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Kenai golf report: A fresh season, a lost friend

Posted: Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It has been my privilege to write the Kenai Golf Report. I would like to thank those who have read it and expressed their enjoyment in keeping up with it each week. The positive comments from the nongolfers, too, were especially appreciated. Those comments kept me writing each week for several years during the short but long golf season we enjoy in Alaska.

In the late 1980s when I first discovered my love for the game, I was working at Birch Ridge Golf Course. My first venture off of Birch Ridge led me to play at Kenai Golf Course in a tournament. I luckily won a season pass by having the closest-to-the-pin on No. 5. I started playing regularly at Kenai Golf Course the following season, through late into the season.

In early August 1990, after I completed nine holes, Julie Morgan said, "Hey Rita, grandpa needs someone to finish the season at the desk. I'm leaving for college in a few days, wanna work?" Dick Morgan overheard the conversation and said, "Would you like to start? Then show up on Monday and I'll show you the routine."

In 1995, I took the season off at the desk, not by choice, but for my cancer treatment on Oahu. When I got back to the desk in 1996 I heard a comment, "Why does the other course have a weekly golf article and Kenai Golf Course doesn't?" It got me thinking. Maybe I could get it going? I wrote a draft, green as could be, and showed it to Dick. He said, "Go for it!"

My work and play at Kenai Golf Course has allowed me to meet so many who share a love of a game. Those who play regularly, or just once in a while, become part of a golfing family. We share a common interest and that binds us. It is the same for hockey players, snowmobilers, fishers or any other group with a common interest.

It has been extremely rewarding for me to be part of such a great group at Kenai Golf Course. Thank you Kenai Golf Course for the many years I have worked at your desk and played on your greens and fairways.

I have learned we are all so much alike than different. We all, most importantly, want our loved ones to be healthy and happy. We all have responsibilities, jobs and families that depend on us. We are all heading down a path wanting to do our best and also hoping for the best. We are all so much alike, but each of us has a unique way of traveling.

My thoughts now are of all the wonderful blessings I have experienced in my life. My blessings are too numerous to count. Most importantly and at the top of this list are my two sons and grandsons, my brother, sister, mom and dad. Being able to spend the bulk of my life in Alaska and Hawaii has been incredible.

I enjoyed my 25 years of elementary teaching in Kenai. I enjoyed 20-plus years of farming, raising and training horses on Strawberry Road. I so enjoyed spending years at Alyeska on the ski hill with several other families and watching our kids grow up. I enjoyed the golfers I've met over the years at the golf course. All of those discussions about why the ball goes to the left or to the right instead of where we really wanted it to go were really fun.

2005 will be a super season for golfers on the Kenai Golf Course. There is so much to look forward to with a brand-new season and brand-new times. Thank you so much for your calls and thoughtfulness. They were most appreciated and elevated my thoughts. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your encouragement.

See you on the fairways.



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