Golfers are shown at Indian Mound Golf Course Aug. 31 for the second annual Jody Buzzell Challenge/Mountain Meisters Summer Get-together Golf Fundraiser, held as a benefit for Starting Point Services for Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence. (COURTESY PHOTO)
"On the golf course, a man may be the dogged victim of inexorable fate, be struck down by an appalling stroke of tragedy, become the hero of unbelievable melodrama, or the clown in a side-splitting comedy!" — Bobby Jones
At this point in the season, I am always searching for material for this column. The majors have been played, the Fed Ex playoffs are competing with baseball and football, and we are approaching the home stretch. However, my subject for this week was right in front of me the entire time.
I play on weekends with a group of guys affectionately referred to as the "Swindlers." We play a weekly quota game, where a player must make a number of points reflective of his playing ability. The teams are put together through a "blind draw," and a player's "points" are adjusted after each round. We have anywhere from 16 to 24 players and, as you can imagine, many types of players as well as different personalities.
When I was first approached to write this column, I asked, with some trepidation, "What do I write about each and every week?" Tom Eastman said, "Write about what you feel and see, and you won't have a problem." A big thank you to the "Swindlers." You give me plenty to write about.
The pro approached one of our players while he was on the putting green and presented him with a ball. It had his name written about six times, in multiple colors. This was so he would not hit the wrong ball for the third time in as many days. As I rode with him on Monday, we were searching for his shot on a hole when we came upon a Callaway, his brand. When we looked closely, and it was difficult in the rough to identify the ball — he barely made out the number 3, and he was playing a 1. We all know what type of ball we are playing, but not as many recall the number. This guy did, and avoided further embarrassment as well as loss of the hole by playing the correct ball.
We had a local businessman in our group who couldn't get his cart started after hitting his drive on the first tee. When he complained and displayed frustration, his playing companions told him if he put the key in the ignition, he would have better luck with his cart. You see, he was holding the key in his hand while he tried to get the cart in motion.
In the swindle game, all players who are "plus" in exceeding their quota number get paid. The amount is determined by the number of "plus" points that were attained that day by the playing field. One of our guys had an exceptional round and posted a "plus 9." He was very pleased with the way he had played and knew, or thought he might qualify for a nice pay day. His exuberance was so great that he decided to buy a round of drinks, and then another. When all the points had been tallied for the day, and there had been some fine rounds, the points didn't pay out as much as he originally thought. His bar tab was twice the amount he made.
This past Labor Day weekend, one of our group wanted to "spice up" the weekend play. He suggested that if you were going to play on both Sunday and Monday, we have a separate pot for a two-day quota and we would pay three places. On Sunday, one of the Swindlers had a career round. He posted a score of 70 and made 42 points in the quota. This was a great round of golf. He had exceeded his number, which was 30, by 12. This meant the following day he would need 34 points to make his quota. As the golfing gods would have it, neither the player who posted the +12 or the player with the + 9 won the separate pot. The guy who had the +12 finished even and the +9 finished at +6, only good enough for second place.
Golf is a tough game, but a great one. When you are playing with tough competitors and even better people, it makes the game that much more enjoyable.
• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: Pro Days were on the golfing menu this past weekend and the conditions allowed some fine golf to be played. The next scheduled events are the Fall 4-Ball on September 18th and the Mixed Scotch on Sept. 25. This is a busy weekend for NCCC as the Mud Bowl is played next to the course. Many folks who come up for this annual event add a round of golf with Mud Bowl.
• Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539- 7733: The Rivers Edge Quota game saw Mark Gibbons post a +9 to take the top spot. Closest to the pin honors went to Rickie Tibbetts and Fuzzy Martin. Nine and Dine saw the team of Wayne Grenier, Charlie Hadlock and Eric Cray shoot 5 under to take first place. Celebrate Life Cancer Network will hold their tournament on Sunday, Sept. 25. This is an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Contact the pro shop for more information or go to their website www.clcsn.org. The Ladies' Travel League will tee it up at the Mound on Sept. 21. This is a 9 a.m. shotgun start. Julie Rivers, from Indian Mound, has the Kennett Golf team off to a 2 and 3 start. Josh Rivers is playing out of the number 1 spot with three freshman, Riley Fletcher, Miles Woodbury, and Connor Tofflemayer playing 2,3, and 4.
• Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The Red Fox League has concluded its 2016 season. With 16 teams playing throughout the season, it continues to be a very popular way to spend a Monday evening. Leading the way this year were the Dukes of Hazzards, who took home the first place trophy. Second place went to the Shanks-A-Lot and third to the Hale Merrys. Congratulations to all the players for making this a fun event. Pro Days was a 4 day event. The men's gross winners were Bill Catalucci, Charlie Russo, Dave Lowry and Clark Mitchell. For the ladies, in the Gross Fight, it was Cricket Catalucci, Maryann Lowry (twice) and Kathy Gilligan. In the Net Division, it was Mike Murphy, Mike Goulart, Jack Sutton and Bill Volk. The Ladies' Net saw Kathy Gilligan, Rita Descoteaux, Lynn Walker and Karen Lyons cash a ticket. Sunday, Oct. 2, the Jackson 18 will be hosting the Fall 4-Ball.
• Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: The Fall Don Ho League is off and running. After the first week, the New Team and Six Styxxx are in first place at -7. The Divot Kings, Golfaholics, Jocular Jewelers and GB Carrier are tied at -5. Individual honors go to Scott Perkins for closest to the pin and Ann Bennett, Amy Kennedy, Keith Deluca and Mitchell Harmon as long drive winners. The Thursday Eagle League saw the team of Joan Aubrey, Russ Veale Gretchen and Dennis Sorahan take top honors. Second place went to Rita Stoessel, Haig Zeytoonian, Janice and Dan Andrews. Closest to the pin was Dennis Soraghan. The Mixed League saw Russ Veale, Anne Nelson, Jeanne Pierce and Joan Doucet take first. Closest to the pin went to Tina Nicchole.
Congratulations to Jesse Robinson, who had a hole-in-one on the 160-yard, 7th hole. Jesse hit a 9 iron and the shot was witnessed by Alex Normandin, Andrew Johnson, Luke Limmer, Sam Howe and Chris Deangelis. On Sunday, Sept. 11, the third annual Phil Kelly Scramble is scheduled to be played at 4 p.m. The nine-hole scramble costs $20 with half of the proceeds going to the local food pantry in Phil's name. If you are interested in playing, call the pro shop.
• Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: The Men's and Ladies' Leagues have completed their season. The men held a season-ending tournament Tuesday. Dave Pierce won the fun event with the most points earned, and Butch Bouchard had the most points over his quota. Finishing with plus points over their quota were Frank Filosa, Bill Earle, Don Valliere and Pete Grady. Closest-to-the-pin winners were Dick Hickey and Steve Wilson. Although the ladies have completed their season, it didn't stop Joanne Archambault and Dottie Heffernan from competing. Both played in the NHWGA, Stephanie Thomas Memorial Cup Tournament. With 27 foursomes, Joanne's team finished second and Dottie's finished seventh. A Fall Co-ed and a Women's Traveling League will start next week. If interested in joining, call the pro shop. Nine, Wine, and Dine continues through Columbus Day.
• Lake Kezar Golf Course, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-1002: The annual Member/Guest is in the archives. In the two-man, best-ball format, it was Phil Drew and Jim Machowski taking first gross. Second went to Jim Bilotta and Bob Hickey with a tie-breaker over Wayne Kennerson and Terry Holden. In the net competition, it was Marc Webster and Todd Cunningham taking first net. Second net went to Joe Fitzpatrick and Josh Burkett in a tie-breaker over Nick Sebo and Jim Hadlock. In the ladies' event it was Ellen Mueller and Molly Sebo taking top spot over Jamie Toohey and Hope Smith. The Men's Social League saw Dick Trapani, Pat Johnston, Dana Morrill and Phil O'Hanley post a 94 to top the field. Second place went to Bob Spanglo, Ron Ela, Corey Douglas and John Laramee with a 105. Congratulations to John Emery of Andover, Maine. John had a hole-in-one on the 135-yard fifth hole!
Many of us learned about the game of golf by serving as caddies. Today, you can often recognize a player whose game, mannerisms and responses were picked up as a caddy. While searching for a lost ball, one player in our group asked, "What type of ball are you using?" Another player, who had to have come from the caddy ranks, spoke out, "It was a new one — he hasn't hit the ball correctly yet!" You need to be thick-skinned to play this game