Golf is ‘cool’

Birch Ridge Report

Posted: Thursday, August 24, 2006

Golfing at Birch Ridge — it’s the cool thing to do! I’m not referring to the outside temperature these days, although the weather would indicate that the end of our season is getting closer than we would like to believe. Golf is just plain cool, especially at Birch Ridge. What other sport can you participate in and not have to run, jump, pass or worry about being tackled by the opposition?

OK, maybe there are days on the golf course where running, jumping, passing and being tackled by the opposition are a possibility, but as a general rule it’s not a requirement. And the best part is that you can dress in funky colored duds that don’t even match and be in style. (Just watch Sergio Garcia or Jesper Parnevik). Now that’s what I call “cool!”

Take the Bassackwards Tournament this past Saturday at Birch Ridge. What is really “cool” is that I decided to look on the Internet to see how many other tournaments I could find where the course is played backwards and guess what? When I “Googled” bassackwards golf, the first two sights referenced were for our very own tournament here at Birch Ridge. Two other sights referenced this report from last week promoting the tournament. And I could find no other such tournament anywhere else. Now that’s “cool!” So if you didn’t play it this year, you really missed out. Be sure and mark your calendar for next year.

Sponsored by the Birch Ridge Golf Association to help raise funds for our Junior Golf Program, the Bassackwards Tournament was a huge success again this year, thanks to several association members and to all those who came out to play. Dan Murphy, association president, headed up the committee and, together with Tom Walsh and Gary Effenbeck, set up the course to make it as challenging as possible to get from fairway to green. Dan also cooked the steaks with helpers Dick Cockroft and John Tongen. Linda Murphy, Myrna Cowan, Jane Tongen and I provided salads. Mark Mataresse collected the money for the longest drive and closest to the hole contests and Pat Cowan put together the teams. We were able to raise approximately $750 after expenses and prizes for our Junior Golf Program.

And taking that cool first-place honor was the team of Phil Christensen, Jane Tongen and Paula Crowley. Being on the second-place team was pretty cool, too. So I want to thank Mark Mataresse, Dick Cockroft and Rick Kennedy for being there for me to make it happen. There was a tie for third place with the team of Mike Azzara, Pat Bird, Don McGhee and Paul Zimmerman winning out over the team of Josh Lansing, John Lansing, Al Dettmer and Steve Horn in a “chip-off.”

Closest to the hole (teeing off from the No. 6 fairway to the No. 5 green) was our very cool association secretary, Linda Murphy. And teeing off from the No. 8 fairway to the No. 7 green, that very cool dude, Paul Zimmerman, was closest to the hole. Long drive from the No. 2 fairway and going for the No. 1 green was Ms. Cool herself, Dee Richards. Congratulation to all the winners!

Your next opportunity to participate in a Birch Ridge tournament will be combined with the Kenai golf course on Sept. 2 and 3. This is a two-day, two-course tournament with participants playing 18 holes at Birch Ridge and 18 holes at the Kenai course. There will be Men’s and Ladies Divisions, flighted by USGA Handicap Index, with prizes awarded in each flight. The awards banquet will be at the Kenai Golf Course on Sunday after the tournament. Sign up before 6 p.m. on Aug. 31 at either golf course. Cost is $90 to the association of your choice. Last year, Birch Ridge edged out Kenai. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that again?

The results are in for the Birch Ridge Men’s Match Cup playoff finals. John Tongen and Dan Murphy went up against the team of Pat Cowan and Zac Cowan in the final playoff this past Monday night. With Pat and Zac both scoring a 37, they were hard to beat and took first place. Wow! Way to go guys! Monday, being the final “fun” round, all the other teams (26 cool dudes in all) played three holes of a Scottish twosome, three holes of scramble and three holes of best ball. First place went to a couple of cool guys named Ryan Kapp and Steve Tachick. And coming in second was my very cool husband, Dave Keating, and his really cool partner, Steve Horn. Congratulations to all! Sounds like you had a great season. A very special thanks to the very cool-under-pressure Dave Stein, who took on the task again this year. Just how did you get the weather to cooperate Monday night, Mr. Stein?

A reminder to all the teams playing in the Birch Ridge Ladies Match Cup: Sunday is the last day to play your matches. So be cool and get your matches scheduled.

Next Wednesday is the final night for Men’s League this year and it’s BIG Wednesday. With the day’s getting shorter (sigh), the time is changed to a 5 p.m. check-in and a 5:30 tee-off. On Aug. 16, the winning team was Al Dettmer, Rick Harmon, Rick Kennedy and Gary Effenbeck. Paul Zimmerman was closest to the hole on No. 6 and had a pure birdie. Rick Kennedy was closest to the hole on No. 8 and Al Dettmer had the longest drive.

Seniors this week may have been “cool,” but Paul Zimmerman was definitely hot, taking low net with a 30. He was also closest to the hole on No. 6. Gary Effenbeck was closest to the hole on No. 8 and Pat McElroy had the longest putt.

Tuesday Night Couples were rained out this week, but, as promised, our “cool-headed” couple-in-charge, John and Jane Tongen, showed up anyway. They were joined by two other really cool couples, the Murphys and the Stuckeys, so they decided to have a party, with the help of cool-handed Katy in the clubhouse. Next week, rain, shine, or otherwise, let’s all show up to keep the Tongens company, whether we play golf or not.

And now it’s time for Mr. Cool himself:

TOM’S TIP FOR THE WEEK: “Distance control on the greens — one thing I notice about amateur players is that they have no clue how hard to hit putts longer than 25 feet. They usually get one of two results: pitifully short or very long. This often produces a dreaded three-putt.

“Next time you are practicing on the putting green, simply take a ball in your throwing hand and face the target, rolling the ball underhanded toward the target. Notice how you don’t even think about how hard to roll it? It’s instinctive, not a thought or mechanical process.

“The same is true for putting. Line up the putt, take your position and give one last look at the target. Simply visualize rolling it with your hand and then put it in motion with the putter. Aiming from this distance is not as important as speed.

“If the putt is longer than 30 feet, I think it’s a good idea to walk to the hole and back to get a better feel for the distance from various angles. The reason is that a putt of over 30 feet might look like 40 to 50 feet. The optical illusion won’t let the mind pace the shot properly. By looking at a putt from both sides, you will have a better idea of the true distance you face.

“It really won’t matter where you are aiming if your speed isn’t anywhere close to being right.”

SHARON’S THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: “It seems like the only time I can make one of those really long putts is when it’s to save a 9 for the hole. I did hear some good advice from an anonymous source, though: Don’t buy a putter before you’ve had a chance to throw it. And remember to ‘stay cool!’”

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