By Joe Soraghan
“You don’t have the game you played last year or last week. You only have today’s game. It may be far from your best, but that’s all you’ve got. Harden your heart and make the best of it.” — Walter Hagen, PGA Pro
For the last three weeks, the golfing world has had their eyes glued on the Irish Open, the Scottish Open, and now, the British Open. Although the playing fields did not include all the top playing pros, the courses and conditions where the rounds are played are really the “draw.”
I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the European Tour and listening to the commentary provided. The game has returned to its origins .The players who participate in these events have all the assets that are required to play at a very high level. But “links golf” adds one more requirement for success: imagination.
There is a television ad that pushes for golfers to book their tee times online. It features an actor who portrays Old Tom Morris. In one segment, Old Tom is standing on a vehicle. When asked what he is doing, he replies, “Playing silly bodkins.”
I will admit at first I didn’t have a clue what he was saying, primarily due to the thick Scottish accent I asked our local Scot/American Davey Armstrong if he had ever heard of “silly bodkins” and he had not. Further research showed that this was a game that was played by Old Tom Morris and his friends through the streets of St. Andrews. Not able to play the course, the kids would take the corks from wine bottles, drive nails into them, fashion clubs from wood scraps, and hit the loaded cork through the streets, much the way kids in this country would play what we called “half-ball.” You would cut a rubber ball in half and try to hit it with a broom handle. If you ever want to teach someone to hit a curve ball, this experience is a good way to start.
Old Tom Morris and his friends must have seen strange bounces with their pursuit of “silly bodkins.” It was this type of youthful experience that prepared them for the game of golf, pioneered during the 19th century, and made them the top players of their time.
Last week, in the Scottish Open, players tried to run their balls onto the green as opposed to flying the ball to the required distance of the flagstick, as they do in our country. One commentator even went so far as to question PGA Pro Rickie Fowler’s strategy, when he attempted to hit a flop wedge, from about 20 yards, onto the green. He said, “There isn’t a Scotsman in a hundred years who would hit that type of shot.” The “bump and run” was thought to be the smart play in this case. Of course, his colleague had to remark, “A flop wedge costs a hundred dollars and no Scotsmen would purchase that club!”
The game that spawned from the British Isles has hard fairways, fast greens, and deep pot bunkers. Here, in the “states,” our courses are lush and green, which benefit the longer hitters. Our roughs are irrigated, which allows them to be consistent with the lies.
Our bunkers are designed to be perfect, not only with condition, but also location. Players coming from the US to the British Isles are forced to change strategy. Imagination, along with accurate drives, will keep a player in contention at The Open Championship, one of the most coveted in all of golf. I can't help but wonder if golf is losing some excitement on this side of the Atlantic because the venues we play call for repetitious shots.
Maybe we should adopt the attitude of our fellow golfer’s from the British Isles and allow our courses to take a more “natural” appearance. This would bring a cerebral element to our game that has been missing for a while, and make a round much more interesting. Old Tom Morris would approve.
• Indian Mound Golf Course (539-7733): The 2014 Member/Guest was held last weekend. Taking the low gross honors was the team of Tom Broderick, Bob Kirby, Spud Miller and Mike Franks. The low net winners were Pat Stafallo, Emily Phillips, Cheryl Kemper and Jayne Colborne. The Rivers Edge Quota winners, at +4, were Gary Williams and Billy Franks. Clinics are being held every Monday from 3-4:15 p.m. at a cost of $15 per player. Contact the pro shop for more information. Nine and Dine is held every Sunday at 3 o’clock. For $30 you get nine holes of golf, a cart, prizes, and dinner. This is a shotgun start. Save the date of Sept. 24 for the Ladies Invitational. Inter-club matches begin at the Mound on July 21.
• Wentworth Golf Course (383-9641): The Jackson 18 held their Member/Guest on Saturday. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play. The weather was perfect and the course was in great shape for the full field of 116 players. A tip of the hat to Pro Kevin Walker and Course Superintendent Evan Connors for the fine jobs they, and their crew, have done. In the Ladies Division, first gross went to the team of Deb Ferland and Cheryl Veno, second gross went to Lynne Walker and Joyce Macknauskas. First net was won by the team of Kathy Gilligan and Karen Lyons, second net winners were Mary Ellen Gallo and Elizabeth Saber. On the Men’s side the low gross winners were Quentin Gilmore and Chip Sweeney, second place went to Ram Harvey and Eric Mueller. First net winners were Keith Houghton and Tim Broman, second place went to Ralph Fiore and Peter Deveau. Week 9 of Red Fox saw the Atti-Cats take the top spot. They were followed by the Leprechaun’s and D’s Pizza. Individually, long drive winners were Cam James and Ellen Eiermann. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Wally Pimental and Sandi Poor. Ladies league saw Jeannie Roberts take the top spot with a three-way tie for second between Susan Dugdale, Pat Hoffman, and Maryann Lowry. Congratulations go out to Bill Volk who aced the 17th hole. This was a shotgun start and Bill’s first swing of the day was on the 17th. What a way to start a round!
• Province Lake Golf Course (207-793-4040): Sign-ups have begun for the Fall Pau Hana league. This is a six-week league that begins on Aug. 5. This fun league is a scramble format and players are encouraged to wear their Hawaiian shirts. Family golf specials are being offered throughout the summer. Two adults and up to two children can play for $25. Additional children are only $5. Call the pro shop for details.
• North Conway Country Club (383-9391): The July Champs of the Month saw Gay Folland and Scott Terry take the coveted honors. The Ladies Club Championship will be held July 26 and 27. The Men will play their championship on Aug. 1 and 2. The annual Pro/Member will be held on Sunday, Aug. 10. Check the upstairs bulletin board for upcoming golf and social events.
• Eagle Mountain Golf Course (383-9090): The Phil Kelly Memorial Bench is in place on the first tee of the Eagle. Phil was a longtime starter at the Jackson 9 who passed last year. He had the gift of gab, and his stories are remembered fondly. A tournament along with a dedication will be held at a later date.
In Don Ho action, the team from Sherwin Williams finished at -50. The GB Carrier team is at -40 and the Divot Kings are at -39. Teams have one week of play remaining. July is Family Golf Month at the Eagle. Discounted rates are being offered after 3PM every day this month. On the next two Sundays, at 1 p.m., PGA Pro Bob McGraw will be offering a free clinic for families. Call the pro shop for more details.
Congratulations to Pro Bob McGraw, who plays Wednesdays in the Northern League. This past week he set a new Northern League record for quota points. He was +50, posting a 66!
• Hale's Location (356-2140): Hale's Location Golf Course will host three nine-hole shotgun golf tournaments Aug. 28 to support the Wayne L. Sprouse Medical Expenses Fund. The fund that has been established to help Hale's Location golf pro Wayne Sprouse, who is facing some serious medical challenges. Call the pro shop at 356-2140 for further information.
July 17 was a great day at the Wentworth for the annual Memorial Hospital Golf Tournament, we're happy to report.
By Marty Basch
It is early Sunday morning, a time when rational people are catching up on much needed sleep.
Instead, I am on my bicycle during the best part of the cycling day, the cool of a young morning.
Better yet, I am riding on roads that service up some of the finest landscapes and terrain for road riding in the valley.
Not that I can't find fault with these meandering country lanes. I can. There are far too many miles in need of repair with jarring potholes, uneven surfaces that shake you to the core and sinister cracks just waiting to mess with your day.
However, those rolling roads lead to a place where farm and fields meet forest, where soon enough the corn will be as high as an elephant's eye and it's reach right up to a sky with jagged mountains on the horizon.
By Christopher Chaffee
"What we do in life echoes in eternity." — Gladiator
It was like watching a movie that opens your eyes, lifts your soul, and touches your heart. Throughout the movie you have tears of joy and you feel inspired. In the movies, we see our hero progress, strive, and endure his way through a path towards his final encounter. The ending is set as he faces his ultimate test. We then see what the hero is really made of. The test shows the essence of his character, who he is inside, and how he conducts himself on the outside in his life. We love to see the hero have an epic battle against tremendous odds and then being able to find a way through. At the end, the hero is congratulated by the ones who believed in him and his loved ones. It makes for a beautiful moment.
However, in this case this wasn't a movie, it just happened on Sunday. A real uplifting story with a hero who is a real life person. I can't help but to have tears of joy and inspiration fill my heart and soul as I have just seen Lleyton Hewitt win his second title of 2014 with a 6-3 6-7 7-6 against someone who he has had trouble with in the past.
Legends are created with something inside. A great fire which comes from within. Hewitt is a gladiator, an ultimate warrior, a living legend. He is the ultimate professional. Hewitt has just won his 30th career singles title in Newport, R.I. at the Tennis Hall of Fame. He faced Goliath — Ivo Karlovic, who he had never beaten on grass and has a 1-4 win and loss record against.
All that changed Sunday afternoon. Hewitt begin the challenge, faced it, and rose in triumph. He fell to his knees and lifted his arms toward the heavens in victory. He set out with the goal of winning this tournament and now he has conquered it. He just gave his everything out there and showed tremendous courage, fire, and heart. Karlovic can be mentally tough to play because he takes away your rhythm, your timing. He has such a big serve, if you ever lose your serve, you can lose the match.
Hewitt, remained mentally tough and focused like he has done throughout his whole career. He remained positive and just kept trying. Hewitt in this match and in his career has shown how disciplined and motivated he is. He is determined to get the absolute best out of himself each and every day in his life. That is a rare and admirable trait in a person.
Hewitt already has a Hall of Fame resume for what he has been able to do on the court. He just added to it today. He should also be remembered for who he is as a human being. He is a humble champion, a family man, who believes in his purpose and uses his iron will to fulfill it. Hewitt has displayed throughout his career as someone who has a strong moral compass that includes humility, passion, and integrity. Proud of who he is as a person and proud of his work ethic as a professional.
"And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something that's larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized by the storytellers." — Ultimate Warrior
A Hall of Fame resume which includes over 600 wins. 30 titles, two Grand Slams, and two years being the No. 1 player in the world. Hewitt has always had tremendous courage, fire, and heart. We can look and say Hewitt is prime example of someone that always was a positive person who followed and lived with his heart on his sleeve. He is disciplined and motivated to get the absolute best out of himself each and every day in his life. He believes in his purpose and uses his iron will to live his life. He is a winner, he is a legend and Legends are forever.
"Something that ain't running and ain't backin' up and is hittin' on you and you're too damn tired to breathe... you find that situation on you, that's good, 'cause that's Baptism Under Fire! You get through that, and you find the only kind of respect that matters in this world: Self-Respect." — Rocky Balboa
The media is always quick to write him off, when he doesn't do well and of all the injuries he has had. He could walk away and no one would think less of them. There will be memories turned into stories of how this Aussie did remarkable things. We are lucky to be able to still see an athlete out there grinding his way through opponents and tournaments week in and week out.
If you watch Hewitt compete you can tell he loves tennis. He loves the battle. He isn't out there for the money, but to simply be the best version of himself. Hewitt always has had many challenges standing in front him. Whether it be his opponents or those nagging injuries one thing is for sure Hewitt will not back away from anything. He will, will his way through them. Sunday's victory against Ivo should not only signify who Lleyton Hewitt is, but it will also show his endurance as a a humble champion. His victory will be celebrated by the honor and respect he deserves — self-respect.
Christopher Chaffee is the head tennis pro at Cranmore Resort and coach of the Fryeburg Academy girls tennis team.
By Joe Soraghan
“A Golfer has an advantage over a fisherman: he doesn’t have to produce anything to prove his story.” — Anonymous
Clarkie was a fixture around the New York state horse racing tracks, and he always felt that Saratoga was the best of all. Even though he lived in the city, Clarkie would hop on the train at six o’clock in the morning to travel upstate every day the horses were running. In the evenings, he would take the trip back to the city and arrive home close to midnight. When he was asked by a friend why he didn’t just stay in Saratoga, he replied, “I need to spend time with the family.”
This is a story that has gone around in horse racing scenes throughout the country. But, I first heard it at a golf course in the Saratoga area, where horse racing remains the top attraction. The location of my high level conversation was the “19th Hole” with my opponent who shared an interest in the “sport of kings.”
The “19th Hole” is where golfers take their game after having completed the first 18. It is where wagers are settled, shots are relived, and discussions are centered on the quality of the shots. It is here where men and woman meet to replay the round or to engage in conversations that are of general interest. A round of golf typically moves from the course to the clubhouse or a local tavern, where, over food, drink, and friendship, it is hoped that a nice experience is expounded upon and future rounds are planned. What is it that you as a golfer are looking for in a 19th Hole?
The 19h Hole is usually located in a clubhouse where the furnishings, fare, aesthetics, and physical location are often determined by the membership and what they are willing to pay. Many golfers visit courses where their first impression is similar to a child’s reaction to a visit to Disney Land: they are awestruck. For most of us, it is our own local course that provides the enjoyment, sustenance, and friendship. Realistic golf course managers have got to know the players and the limitations of what can be provided to the clientele. One of the more unique courses I have visited was in Conemara, Ireland. This was a nine-hole local course where, upon completion of your round, you went to a small hut where you helped yourself to some libation if the bartender was unavailable. The operation was on the honor system. The bartender was also the course pro and superintendent. This was a family-owned course with a system that worked effectively for the locals and this visiting American.
Jack Nicklaus, now heavily involved in golf course design work, warns new developers that clubhouses should be designed for economic efficiency. Ostentatious buildings can become burdens to a club and its membership. He wants his clientele to be realistic about their investment and their future. I note that most of Jack's design work is now overseas, as golf course design has come to a screeching halt here in the States.
To our local golfers and the 19th Holes they favor, remember to share in the responsibility of making a round of golf enjoyable for all that play the course. Visit your 19th Hole, enjoy your friends, support the club to which you have attached your name, and promote your club. Without support of membership and visitors to our fine facilities we will find ourselves on the outside looking in. When you have completed your experience, like Clarkie, you can go home and spend time with the family.
• Indian Mound Golf Course (539-7733): The On the Links players are praying for sunshine for their rounds this week. Leading the way in their respective divisions are The Sht Birds, pro division, Conway Slicers, bogey division and The Happy Hookers in the sandbagger division. In Ladies league action Carrie Nolet, Pat Kaligian, Sandra Carr, and Jean Lawton are on top of their division. A reminder for your calendar, the Ladies Invitational will be held on September 24. In the Rivers Edge Quota League, Dave Charette and Bob Cyr took top honors at +8. Closest to the pin winners were Rickie Tibbetts and Jim Pearson. Clinics for players of all abilities are held on Mondays from 3 to 4:15 p.m. The cost is $15 per player. Nine and Dine Sundays are in full swing. This fun outing gets you 9 holes of golf, a cart, dinner, and prizes for $30 per player each Sunday afternoon. The Back 9 Falcons have been honing their golf skills at the Mound for the Special Olympics event later this month.
• Wentworth Golf Course (383-9641): This weekend the Jackson 18 will host the Member/Guest tournament and the much anticipated evening gala. In Ladies League action Lorna Kimball took the top honors. She was followed by Susan Dugdale and Sheila Hastings. Week 8 of Red Fox action saw the Over Par team take the top spot, in second place it was The Leprechaun’s and third the Pin Seekers. Individually, long drives went to Keith Bradley and Amy Russo. Closest to the pin honors went to Cam James. On Saturday, July 19, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Mental Coach Lisa Love will be presenting a seminar/clinic that focuses on the mental approach to the golf game. This will be limited to 12 people and will be a classroom style presentation along with time on the putting green. The cost is $20 per person. Sign up with Kevin.
• North Conway Country Club (356-9391): A Rules Clinic will be held this evening at NCCC with NHUSGA rules guru, John Jelley. This will be an “on course” clinic that begins at 4:30 p.m. When this useful free clinic is over, the 19th Hole will be open with “munchies” available. The Two-Day Member/Guest is scheduled for July 18 and 19. Results for the Flag Tournament are in and the three top players are Lenny White, Bruce Sanderson, and Jackie Gaudes. This weekend, members are playing for Champ of the Month honors.
• Eagle Mountain Golf Course (383-9090): Rain has interfered with Don Ho action at the Jackson 9. Completing their season at -50 was the Sherwin Williams team but the GB Carrier team at -35 and the Divot Kings at -32 still have two weeks of play to try and catch the Sherwin Williams team. The Eagle continues to offer great values for families after 3 p.m. and Family clinics will be available the next three Sundays. Call the pro shop for more information.
• Province Lake Golf Course (207-793-4040): It took the final week and a few holes to crown the champs in the Pau Hana League. The team of Don Hayward, Diana Hayward, Alden Hayward, and Dick Edwards took the top spot, just edging out the team of Diane Lofgren, Eric Lofgren, Howie Knight, and Patrick DeAngelo. Individual honors went to Chris Giminez for closest to the pin with long drives going to Howie Knight and Diana Hayward. Sign ups have begun for the Fall League. This Saturday, Bucky Lewis will bring his act to PLG. Call for reservations.
This weekend, professional women golfers will be competing in the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale. Every golfer should be rooting for Julie Inkster who, with a victory in this great major, would have a career Grand Slam for Women’s majors. The Women’s majors are a bit more complex than the men. The Western Open, held from 1930-1967, was considered a major, along with the Titleholders Tourneys, 1937-42, 1946-66, and 1972. The U.S. Women’s Open, the LPGA Championship, Kraft Nabisco Championship, and the Women’s Open complete the list. Have a great golfing weekend and partake in 19th Hole camaraderie!
By Marty Basch
Know a young valley bicyclist who wants to ride around Mount Washington?
A couple of young riders could get a free ride in the July 19 Mount Washington Century-plus Ride, a fundraiser for Albany's Tin Mountain Conservation Center.
All it takes for getting into a raffle for a shot at a free entry is posting something on a Facebook page.
Valley-based The Skinny Towel is sponsoring entries for one male and one female cyclist aged 21 years and younger from our happy valley.
What they have to do is simple. Post a comment on why you or someone you know would like to ride in the century on White Mountains TV 16's Facebook page and be entered into a drawing.