“Golf is a difficult game, but it is a little easier if you trust your instincts. It's too hard a game to try and play like someone else.” — Nancy Lopez, LPGA Pro
Summer brings back many memories: playing baseball, staying out until the street lights come on, no school, mowing the lawn and caddying. Sundays were also different during the summer. Going to Mass was a part of our family routine. In the summer, we could go to the 7 a.m. service. This was great because the service was shorter and you would see people who you did not see when attending the later Masses. I
t wasn't unusual for some of the men to have a newspaper sticking out of their back pocket. I learned later that it was the Daily Racing Form. Some Sundays, I’d get a tap on the shoulder from a churchgoer. This guy would be heading to the golf course, and I would be getting a ride and a bag for a day of caddying.
I knew golf had a religious connection at an early age. A couple of priests were members of the club where we carried bags. These golfers were good players and tippers. How often do we associate religion or a religious connotation with golf? I'm willing to bet it’s quite often.
Readings from books that try and explain how we should conduct our daily lives is associated with many religious services. In golf, we play the game by a book of rules. The moral compass by how we play and conduct ourselves is outlined by the Rules of Golf. These are the golfers’ “Commandments.” Buildings, sites and objects are worshiped within many religious sects. Making a pilgrimage to St. Andrews, Pinehurst, Pebble Beach or any course that might have special meaning to a player often has a spiritual effect. To some, any and all courses are a place of reverence.
Objects and rituals are part of every religion. In golf, players can be identified by their routines and mannerisms. If these are not followed or are interrupted, you can be sure that the outcome will not be a good one.
Many golfers use a special ball marker or carry something during their round, which they know will bring good things to their game. If a golfer's round is not going in the right direction, it's not uncommon for players to appeal the golfing gods. How often have you heard a golfer utter, “Help me, God, I'm dead!” when he finds his ball in a lie from which Tiger couldn’t make a shot. Yet, somehow the golfer pulls off a shot and is “resurrected.”
Then there are the shots or occurrences on the course that cannot be explained. Your opponent hits his ball so far into the woods that he is reaching for a provisional, when the ball unexpectedly hits something and finds the fairway. Or your opponent “skulls” his shot onto the green. The ball is traveling at warp speed, hits the flag stick, and finds the bottom of the cup. Was this just luck or is there some type of “divine intervention”?
Whether you are believer or not, practice a religion or not, you probably asked for intercession at one time or another. The next time you are at your “Church of Pars and Birdies,” and are preparing for your next shot, act as you would in church. Keep your head down and the body quiet. But, unlike church, you had better not be saying prayers. If you are praying, it's probably too late for something good to happen because you have too many thoughts going on in your head.
North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The Merlino's Golf Tournament is taking to the NCCC links this weekend. This is the 41st year this fun and competitive event is being held. May “Champ of the Month” winners were Mary Deveau and Ray Belding. The Memorial Tournament was held last weekend. For the men, low gross went to JP Hickey and low net to Bill Burns. For the ladies, it was Alice McElhinney taking low gross and Jackie Gaudes low net. The Thursday Ledgeview League saw the Not About Golf team take first gross. First net went to Anita Beverage. Closest to the pin winners were Julie Rivers and Dave Thornton. The Spring Member/Member is scheduled for Sunday, June 9. Teams can sign up on the bulletin board outside the locker room.
Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The 2019 Kickoff Member Scramble was held last weekend. Two teams tied for the top spot. Roger LeBlanc, George Lemieux, Pauline Rouillard and Lynne Anderson tied with Clark Mitchell, Tom Screnci, Barbara Pinkham and Aidra Brown. The Red Fox League played a quota game on Monday. Taking first place were the Oak Lee Boys. They were followed by the Hale Merrys and Kandahars. Pam Lewis and Charlie Hanlon won the long putt contest. Scott Cote was the sharpshooter for the night getting closest to the pin honors.
PGA Pro Bob McGraw is offering a putting and chipping clinic, Saturday, June 1, at 11am. The fee is $20 and the class is limited to six students. If you are interested, call the pro shop at (603) 383-9641 to sign up. The MWV Ski Team Tournament is scheduled for Friday, June 21. This is a 1 p.m. shotgun start. The cost is $125 per player (dinner is included) and the format is a scramble There are Men's, Women's and Mixed teams. For more information or to sign up, call (603) 356-7627 or go to email@example.com.
Hale's Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: “Beautiful conditions” was the comment I heard from a player when asked about the course. Players are taking advantage of the spring rate. Nine holes of golf is $32 and 18 holes $42. Membership packages are available along with leagues, tournaments, equipment, and apparel. The pro shop is open 8-4. Tee times are available from the pro shop at haleslocatiogolf.com. Click on “Book a Tee Time.” Payment is for green fees only. Carts can be added at the course. Hale’s (along with NCCC) will again be hosting the Jen’s Friends Tournament. The date is June 14 and spots are filling quickly. The Women’s League begins June 3 and the Men’s League June 4. June 6 is the start of the Thursday Scramble.
Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: Don Ho League is into the second week of the season. Tuesday night saw the Bud Buggy team and Pin High tie for the top spot. Second place also saw a tie between Not the New Guys and Ball Draggers. Wednesday night saw the Dead Last team take first. Second place was a tie between the Nine-hole Butchers and Jackson Six. Individual winners were Seth Reidy and Tim Roberge for closest to the pin. Long drive winners were Tim Jackson, Steph Manson, Charles Genest, and Erin Jacobs. Overall standings have the Ball Draggers and Pin High leading the Tuesday competition. Wednesday’s groups have the Dead Last out in front. They are followed by the Nine-hole Butchers. The Thursday Eagle League saw the team of Lori Babine, Terry Fitzgerald, Nicki Lynn, Janice and Dan Andrews take the top spot. Nicki had closest to the pin honors and Lori posted an eagle!
Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: June 13 will be the start date for the ladies’ Thursday Morning League. All ladies are welcome. You don't need to be a member to play in this fun and competitive league. The cost is $20 and runs through mid-September. A sign-up sheet is in the clubhouse. Two tournaments to put on your calendar: the Charlotte Hobbs Library Tournament and the Jim Hadlock Tournament. For more information on the Library Tournament, go to the library website. June 16 is the Hadlock event. More information is available at the clubhouse.
Baseball immortal Ty Cobb took up golf after his retirement. He became a fanatic, and at one point belonged to eight different clubs. One of these was the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Known in baseball as a player with intense competitive demeanor, this carried over to his golf. Playing in the club championship at the Olympic Club, he made it to the finals. His opponent a 12-year-old boy. Cobb lost to the youngster and had to endure barbs and teasing from other members. He became so angry he didn't return to the club. The young boy was Bob Rosburg, who would go on to have a nice PGA career. He won the 1959 PGA championship. Later, he would become one of the first on course announcers at televised tournaments.
Joe Soraghan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.