Birch Ridge Golf Report: Memorial Day, golf go well together

Posted: Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day weekend is almost here. Why not make golf a part of your celebration as you remember all those who have served and continue to serve our country giving us the freedom to enjoy a round of golf in such a beautiful setting as Birch Ridge Golf Course? I recently read an article about soldiers in Iraq finding unique ways to "play golf" amidst the mortar rounds and sandstorms and was again reminded of how blessed we are to live in a place where we have the choice to play golf. So as you tee it up, remember to say a prayer for our troops and say "thanks" for keeping us safe and protecting our freedoms.

Mark your calendars for the following upcoming events:

* 35th Anniversary Par-3 Tournament: May 31 at 3 p.m. Sign up by 6 p.m. on May 30. The $35 fee includes first place and four closest-to-the-hole prizes and a barbecue following the tournament. Each hole is set up as a par 3 for this fun, four-person-team, handicapped scramble.

* Junior Golf Clinic: June 9 to 13; 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Kids are taught golf fundamentals, etiquette and rules while helping them gain self-confidence, patience, integrity and many other attributes to help them throughout life. This is our 15th year of the Junior Golf Program. Many of the graduates have excelled and gone on to college to pursue golf-related careers. The cost is $60, or $30 for additional kids in same family. For more information, call the pro shop at 262-5270.

* 30th Annual June Scramble: June 14 is the date, so put your team together and sign up for this prestigious event.

* 3rd Annual Rally for the Cure: June 22, 10 a.m. We expect this ladies-only, 9-hole, 4-person scramble event to be even more successful this year. It will be tough to beat the wonderful weather we had last year, but with something on every hole -- lots of prizes, raffles, a silent auction and lunch -- there will be even more opportunities to have fun as we raise funds for breast cancer awareness and treatment.

Proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and this year, a portion of our proceeds will go to our local hospital oncology department to be used for local breast cancer patients. So, ladies, no matter what your golfing skill level, you won't want to miss out on this great event. Last year, we ran out of space, so sign up soon. We're still looking for hole sponsors, silent auction items and raffle prizes.

Our Monday Morning Seniors group is turning into a men's group so we still need some ladies to challenge these guys. Due to the holiday, next week seniors will play on Tuesday at 9 a.m. There was a slight miscalculation last week and the actual winner was Chuck Rider with a net 33, the same score that David Johnsrud won with this week. Chuck also was closest to the hole on No. 6, a shot within 12 feet, 8 1/2 inches. Pat Cowan was closest to the hole on No. 8. The longest putt was an 11-foot, 4 1/2-inch effort by Bruce King. Come on gals, we can do this!

And then there were eight ... ladies, that is ... on Tuesday morning. The Jane Tongen, Diane Mirsch, Myrna Cowan and Elaine Anderson team had the lowest team score. Jane and Diane also shared the least number of putts and low net score. Closest to the hole on No. 8 was Cheryl Hammarstrom.

Ten couples played on the Tuesday Night Couples "Fun" Night, with a little "golf" thrown in for good measure (or in my case, a lot of golf). We played a two-person, nine-best-net format, each person playing their own game, using the best net on each hole.

In honor of Memorial Day, we also played "flaggies" (the couple making the most putts the length of the flag-pole or longer). There were four couples with one "flaggie" each, so a drawing determined the winner to be Del and Sally Hoagland. Darell and Susan Jelsma beat out Tom and Judy Keck-Walsh for first place, with George and Sue Stein taking third. Thanks to George and Sue for doing a great job as couple in charge this week.

The Wednesday Night Men's League is growing in numbers and so will the pot next Wednesday and every last Wednesday of the month all season (also known as "Big Wednesday"). One Wednesday night in June (to be determined), the guys will try to "Beat the Pros" (Tom Walsh and Bill Engberg).

Attention ladies: Come on out on Thursday nights at 6 p.m. for a fun night of golf with the gals and an occasional miniclinic from Tom Walsh, our pro.

Tom's Tip for the Week: If you miss too many short putts (shorter than 10 feet) you probably aren't aiming your putter correctly. The sweet spot must be perpendicular to your target in order to start the ball on line and keep it there. Seems obvious, but if you miss a lot of short putts, you probably take aiming the clubface for granted.

To fix this, get a friend, find a straight, 8-foot putt on the practice green and put down your ball. Next go through your normal pre-putt routine. Once you address the ball, have your friend replace your ball with a credit card, with the edge touching the putter face. Now stand back and look down the edges of the card. The lines extending out should bracket the cup.

If not, repeat the drill, aligning the card first, then place the ball on top with your putter face square to the edge of the card. This allows you to see what straight really looks like. After a few tries you'll get it right without any help.

Sharon's Thought for the Week: When I play golf on Memorial Day, I won't need to make any changes to my golf game, since it already resembles a military march down the fairway, you know ... left ... right ... left ... right.

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