5-19 Golf: Putting problems aside

By Joe Soraghan

"My putting is so bad, I could putt off a tabletop and still leave the ball halfway down the leg." — PGA Pro J.C. Snead

I think I've discovered how the putting green was introduced into golf.

In the early beginnings of golf, small courses were set up in churchyards, with the blessings of the church leaders. Holes were short in length, about 50 to 100 yards, and played with only one club. I guess you could say it was the beginning of mini-golf.

With church philosophy becoming very strict, players were forced to move their game out to the meadows, or "links." With these moves, golfers brought along the concept of hitting a ball into a target, the hole, and from this practice, the putting surface was added to the game. For players who struggle with their putting, you can now blame Henry VIII and the Reformation for your troubles.

The pro golf tour is in full swing. There have been two world-class players who have had some trouble on the greens. Each has "six-putted" during a tournament. Ernie Els did so on the first green at Augusta National, and Sergio Garcia did so this past weekend on the fourth hole at the TPC. Many players want their greens hard and fast, like you see on the tour. But the average golfer doesn't realize that the high speed of these greens can reduce the best of putters to agony. Every "blip" in your putting stroke is accentuated on Tour greens. Most golfers typically don't have putts that break 12 feet. Nor are we usually forced to hit to a position that requires aiming your putt 45 degrees from the intended target. The pros play at a level that we can only dream of achieving.

For Els and Garcia, their performances were not the norm. Els is struggling with the "yips," and Garcia seemed to lose his concentration. Both players imploded on greens that are notoriously difficult, Augusta National, and the TPC at Sawgrass.

During the winter months, many golfers take their game to the warmer climes. If you spend some time in areas where golfers gather, you hear stories of players whose skills are the equal of tour players but lack a complete game. More often than not, it is the "flat stick" (putter) that prevents these talented ball-strikers from competing with the best players in the world. Golfers everywhere will try putter after putter until they find one that will take them to the "promised land."

Legendary golfer Ben Hogan felt that putting went against the premise of golf. He said, "Putting is played on the ground while hitting a ball requires you to hit it in the air." Hogan would later develop the "yips" on the green, to the extent he could not bring the head of the club to strike the ball without a sudden jerk of his shoulders.

There was a time when the speed of greens was a non-factor as many greens were comprised entirely of sand. But with evolution of the game, the change in the putting surface has given even the best players reasons to lie awake at night. Enjoy the feeling of making everything on the green, and try to get over the missing of a two-foot putt. As for me, I'm in the market for a new putter as I blame my woes on religion.

Club Notes:

North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The results are in for first of four Champ of the Month competitions. For the ladies, it was Gay Folland and for the men, Tyler Palmer. Coveted parking spots are awarded to the monthly champs. Congratulations to both. The One-Day Golf School is still accepting players who would like to sharpen their game. The school will be held May 26 and is limited to 12 players. This weekend, the club will host the Opening Scramble on Saturday and the Spring4-Ball on Sunday. Check with the pro shop for more information.

Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: The Rivers Edge Quota League saw Ryan Gile (plus 6) and Tom Broderick (plus 5) win the weekly event. Skins were won by Dan Ratliff, Fuzzy Martin, Joe St. Lawrence and Michele Curly. The popular Nine and Dine is held every Sunday. This week's winners were Jen MacDonald, Ian MacDonald, Ryan Gile and Racheal Else. Clinics will begin on May 24 at 9:30 a.m. and run for three weeks. The cost is $12 per player. The Men's League will begin May 25 and the Ladies' on June 1. Check with the pro shop for more information. The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Tournament will be held May 25. On the Links Travel League will head to Wentworth next week. On May 28, The Parkhurst Project will entertain at The Mound.

Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The Ladies League had an "Even Hole Tournament" on Tuesday. Taking the top spot was Anne Frost. Second place saw a tie between Kathy Duane and Jenny Simone. The Kickoff Scramble is May 29. Sign up by May 26 in the pro shop. PGA Pro Jay Pollini is offering traditional and videotaped lessons. Madeline's will open on May 28. The Spring 4-Ball is scheduled for June 21. The Red Fox League postponed Monday's first round due to the cold and wind. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate this Monday.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: Hale's is enjoying a great early spring and offering players some great greens fees. Pay $29 for nine holes and $39 for 18. Both rates include a cart. The Men's and Ladies' Leagues will start soon. The men will start on Tuesday, May 31 and play for 13 weeks. This is a 4 p.m. shotgun start each Tuesday. The women play on Mondays and will begin their season on June 6. This is a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start and will run for 12 weeks. All are welcome. For more information call the pro shop. Please note: The greens will be aerated Monday, May 23.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: The first week of Don Ho action saw The Golfaholics take the early lead with a minus 7. Tied for second, with a minus 6, were The Jackson Six, Tee-Rouble, and Six Styxx. Closest to the pin went to Ian Hayes, while long drive winners were Ann Bennett, Carey Lufkin, Bobby Labbe and Steve Puzas. PGA Pro Bob McGraw will be offering a two-hour tune-up this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Players can brush up on the fundamentals of chipping, pitching and the full swing. The fee is $50 and is limited to five students. Due to the rainout on Mother's Day, Bob has extended the free clinics for beginners to include the next two Saturdays. These will start at 1 p.m. and all are welcome. Call the pro shop for more information.

19th Hole

While looking for ideas for an article, I ran across information on a course in Oregon. This nine-hole "throwback" had sand greens until 15 years ago. When you completed a hole, you were asked to sweep the green with a piece of carpet, so the next group would have a smooth putting surface. This was the norm for courses with sand greens, but the philosophy that was stated on the scorecard could apply to any course today. The local rule stated, "Rake all the greens. Don't be lazy. Think of others and observe golf etiquette. If everyone observes the rules, all will enjoy the game. The task of sweeping the greens falls to the loser of the hole."

A nice standard we can all adopt. Have a great weekend of golf. Special congratulations to Eagle golfers Meghan Soraghan and Evan Coburn, who are to be married tomorrow.

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5-13 GOLF: It's about your attitude

By Joe Soraghan

"Success in golf depends less on strength of body and more on strength of mind and character." — Arnold Palmer

I don't know of any golfer who stands on the tee and thinks about slicing a ball out of bounds, topping a shot to within 25 yards of where the player is standing, or depositing his or her Titleist into a watery grave.

Most golfers look down the fairway and try to place the ball in the most advantageous spot for attaining the goal of holing the ball with the least amount of strokes. Alas, this is rarely the case for most golfers.

When we hit the errant shot, we put ourselves in a position to add strokes to our score. When our swing disappears and the ball is going in places we did not know existed on the course, oftentimes the positive approach with which we started the round disappears. At this point, some players dig in and accept what is occurring. Others begin to find fault with everything about the game of golf. Soon, the expectations of a fine day on the links becomes one of mental torture. An old adage says, "A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can't go anywhere until you change it."

A person's attitude affects everything and everyone he or she contacts. Whether a job, time with family, athletic endeavors or just as a social interaction, your attitude often portrays who you are. Golf is the ultimate individual game. You are not dependent on teammates or coaches. It is you, and only you, who is responsible for the outcome on a golf course.

So here's a bit of advice: Don't take the game too seriously. Being out on the course playing should supersede the number you post on your scorecard. Everyone is disappointed after a bad shot or a bad round, but don't let this affect your game or that of your playing companions. Jack Nicklaus once said, "I've only hit two perfect shots in my life." Maybe one needs to lower expectations or develop an attitude where, after a poor shot, you resolve to put that in the background and get ready for the next shot.

Golf magazine (November 2015) had an article written by Josh Sens that was great fun to read but also put the game in perspective. He recognized a growing sentiment among players that the scores they were posting were indicative of their game, and it was time to accept this. The golfers in the article are referred to as the "MGA" or "Mediocre Golf Association." The golfers in the MGA are representative of many of us: teachers, engineers, lawyers, painters, musicians, doctors, grandparents, salespersons, etc.

The founder of MGA, Jon Morley, says: "We won't grow golf by making the hole bigger. We need to change the way we approach the game." For most of us, this is nothing more than going out and having fun on the course and playing the shot that the golfing gods have given us. This is not suggesting we don't remain competitive but realize what skills we might have possessed have faded. Bringing the right attitude to your next round might just produce some positive results.

Continue to practice, be prepared for the occasional bad shot and try to enjoy your round of golf. There is always someone who is going to hit the ball farther and post a lower score, but we can come away winners by enjoying our rounds of golf. Regardless of the outcome, you win if your self-evaluation included, "That was fun, I can't wait to play again!"

Club Notes:

• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: Sunday, May 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., North Conway will be hosting an open house. This is open to members and non-members. If you have questions about NCCC, your golf game or are curious to experience the "happenings" at NCCC, this is the time to visit. There will be specials at the Grill, and golf will be at a reduced rate. PGA Pro Larry Gallagher and Assistant Pro Kevin Walker will be available to help you with your game. This weekend, May 13-15 will be the first of four "Champ of the Month" events, with monthly winners getting a coveted parking space. Club Cup sign up continues. The Opening Scramble will be  Saturday, May 21. Spring 4-Ball Tournament will be Sunday, May 22.

• Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: The On the Links travel league played at Province Lake last week with heavy hearts after learning that longtime travel group golfer Jack Butler passed away. Jack was a good friend to many of the players and his sense of humor, on and off the course, will be missed. In the Rivers Edge quota, it was John Winslow at plus 6 and Rickie Tibbetts at plus 2 taking home the bacon. Rickie also got closest to the pin. Clinics will begin May 24 and are open to players of all abilities — cost is $12. The Men's League starts May 25. The N.H. Sheriffs Annual Golf Tournament will be June 10. Ladies Invitational is June 29 with a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start. This year's theme will be St. Patrick's Day in Ossipee! Nine and Dine starts this Sunday, May 15, with a 3 p.m. shotgun start. Call pro shop for more information.

• Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The Jackson 18 is getting some great early season reviews from players. One longtime member said, "I can't recall the course being in such great shape this time of year." That's a good thing, as the first club event, the Kickoff Scramble, is scheduled for Saturday, May 29. This is open to all members. A cookout will follow. PGA Pro Jay Pollini is offering group and individual lessons with video. Call the pro shop to set up a lesson. With a Players Card, remember you will receive 10 percent off at the Red Fox. The Ladies League held a Criss-Cross in their weekly competition. Taking top spot was Beth Ellis. Second place went to Chris Rowe. Mary Murphy and Deb Bryant tied for third. Ann Frost had a chip-in. The club is gearing up for the first big outside tournament, as Wentworth hosts the MWV Ski Tournament on June 17. The Red Fox League begins the season Monday, May 16. Check out the pro shop for some great deals.

• Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: The season is underway at Hale's. Take advantage of early season rates: $29 for nine holes and $39 for 18, including  cart. If you are interested in a membership or other packages, go to Haleslocationgolf.com. The Men's and Ladies' leagues  begin soon. The men start May 31, meeting every Tuesday at 4 p.m., for 13 weeks. The ladies have a shotgun start Mondays, at 9:30 a.m., beginning June 6. They get together for 12 weeks. Entry fee for both leagues is $20 and is open to all. The normal greens and cart fees will be required. Call the pro shop for if you are interested.

• Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: PGA Pro Bob McGraw continues to offer a two-hour tune-up on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Players can brush up on the fundamentals of chipping, pitching, and the full swing in this class. The fee is $50 and is limited to five students. There will also be a free clinic for beginners on the next two Sundays at 1 p.m. All are welcome, and clubs will be provided to those who need them. The Don Ho League still has a couple of openings for teams. If you cannot make a weekly commitment, an informal league plays Thursday evenings. This group is organized by Dan Andrews, and players tee off at 5 p.m. with a shotgun start. Players begin arriving at 4:15 p.m. and Bob McGraw offers a free clinic. After golf, players share their round in the Eagle Landing Tavern and take advantage of the specials. Anyone interested in participating should call the pro shop.

• Linderhof Golf Course, Route 16, Glen (603-383-9074): Club Chair Paul Mayer, along with Greens Superintendent Bill Bourque, have the Linderhof 9 up and running. The public is invited, with pre-season rates at $10 until Memorial Day, when rates go to $15, Sunday-Friday. Saturday's cost is $38. A "Local Leagues" membership is being offered. Call the pro shop for more information. The pub, pro shop and clubhouse have all been redone and look great. Local chef and golfer Jono Mulkern is running the clubhouse. Traditional pub fare along with some quality menu items will be available. The Linderhof is looking to host a junior league for elementary schoolchildren in June and September.

19th Hole

South Africa's Bobby Locke was considered to be one of the finest players and putters ever to play golf. He was scheduled to play his uncle, a distinguished diplomat. Bobby was given strict instructions not to make the match too one-sided. When they reached the 17th hole, after some of Locke's deliberately sliced drives and topped irons, Bobby's uncle said to him,"You know, Bobby, all my life people have looked at me and thought I was stupid. But, I'll tell you one thing, I'm not as stupid as I look."

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Players' Tournament, the "fifth major," from Florida.

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5-6 Golf: Mark your ball ... please!

"No other game combines the wonder of nature with the discipline of sport in such carefully planned ways. A great golf course both frees and challenges a golfer's mind." — Tom Watson, pro golfer

Seamus tried really hard to be accepted by his new group of golfing friends. During one round with his new-found friends, Seamus approached a green and noticed that three balls, one being his own, were in the path of the shot of the fourth member. Seamus enthusiastically called out that he would mark the balls. The last player could hit to the green without concern that his ball may hit another.

When the shot was completed, the players got to the green only to find that their friend had used a "penny" to mark each ball. Each player collected his ball and asked their friend which ball went with which mark. A look of fear appeared on the face of the "Good Samaritan," as he could not remember where each ball should replace the corresponding marker. Fortunately, after much feigned anger and "ball-busting," the four had a great laugh and a story for the 19th hole.

Many different scenarios have cropped up on the green that would challenge the best "rules gurus." Consider these examples: A player taps down his ball mark and walks away, only to find that moisture on the green has caused his mark to attach to the bottom of his putter; or the proud grandfather who uses a small stone, given to him by his grandson, and decides to use it as a ball mark. His playing companion (yours truly) did not realize the stone was a mark and tossed it from the putting surface.

Not so humorous is the player who moved his mark from the putting line of a fellow competitor and forgot to replace the mark before putting his ball. The player was called on this infraction by his competitor and was required to take a one-stroke penalty and replay his shot. The violation cost him a tournament. It is best to know the "Rules of Golf" and practice them.

A ball that is lifted by a player or his partner, with the approval of the player, must be marked by a small coin or mark and must be replaced by the player. The Rules also suggest that the mark be placed directly behind the ball, not in front or to the side. If a rule is breached, it is the responsibility of the player to call a penalty on himself or to take the appropriate action. Hopefully, in your foursomes, common sense and good sportsmanship will always be present.

If you are in a club event or other match where the "Rules of Golf" dictate how the game is conducted, it will be most beneficial if you know the Rules. If one of the group can't remember where his ball came to rest, do your best to try and help him determine where you think the ball should be played and play on. Your assist should be good for a round of drinks by your friend who "messed up."

Other scenarios that might cause players to wish they knew the Rules better are: If a ball is lifted before it is marked, there is a one-stroke penalty. If a player or caddie accidentally moves a ball before it is marked, there is no penalty, but make sure the ball is moved to the original position. If you accidentally move your mark by dropping a club or ball on the marker, there is a one-stroke penalty. Being careful around the putting surface can save you some strokes.

Club notes:
• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway (603-356-9391): Club Cup sign up has begun at NCCC with drawing for the competitive event scheduled for May 22. The Opening Scramble will take place on May 21. Spring 4-Ball will be held on Sunday, May 22. Sign up sheets are posted on the bulletin board, newly located next to the locker rooms. A necessary evil took place this past week: green aeration. When players are enjoying the greens in July, it was the aeration in the spring that helped contribute to great conditions.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway (603-356-2140): Golfers should take advantage of the spring greens fees at Hale's. For nine holes, the cost is $29 and for 18, it is $39. Both rates include a cart. The men's and ladies' groups are gearing up for their season-long competitions. Non-members are welcome. The men play on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. and the ladies on Mondays at 9:30 a.m. Call the pro shop for more information.

Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson (603-383-9641): The captains have met, and on May 16, the popular Red Fox League will kick-off the season. It was great to see the Wentworth Ladies League playing their opening round on Tuesday morning. Cool temperatures and overcast skies could not keep this group of enthusiastic golfers from playing their weekly game. Coming out of the gate to take first place was the team of Gloria Hannon, Cricket Catalucci and Darryl Mazzaglia. Second place went to Chris Rowe, Ann Frost and Sandi Poor. The Kickoff Scramble is scheduled for May 17 and is open to all members.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson (603-383-9090): PGA pro Bob McGraw will be offering a two-hour tune up this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Players can brush up on the fundamentals of chipping, pitching and the full swing. The cost is $50 per player and is limited to five students. Bob will be offering a free clinic for beginners the next three Sundays at 1 p.m. All are welcome, whether you can make just one class or all three. Clubs will be provided for those who need them. Don Ho League start dates are next Tuesday, May 10, and Wednesday, May 11, with a 5:30 p.m. shotgun start. The cost is $95 for the eight-week league that has six players on a team and plays a scramble format. Please call the pro shop for more information.

19th Hole

The early season often has golf courses posting "cart path only" signs to protect the course. If you need to walk a distance to your shot, take two or three clubs that you may need with you. Being prepared will help move things along. It will make your playing companions, as well as the group behind you, very happy. You don't want to hear, "Can you believe this guy?" knowing you are the one causing the distress.

Enjoy the weekend, remember Mom, and may you and your horse be a winner!

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The Essence of A Natural: Never Forgotten

By Chris Chaffee

"A man has to have goals — for a day, for a lifetime — and that was mine, to have people say there goes one of the greatest players who ever played the game." — Ted Williams

It was like a fairytale, with a storybook ending. Something that can only be seen through the soul of your eyes and straight into your heart. However, this story was anything but fiction. It was something that dreams are made of and stars wished upon. It was a heroic story where the hero is born, goes off into his journey and eventually triumphs the challenges and adversity in his path. It was a story that will always be remembered and something that will always be cherished, of how this hero defined himself by not only who he was but what he did as he left his mark in this world. Thirteen years ago, this September, one of the most inspiring moments of sporting history took place in one of the greatest cities, New York City, at the final grand slam of the tennis season, the US Open. The hero was dressed in all white and was facing challenge and adversity. He was being tested. The hero had a quiet gentleman like reserved demeanor. However on the inside our hero's heart was his strength and he had a burning fire of desire to win. He was motivated and he was disciplined. He was a warrior. A champion who went day in day out as the number one player for six years and who had won 13 majors and 63 titles. Each one of them he accomplished with heart and in a professional matter. He let his racket do the talking, and played with passion, desire, and the love of the game. That is the essence of a natural. Pete Sampras is the hero, the white knight of this story, and tennis is was what he was graced with and shared his ability with the tennis world. He won his first US Open Grand Slam at just 19 years old to his tough rival Andre Agassi which started an amazing career. Now he was faced again with his worthy foe in the same setting this time older and accomplished and although not as dominate as he was in his prime he still never gave up on himself. He always believed in himself and his ability.

Never Forget Who You Are-The Lion King

Twenty-six years ago in the fall of September 1990, I was just 5 years old with bleached blonde hair and big brown eyes. I was a little kid, who sat in front of the TV screen with his giant oversized yellow fuzzy wilson tennis ball that was probably the same size as me by me and a black wilson pro staff 6.0 (Sampras weapon of choice) that i could only lift with two hands. My attention was focused on the TV screen as I was star struck with what I was watching. It went from my eyes into my heart and filled my soul with passion and desire. It was the day of the US Open 1990 finals. It was the day I fell in love with tennis. It was the day I was inspired and that moment I was fascinated with the 19 year old serve and volleyer Pete Sampras. He had won his first grand slam at that time and it started his journey to the legend he became known as. From that moment, dreams and aspirations filled my imagination. I was molded by the values, traits, and integrity of this young champion and person who became the greatest of all time. I spent hours in front of the tv and recorded matches of watching him play. I would try to dress like him and play like him and tried to play everyday with my twin brother for hours pretending I was Pete playing in upstate NY. I loved tennis and wanted nothing more than to be a tennis player. It was my love, my focus, my dream. From that moment, I knew I wanted to be a hard working tennis player when I grew up.

Champions and legends come around once in a while. Each one different. There will never be another stoic Pete Sampras. He was unique, he was a rare breed who believed that being a role model for tennis players young and old to look up to meant more than than being on the front cover of Sports Illustrated. Pete Sampras started playing tennis not by his parents or his friends or by anyone one else but he found the love of the game himself. It started when he discovered an old wooden racket in his garage and couldn't get enough of hitting against the garage door. From there on his parents, who were blue collared and hard working middle class, witnessed one of their children's desire grow.

It took a lot of sacrifice from his parents and from an average childhood life on Pete's part, but it was something that just felt right. Sampras's journey began. He sacrificed the childhood dances, dates, girlfriends parties and choose to have a strict diet, and constantly work hard to improve on and off the court. His talent was evident, but he quietly worked extremely hard every day. He made it look easy, but it was anything but. All the hours of hard work were paying off. He approached his life and his game as someone who was always positive driven and live and let live, embracing the outlook as always looking forward. Sampras was reserved but his will was like iron. This was on full display in some of Sampras's remarkable wins in the 1990's. In a Davis Cup match, he battled for a 5 set win, cramping in both legs to help them beat Russia. Then who can forget the time he broke down emotionally and through tears beat Jim Courier in Australia when his coach Tim Gullikson was diagnosed with brain cancer? That same year Pete won Wimbledon and put his trophy in his beloved coach's coffin. He played through dehydration, heat stroke and getting sick on the court to come through with a win against Alex Correjta at the US Open. He played through pain and injury in the 2000 Wimbledon, where he broke the record at that time of Roy Emerson Grand Slam wins and then like a storybook ending, he climbed into the stands to show his love and appreciation, sharing the victory with his parents and wife.

Sampras was a fighter, he would always find a way to win. He managed to call upon this ability throughout his entire career. He knew how to dig deep during his matches, when he had nothing but his heart left. Sampras believed in himself. When others doubted him. He never gave up and always had a strong family foundation and support from his parents, siblings and his wife Bridgette. They were his rock, and always believed in him. But, just like every journey, a hero goes through struggles, filled with adversity and challenges.

During Sampras's time of struggles he always stayed true to himself and never forgot who he was. He had to accept losing, but still kept coming back even when the critics thought he had gotten soft and washed up. Legends find a way to come back and get up and keep fighting and that is what Sampras did. Sampras believed to "Be present–be in the moment, let go of the past, and not worry about the future." To seek clarity in moments of doubt, stay calm, and have complete faith in your abilities. Be true to yourself journey reward.

Today I am molded of the what Pete Sampras brought to the game of tennis on and off the court. How he acted, how he performed, and how he is as a person, a tennis player, role model, father, husband. He is someone who has class, sportsmanship, discipline, determination, and professionalism. He never forgot who he was.

Tennis has given me many things and shaped my life. It has taught me many life lessons. I always want to strive to be the best of myself and always look to get better. Sampras lived by the saying, "I have this theory you wake up every day with certain amount of energy to do certain things."

Mine was to get better, to train, to practice, and to win tennis matches.I let my racket do the talking. That's what I am all about, really. I just go out and win tennis matches.Your need the game, you need the mind, you need the heart. Never stop believing in ability and yourself. " This is a theory I hold close to my heart and had acquired through my childhood hero. Sampras is defined by a natural talent who worked for everything he wanted and believed in. He earned it, and it was worth all of what he sacrificed.

Pete says, "It takes dedication and hard work and keeping a good head on your shoulders, conducting yourself in a positive way, being stoic and enjoying the game.You work so hard for it, grind out those hours in the gym and on the practice court, push yourself to your limits. I did it my way, and I have no regrets. When I look back on my career that was just a big focus for me." Now Sampras is still having goals to stay in shape, go to the gym, play tennis, but also to be as good as a husband to his wife and father to his kids.

Inspired greatness by the daily grind and letting the measure of will and character is what Sampras brought with his graceful presence. Someone who was always striving to be the best version of himself. He was stoic. He is the essence of a champion. You may or may not remember Pete Sampras. If you do remember him, you know his greatness. If not, then after this article you I hope you will. I tell whoever I coach whether it be clients, teams, friends, family, kids, people young and old about his journey. I even close me eyes and remember how I am inspired by this great athlete. Pete Sampras's Hall of fame speech was a classic summary of the heroic champion. It was how he lived his life and played the game. It was from the heart. He said, "Tennis has — has represented a big part of my life. It's — 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 from my parents, and men like Rod Laver, 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. So as I take my place among the greatest players of all time here in the Hall of Fame, I stand before you both humbled and grateful. I'm a tennis player: nothing more, and nothing less. It's more than enough for me. It always has been.

 

Golf: Teeing it off; season underway

 

ALEC: CUTLINES--SEE JAMIE'S GOLF SHOTS FROM NCCC OPENING DAY--TOM

I used shot no 1 - horizontal of guy in yellow shirt - for the front -- Marg

 

By Joe Soraghan
"I just hope I don't have to explain all the times I've used His name in vain when I get up there." — late comedian Bob Hope on his golf game
We are so fortunate to live in this part of the country. Living here gives us a great appreciation for seasonal changes. Snow, foliage, spring awakenings and the green of summer are there for us. The activities that accompany the seasonal changes become special moments.
For golfers, the transition to warmer temperatures means we can return to our home courses and begin playing golf. If you played golf every day in warmer climates, do you think that the anticipation and appreciation of the golfing season would be as great? Probably not. The beginning of the golf season is a time to meet with old friends, remember those who will not join us this season, try new equipment and practice that new swing. Everyone at this time of year is at "even par."
A friend related a story about opening day at his course in New York. A members' group had a standing foursome every weekend. Over the winter, one of the group took his game to the "big club above." His family called the clubhouse and to see if his putter could be retrieved from bag storage to be buried with him. The request was granted. Fast-forward to the threesome, meeting for their opening day tee time. After some small talk, the conversation moved to how much they were going to miss their friend and how different golf would be without him. As they prepared for their round, one of the group asked a member of the pro shop, "Where is my putter? It's not in my bag." One can't blame the family of the deceased for not recognizing that the putterburied with their golfer belonged to the playing partner! "The Rules of Golf," 4-4, states that a player must not "add or borrow a club from another player." I just hope the deceased wasn't penalized for using someone else's equipment. Facing a two-stroke penalty for each breach would be a tough spot to dig out of — imagine an eternity of penalties!
Enjoy this new season. The early spring weather has allowed the superintendents an opportunity to get the courses in great shape. The pro shops are stocking up on items players will need for their rounds. Everyone at your course is preparing to make your golfing experience a quality one. Now it's up to you to bring the right swing, attitude and effort to the course. It is the responsibility of every golfer to maintain his or her game, and follow the Rules. Have a great season!
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Club Notes
• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway (603) 356-9391: NCCC opened for the season Wednesday, April 20, with all 18 holes ready for play. PGA Pro Larry Gallagher and Assistant Kevin Walker will be greeting golfers in the pro shop, which will open at 8 .a.m. The Ledgeview Grill has Mike Luciano overseeing the Grill and Cheryl Emerson preparing the fare. Breakfast will be served at 6:30 a.m. Mike and his staff will present a new menu for the public and the 19th hole crew. The pro shop will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday. Two tournaments available for member sign-up are the Club Cup, April 30, and the Opening Scramble on May 21. The Club Information Board has been moved downstairs outside of the locker rooms. If you have questions or need assistance, see one of the locker room attendants. A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped get the course ready for opening.
• Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway (603) 356-2140: Hale's is scheduled to open today, April 22. Season golf memberships, as well as league and tournament sign-ups, are available. The fully stocked pro shop has equipment and apparel for all. If you are interested in a membership package, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
• Indian Mound Golf Club, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: Indian Mound opened April 7 with great conditions. The early season has a lot of golf planned. The On-the-Links travel group will begin league play at the Mound on April 27, with a 5:30 p.m. shotgun start. Teams should be signed up. If you need information or to make changes, stop by the Back 9 on White Mountain Highway in Conway. "Nine and Dine" will start May 15 with a 3 p.m. shotgun start. For any men's and ladies' league information, contact the pro shop. Project Graduation will hold a tournament Sunday, May 1. Contact Andrea LaRusso at (603) 356-6995 for information. Sign up now for the MWV Chamber Tournament, which will be held May 25, with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Members from surrounding courses that have not yet opened are welcome to call the pro shop for reduced-rate tee times.
• Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The Jackson 18 is scheduled to open Friday, April 29. PGA Pro Jay Pollini is returning for his second season and is at the pro shop preparing. Jay reports when the course opens, golfers will enjoy their experience with fine conditions.
• Eagle Mountain Golf Club, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: Currently not open, but season memberships are now on sale. Stay tuned for scheduled opening dates for this scenic nine-hole course, located on the Eagle Mountain House grounds.
• Androscoggin Valley Golf Course, Route 2, Gorham, (603) 466-9468: Gary Riff, Androscoggin pro, reports that all 18 holes are playing and the course is in fine condition. The pro shop is open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Memberships are available.
• Lake Kezar Golf Course, Route 5 Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-1002: Bill Bisset, general manager at LKCC, reports the targeted opening is Friday, April 29. The pro shop hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Golfers should call the pro shop, (207) 925-1002, for tee times and any additional information. Bill reports, "The course came through the winter in fine shap,e and we are ready to welcome golfers."
19th Hole
At some point in the season, you may inadvertently knock the ball off the tee. Why is it you are allowed to re-tee a ball without a penalty stroke when Rule 18-2(b) states "moving a ball in play is a violation that requires a player to replace the bal"l? A ball on the tee is not yet in play, so you can put the ball back on the tee. I'll wager there will be someone in your group who shouts out, "That's one!" You, however, will be armed with knowledge of the "Rules of Golf" to dispute the stroke charge. Have a wonderful season!
Joe Soraghan's column appears in every Friday. Send golf news to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..