Birch Ridge Golf Report: What an awesome community

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm sure you already know that we live in an awesome community with a generous spirit surpassed by none. That was evident again this past weekend at the Birch Ridge Golf Course. I usually try to instill a little lightheartedness in my weekly reports and although I write these words with a smile on my face, I feel compelled to use this limited space to instead brag on this wonderful community we live in.

Considering it was pouring down rain Sunday morning, it is truly amazing that the 71 ladies who registered to play in the Third Annual Rally for the Cure all showed up decked out in pink (although covered up with rain gear) and ready to support the cause. Breast cancer awareness was the theme and raising funds to fight the deadly disease was what we did. And even though we got drenched, everyone felt it was well worth it to be a part of such a wonderful event. Without our ladies in pink that golfed in the rain, the generous support of so many businesses and individuals, and the help of our exceptional volunteers, the Rally would not have been the success that it was. We are waiting for the final tally, but it's obvious we exceeded last year's total -- raising funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and our local hospital oncology department.

Everyone who attended the Rally is surely a winner, but the team of Jane Tongen, Pat Bird, Carol Hussey and Sandi Poe stood out above the rest coming in at 5-under par. And although several teams challenged them, the team of Kristi Larson, Deb Milam, Dawni Giugler and Stacie Krause took home the "Pink Lanterns." Jennifer Cowan had the longest drive, Paula Crowley was closest to the hole on No. 6, Margaret Stanley was closest on No. 8 and closest to the pink line on No. 2 was Barb Winkler. Chiya Bazan's drive was closest to the target in the pink ribbon painted on the No. 9 fairway. The prestigious "Patsy Pink" award went to Carol Hussey, who managed to be really pink in spite of the rain.

Our very deserving Rally Ambassador, Judy Keck-Walsh, was the recipient of the first "Diva Driver," created by our extremely talented committee member, Barb Winkler. This wonderful creation is beyond description -- have Judy show it to you.

There are so many to thank -- please read the "Applause Section" when it appears on the Opinion page in the Clarion and you will agree that, yes, we live in an awesome community. I want to especially thank our water-soaked volunteers who joined us in the rain; Photographer-Extraordinaire, Gerald Winkler, helping us preserve those wet and wild memories at Also, our most wonderful Golf Pro, Tom Walsh, who promised every team a good drive on No. 7 and delivered; the three lovely ladies on No. 6 (Marquitta Andrus, Lisa Jackson and Sue Mann), who were there to greet us with smiles and darts (you had to be there); our very special "spotters," Sharon Sleater (on No. 4) and Dan Murphy (on No. 8); and Brittany Winkler, who drove around doing whatever we needed her to do. Bless you all!

Few are more generous than our local Rotarians and golfing to raise funds in their annual "Midnight Scramble" (which was held Saturday night) is just one way they show support for their many wonderful causes. The team of John Davis, Mary Jo Davis, Rob Smithwick and Jenny Smithwick took first place. Dan Murphy, Curtis Nelson, Carl Christensen and Judy Christensen came in second. While generous to a fault, the Rotary memory is coming up short (like my putts), so the winners of the longest drive and closest-to-the-hole prizes are a mystery. Call me with the information and I'll report it next week.

The Junior Golf Tournament was held on June 19 and our future golf stars showed just how much they have learned as they competed in their various age groups. In the boys ages 8 to 9 group, Eli Sheridan took first place, with Austin Eriksson coming in second. Among the 8- to 9-year old girls, Natalee Johnson came in first and Vanessa Anglebrant took second place. Clayton Longfellow was first in his 10- to 13-year old age group, and coming in second was Marshall Vest. For the girls ages 10 to 13, first place went to Aubrey Bright and Hannah Pothast came in second. Don't forget, juniors play for free on Thursday mornings. Call the pro shop (262-5270) for details.

Even though the cool, rainy weather kept some fair-weather golfers home, 14 seniors came out to play Monday morning. John Davis posted the low net (32). John also won closest to the hole on No. 6. Pat Cowan was closest to the hole on No. 8 and had the longest putt on No. 9. Way to go John and Pat.

The Tuesday morning ladies lucked out with the weather under sunny skies. Since many of them played in the rainy Rally on Sunday, they deserved it. Cheryl Hammarstrom, Paula Hite, Carol Hussey and Jane Tongen made up the winning team in a scramble. Kathy Nielsen was closest to the hole on No. 6. Tanya Boedeker was closest on No. 8.

The Tuesday night couple-in-charge, George and Sue Stein, generously allowed the 10 couples who played to have five clubs between them, playing a best-ball format. Three teams tied with a net 30. A "card-off" determined the winners, with Pat and Myrna Cowan placing first, George and Sue Stein coming in second and Del and Sally Hoagland taking third.

On June 18, the Wednesday Men's Night winning team was Phil Christensen, Scott Kempf and Al Dettmer. Phil was also closest to the hole on hole Nos. 6 and 8. George Collum had the longest drive and on No. 18, Scott Kempf's second shot was closest to the hole. Thursday night is Ladies Night. Tom Walsh will do a free clinic at 5:30 p.m. (call to reserve your spot). Then the ladies will head out to play a fun, relaxing round of golf.

Don't miss the Eighth Annual Pro-Am/12th Annual All-Alaskan Pro Skins Game on July 7. The Pro-Am format is one pro and three amateurs per team. Amateurs, sign up by July 6. The public is invited to the barbecue following the Pro-Am and to follow the pros as they compete in the Skins Game. This year, three former Birch Ridge junior golfers who have gone on to pursue golfing careers will be here competing with the big boys! More information will follow in next week's report.

SHARON'S THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: I sure wish Mother Nature was as generous with the sun this year as our awesome community is with its time, efforts and dollars.

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