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Family spirit runs strong at Birch Ridge Golf Course

Posted: June 30, 2011 - 8:00am

Birch Ridge Golf Course has always been a family affair. If you have ever played nine holes here you know that Pat and Myrna Cowan own the golf course and you're probably aware that they live right next to the practice green. I've been witness to family gatherings that seemingly involve 98 percent of Soldotna.

The family's collective omnipresence raises the distinct possibility of accidently marrying a young lady from this town and becoming a relative myself, but to this point I have masterfully avoided the outcome. Although, if such a calamity did occur, I don't think it would affect my relationship with Pat. He might have to buy another minifridge to stock full of Labatts, but for the most part everything would remain the same as it's always been, and that's damn entertaining.

Those of you that know me may be amused that I'm capable of even typing the word marriage, but church bells are on my mind. A good friend of mine, who happens to be Pat and Myrna's grandson, Zac Cowan, was married to Anna Edmondson on Saturday. An estimated 1 million Cowans attended the wedding.

It was a beautiful ceremony. Each newlywed wrote their own vows, which were absolute tear-jerkers. At critical moments I resorted to visualizing all the horrendous golf shots I've hit in my life to remain as visibly tough as possible throughout the proceedings.

The reception that followed was fantastic as well - at least the parts that I remember. I place full blame on the keg of Labatts for any forgetfulness. Watching Myrna and her daughters shake their tail feathers (as the young kids would say) on the dance floor was incredibly entertaining. So much so that even I was compelled to show off a complete lack of rhythm, resulting in utter disaster for my reputation. Thank you Zac and Anna, look what you've done.

Senior League

Eighteen impressively aged golfers arrived at the course for the eighth week of senior league play. Tom Hodel and Ed Robinson tied for first place with a pair of net 32s. Earl Matthis captured closest-to honors at the sixth and the scintillating Sid Cox continued his hot streak with the long putt on nine.

I want to take a moment to commend our seniors for continuing to entertain me on weekly basis. Some of these guys have been teeing it up since the late 1800s and to see their zeal for the game, still strong all these years later, is truly something to admire.

Tuesday Morning Ladies League

I love challenges. Failure or success isn't important; pleasure is derived from the process of attempting to accomplish something worthwhile. So I was interested to see how the loveable ladies of Birch Ridge would respond to my pre-potluck challenge. I wanted our ladies to bring the goods, of course I'm referring to baked goods, and they responded with vigor.

The carrot cake was fantastic, and whoever made those chocolate chip cookies, feel free to give yourself a high five. Only names, no scores, were provided on the results sheet used for writing this column. This leads me to believe that the ladies fared much better in the kitchen than they did on the golf course.

Rita Geller, Leona Jackson, Denise Cox and Elaine Anderson teamed up to win the scoreless contest. Tanna Chenault, Carol Hussey, Dee Richards and Cheryl Hammerstrom came in second. How this was determined without scores is still a mystery.

Tuesday Couples Night

The sun was out Tuesday night for 10 lovely couples to work on their tan lines. The same scoring format that will be used for our Pro-Am on July 11th was put in play. Golfers were paired in teams of four and each player would play out their own ball.

The lowest gross and net score from two separate golfers on each hole would be combined to create the team score. George and Sue "Mrs. Alaska" Stein teamed up with the wonderfully wacky Weimers, Charlie and Lori, to crush the competition on their way to first-place glory. Darell and Susan Jelsma paired with Dee Richards and the Mayor of Kasilof, Ray Hamby, for a second-place finish.

Birch Ridge Golf Committee's Officially Unofficial Golf Rankings

The Birch Ridge Celebrity Golf Panel didn't find a reason to shake things up in this week's officially unofficial rankings. Rory McIlroy maintains his lofty perch and the rest of the top 10 didn't see much change heading into this weekend's AT&T National.

  • 1. Rory McIlroy
  • 2. Lee Westwood
  • 3. Luke Donald
  • 4. Jason Day
  • 5. Graeme McDowell
  • 6. Steve Stricker
  • 7. Charl Schwartzel
  • 8. Matt Kuchar
  • 9. Martin Kaymer
  • 10. Bubba Watson

Golf Trivia

Answer from last week: Byron Nelson won an incredible 11 consecutive events in 1945!

Q. For five consecutive major championships, an American has failed to win, beginning with Graeme McDowell's win at the 2010 U.S. Open and ending with Rory McIlroy's triumph at this year's U.S. Open. Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer and Charl Schwartzel captured major championships during this period of time as well. When was the last time America had such a drought in major championships?

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