Par 3: shorter course, long fun

Birch Ridge Golf Report

Posted: Friday, June 01, 2007

Par three, that is. And that’s what this past Saturday at Birch Ridge was all about when 40 golfers came out to tee off for the 34th Anniversary Par Three Tournament. The course was set up with the tee boxes moved to make it possible for each team of four, combining their efforts in a scramble format, to get the ball in the hole with three shots. And with a net score of 31, I’m very happy to report that I managed to somehow end up on the winning team again (more about having good partners than playing good golf).

And who do I thank for our first-place honor? That would be Dave and Jane Stein and my wise and wonderful husband Dave Keating. Wise because he always seems to have those words of wisdom that have made me the golf enthusiast that I am today. (Such as when I ask him questions like, “Do you think I can get there with a five-iron?” And he responds with, “Eventually.”) And wonderful ... well, just because he is. It goes without saying that our two Daves were there for us, but I think it was Jane’s 40-foot-plus putt on No. 18 that cinched it. Way to go team!

I didn’t hear any stories about how the team of Carl and Judy Christiansen and Tom and Tanya Boedeker managed to take second with a net 34, but I know how all of them can hit the ball, so I’m sure it was a combined effort. (Any corrections to that statement will be reported later).

Third-place honors go to the team of Travis Wetzel, Jennifer Cowan, Zac Cowan and Jacquelyn Cowan with a net score of 35. But it didn’t come easy since they had to chip off against the team of Ray Hamby, Don McGhee, Mick Reeve and George McDowell.

The big winners, though, were the four golfers who were closest to the designated holes. Actually, it was only three golfers since Curtis “Murphy” Smith won two of the four holes (No. 12 and No. 16). Don McGhee was closest to the hole on No. 2, and on No. 4, Justin Hermann took the prize. That’s better than a par any day.

In spite of the cool weather everyone had a great time — fantastic company, lots of laughs and enjoying the wonderful feast provided by Myrna Cowan. And all that while basking in the warmth of the two new propane heaters provided by the Birch Ridge Golf Association for the pavilion. Who could ask for more? It’s just “par for the course” at Birch Ridge.

We’re still looking for a few more lady golfers to fill the field for the Rally For A Cure tournament on June 10. Entry fee is $60 which includes green fees, a packet of “goodies”, a one-year subscription to “Golf for Women” magazine, a barbecue following the tournament and lots of fun opportunities to win great prizes. All proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Ladies from the Kenai Golf Course and the Bird Homestead Golf Course are welcome to come join the fun and help us raise awareness and show support for this great cause.

Ladies of all skill levels are encouraged to play. To help those beginning golfers who want to be a part of our 2nd annual Rally, Tom Walsh and Bill Engberg are conducting a clinic on Thursday, June 7, at 6 p.m. to provide some pointers. The cost is only $5 for an hour of “how-to-play”. So call the pro shop at 262-5270 to sign up. The tournament is a scramble format with teams made up of A, B, C and D players. The only requirement is to have a good time.

Included in the Rally entry fee is the opportunity to win prizes for “closest to the hole,” longest drive and closest to the pink line. There will be door prizes and we will draw the winning raffle ticket for our “Party & Spirits Barrel.” Each player will be allowed to purchase two “mulligans” (a chance to hit it again, hopefully with a better outcome). We’ll have a silent auction and if that weren’t enough, we have a few more surprises. And don’t forget the “Patsy Pink” contest, so be sure and wear pink. For more information or to register, call the pro shop at 262-5270.

It’s not too late to sign up your kids (ages 8 to 14) for the Junior Golf Clinic the week of June 11 to 15. For more information, call the pro shop at 262-5270.

The Monday Morning Seniors League took time out to celebrate Memorial Day this week and played on Tuesday instead. With 12 players teeing off, Roger Jones made the longest putt, Gary Effenbeck was closest to the hole on No. 6 and Ed Robinson was closest to the hole on No. 8. No comment on whether they made par.

The Tuesday Morning Ladies League had six golfers brave the wind and rain this week to play. Instead of running for cover, they hung in there. Chiya Bazan had the low net score of 33 with Elaine Anderson posting a low net of 34. Elaine also chipped in on No. 18 for a birdie. Beats par any day. With 16 putts each, three ladies shared the lowest number of putts honor (Chiya Bazan, Elaine Anderson and Kathy Herring). Chiya and Elaine also shared the mystery hole with Janet St. Clair. Sounds like they had a lot of fun in spite of the weather.

The Tuesday Night Couples experienced the same wind and really cool temperatures, but it didn’t stop eight couples from playing a two-person Scotch Double format. Each player hit their own drive, picked the one they wanted to use and then alternated shots into the hole. (A true test of a couple’s relationship). We all managed to survive the weather and our partner’s golf shots and were more than grateful for the warmth and company in the clubhouse afterwards. Jamie and Jana Query didn’t let the weather keep them from taking first place, with John and Jane Tongen coming in second and Charlie and Lore Weimer a close third. I know that par means average or normal, but that doesn’t really describe our Tuesday Night Couples League, thanks to our leaders John and Jane Tongen and all the great folks that come out to join us. Why not give it a try next week?

The Wednesday Night Men’s League canceled last week due to rain. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates a little better this week and that summer will show up to play soon.

TOM’S TIP FOR THE WEEK: Rules question: “You’ve teed off on a par 3 and struck a tree so you hit a provisional. Your group couldn’t find the original ball and you decided it was lost. You played the provisional past the spot where you thought the original had landed, but when you got to the green, your first ball was in the hole! Is that an ace?”

Answer: Bad news. Rule 27-2 states that the provisional ball becomes the “ball in play” if the player hits his/her shot from the place the original ball is likely to be or from a point anywhere nearer the hole. Alas, your bank shot doesn’t count because you played your provisional ball past the likely spot of the first ball, making your original ball lost. Better luck next time.

SHARON’S THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: OK, Tom. So here’s my question for the poor golfer with the ball in the hole that doesn’t count. Does he/she still have to buy drinks for the house?

And finally, don’t you think it’s strange that in golf it’s better to be below average and that “par for the course” doesn’t always win?

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