“I have always had a drive that pushed me to try for perfection, and golf is a game in which perfection stays just out of reach.” Betsy Rawls, pro golfer
The late Boston Globe sportswriter Ray Fitzgerald once wrote that he would start watching golf when “a player could ‘slash’ a five-iron across another player’s club while he was trying to hit a shot.”
Fitzgerald’s hockey analogy might have revealed a hidden side to the writer. I think he was angry with his golf game. But, I don’t know if the esteemed sports columnist was even a golfer.
However, I thought of this comment during a recent round. Everything was going well. I was hitting the ball. The short game was working. Even my putting woes were absent from my game.
I was standing over a shot, with a six-iron in hand. This is a club I have a high degree of confidence in hitting. There was no wind, an accessible pin, a perfect lie. What could go wrong? I “cold-topped” my shot. The ###*** ball went into the water, and I got angry at myself.
The thought of “helicoptering” my club into the pond crossed my mind. I showed some restraint, however. I attempted to bite the shaft but realized a visit to the dentist wasn’t going to help unless he showed me a way to keep my head down during a shot. No, the burden was on me and I let this shot spoil a good round.
Golfers don’t have to be concerned with contact during their round. Nobody is trying to tackle, block, check or duck from a pitch being thrown at them. Their concern is hitting a golf shot, managing the course and controlling their emotions. How a player controls these emotions allows for failure or success, not only on the course, but off-course as well.
Most sports allow a participant to vent emotions physically and verbally. We were taught at a young age to “run hard” into second base and to keep our elbows up when going for a rebound. We were told to hit the guy across from you so that he “feels it.” In golf, when you make a bad swing and hit a bad shot, you have to find a way to vent his frustration. How a player does this tells his playing partners a lot about the character of the player.
The Rev. Billy Graham said that “profanity never had any influence on a golf ball.” I’ll bet he knew this firsthand because I don’t know of any player who hasn’t tried to curse at an undisciplined ball. Profanity doesn’t work. Club-tossing should be a game outside of golf. The USGA and R&A should consider a penalty for any player who throws a club. Those who throw clubs don’t realize how uncomfortable their playing companions become. Not only are the companions waiting for the volcano to erupt, but they are trying to protect themselves from the hazard to their health.
Damaging the course for your poor play should also be an automatic penalty. The frustrated club thrower has an obvious lack of care for others and for the staff who maintains the course. How do competitive golfers vent their anger and frustration?
Sports psychologist Bob Rotella titled his book, “Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect.” I think every golfer has experienced that feeling and more. Patience is the great equalizer when it comes to handling what befalls you on the course. If three-putting is your problem, concentrate more on this aspect to try and straighten your round. Don’t step out of your personal box. If you have a routine, stick with it. Don’t become so agitated that your entire round becomes a disaster. It’s great to be competitive and have some “fire,” but don’t let it upset you and your playing companions. If we were any good, people would pay us to play, not the other way around.
North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The Mixed Scotch event was held last weekend. Taking first gross was the team of Donna Wallace and Doug Dugrenier. First net went to Ray and Toni Belding.
A three-way playoff was played between Barbara Hogan, Gay Folland and Angie Chute for the Ladies Champ-of-the-Month. Hogan will get the coveted parking spot after winning the match.
Week 7 of Ledgeview League saw the Golden Tees take the top spot. They were followed by For Your Pars Only and Natural Hazards. Overall standings find the Golden Tees on top. They are being chased by the Rivers Edge team and The Insiders.
Pro days will be held this weekend Friday through Monday (Sept. 4-7). Saturday, Sept. 5, a Titleist Fitting Day will be held. Call the pro shop to make an appointment.
Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The Wentworth members played a nine-hole scramble last Sunday afternoon. Winning the mixed gross division was the team of Joe Webb, Karen Lyons, Ed and Patricia Kelly. Two teams tied for second. Hugh Braithwaite, Kathy Gilligan, Cricket and Bill Catalucci tied with Keith Houghton, Rosemary Hughes, Mary Kaye and John Leonard. The women’s division was won by the team of Gloria Hannon, Brenda Killourie, Kitty King,and Rita Descoteaux.
Pro days will be held Sept. 4-7.
Hale’s Location, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: The Hale’s Women’s League is in their seventh week of play. This week, Cheryle O’Neil took the top spot. Second place saw a tie between Cheryl McMahon and Deb Chase. The “sharpshooter” was Jill Luchetti. Jill’s shot was 11’5’’ from the pin.
Week 8 for the men saw Frank Filosa take first place. Six players tied for second. Dave Pierce got closest to the pin with a shot of 7’11.”
Nine, Wine and Dine will continue through September. Call the pro shop for a Sunday afternoon tee time and the hotel (356-7100) for dinner and a glass of wine.
Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, (603) 383-9090: The Eagle is continuing with the Sunday afternoon scramble. Make your team and call for a tee time for some enjoyable, competitive golf. Discount rates are available for those who play, $15 for adults $10 for juniors. The pro shop is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but you need to call and follow the guidelines established by the course.
Congratulations to Terry Fitzgerald for his hole-in-one on the par 3, seventh hole. Terry, playing alone, felt he had a special observer to his feat. The spirit of Donald Ross, whose history extends to the Jackson course, was his witness. Does this mean that Donald is the only recipient of the hole-in-one, “drinks on me” tradition?
Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: Lake Kezar CC is hosting three charity tournaments during September. The Fryeburg Recreation Tournament will be held on Sept. 12-13. This is the 29th year for this event. If you wish to play, contact Brad Littlefield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Charlotte Hobbs Library Tournament is scheduled for Sept. 19.
On Sept. 27, LKCC will be the site of the Masons Tournament.
The Senior Tournament is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept.16. This event is open to both men and women. Sign-up in the clubhouse.
Lake Kezar is offering 2021 memberships. If you purchase your membership now, you can play free for the balance of the year. Single memberships are $725. Couples are $1300. Students are $150.
Pro golfer Jon Rahm won the Fed Ex event last weekend in exciting extra holes. Earlier in the tournament, he received a penalty. He picked up his ball on the green and handed it to his caddy to clean. No problem, except he forgot to mark his ball. He was assessed a one-stroke penalty for his mental lapse.
Rahm is not the only professional to suffer this fate. Roberto de Vicenzo in the 1968 Masters was penalized for signing an incorrect scorecard. Greg Norman suffered a penalty for playing a ball that was not approved during the 1996 Greater Hartford Open.
Davis Love III, in the 1997 Players Championship, hit his ball during a practice stroke with his putter. He did not replace the ball to its original spot, giving him a two-stroke penalty. He had given himself a one-stroke penalty and signed an incorrect scorecard. Love was disqualified and it cost him more than $100,000. Know the rules.
Have a great weekend.
Joe Soraghan may be reached at email@example.com. Send him your golf photos.