Monday the popular Red Fox League kicks off the season. As always the field is completely full. This Tuesday, the competitive and enjoyable Wentworth Ladies League makes its 2013 debut. Don’t forget to sign up for Kevin’s clinics. Call the pro shop for details. 383-9641
• Indian Mound Golf Course: A lot of action is happening at the Ossippee Links. In The Rivers Edge Quota League Greg Repucci took first place. Second place went to Jackie Rivers and Ricki Tibbetts. Closest-to-the-pin winners were Jayne Britton No. 4 and Gary Williams No. 8. The quota is open to all. The Tuesday League will start next week. Teams will consist of four players and there will be different format each week. A three-week clinic will start Monday and will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. The Ladies League will begin at the end of the month. This is open to members and non-members alike. The Tamworth PTA Tournament, scheduled for May 18, still has openings. Call the Pro Shop for information on all of the above at 539-7733
• North Conway Country Club: Golf became secondary at NCCC this past weekend where members were informed of the passing May 5 of long time Assistant Pro, Ian Meserve, 44. Ian’s presence was a welcoming sight for all who entered the pro shop. Hail and Farewell!
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 05:27
"In prehistoric times, cavemen had a custom of beating the ground with clubs and uttering spine tingling cries. Anthropologists call this a primitive form of self-expression. When modern men go through the same ritual, they call it GOLF." — Herbert V. Prochnow (Banker, author, toastmaster)
It has been a long winter season, even more so for the golfer. Last year, we were out on the courses in late March for what was the longest golf season one can remember. Golfers found themselves trying to fill this year's void by taking trips to warmer climes, creating practice stations in their homes or garages, or finding indoor golf facilities where they can play different courses and compete with their friends. I heard many stories from players who frequented the indoor links. Their numbers only cement my notion that golfers are a unique breed.
One indoor player teed up his first shot at an indoor facility using a brand new ProVI. As fate would have it, he nailed his drive into the screen and the ball disappeared, never to be found. Another local player, known for his big drives, hit a 5 iron and snapped the head off requiring help retrieving the clubhead. One player hit a ball so poorly it went sideways, nearly striking the girl running the concession. Another local player complained that his playing competitor was scoring more birdies than he was, costing him money. It was nice that these indoor facilities were available to us, but we can now play at our own courses outdoors.
There have been many occurrences in the golf world lately, and I will add my "two cents" over the coming months. Some previews include: the Masters Tournament for not disqualifying Tiger Woods for a rule infraction but assessing a 14-year-old a two stroke penalty for "slow play"; Tiger being allowed to use a TV camera for identifying his ball that was lodged in a tree at Doral; my impressions of Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill tournament from my novice professional tournament attendee point of view. I will give you a quick snapshot and tell you that I saw Lindsey Vonn at the tournament. Her skiing injury seems to have healed and there were no obvious signs of distress from her injury. The dominating story of the long or "anchored" putter, commonly known as the "belly putter", will be discussed, as the rule change is scheduled for 2016.
It is now time for us to work on our game. J.G. Whittier once wrote, "For all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been!"
Golfers don't play the same game you did last year! We all have room to improve. If Whittier had been a golfer rather than a poet, would have written: "woulda, coulda, shoulda". Don't let this season start with the slice that killed your game last year. If the short game needs some fine tuning, find the time to practice. Is putting your nemesis? Go to the practice green. In other words, find time to work on the skills that make you a better player. A round of golf is definitely much more enjoyable if you play well. Think back to last year. How would your playing season have improved if you had worked on a particular part of your game last year? We have some wonderful golf instructors in the area. Take advantage of their knowledge.
Remember, you as a golfer are unique. Where else would golfers pay $5 for a beer from the cart girl and tip her $3, then balk at a $4.50 price tag in the 19th hole and question how much to tip the bartender?
North Conway Country Club
PGA Pro, Larry Gallagher and his staff have welcomed back the golfers. The pro shop is open weekdays from 8-6 and weekends 7-6. The Opening Scramble has been rescheduled for May 18. Members, be sure to pick up your packages in the pro shop. On Thursday, May 9, a 9 hole scramble is scheduled to be followed by a pot luck dinner. May Champ of the Month will occur the weekend of May 10th. For further information call the pro shop at 356-9391.
Wentworth Golf Course
The Jackson 18 will open today, May 3. Kevin Walker and his staff are looking forward to greeting the golfers for the 2013 season. Kevin will start his golf clinics on May 15. Call the pro shop at 383-9641 for more information. Rumor has it that the numbers for the "Turtles" have increased and I am looking forward to hearing about the "accomplishments" of this esteemed golfing group.
Indian Mound Golf Course
They are off and running at the Mound. In the Rivers Edge Quota League Mark Bernard and Steve Meserve finished first at plus 4. The Project Graduation Tournament will be held this Sunday with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Tuesday night the Mound will host the Links League. On the Links Travel League will start on Wednesday with a 5 p.m. shotgun start. A Golf challenge went out this week. Any birdie on any course that a golfer scores should be sent to Julie Rivers on Facebook. They are trying to shoot under par for Ian this week. Golf clinics will start the week of May 22.
Hale's Location Golf Course
Eagle Mountain Golf Course
The Eagle is opening today for play. The Don Ho League will begin on May 7 and 8. The ever popular league is filling up fast. PGA Pro Bob McGraw will be offering two hour tune ups on Saturday mornings, from 10 a.m. to noon. Classes will cover chipping, pitching, and full swing fundamentals. Classes are limited to 5 students. Bob is also available for private lessons. Call the Pro Shop at 383-9090 for more information.
Province Lake Golf Course
Province Lake Golf Course is open and reports have it in great shape. Patrick DeAngelo is once again heading up the pro shop. Spring specials are being offered with nine holes costing $20 and 18 at $30. Carts are additional. When you complete your round visit Mulligan's Woodfire Tavern for some great food and drink in a great setting. For further information visit Province Lake at www.provincelakegolf.com .
My wish for all golfers' this year is that you put the scorecard away, for one round, because you are no longer into what the Scots call "card and pencil" golf. You're just hitting the ball along, engaged in the golf or involved in a match. You are playing for the love of the game. Have a great year.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 May 2013 05:05
Fifteen athletes, three assistant coaches, seven volunteers and head coach Amanda Allard of the Mount Washington Valley Dolphins will head to Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester on Sunday. Along with close to 300 other Special Olympics swimmers, the Dolphins will experience a new pool and all the excitement of travel and competition.
For Allard, leading Special Olympic swimmers has been a long-time family affair. She coached a Dover team from 1989-2000. Faced with a daunting commute from Jackson after a family move to the Valley, daughter Melinda, age 10 at the time, told Mom that ending ties with the Dover swimmers meant that Mom must create a new team locally. And thus the MWV Dolphins were born.
Thirteen years later, the Dolphins are thriving. When everyone is present, the Mill pool at Purity Springs in East Madison can get crowded. A shouted reminder by Coach Allard, "this is a swim practice, not talking practice," kept those in the pool active last Sunday.
For veteran Dolphin Caitlin, who swims freestyle and breast stroke, "It's fun and you race other people. You get some ribbons, and at Summer Games you get medals."
For David, a 2003 graduate of Sacopee Valley High School and a Special Olympics veteran in softball, track and skiing, swimming is a new sport and the upcoming meet will be his first. He says, "I like it and the exercise is always good. He (1 to 1 Coach Nicky Sullivan) is a good guy. He pushes people to a limit. If you get tired you get tired. Swimming is a good opportunity for me."
With a variety of swimming skills, some athletes have 1 to 1 attention, some use flotation devices, and some swim unaided. As participation and opportunity to compete are key components of the Special Olympics program, there are appropriate categories for all athletes.
Third year volunteer Torin Laliberte, a senior at Kennett High, recounted that his favorite Dolphins memory was of one 23-year-old athlete who came out to try swimming. Chris had been a stroke victim and had major challenges in the pool. But his good humor and determination served as an inspiration to all his coaches and teammates.
Coach Allard's younger daughter Marissa has been involved with the Dolphins since age three. When Mom was reluctant to include Marissa at the pool during practice with the admonishment that "the athletes are special," young Marissa responded immediately, "I'm special too!"
Now after 11 years with Special Olympians, Marissa regularly works with swimmers needing 1 to 1 attention. She describes one of her more challenging moments: "I was swimming with Chester and the meet organizers scheduled his 15 yard and 25 yard races one after another; I ended up treading water alongside him for 20 minutes."
After this Sunday's meet, all of the Dolphins will have qualifying times for
the biggest meet of the year, the statewide summer Special Olympics, to be held May 31 and June 1 at UNH. With the season coming to an end, Coach Allard is already making plans for the following year. As a non-profit, there is always fundraising going on, and with three HS seniors among this year's volunteers, there will be new volunteers to recruit and train.
For now, the athletes and volunteers are focused on the upcoming meets, and the huge smiles which arise from their Special Olympics swimming.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 04:25
Biathlon isn't America's sport but the combination of cross-country skiing and shooting is enjoying a grassroots surge at the Jackson Biathlon Range under Doublehead Mountain in the grasslands of Windy Hill Farm.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 05:44