Birch Ridge report: Has summer started yet?

We’re almost through the first month of the season already. It’s amazing how quickly time passes during the summer. Although you’d have to make quite an argument to convince me that summer has even started!


Maybe us Alaskans need to redefine what qualifies as summer. Maybe if the weather forecast continuously calls for sun, you know, that orange thing in the sky that theoretically exists, and it’s still cold and overcast every day, that’s summer.


OK, enough whining from me, there’s still plenty to look forward to at Birch Ridge Golf Course this summer. The “Guru of Grass”, the “Sultan of Seed”, the “Foremost Authority,” Bill Engberg, has the course, with great contributions from the crew, in fantastic condition. The greens are coming along nicely, and I don’t remember the last time our fairways were in so good of shape. Maybe it happened when I was a kid, but I always hit it in the woods back then, so I wouldn’t have a clue what the fairways looked like. If that mythical orange thing ever shows up we’re going to a great year out on the course.  

Tournament season is getting under way as well. Our most popular scramble tournament of the year is on June 16, the aptly named June Scramble is in its 34th year. We’re also co-hosting an AGA two-person jackpot tournament with Kenai Golf Course that takes place on the June 23 and 24. Proceeds of this new event will benefit junior programs at both golf courses. For more information on these events, please call the pro shop.

Junior Golf

The “Hook a Kid on Golf” program is coming to Birch Ridge next Monday for a great week of golf for our newest batch of lovable little hacks out there. This is always a great time of year for us, working with the kids is such a joy, it doesn’t matter if they know that they’re holding a golf club, I’m convinced most of them think it’s a light saber from “Star Wars,” the boys anyway. They always have a great time, and it’s a great way to introduce them to the game while providing them with the equipment and knowledge necessary to continue playing long after the program ends.

The following week, Birch Ridge’s own junior program gets under way with hundreds of miniature duffers running around this place like it’s a track and field complex. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, they don’t run, not much anyway, and we usually have about 60 kids, which is so encouraging for the future of golf in our community. If you’re interested in having your kids come out for the Birch Ridge Junior Golf Program please call the pro shop for more information. The camp runs from June 11 to 15. 

Senior League

Eleven elderly legends of the links braved the conditions Tuesday morning for another week of dynamite league action. Pat McElroy continued to put his grandson Rory in his place with another display of stellar play. McElroy tied for first with Dave Johnsrud, both posted net 34s. Darell “Cool Hand Luke” Jelsma casually feathered his ball within 13 feet of the cup for closest to at the sixth. “Captain Cohoe,” Ray Hamby, left his ball within a fishing pole of the pin for closest to at the eighth. Sid “Vicious” Cox had the long putt on hole nine, a whopping 8 feet away. Next Monday the seniors will play at 9 a.m. 

Tuesday Morning Ladies League

The loveable ladies of Birch Ridge were back at it again this week. Leona “Action” Jackson really struggled out there en route to posting an unsightly score. After the round, she specifically requested that I avoid putting her score in the newspaper. Being the nice guy that I am, I will happily oblige. I’m not in this to embarrass anyone.

Of course, Leona wasn’t the only lady out there Tuesday. Tanya “If You’re Not First You’re Last” Boedeker continued to crush the competition by winning closest to at the eighth, easily sinking her birdie putt on the same hole, and by capturing both low net and the mystery hole. The ladies play every Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. if you’re interested in joining the fun!

Tuesday Couples Night

Six pairs of lovebirds played in Couples Night this week. The format was “Odds and Evens,” which means couples used their net score on the odd holes and their gross score on the even holes. The twist was that golfers had to use every club in their bag at least once!

Mike “Will Rogers” Chenault and his wife, Tanna, took home first-place honors with Gary “Renewable Resource” Dawkins and Lori Riggs-Bishop coming in second. Mother Myrna, who’s coming real close to surpassing Mother Teresa in my opinion, made some fabulous chicken-sausage shish kebobs along with other goodies for the post-round snack. Couples Night is always a great time that takes place every Tuesday at 6 p.m. We look forward to having more couples participate in the coming weeks!


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