“By the time you get to your ball, if you don’t know what to do with it, try another sport.” Julius Boros, pro golfer
When I was caddying, almost 60 years ago now, I would loop for a couple of guys five or six times during the season. The first hole at the course was a downhill par 4 with water in front of the green.
The water was a narrow creek, but was always moving. Two bridges allowed you to walk across (no carts at that time) to access the green. One of my employers would reach into his pocket and toss a ball into the moving water. He felt he was appeasing the “golf gods.”
This guy didn’t reach into his bag and dispose of his new balls. He would throw an old clunker into the creek, hoping that his sacrifice would lead to a great round. His gift of a lousy ball was infrequently rewarded.
Typically, his play would reflect that of most amateur players. There were good shots and good holes and there were shots and holes that drive golfers crazy. Disposing of that ball into the creek on the first became part of his round. It relaxed his mind. If he hadn’t continued with this routine, “outside influences” would be part of the outcome.
European Tour player Matthew Fitzpatrick was playing in the Scandinavian Invitational last weekend. In contention, and playing well on Sunday, Fitzpatrick hit a shot on the 13th hole that knocked him out of the chance to win the event. His second shot, a 166-yard approach shot, was perfect, or so he thought.
The ball hit the flag stick and ricocheted into a hazard. Instead of putting for birdie, he was trying to salvage a bogey. He lost the tournament by one stroke. The commentators and other players displayed empathy for the golfer by saying “It was the rub of the green.” Should he have sacrificed a ball prior to his round? The “rub of the green” is part of the game. If you go to the Rules of Golf and the Decisions, the “rub” is identified in rule 19-1.
The “rub” is described as a situation “when a ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency.” If you play golf, the “rub of the green” has played a part in your golfing history. The bigger question that should be asked is how did you handle the outcome of the bad luck?
In the movie “A Bronx Tale,” the character Eddie Mush was portrayed as having “bad luck” and was considered a “Jonah” by others. It was a given if “The Mush” was part of a wager you would end up on the wrong side of the outcome. One of the best clips is when the guys were at the track. They had bet on a “sure thing.”
When “The Mush” walks into the scene and is rooting for the same horse, the guys all tear up their tickets before the race is finished. They knew the “sure thing” would not win. Do you have a mindset that tells you something will go wrong? Does thinking something will go wrong make that happen? Or, when you are going great, do the bounces always go your way?
“Rub of the green,” golf gods or whatever outside influences you feel have an effect on your game, should not derail a round. “We all have some bad luck, the way we handle it is what makes us different.” (author unknown) The statement can apply to any of us on the golf course. Nobody likes a crybaby. If that guy is your partner, you don’t want to hear, “I should have stayed home and washed windows.”
The PGA actually keeps a statistic on a “bounce back.” This is a player who might have posted a double, triple, or quadruple bogey, and comes back to salvage his round. We can all have better rounds if we can put the bad break behind us and concentrate on what lies ahead.
North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: Pro Days will be held this weekend, (Aug. 30 to Sept. 2). This is a great way to support your local pro. Last week, the August Champ of the Month was played. For the men it was Brian Terry getting the coveted parking spot. On the women’s side, there will be a three-way play off between Nancy Morris, Kathy Sweeney and Anne Rourke. The play-offs in Ledgeview League have ended. The Golfaholics took first place. Members of the team included Mark Labrie, Kevin Howard, Dan Parkhurst, Jeff Carr and Dan Waneck. The Titleist Custom Fitting Experience will be held on Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Michelle Zaydon, from Titleist, will be on the practice facility to help fit you correctly. The 2020 Titleist clubs will be available to try. Call the pro shop to schedule a fitting or show up to hit the new Titleist clubs.
Wentworth Golf Course, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The 2019 Club Championship was held last weekend. Taking first place in the Championship Division were Virgil Webb for the men, and Lynne Anderson for the women. In the Ladies’ First Flight, it was Lynne Walker taking the top spot. The Men’s Senior Division saw Bill McBroom fire two great rounds (73 and 68) to take first place. In Ladies’ League action, Debbie Chase and Lynne Walker tied for first. They were followed by Ellie Thompson and Maryann Fitzgerald for third. Kathy Gilligan finished in fifth place.
Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: The Member & Friends Scramble was held last Sunday. Taking first place was the team of Mike Peloquin, Joan Aubrey, Janice Andrews and Terry Fitzgerald. Individual honors were a “family affair.” Janice Andrews got long drive honors and husband Dan got closest to the pin. The Fall Don Ho season will start on Sept. 3 at 5 p.m. To sign up, call the pro shop.
Hale’s Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356- 2140: The Pro Shop is open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tee times are available by calling the shop at (603) 356-2140 or go to haleslocationgolf.com and click on Book a Tee Time. When booking online payment is for greens fees only. Carts can be added at the course. The Women’s League finished up the season with a luncheon at Horsefeathers. Prizes were given to each of the 11 weekly winners. Mary Gilpatrick led the way with a cumulative score of 12 over her quota. She was followed by Daryl Mazzaglia, Betty Smither, June Lundin and Maureen Wilson. The ladies had a fun season and are hoping to expand their ranks for next season. All are welcome. Nine, Wine and Dine is offered on Sundays. Call the hotel at (603) 356-7100 for a reservation. There are a few golf bags as well as Titleist and Cleveland wedges on sale at a great price.
Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925- 2462: The Four Club Round Robin has finished the competition. The final standings saw Province Lake take the trophy with 2254.5 points. They were followed by Lake Kezar, 2220.5 points, Ridgewood, 2207 points and Indian Mound with 1958 points. The Fryeburg Rec. Tournament will be played on Sept. 7 and 8. There are four start times for this event which is in its 28th year. Players can play Saturday and Sunday, morning or afternoon. Some of the prizes are a shotgun, kayak, clubs, pontoon ride from Kezar Lake Marina and an insect spray package. Contact Brad Littlefield to sign up at email@example.com or call (207) 461-4176. The Senior Men’s Open is scheduled for Sept. 18. Contact the clubhouse at (207) 925-2462 to sign up.
With the start of the fall high school sports seasons, I wish the best of luck to the Kennett High School and Fryeburg Academy golf teams. They have been working hard in the preseason. The efforts will produce team and individual success during the season.
Joe Soraghan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.