7-22-16 Golf: The next major is the PGA at Baltusrol

By Joe Soraghan

"I've heard that putting is 50 percent technique and 50 percent mental. I believe it is 50 percent technique and 90 percent positive thinking, but that adds up to 140 percent, which is why nobody is 100 percent sure how to putt." — Pro golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez

Golf was on display last weekend at the British Open, when the best players in the world teed up at Royal Troon.

Playing under the best conditions the Scottish summer could provide, Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson played some of the finest golf we could ever witness.

When the dust had settled, it was Stenson taking the home the Claret Jug. It was a match that will probably go down as one of the epic duels in golfing history.

We won't be kept waiting long to see more action, as the PGA Tournament will take place next week, July 25-31, at Baltusrol Country Club in Springfield, N.J.

With golf an Olympic event this year, the schedule had to be adjusted to accommodate the August games. Thus, the PGA will be played two weeks after the Open.

The New Jersey course will be a great test for the professionals. Baltusrol has hosted a U.S. Open eight times and is one of the finest courses in this country. Legendary golf architect A.W. Tillinghast redesigned the course in 1920, but the course itself was built in 1890.

An interesting side note is how the course got its name.

Louis Keller was a wealthy New York publisher of what was known as the Social Register. In 1890, he decided to build a golf course. Seeking land that would bring his dream to reality, he came upon a farm that had once been owned by a gentleman named Baltus Roll. Farmer Roll had come to an unfortunate end when he was found murdered near his home in 1831. The case became somewhat of a local legend. Two men were suspected of the heinous crime. One was acquitted, the other took his own life. Keller used the combination form of the farmer's name for his course.

A bit more intriguing than a course named Rolling Ridge or Bushwood, isn't it?

Golf is said to be struggling to garner interest since Tiger Woods has not been part of the professional scene. He gets a lot of credit, deservedly so, for building the game during the past 20 years. But golf has been around for a long time and has moved from a recreational pastime to an international event. Golfers today continually raise the bar of playing ability, as we saw last week. Even the casual golf enthusiast has a thirst for more.

Next week, we can quench that thirst as the fourth and last major will be held. Don't be disappointed that the big seasonal events are getting close to the end. After the PGA, we get the Olympics, then the Fed Ex Cup and finally the Ryder Cup. Let's hope the players can maintain the high level of play we have witnessed of late.

Club Notes:

• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The July Champ of the Month was played last weekend. For the men, Peter Hill got the coveted parking spot for the month. On the women's side, Toni Belding and Martha Jamieson tied and will have a playoff. The annual Pro/Member will be played Aug. 7. On Aug. 8 and 9, the NHPGA will have its Pro Championship. With some great golf showcased by these accomplished players, two individuals will draw special interest. Rich Berberian, assistant pro from Windham GC, will make his way to the NCCC tournament after having competed at Baltustrol the previous week. The other player to watch will be home pro Larry Gallagher, who will be hosting this event for the last time as he prepares to retire at the conclusion of the golfing season.

Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: The Rivers Edge quota game continues to see some great golf. This week, it was Steve Brown taking first with a +5. Closest to the pin went to Bob Cyr and Dan Ratliff. In Nine and Dine action, it was Jim Cayer, Diane Robinson, Paul Voccia and Ann Ring taking the top spot. Second place went to Flo Temple, Peggie Bonazoli, Tom Loonan and Bruce Robinson. The Member/Guest will be held Aug. 5. This will be a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. Junior Golf, interleague play, begins on Monday at 2:30 p.m. Indian Mound will be competing against Kingswood and Bald Peak. Interclub played their second round this week at the Mound. Lake Kezar took first place. They were followed by Province Lake, Indian Mound and Ridgewood.

Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The 2016 Member/Guest is in the archives. On the men's side it was Roger Leblanc and Bob Arsenault taking first gross. First net went to Bill Catalucci and Joe Cranwell. With a match of cards, it was the team of Bill Leonard and BJ Hawkes taking second net. For the ladies, it was Jane Goulart and Carol Scott taking first gross. First-place net went to Cricket Catalucci and Pat Tondreau. Second net went to Mary Murphy and Kathy Sweeney. The Ladies League played a "Mutt and Jeff" on Tuesday. This is a format where scores are tallied on the par 3's and par 5's. Louanne Cellana found this to her liking, as she took first place. Second place saw a tie between Daryl Mazzaglia and Kathy McIntosh. Virginia Foles had the only chip-in of the day. Upcoming events at the Jackson 18 have the Wedeln Ski Club playing their tournament on July 25. Aug. 15-16 is Club Championship weekend. On Aug. 22, it will be the Mixed Team Championship.

Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: The men and ladies at Hale's continue to compete in their weekly rounds. On the men's side, it was Dave Pierce, who posted a +6 in the weekly quota to take the top spot. Wendall Lincoln got closest to the pin. For the ladies, Denise Woodcock was +7 and Joan Dalton got closest-to-the-pin honors. Nine, Wine and Dine continues to be a popular attraction. For $55 you get nine holes of golf, with a cart, dinner, dessert and a glass of wine. Call the pro shop or hotel (603) 356-7100 for reservations.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: July is "Family Golf" at the Eagle. Discounted rates are offered every day after 2 p.m. when adults play with junior golfers. The cost is $15 for the adults and $10 for the juniors when they play together. PGA Pro Bob McGraw will be offering a free clinic this Sunday at 1 p.m. Clubs will be provided for those who need them. A member scramble was held this past weekend. Posting a score of four under, to take first, was the team of Joe Pakaluk, Normand Giroux and Kathy Murphy. Second place went to Russ Veale, Ethan Badillo, Dolores Lavoie and Susan Joyce, who claimed closest-to-the-pin honors. One of the great reports from this tournament is that seven juniors participated, and all conducted themselves as gentlemen.

In Thursday Eagle League action, the team of John Chanley, Joan Doucet, Terry Fitzgerald and Tim Avery took first place. Second place went to Joan and Roger Aubrey, and Janice and Dan Andrews. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Tina Niccoli. If your chipping and pitching needs some work, Bob will be offering a clinic on Saturday, July 23. The cost is $20, and the class is limited to six students.

Lake Kezar Golf Course, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: The men's President Cup action continues at the Lovell 18. Mike Woodside and Larry Sanborn advanced to the semi-finals and will face each other this week. Woodside defeated John Bartlett, and Sanborn defeated Tim Chandler. In the other bracket, Eric Green defeated Joe Fitzpatrick and will play the winner of the Jose Azel and Phil Drew match. In ladies' President Cup action, Lisa Warren advanced to the finals when Peg Bjork had to withdraw due to illness. Lisa will face Kim Rovzar, who defeated Maddy Leblanc. First round of interclub action saw Province Lake take first place. They were followed by Lake Kezar, Indian Mound and Ridgewood.

19th Hole:

On Aug. 19, North Conway CC will host the second annual Operation Hat Trick Tournament. Operation Hat Trick is an organization founded at the University of New Hampshire to deliver hats to wounded service members. The mission "is to generate awareness, support, and funding for the recovery of America's wounded warriors." The format is a two-person scramble with gross and net prizes, but the golf is secondary as players will gather to honor veterans. Player registration forms can be picked up at NCCC or contact Peter Fresco at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. For more on the group, visit www.operationhattrick.com.

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7-15 Golf: It's Open time

By Joe Soraghan
"I always like to see a person stand up to a golf ball as though he were perfectly at home in its presence." — Bobby Jones
Many streets in Boston are narrow, with bends and curves that challenge drivers who flock to that great city. The streets are said to be laid out "naturally." They were formerly paths whose primary traffic consisted of cattle and those that herded them along. The same can be said of many "links" golf courses.
Early golfers would find a barren stretch of land that was not being used, usually near the water where the land was sandy, the grass either wispy (heather), or patchy and thick (gorse). Players would wear out a path from where they began their round and play until they decided it was time to turn around and go back to where they had begun. This would lead to the description of "the outward nine and the inward nine." Hopefully, it didn't take players long to realize the need for a 19th hole to review their round.
This weekend, the 145th Open is being held at Royal Troon. This is a links course that sits about 35 minutes from the Scottish city of Glasgow. The design came about from the play of golfers but was later "tweaked" by George Strath and Willie Fernie. Willie would become the club pro and go on to win five Open Championships. The Open will be a demanding challenge that could be even greater if the weather becomes problematic. The sixth hole, named "Turnbury," is one of the longest in the Open rotation. The eighth hole, known as "Postage Stamp," is the shortest (123 yards). Players will hit either a wedge or seven iron there, depending on the wind. The 15th hole, "Crosbie," is named for a clan that resided in that area.
This is going to be a great venue for the Open, with arguably the strongest field we will see this year. It is said that "links" golf is played on the ground, rather than in the air. It will take imagination, shot-making and great putting for any player to have a chance to win the Claret Jug.
One item that should be mentioned is how a course gets the designation of "Royal." It is given to a course by the monarch reigning at the time the course seeks royal status. Royal Troon was granted this title by Queen Elizabeth II in 1978. But, like many things there are exceptions, and any fan of history would not be surprised to learn the exceptions are in Ireland. Royal Tara Golf Course gave the designation to itself. Tara was the ancient home of the kings of Ireland. Another exception is the Curragh Golf Course, which was granted royal status but refuses to use that title.
Royal Troon has hosted the Open eight times, the last in 2004. It was there that a player who was relatively unknown, Todd Hamilton, defeated Ernie Els in a playoff. The Open and links golf can vault players, whose names are not readily identified, onto the first page of the leader board. It can also humble some fine golfers. As you watch the Open, think of Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie, when he took a quadruple bogey on the 17th hole while holding a three-shot lead, or German golfer Hermann Tissies at Troon on the "Postage Stamp," recording a 15 on this short par 3. It should be a great weekend for golf. Listen for the sound of the pipes and enjoy!
Club Notes:
• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The Club Cup should be completed by this weekend as the men's and ladies pairings have been finalized. For the men, Brian Terry faces off against Joe Soraghan. For the ladies, Donna Wallace takes on Alice McElhinney. The July Champ of the Month tourney will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Two-Day Member/Guest will be held July 22 and 23. Be sure to sign up. On Sunday, Aug. 7, PGA Pro Larry Gallagher will host his last Pro/Member event as he prepares for his next adventure. There are still a few spots available. Friday, Aug. 19, NCCC will host the Operation Hat Trick Tournament. Proceeds go to support our troops. Congratulations to the four members who competed in the State Amateur Tournament at Laconia CC earlier this week: Rob Brewster, Kurt Grahber, John Idoine and Bob Koch. Be proud that you advanced to this prestigious event.
Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: A big thank you to all the ladies who played in the "St. Patrick's Day in June" event. It was a fun time for all. In Ladies League action, the A Division saw Pat Kaligian take the top spot. The B Division had Bev Niro take first, and for the 9-Holers it was Muffy Smith. The end-of-season party will be held at the Linderhof on Wednesday, July 20. There will be 5 o'clock p.m. with dinner to follow. In Rivers Edge Quota, Paul Kinney, Ken Sullivan and Rick Tibbetts all posted a +3. Closest to the pin went to Dick Prunier and Tibbetts. The Member/Guest will be held on Friday, Aug. 5. There will be men's, ladies and mixed divisions. The Border Cup begins Friday, July 22.
Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: Week 7 of Red Fox League saw the Dukes of Hazzards take the top spot. They were followed by Shanks-A-Lot and the Pin Seekers. Individual winners were Ray Gilmore III and Chris Rowe getting closest to the pin. Long-drive winners were Eric Russo and Ellen Eiermann. The Ladies League played a "Pink Ball" team game this week. Members of the first-place team were Kathy Sweeney, Daryl Mazzaglia, Beth Ellis and Laurie Gabriel. Second place went to Cricket Catalucci, Kathy Duane, Ellie Thompson and Maureen Fitzgerald. This Saturday, at 8 a.m., the 2016 Member/Guest will take place. This will be followed by a dinner "Under the Stars." On Thursday, July 16, the Memorial Hospital Tournament will take place. A shotgun start for the morning play will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the afternoon group will tee off at 1:30 p.m. The Mixed Team Championship aka. "The Divorce Open" is coming up soon. Players need to sign up by July 27.
Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: "There's always time for nine" at Hale's. The Men's League is hitting the halfway mark, completing the sixth week of a13-week season. In the weekly quota, John Callahan led the way with a +8 and Gerry Gagnon posted a +7. Dick Check won closest-to-the-pin honors. The Ladies' League is on their All-Star break. Sunday night's "Nine, Wine, and Dine" continues to be a popular activity at $55 per player. Call for reservations so you do not miss your tee time. Tuesday night's Pool Party continues for homeowners, members and golfers. For more information, call either the pro shop or the hotel (603-356-7100).
Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: The Eagle's Thursday League saw the team of Briggs Bunker, Terry Fitzgerald, Joan and Roger Aubrey take first place. Second place went to Mike Peloquin and Bill and Judy Regan. Mike Peloquin also got closest to the pin. In the Tuesday Mixed League, Rob Taylor, Nancy Morrison, Mary Walden and Sandy Glynne came out on top. Tina Doucet got closest to the pin."Family Golf Month" continues throughout the month at the Eagle. Discounted rates are offered after 2 p.m. when a junior plays with an adult. The next two Sunday afternoons, at 1 p.m., PGA Pro Bob McGraw will be offering a free clinic for families. Clubs will be provided if you need them. Bob is also talking about a couple of talented juniors who are playing at the Eagle. The Pakulak brothers, Greg, age 12, and Mark, age 8, have had some success on the course. Greg holed a 160-yard shot on the range during a clinic and Mark eagled the 4th hole. Bob also mentions that last summer both boys played 45 holes in one day while carrying their bags. That's love for the game of golf.
Lake Kezar Golf Course, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: In Men's President Cup action, Larry Sanborn defeated Steve Stearns and Jose Azel eliminated Gene Leblanc. Larry and Jose advance to the quarterfinals. In Ladies President Cup action, it took 21 holes for Peg Bjork to defeat Joanne Shaw. Maddy Leblanc beat Jacquie Burke in a competitive 18-hole match. Both Peg and Maddy advance to the semi-finals. The Men's Social League saw the team of Mike Tarantino, Jan Maczuba and Bill Morella take first. Second place went to Gene Leblanc, Jim Stone, Daryl Kennerson and Pat Johnston. The "super skins" prize went to Dick Trapani, Jim Stanford, Dana Morrill and Hal Taylor with a "birdie" on No. 11. Congratulations to Alex Richter for his hole-in-one on 16th hole.
19th Hole:
On Thursday, Aug. 4, Wentworth Golf Course will host the Sgt. Brian Abrams Memorial Golf Tournament. There will be a shotgun start at 9 a.m. The format is a best-ball scramble. The cost is $100 per player, and the field is limited to 72 golfers. A reception will be held after the golf with awards and prizes. For more information, contact Alex Lopashanski at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The event benefits the New Hampshire Conservation Officers Relief Fund.

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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Golfing: Do you have the mind for golf?

With file art

By Joe Soraghan

"Don't think about it ... well, you need to think a little." — North Conway Country Club golfer Liz Dilando on her thoughts before and after teeing off on the first hole.

I was speaking with a foursome of women golfers last weekend and mentioned that I was searching for an idea for this week's column. They must have been having a conversation regarding focus and concentration while playing golf because one player quickly asked, "How do you concentrate on the course for four hours?"

What a great question and a topic for this week. Every golfer has, at one time, been guilty of a lack of concentration. Who hasn't hit a ball and self-reprimanded, "Get your mind on the game!"

When I started taking golf seriously, a friend who was an aspiring golf pro, offered some advice: "You can't stand over the ball for more than five seconds, concentrating on the shot, and get the result you are looking for. Too many thoughts are going through your mind, and what you think is concentration becomes a distraction, and you end up not getting the intended result."

I must have looked a bit confused, so he used an example to which I could relate. "Joe, you're a teacher. When you are writing, you don't labor over each letter, word or sentence. You take pen or chalk in hand and let your writing flow. All of this is from training and practice."

Hitting a golf ball is similar. You take your stance, put a grip on the club, check your alignment and put a swing on the ball the way you have been hitting it while practicing. Don't think about the result of the shot, don't let the mechanics get in the way. Let your preparation from the practice area become routine on the course.

Golfers are encouraged to savor, cherish and enjoy their time on the course. Take in the open air, the nice views, the camaraderie and the social interactions that golf offers. There is also the other side of golf, and that is the competitive game. The competitive game can be playing a weekly game with your friends, or it can be playing in the regular tournaments your club sponsors. A competitive game might be playing alone and trying to beat your best score. Whatever your goal, a balance needs to be reached.

Think about the better golfers you know. They are able to maintain the balance needed to play at a high level. They also have the ability to put everything aside when they play. On-course distractions — noise, slow play, conditions, annoying partners and various difficult situations — are encountered by all golfers. The better players have the ability to put these out of their focus and "concentrate" on their shot. They are not looking for excuses for a poor shot; rather, they rely on their acquired skill to continually have success. You need to clear your mind before striking the ball. For many of us, that is a difficult task. The better golfers are not afraid of the bad shot. They have the ability to put that shot behind them and hit a recovery shot that leads to successful round. All of this is obtained through practice.

To my four friends and their conversation, I would offer this: Continue to enjoy golf for whatever reason you play. If you want to play at a higher level, you need to take time to hit the practice area and develop a routine you can take to the course. When you are standing over your shot, put everything out of your mind. Conversations you have been having with your playing companions cannot enter your head while preparing for the shot. Don't worry about the outcome. Just approach your shot and fall back on those swing skills you have been honing. You can't concentrate on golf for four hours, but you can concentrate for the few seconds it takes to hit a golf ball. All of us should try and find our balance. Hopefully, success on the course will follow.

Club notes

North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The Fourth of July Flag Tournament was held last weekend. On Sunday, Bob Nash led the charge by advancing the flag with better-than-handicap play, followed by Dick Goss and Gay Folland. On the holiday, Ray Belding took the honors. He was followed by Dan Sullivan and Jim O'Connor. The Junior Golf Program has begun, but it is not too late to join in. This is held Wednesday mornings beginning at 8 a.m. If you need more information, call the pro shop. Next weekend, the July Champ of the Month will take place. The two-day Member/Guest Tournament is in two weeks, July 22-23. Make sure you sign up in the pro shop. Also, coming up is the Pro/Member on Aug. 7. Congratulations to Gay Folland who fired a career-best 36 on the front nine last week.

Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: On June 28, the men and women from Wentworth teamed up for a tournament known as the Rally for Jen's Friends. In the men's division, it was Bill Fitzgerald in first place. He was followed by Bill Brown, second; and Wayne Ekholm, third. On the ladies' side, it was Jenny Simone in the top spot. Second place went to Diane McDonald, and third to Maryann Lowry. Long-drive winners were Kathy Sweeney and Mary Collins. Closest to the pin honors went to Jane Goulart and Charlie Zaccaria. The Ladies' League had a Blind Nines format this week. First place went to Kathy Gilligan. Second and third went to Deb Bryant and Fran Baker. On July 11, the club will host the Member/Guest. Put July 16t on your calendar as the Memorial Hospital Tournament will take place at the Jackson 18.

• Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: Hale's, with its theme, "There's always time for nine," continues to play under great conditions. The twilight greens fees are $20 for walkers. Sunday is Nine, Wine and Dine. For $55 you get nine holes with a cart. After your round you get a salad, an entree, dessert and a glass of wine. Reservations are necessary for the dinner (356-7100) and for a tee time (356-2140). On Tuesday evenings, there is a BBQ Pool Party for hotel guests and golfers. The Women's League had the week off due to the holiday. Week 5 for the men saw George Bailey and Steve Wolner post a +7 in the quota. Dick Check claimed closest-to-the-pin honors.

Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: The spring Don Ho League has completed its eight-week competition. There were almost 120 players who teed it up at the Eagle under great conditions and some of the best weather in recent years.

The GB Carrier team, with a -48, beat out the Beaver Pelts by one stroke. They were followed by the Jackson Six, at -44, and the Six Styxxx at -40. Chris Heider claimed closest-to-the-pin honors for this last week. Long-drive winners were Ray Gilmore, Dennis Lufkin, Ann Bennett and Fran Rancourt. The fall Don Ho starts up at the end of August. July is "Family Golf Month" at the Eagle. Discounted rates are offered every day after 2 p.m. when an adult plays with a junior. The cost is $15 for the adult and $10 for the junior. PGA Pro Bob McGraw will be offering free clinics for families the next three Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. Clubs will be provided for those who need them. Bob will be offering a full swing clinic this Saturday, July 9. The fee is $20, and the class is limited to six students. In Eagle League action, the top team members were Mike Peloquin, Connie Kilgore, Steve Piotrow and Linda and Bob Boissonault. Dan Andrews grabbed closest-to-the-pin honors.

Lake Kezar Golf Course, Route 5, Lovell, ME, (207) 925-2462: More than 70 golfers turned out for the Conway Recreation Tournament. In the men's division, it was the team of Josh McAllister, Brett Newton, Dan Luchette and Kevin Hamlin taking the top spot. Second place went to Marc Webster, Tim Chandler, Nat Mason and Casey Valente. First place in the ladies' division was the team of Lisa Warren, Jacquie Burke, Joanne Shaw and Priscilla Green. The mixed division was won by the team of Brad and Tina Littlefield, Vince Osgood, and Kaolin Delaney. Steve Cote and Mike O'Neil won closest-to-the-pin honors while Lee Remick and Dan Couchette won the long-drive competition. Tuesday's Men's Social League saw the team of Jerry Guyana, Jim Stanford and John Laramie edge out George Basset, Jim Stone, Alan Emery and Jan Macumba by one stroke. The "Greene Pool" was won by Gene Leblanc, Mike Tarantino, Harry Roberts and Phil Stanley. In the "Super Skins" pool, there were no winners, so there will be a carry-over next week.

19th Hole

This week, the Women's U.S. Open will be held at CordeValle Golf Course in California. This is a USGA-sponsored event, so you can expect the course conditions to be the most difficult and challenging the women face all year. Like the Men's Open, qualifying tournaments are held around the country. Often you watch and hear the names of players you know nothing about. In 1998, one such golfer came very close to winning the Open Championship. Her name was Jenny Chuasiriporn. The golf was played that year at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin. This Duke University junior sunk a 45-foot putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Se Ri Pak. Johnny Miller, the golf analyst, called it, "one of the greatest clutch putts in championship history." Chuasiriporn would lose the playoff to Pak, however, and never made it on the LPGA Tour.

Enjoy your golf this weekend and remember to concentrate.

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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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